Drew Thurman (10:36 am)
There is no doubt that fans are getting frustrated with the lack of recruiting news coming out of Buckeye camp. Jump on any board or forum, and you will see fans psychoanalyzing Tressel and the staff on the recruiting moves that they have made so far. I have to say that I have fallen into this temptation as well, and I have expressed my frustration with the slow start on several occasions (which I am starting to regret).
Most of this disappointment stems out of so-called "late offers," to players like William Gholston, Alex Welch, and Christian Bryant. Fans have seen Tressel and the staff chase players out-of-state that have had limited interest in the Buckeyes, while losing ground on recruits that they have a better shot at. Maybe we are spoiled because so many players jumped on board early on last year or maybe we catch ourselves comparing numbers to Michigan, but the frustration is definitely evident.
In some ways though, these emotions may not be warranted. I am not saying that the staff didn't possibly hurt their chances with offering late to a guy like Gholston, but I think there are some other aspects that we all need to realize.
First of all, Tressel and the staff are using the same formula that brought the success of the last two classes. It basically goes like this, extend a lot of offers to top out-of-state talent while offering the best that Ohio has to offer. As players commit elsewhere or show limited interest, the staff crosses them off the list and offers the next possible player (many times a second tier Ohio talent in ranking). This philosophy stands in direct opposition to what coaches like Zook and Rodriguez do. They on the other hand offer every player and their brother, hoping the mass quantity of offers manifests itself into commitments.
At first glance this philosophy seems to be working. The Wolverines have 12 commitments right now compared to the Buckeyes 5, but further investigation shows a problem. Because the Wolverines have offered both first and second tier talent, they are watching many second tier talent players commit and ruining their chances with the four and five star players. This is even evident from the players that have committed to them from Ohio. Guys like Pace, Kinard, Williamson, and Robinson would have never been pursued by Michigan 10 years ago. If they had, it would have been very late in the process. So we need to quit counting commitments, because Michigan shows that there is more to recruiting than just that.
Second, Buckeye fans need to understand how special the 2009 class was. The reason that Ohio State was able to accumulate so many early commits in last year's class was becasue of the sheer talent that the state of Ohio possessed. The staff extended a lot of early offers to Ohio kids, and thus received in-state commitments early on. This class on the other hand does not have near the talent (in-state), especially at positions of need, and so offers will be coming later in the process. So be prepared for a lot of commitments later in this class, and not so early. Yet another reason to quit counting commitments in June.
Finally, look at the scholarships. If you look back at the 2008 class, which had a very similar scholarship situation (18-20 to give out), the Buckeyes were almost in the exact same situation entering June. At that point the Buckeyes only had eight commitments, and the staff was being very careful with who they handed offers out to. The only difference between that class and the class of 2010 is that the staff was having a little more out-of-state success. If we are patient though, guys like Roderick Smith, Lamarcus Joyner, and C.J. Fiedorowicz could put this class on the same course.
So quit counting commitments. Tressel and the staff have shown the last few years that they know how to put together a solid class, and we need to quit judging this one at the start of June. I would much rather be in our shoes than collecting a bevy of second tier players like Michigan!