Breaking Down the OSU Defensive Recruits
By Tony Gerdeman
Last week we looked at what the coaching staff had to say about the offensive prospects they signed in the 2011 recruiting class. Today, we'll take a look at what they had to say about the thirteen defensive prospects in the class.
Five years from now, we'll look back and see how right or wrong they were. Set your clocks.
DT Michael Bennett (6-3 275, Centerville)
* Broke his arm recently but will be fine.
* Per Jim Heacock, Bennett had more success on offense than defense this year, but they like him on the defensive side of the ball.
* Tremendous interior line prospect on both sides of the ball.
DB Jeremy Cash (6-2 185, Plantation, Florida)
* Cash is already enrolled in classes and will participate in Spring football.
* A 3.9 GPA.
* Will provide instant depth.
* His mentality on defense: “I'm coming to take your head off.”
* Recorded 23 tackles for loss as a junior.
* He said the Florida pipeline at Ohio State helped to make his decision an easy one, especially his relationships with Etienne Sabino and Travis Howard.
LB Connor Crowell (6-1 215, Waldorf, Maryland)
* Turned 17-years old halfway during senior season, so he is still very young.
* Coming off of a severe lower leg injury during state playoffs.
* Multi-skilled talent who also played running back, but will stick to defense at Ohio State.
* Parents are both from Hawaii.
* Fits in with everything the staff looks for in a student athlete.
DL Chase Farris (6-6 265, Elyria)
* Played both ways in high school. Also a talented basketball player.
* Good speed and a “rangy” athlete.
* First team All-Ohio on both sides of the ball.
* Recorded 31 tackles for loss as a senior.
* Jim Heacock sees Farris being able to slide inside on passing down, much like Cameron Heyward did.
* Farris is trying to pattern most of his game after Heyward for good measure.
CB DerJuan Gambrell (6-2 180, Toledo Rogers)
* Nicknamed “Peewee”.
* The coaches love his size and athleticism, which reminds the staff of former Buckeye Donald Washington, who was also a track guy like Gambrell.
* Physical. Able to blitz off of the edge.
* Athletic enough to play right away.
* Taver Johnson mentioned that Gambrell has fought through adversity his entire life, which shows he had diligence and “want to”.
* Long arms and can jump out of the gym.
* Just needs to learn consistency and bring an attitude every time, per Johnson.
* Safeties coach Paul Haynes mentioned that he had to keep the offensive coaches from getting their hands on Gambrell.
* Regional 400m champion.
LB Curtis Grant (6-3 215, Richmond, VA)
* Jim Bollman gets the credit for getting in on Grant early. He said that is part of his area from his days prior to Ohio State. He knows people in the area and it wasn't hard to figure out Grant was the best player in the state.
* Luke Fickell calls him unique, big and physical.
* Fickell: “I was very impressed with him as a person, as a leader and as a motivator.”
* The coaches believe that Grant simply fell in love with everything Ohio State had to offer, and he is a perfect fit for the family atmosphere that exists there.
* Fickell: “He walks in a room and the guy kind of takes over the room. I think the guy has got some true leadership ability.” Said guys just want to be around him.
* Recorded 134 tackles as a senior.
CB Doran Grant (5-10 175, Akron SVSM)
* Taver Johnson talked about watching Grant at a track meet and how much he was impressed by Grant's focus and mental preparation.
* Tremendous ball skills.
* Recorded 25 touchdown receptions as a receiver in his career.
* Not afraid to stick his nose in there and get dirty, per Johnson.
* Like Peewee Gambrell, athletic enough to play right away, but also needs to “bring an attitude every time”.
* State champion in the 110m outdoor and 60m indoor hurdles.
DL Joel Hale (6-4 290, Greenwood, Indiana)
* Enrolled in January and will be available for Spring football.
* Hale sees the successes of Cameron Heyward, Nathan Williams, John Simon and Johnathan Hankins as freshmen, and is trying to follow that same path.
* Looks to Simon as a mentor. Per Heacock, seeing Hale and Simon in the weight room together reminds him of the way James Laurinaitis followed A.J. Hawk around.
* Likely an interior player, but the coaches like his quickness and versatility and feel he could possibly play outside on the strong side at times.
* Forced nine fumbles as a senior.
* A true believe in the role of a defensive tackle—just wants to do his job so everybody else around him can succeed.
* Feels this defensive line class will become a dominating force.
* Not a bowler per Jim Heacock.
DE Kenny Hayes (6-5 240, Toledo Whitmer)
* Jim Heacock says Hayes is tough, physical and can run.
* Has been called a “bad a**” by another member of this recruiting class.
* All-City basketball player.
DE Steve Miller (6-4 230, Canton McKinley)
* Jim Heacock: “He's a very physical player. I think he's going to be a dominant player for us.”
* Per Heacock he is physical, very tough, no nonsense, and quite possibly never smiles.
* All-Ohio for last three seasons of his high school career.
* Honor roll every quarter, academic champion.
LB Ejuan Price (6-0 235, Pittsburgh, PA)
* Played mainly as a rush end in high school, though did finally move around a bit as a senior.
* Luke Fickell calls him “very powerful”.
* The coaches aren't exactly sure where he will play, but they like his versatility and intelligence. *They'll teach him the system and figure out whether he belongs inside or outside later on down the road.
* Honor roll student.
* Name is pronounced “Juan”.
LB Ryan Shazier (6-2 210 Plantation, Florida)
* Already enrolled in classes and will participate in Spring football.
* Played as a defensive end for most of his high school career.
* Practiced linebacker drops and skills on his own after practices with his coach, who also coached NFL linebacker Clint Sessions.
* Luke Fickell calls him “more of a pass rush guy”, and mentioned that he's still learning the linebacker position, but they love his versatility and motor. Also mentioned that he was a quick learner.
* The linebacker tradition at Ohio State was one of the bigger selling points for him, and he knew that by coming in early, he'd have a better chance to play this season.
* All-State. Finished with 35.5 sacks in his high school career.
S Ron Tanner (6-1 190 Columbus Eastmoor)
* Smart. Ohio all-academic, honor roll, National Honor Society. Performs community service and speaks to kids on a regular basis.
* Rangy. Athletic.
* Played quarterback and threw for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.
Freshman defensive lineup:
DE - Steve Miller
DT - Mike Bennett
DT - Joel Hale
DT - Chase Farris, Kenny Hayes
CB - Doran Grant
CB - DerJuan Gambrell
S - Ron Tanner
S - Jeremy Cash
LB - Curtis Grant
LB - Ejuan Price, Connor Crowell
LB - Ryan Shazier
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