Make no mistake, Ohio State has been stung in the past month with the commitments of Lamarcus Joyner, Sharrif Floyd and Latwan Anderson to other schools, especially since all three were prime targets.
Who's left on the board for Ohio State, and can they still land one of the top classes in the country? Let's look at the candidates, and Ohio State's chances to sign each.
Kyle Prater: Prater became available once the Pete Carroll story broke nationwide, and he now appears to be back on the market. Ohio State did attempt to establish contact with Prater and his family in the past few days, but were told there is no longer any interest in Ohio State. I see Prater heading to Notre Dame in the end. RATING: No chance.
Seantrel Henderson: The recent coaching shakeups have only aided Ohio State's efforts with Henderson, and from my conversations with Seantrel and his father in San Antonio, I have no doubt coaching stability is a priority. In the end, I see this as a USC, Florida and Ohio State battle, with Notre Dame lurking. USC better name a coach soon, and real soon, to stay in the game. It also better be a proven coach, with a proven track record. RATING: Highly possible.
Andrew Hendrix: A surprise addition to this list, because the Notre Dame commit might be a man without a country following a visit to Florida. Reportedly, Brian Kelly is not happy with the Hendrix visit and the Irish might look at other quarterback options. Adding to the plot is that Florida might decide to pass on Hendrix should he decide to become a Gator. Might Ohio State try to get back into the Hendrix derby, and would he listen? RATING: Stay tuned.
Christian Bryant: A commitment to anyone but Ohio State would shock me to death, so I'm booking a room at the Cleveland Clinic the day I attend his announcement ceremony. RATING: Buckeye.
Jordan Hicks: Hicks is the "Mystery Man" of the 2010 recruiting season, because nobody knows much about this kid, by design. Do I think he's coming to Ohio State? Not really, but a Buckeye commitment would not stun me, but I would be surprised. RATING: Possible.
Matt James: James told me after the Army game that he now has Ohio State in a slight lead, and to me, Matt James is the polar opposite of a game-player. What is most concerning is that James still has a visit to Notre Dame coming up, and that will tell the tale. My feeling is that Matt James told me the absolute truth, and we will know shortly after the Notre Dame visit where this one ends. Cincinnati is a longer shot than ever before, in my opinion. RATING: Highly possible.
Bradley Roby: Roby is a virtual certainty to not end up where he committed, Vanderbilt. I feel this is a two-team race between Ohio State and Auburn, with the Buckeyes having a tiny edge due to the connection between Roby and Cameron Heyward. I think Auburn is a strong player for Roby though, so this one is tough to call. RATING: Highly possible.
Dominique Brown: Brown has not visited Ohio State officially, and until that happens, this conversation is going nowhere. There may be academic hurdles to climb, so this one might roll on for a while. I think Brown wants to be a Buckeye. If he visits officially, I think he will be one. RATING: Possible.
Erick Howard: Howard appears to be off the Buckeye radar, in fact, might be off all radar, due to academic concerns. Howard is probably a candidate for a junior college, where he will try to follow the Carlos Hyde path to Columbus. RATING: Not happening.
Skyler Schofner: No recruiting update can be published without the mention of Schofner, but this could be his last appearance on this list. Schofner notified me that Ohio State officially passed on him, after taking a second look recently. RATING: Not happening.
If Ohio State can land signatures from Henderson, Bryant, Roby and James, this will be a highly-rated class. Not top-5, but certainly a candidate for top-10. Add in Hicks and/or Hendrix, and it moves up even more. Fail to land any of these prospects other than Bryant, and it's hard to label this class a recruiting success.
There is still much work to be done on the 2010 Ohio State recruiting class, and there is still time left on the clock to get the job completed. Stay tuned as we head to the finish line.