Tressel Hopes He Has Right Blend

After signing 18 players for the class of 2010, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said he is looking to see how they will be able to combine with the groups he and his staff previously assembled.

Jim Tressel said if he and the members of his Ohio State coaching staff recruited the number of new players every season that each coach wanted at his position, they would have to sign 30 prospects.

"But that's the fun of it," the Buckeyes' head coach said after finalizing his class of 2010. "Everyone knows what they feel like they need to fill their position group."

This year, Tressel and his staff had 20 openings to work with, although he pointed out they have rarely used all available slots in a given season.

"We've always liked to have a scholarship on hand for some of those youngsters who spend four or five years with us who worked their way onto special teams and so forth, and probably in the last nine seasons we've had over 30 kids awarded with scholarships," he said.

With 18 in the fold for 2010, he said 19 would be perfect, hinting that he would welcome the signature of five-star offensive lineman Seantrell Henderson without identifying the St. Paul (Min.) Cretin-Durham prospect by name because that would be against NCAA regulations.

An hour or so later, the world learned Henderson had opted for USC instead, leaving the Buckeyes with only one offensive line signee this year, although that solitary prospect is more than a mere consolation prize.

While ranted Henderson the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country, the service tabbed Andrew Norwell of Cincinnati Anderson No. 2. He signed earlier in the day after committing to Ohio State nearly a year previously.

Tressel said the Buckeyes had room in their recruiting budget for two offensive linemen.

For a time, there seemed to be a possibility they could snag three until losing both Henderson and Cincinnati St. Xavier's Matt James, who picked Notre Dame on signing day. Tressel said ending up with three offensive linemen would have simply meant budgeting for one fewer in 2011.

Elsewhere on offense, Ohio State snagged a trio of wide receivers in Corey Brown of Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara, James Louis of Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic and Tyrone Williams of East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw as well as two running backs: Roderick Smith of Fort Wayne (In.) Paul Harding and Carlos Hyde of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

Possibly planning to facilitate an offense with those weapons is quarterback Taylor Graham of Wheaton (Ill.) North, the son of former Buckeye signal caller Kent Graham.

"Defensively, the discussion was always, ‘How many of this? How many of that?' (Defensive coordinator and line coach Jim) Heacock said you always need more of those big guys in the middle and obviously you need your good edge players, but the way the game has changed, you need so many guys who can play out in space who have athleticism and ball skills and know the game."

As far as edge guys go, the class includes defensive ends J.T. Moore of Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman and Darryl Baldwin of Solon, Ohio, linebackers David Durham of Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Christian, Scott McVey of Cleveland St. Ignatius and Jamel Turner of Youngstown who attended Fork Union with Hyde.

Meanwhile, the man in the middle for future Ohio State defenses could Detroit Southeastern defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, a 6-3, 315-pound behemoth.

The coaches stocked the secondary with a trio of players: Cleveland Glenville's Christian Bryant, Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan's Chad Hagan and Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge's Bradley Roby.

As for special teams, Ohio State gave a scholarship to a potential kicker or punter for the second time in three seasons.

This time it is Drew Basil of Chillicothe, Ohio, who will join 2008 signee Ben Buchanan.

"We talk about special teams all the time, and having a guy like Drew Basil come in - he can kick or punt. We've even had some discussions that with the kickoff being moved back, you've seen some of the college and NFL teams now going to a guy who just drives the ball through the end zone, so we thought having another guy come in with just a tremendous powerful leg was great."

Last but not least is the addition of Verlon Reed, a high school quarterback from Columbus Marion-Franklin who the university listed as an athlete in its official release announcing the new signing class. Scout ranks Reed a three-star safety prospect.

"Verlon can do a lot of different things,which he did for Marion-Franklin," Ohio State safeties coach Paul Haynes said. "He played quarterback for them, played receiver for them earlier in the season and also played DB for them. We kind of feel that Verlon can fill into any of those spots for us, so we're going to move Verlon around a whole lot to see where Verlon fits for us. Where ever he fits is where ever we're going to keep him."

In summing it up, Tressel called the class a good blend of prospects, pointing out nine are from Ohio and nine from out of state, and said they are interested in contributing to the core group that returns from a 2009 squad that won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl.

"That's what it's all about: How do they mesh as new players? Can they contribute to the group in a certain way as a young player, and then can they evolve to become the core of the team, and then can they grow into leaders?"

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