National signing day for Division I college football coaches is a celebration of months (and sometimes years) of hard work. It also can be a headache as coaches nervously await letters of intent to fire through the fax machine.
For Ohio State and head coach Jim Tressel, it was mostly a day of joy Wednesday. While there was a little bit of disappointment — defensive back Justin Green went back on a previous verbal commitment to the Buckeyes and instead signed with Illinois — there were many reasons for pats on the back for Tressel and his staff.
A total of 25 players joined the Buckeyes. This class revealed a new recruiting strategy as 23 of the players verbally committed before September.
In breaking down the class, balance is the key word. A group of 13 offensive players and 12 defensive players were signed.
As usual, the Buckeyes did really well in Ohio, getting 14 signatures from their home state. Ohio State’s out-of-state numbers continue to grow. Tressel and his staff went to Pennsylvania (3), Florida (3), Michigan (2), Kentucky, Maryland and Texas to find the other 11 players.
The Cleveland Glenville pipeline, which has produced Ted Ginn, Troy Smith, Donte Whitner and many others, continued with the signing of offensive tackle Marcus Hall and defensive end Jonathon Newsome.
Another item of note was the family ties in the class. Three signees have family that played or presently play for the Bucks. Duron Carter, a wide receiver from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is the son of former OSU and NFL star Cris Carter. Duron’s style of play has been compared to that of OSU’s Brian Robiske, who is expected to go in the first couple of rounds in this year’s NFL draft.
Adam Homan (Ross) and Zach Boren (Justin) have brothers on the roster. These two players, along with James Jackson, Jack Mewhort, Jamie Wood and C. J. Barnett, are new Buckeyes that will be enrolled in school in time for spring practice.
Potential stars dominate the OSU recruiting list. Dorian Bell, an outside linebacker from Pennsylvania, was the top-rated player at his position by more than one recruiting service. Carlos Hyde, a 6-1, 235-pound bruiser from Naples, Fla., was considered the top fullback prospect in the country, but was recruited as a Beanie Wells-style tailback.
Hyde and Jaamal Berry, another prized running back from Florida, should help soothe the loss of Wells to the NFL.
Cornerbacks Corey Brown and Barnett, offensive lineman Hall and wide receiver Jackson will likely see playing time as freshmen.
In addition to Bell, Ohio defensive linemen Johnny Simon and Melvin Fellows received five-star ratings, the highest possible, from Scout.com. A total of 14 more earned four stars.
Even Homan and Boren, arguably the least regarded of the bunch, are touted as tough, blue collar kids that could help the Buckeyes at the fullback position very early in their careers.
With just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, signing a third became a late season priority. That was not easy because many were scared off by the thought of sitting behind Terrelle Pryor.
The Buckeyes did find a QB, though, as they hosted Texas product Kenneth Guiton on an official visit last weekend. Guiton committed on his visit. He picked the Buckeyes over Houston, Northwestern and Kansas among others. Like Pryor, Guiton is considered a dual-threat quarterback who can run and throw.
When it was all said and done Wednesday, the Buckeyes earned lofty national recognition for their new class. The OSU class is ranked in the top five by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, two of the more highly regarding recruiting Web sites.
While recruiting is an inexact science and the true quality of a class cannot be measured until a few years down the line, Ohio State continued to show that it is one of the top recruiting machines in the country.