Scout Experts Hold Court On OSU Class

There was much to talk about as Ohio State finished its football recruiting class of 2010, so much so that two weeks later seems like a good time to look back on the effort. Some of Scout's experts recently talked to BSB, and some of their most intriguing opinions were compiled for this companion piece to the paper's most recent print issue.

Every year, Buckeye Sports Bulletin's print edition compiles a consensus poll of recruiting experts to see how Ohio State's class fared compared to many others nationally. This week, yearly subscribers to will receive their print issue with this year's results, just one of the many perks for signing up for a year of and BSB print.

This year, however, there was lots of information left on the cutting room floor after BSB went to press. It was impossible to fit many interesting quotes from Midwest analyst Allen Trieu and and SuperPrep analyst Allen Wallace, so check out what these two esteemed recruiting gurus had to say about the Ohio State class of 2010.

After two straight highly rated classes, Ohio State's effort in 2010 was ranked out of the top 10 by just about every observer. Does this class have enough talent to help the Buckeyes win a national championship?
Wallace: "It is good enough. I'm capable of making a big deal about recruiting rankings as much as anybody is, but you have to let rationality intervene. Evaluation is a tricky subject. We do the best we can. … Alabama was No. 1 two years in a row, but right before that they were 21 in 2007, they were 18 in 2006 and they were 16 in 2005. You have two No. 1 classes, but those are your most recent ones coming in so they're your youngest guys, and then three of the classes – if you look at it as a five-year deal – that contributed to winning the national championship just now were 21, 18 and 16. It's kind of amazing. You'd think there's no way that kind of material is going to win the national championship. It shows you that you can recruit unevenly and you can recruit what would be considered to be fairly poorly by a lot of recruiting observers and still win a national championship. It doesn't put you out of the game. Eventually you have to get up there – most teams do at least – and start throwing in a top-five or top-10 class here or there. As far as Ohio State goes, they're still a team that has the type of talent that can win a national championship here."

Trieu: "Absolutely. And I think 20th seems a little bit low following a No. 1 class but in the scheme of things that's still in the top 15 percent of recruiting classes in the country. Most of the time, those top 20 aren't separated by very much. A couple of things here and there and that class could have finished in the top 10 of 15. I would say that ranking is actually a pretty good ranking, too, and I think that needs to be put in perspective a little bit."

Ohio State grabbed only three of the top 10 players in Ohio, according to Scout. What happened, and should Ohio State fans be worried?
Wallace: "Certainly, I didn't think it was one of the Buckeyes' strongest showings in Ohio. Generally, that's a state you kind of concede to the Buckeyes, but especially with Brian Kelly going to Notre Dame, that was going to perhaps give him some clout to bring in some people and that ended up working with Matt James. … I didn't think it was a great year for Ohio talent. … I can't really give you an explanation why (they struggled) because Jim Tressel and his staff are great recruiters. That's why consistently recruiting great classes is so difficult. Sometimes it's not what you're doing; it's what your opposition is doing. If Jordan Hicks had grown up in Ohio and had the kind of Buckeye ties that you expect from the best linebacker in the state, that could have turned out totally different."

Trieu: "I think if you want a comparison, you can already look at 2011. A lot more of the top kids are from different areas of the state (than Cincinnati) and they're already doing well in-state next year. That shows you it's not something Ohio State fans need to worry about."

Ohio State ended up with only one offensive lineman after missing out on Matt James and Seantrel Henderson on the last day. Should the Buckeyes have had a bigger net out there for offensive line prospects?
Wallace: "I know a lot of people have complained about USC out here as well in kind of the same dilemma. They're also a school that is criticized for aiming high all the time. If they don't end up with Seantrel Henderson, they'll end up with a high-ranking all-regional 255-pound offensive center and that would be it. That's for a team that was viewed as needing offensive line help. … You have to make a decision if you're willing to wait next until next year to bring in people that are going to meet your exacting standards, or you have to decide, ‘Well, we're going to still need some players for the beneficial purposes of our program even if we don't think they're capable of being real stars later on.' It's just kind of an interesting approach. Sometimes you operate one way and sometimes you operate another. … You got one fantastic offensive lineman. The question then becomes, from a philosophy standpoint, do you want one Andrew Norwell or do you want three three-star guys? You just have to make that decision. What do you want? I don't really know what Ohio State's depth looks like, but it could turn out that one Andrew Norwell may be the Seantrel Henderson that goes to USC. … You never know what the future holds, but it's what makes this ranking business complicated."

What could end up surprising people in a good way about the Buckeyes' class of 2010?
Wallace: "I think that the defensive line area is kind of one of the most ambiguous parts of the team. There's no All-Americans there, so the first thing you do when you look at that position is say they don't have any All-Americans, but when you look at the guys that they do have, you see that some of them come with very good credentials. Jamel Turner certainly does, J.T. Moore certainly does, Johnathan Hankins certainly does and Darryl Baldwin certainly does. So that's an area that looks solid rather than great, but sometimes those solid efforts turn out to be great. It's not like they were dipping down to the 102nd-best player in the Midwest to fill in their defensive line position. Their defensive line guys were all for the most part high-ranking all-regional players."

Trieu: "Guys that you look back four years from now and go, ‘Where did this guy come from? Why was this guy a two-star or a three-star?' I think there are a few of those in this class. Verlon Reed just kind of came onto the scene late. We think he's an outstanding athlete and an outstanding player. He's one of the guys who you could see outperforming his ranking in a few years. I think Darryl Baldwin is a guy who got ranked a little bit lower because when we saw him as a junior, we thought he had great potential but we thought he had a ways to go yet. I think he made a lot of improvements and then he had an outstanding senior season, so we moved him up some. We couldn't move him up quite as high because every time you move up a guy you have to move someone else down. We were able to move him up quite a ways but maybe not quite as high as he deserved given the senior year that he had. He's another guy whose stock is on the rise. They picked up a has a lot of potential who is just starting to figure it out and getting better every day, and that's key with a guy like him."

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