Ohio State Coaches Break Down 2011 Class: Offense
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was another blustering winter day in Ohio’s capitol city Wednesday, but that didn’t stop the Buckeyes from holding a celebratory press conference to talk about the 2011 recruiting class.
After all, it was National Signing Day, and Ohio State had landed the signatures of 23 of the top players in the country.
Head Coach Jim Tressel called it a “balanced and versatile” class, but he let his assistant coaches do most of the analysis. We take a look at their break-down of the offensive signees.
QB Braxton Miller (6-2, 195, Huber Heights Wayne)
* Miller has enrolled for winter quarter at Ohio State and will take part in spring practice with the Buckeyes.
* Miller will wear No. 5 the Buckeyes, the same number he wore at Wayne.
* Quarterbacks coach Nic Siciliano said that Miller is very dynamic. He has great feet, quick hands and keeps his eyes down field. Does a good job of getting the ball to his playmakers.
* Siciliano said the thing that sets him apart right now as a passer is his quick release. Said his hand quickness is “exceptional.”
* Siciliano also said that Miller has great leadership abilities. He is calm on the field, and doesn’t show a lot of emotion, good or bad.
* Siciliano commented that Miller is also a good runner because he understands he needs to get north/south as quickly as possible.
* Miller said the first week at Ohio State was a really hard adjustment for him. He said Terrelle Pryor has taken him under his wing and that he calls him his “big bro.”
* Miller said he worked a lot on his footwork at a young age, but his goal is to improve even more as a passer during his first year at Ohio State.
* Whether or not Miller plays as a freshman will depend on how fast he picks things up.
QB Cardale Jones (6-5, 217, Cleveland Glenville)
* Siciliano said it was a later decision in the recruiting process to sign both Miller and Jones in the class of 2011.
* Siciliano also said he felt the Buckeyes landed the two best quarterbacks in the country, they just both happened to be from Ohio.
* Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said they consider Miller to be a part of the 2011 class and Jones to be a part of the 2012 class. They liked Jones better than any of the options at quarterback next year.
* Bollman said that Jones will indeed take a grayshirt and enroll at a Junior College until January 2011, when he will enroll at Ohio State.
* Both Bollman and Siciliano said the reason for grayshirting Jones was to put some separation between him and the current guys, as well as Braxton Miller. If Miller plays in 2011 and Jones redshirts in 2012, he would be two years behind already.
* Siciliano said he is big and strong with a good arm. A stronger runner than Miller.
WR Evan Spencer (6-1, 185, Vernon Hills, Ill.)
* Spencer is the son of former OSU running back and coach Tim Spencer.
* He scored 19 touchdowns as an all-state performer at Vernon Hills last season.
* New receivers coach Stan Drayton said that Spencer as the ability to “go get it.” He can create separation and does a great job positionin his body so that only he can get to the ball.
WR Devin Smith (6-1, 175, Massillon Washington)
* Drayton said the one thing that impressed him the most about Smith was his ability to make plays.
* Drayton said he will be a vertical threat for the Buckeyes because of his long arms and impressive jumping ability.
* Smith was a state champion in long jumping and a state qualifier in the high jump and 4x200 relay. He was also a basketball standout at Massillon.
TE Jeff Heuerman (6-5, 240, Naples, Fla.)
* Heuerman has enrolled for winter quarter at Ohio State and will take part in spring practice with the Buckeyes.
* Tight ends coach John Peterson pronounced his name like “Higher-man.”
* Heuerman said he played in a run-oriented offense at Barron Collier, and that he loves to block.
* He was a hockey player until the ninth grade.
* Peterson called him an “exceptional athlete with a lot of range,” and said that he can block and catch passes.
* Heuerman said he was happy to see Jake Stoneburner so involved in the offense in 2010, and that throwing to the tight end is “always great.”
* Although he is from Florida, Heuerman’s father grew up in Akron but played basketball at the University of Michigan. He then practiced law in Columbus before moving to Naples, Fla.
* Though he grew up in Florida, Heuerman has an aunt and uncle that live in Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus.
TE Nick Vannett (6-6, 230, Westerville Central)
* Peterson called Vannett an intelligent kid with great academics and great character.
* Vannett is active in community service and leader on the field.
* He had 47 catches for 606 yards and eight touchdowns for Westerville Central last season.
* He loves to play out in space, but Peterson said he has also developed his skill as a blocker.
* Like Heuerman, Vannett comes from a run-oriented offense. Catching the ball is nice, but Vannett said blocking is what gets the job done.
OL Brian Bobek (6-2, 278, Palatine, Ill.)
* Bobek was a three-year starter in high school and won a number of awards. He was U.S. Army All-American and first-team all-state.
* Bobek was also a conference champion in shot put and discus.
* He comes from an athletic family. His father was a lineman for Iowa and his mother played basketball for the Hawkeyes. His brother Jeff is a fullback at Michigan State.
* Offensive line coach Jim Bollman called him a “very powerful young man.”
* Bollman said that he is exceptionally skilled at playing center, so he won’t have to learn the position.
* He will come in and learn from four-year starter Michael Brewster, but is also capable of playing guard.
OL Tommy Brown (6-5, 310, Akron Firestone)
* Brown is not enrolled at Ohio State currently, but will be in time to participate in spring practice.
* Bollman called Brown “an exceptional athlete” who can play both sides of the ball.
* He is a long-time camper at Ohio State.
* Brown was first-team all-Ohio and was on the all-academic team last season.
* He was a city champion in shot put and discus and a two-year bowling letterman.
* Bollman called him a very strong guy, and said that while he may start inside, Brown could move outside later in his career.
OL Antonio Underwood (6-3, 295, Shaker Heights)
* Also a long-time camper with the Buckeyes, which is a good thing because of the familiarity to the program.
* Bollman called Underwood a powerful guy. He said that all three of these guys are ahead of the curve from a strength perspective. Said Underwood is going to be a “big guy.”
* Underwood was a three-year starter who also played nose-tackle for Shaker Heights.
*He played some left tackle this season, but probably starts out inside as a guard. Battled injuries as a senior.
LS Bryce Haynes (6-4, 185, Cumming, Ga.)
* Doc Tressel said they weren't actively seeking long-snapper, but when they got the video they thought it had to be fake.
* Tressel said the video spread like wildfire once it got to Ohio State. They saw him in person and realized they needed to find a spot for him in the class.
* Doc said the snap hits right in the numbers every time.
* Doc Tressel said that Haynes is already 0.2 seconds faster on his snaps than what Ohio State tells it’s long snappers to aim for.
* Doc said Haynes will put pressure on the current long snappers on the roster.
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