Good Morning Fans...
Our mailing list is still not working... I send out messages to you, but instead of getting to where they are supposed to go, they disappear into oblivion (or Bolivian, if you're Mike Tyson). Therefore, we'll be posting this in Web page form. For those new to the subscription portion of the site, we have a mailing list that is part of the package that we use to send out news and announcements, but it doesn't seem to want to work right now, so today's are posted here...
First off, this week's chat... we hope to have Jerry Rudzinski in here at 8 pm EST on Thursday. It will be a moderated chat. Bring your questions about the team, the Fiesta Bowl, next year, etc. and Jerry will answer. Also, I know everyone wants to talk about recruiting... Jerry does not follow it as closely, but we will dedicate a 1/2 hour either before or after Jerry's 8-9 chat for some recruiting chatter.
In case you missed... Hot News update last night on OL James Lee:
Underrated Florida offensive lineman visited Ohio State this weekend. "It was a nice visit. It went well." Former high school teammate Santonio Holmes was his host. "I was there for the national championship celebration. That was something." Lee sees the opportunity to play right away at Ohio State. "I am really high on Ohio State. I liked the players and the coaches. I am going to take my last 2 visits and see what happens."
Much of the focus now is on recruiting, and I frankly can't believe some of the negativity that the OSU coaching staff has received for this year's class. More e-mails are coming in criticizing Tressel, with a few even asking for a change in recruiting coaches. I thought I'd give some thoughts here regarding the complaints we received...
Why can't Tressel close on a big-time recruit?
Don't forget how he was able to help pull in Dustin Fox, Angelo Chattams and Lydell Ross despite not being at OSU a month. Also, I'd say OSU was able to get their share of big-time recruits last year. The haul in the final weeks to close the class -- Quinn Pitcock, Bobby Carpenter, Nate Salley, Santonio Holmes, Derek Morris -- was pretty impressive.
Why can't Tressel land a big-time offensive lineman?
Derek Morris was pretty big-time... sure, it didn't work out, but if you go by Insiders.com and Student Sports rankings, Morris was probably the highest-rated line recruit since Tam Hopkins or Jefferson Kelly and maybe even Orlando Pace. The Ohio haul last year is proving to be pretty solid as well. Doug Datish was a top 100 player, and Nick Mangold and Rob Sims have proven to be future stars. Regarding this year, it's obvious that with the exception of Kirk Barton, Ohio State doesn't like any of the in-state offensive line prospects (which doesn't help at all if you're looking for a blue-chip recruit), and going out-of-state and landing someone the level of Derek Morris doesn't happen every year. I have to disagree with this one; based on last year, they have shown that they can pull in offensive linemen. This year isn't over yet either; there are still a few quality offensive linemen on the radar.
We need a new recruiting coordinator!
OSU needs a new recruiting coordinator about as bad as they need a new stadium. Bill Conley is regarded as one of the best in the country at what he does.
We're not going to have a top ten recruiting class!
That doesn't matter. While I think recruiting rankings are sometimes criticized too much, I also don't think they should be taken too seriously. Let's look at the 1998 class, which was rated around 15th in America (another small class, like this one). In that class, OSU signed something like 15 guys. Among those were LeCharles Bentley, Kenny Peterson, Jamar Martin, Derek Ross, Nate Clements, Donnie Nickey, Jonathan Wells, James Cotton, Cie Grant, Ryan Pickett, Mike Collins, and Steve Bellisari. Mike Collins didn't get drafted, but the rest of those either did or will be. That is pretty impressive.
Then there's 2001, another small class. It's early to truly evaluate, but that class (which was also rated somewhere around 15) brought in Chris Gamble, Dustin Fox, Simon Fraser, Lydell Ross, Mike Nugent, and Chris Vance.
I suppose the point to be made in all of this is there is no reason to panic. This maligned class is going to produce some stars -- bet on that. Three or four years from now (maybe sooner), some of the players in this class will be key parts of the nucleus of another successful team.
This class would never get in the top five due to its size, and it may not even get in the top 20 of some lists. That's just an opinion though. Let's forget about the guys OSU won't get (I like to say over and over that the last time fans were this up-in-arms about losing prospects, it was Antonio Hall and Chris Perry, and OSU did fine without them). Focus on the fact that the Buckeyes are bringing in some talented and exciting players, and things will seem better. If that isn't enough, look around America... what has Texas gotten from their top 5 recruiting classes? What about Florida, who had the #1 class a couple years back? How many top 10 classes did Iowa have to help build this year's team?
Anyway, enough rambling... and let's not forget this class isn't done yet. It could still look much better two weeks from now. Out of the names still out there who are possibilities for OSU -- Moe Dampeer, Aaron Sears, James Lee, Jesse Holley, Ira Guilford, Marcel Frost, Michael Bush, Shawn Crable, Ryan Brown, Sian Cotton, Devin Stearns, etc... -- there's enough for a strong finish to come out of this.
Some updates for you on products on the horizon... the newest Bucknuts the Magazine, which is dedicated largely to the Fiesta Bowl, should start to arrive soon. We hope you find it as something you'd like to add to your collection of items from this year's team. Also, we have a recruiting issue that will be following that, in which we will have in-depth features on two recruits as well as new profiles of each recruit in the class. Fans are still asking about videos as well; we should learn more about the new Fiesta Bowl video this week. The victory celebration was slated to be part of this video.
If you didn't catch the victory celebration, it was pretty neat. Cie Grant really brought the house down, and it was a perfect final chapter to this year's dream season. You also couldn't think of a better way to honor the seniors than to have them dot the I. Good stuff. I am going to work on putting a Fiesta Bowl archive page together, where you can go back months from now and relive all the moments.
That's about all for now... Go Bucks!