History of offensive line recruiting in the Tressel era.

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Last updated: 02/10/2011 8:23 PM
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Football
History of Tressel’s Offensive Line Recruiting
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Jim Tressel took over the Ohio State football program in 2001, he hired Jim Bollman to be his offensive coordinator as well as offensive line coach.

Bollman had been coaching tight ends with the Chicago Bears and previously Philadelphia Eagles, but spent most of the mid-1990s coaching the offensive line at the University of Virginia and then Michigan State under current Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.

With the completion of the 2011 recruiting cycle, Tressel and Bollman have now signed 11 recruiting classes together during their time in Columbus. Some have been better than others, but recent recruiting misses on the offensive line have brought that particular position into the public forum.

We take a look back at Ohio State’s offensive line recruiting over the last decade for a better look at how it has all shaken out. To begin, here are the overall numbers for the Tressel era excluding the two most recent classes since we don't yet know how those classes will turn out.

Years (Excluding two most recent classes): 9
Total Signed: 25
1-Year Starter: 1
2-Year Starter: 3
3-4 Year Starter: 9
1st-team All-Big Ten: 8
1st-team All-American:
3

Here, year by year, is how recruiting on the offensive line went.

2011
Brian Bobek (Illinois)
Antonio Underwood (Shaker Heights)
Tommy Brown (Akron Firestone)

-Bollman wanted five offensive linemen, but had to settle for three, at least for now. They may still add Chris Carter to the class, but Aundrey Walker signed with USC.

2010
Andrew Norwell (Cincinnati Anderson) – Saw good playing time as backup to Shugarts at RT in 2010.

-The Buckeyes had their sights set on 5-star Seantrel Henderson last season, but had to settle for just Norwell. It’s not a total loss, as Norwell looks like a fine player. He played a fair amount as a freshman, and could start the 2010 opener with Adams suspended.

2009

Marcus Hall (Glenville) – Started one game at RT as freshman in 2009.
Jack Mewhort (Toledo St. Johns) – Redshirt freshman year, played sparingly as backup in 2010.
Corey Linsley (Boardman) – Redshirt freshman year, played sparingly as backup in 2010.
Sam Longo (Bellbrook) – Transferred after two years of not playing.

-It’s too early to tell how good the ’09 class will be. Longo transferred in January, but the other three figure to be in the mix for starting spots this fall. Hall played quite a bit as a freshman.

2008

*Michael Brewster (Florida) Took over as starting center in fourth collegiate game. All-American as a junior. Fourth-year starter in 2011.
*Mike Adams (Dublin Coffman) – Started four games as sophomore, took over as full-time starter at left tackle in 2010 and earned 1st team all-Big Ten status.
*J.B. Shugarts (Texas) – Three-year starter at RT in 2011.

-The second-best offensive class of the Tressel/Bollman era, and now making a push for No. 1 with the return of both Adams and Brewster. This group of blue-chip prospects has had its ups and downs, but more ups than downs. When it’s all said and done, it will have produced a four-year starter in Brewster, a three-year starter in Shugarts and a two-year starter in Adams.

2007

Evan Blankenship (Pennsylvania) – Never developed. Moved to defensive in 2010.

-The Buckeyes settled for one offensive lineman in the class of 2007, and it just so happened to be Blankenship. The 3-star never pushed for playing time and was moved to defensive tackle before the 2010 season.

2006

*Bryant Browning (Glenville) – Started at RT in 2008 and RG from 2009-10.
Connor Smith (Colerain) – Never developed. Backup as a senior in 2010.
Andrew Miller (Pennsylvania) – Starter three games at LT in 2009. Backup to Adams in 2010.

-Expected to be the stud in the class of 2006, Smith never panned out during his time at Ohio State. Luckily Browning did. The sleeper out of Glenville became a three-year starter on the right side of the line. Miller came in as a tight end, but bulked up and moved over to tackle where he was a key backup in 2010.

2005

*Alex Boone (St. Edward) – Four-year starter at tackle from 2005-08. First-team All-Big Ten in 2008.
*Jim Cordle (Lancaster) – Started at center in 2007, LG in 2008 and both RT and LT in 2009.

-Boone and Cordle were the top two linemen in Ohio in 2005 and they started a lot of games at Ohio State. Boone was a four-year starter, while Cordle started for three years and played four different positions.

2004

Kyle Mitchum (Pennsylvania) – Injury issues.
*Ben Person (Xenia) – Starter at RG in 2007 and part of 2008.
*Steve Rehring (Lakota West) – Two-year starter at LG from 2006-07.
Jon Skinner (Pennsylvania) – Injury issues.

-They went out of state to grab both Mitchum and Skinner out of Pa., but the two in-state guys turned out to be much more productive. Both Rehring and Person started every game at the two guard spots in 2007, and started a handful of games in 2008 while battling injuries.

2003

*Kirk Barton (Massillon Perry) – Four-year starter at RT from 2004-07. All-American in 2007.

-The Buckeyes waited until very late in the process to offer Barton, but are they ever thankful they did. After redshirting as a freshman 2004, Barton went on to become a fixture on the offensive line for the next four years. He was the only offensive lineman in the class, unless Brandon Maupin counts, but Maupin was scheduled to play defensive tackle.

2002

*Doug Datish (Warren Howland) – Three-year starter on the OL at LG, LT and center. Starting center on 2006 team. First-team All-Big Ten in 2006.
*Nick Mangold (Kettering Alter) – Three-year starter at center from 2003-05. All-American in 2005.
*Rob Sims (Nordonia) – Three-year starter from 2003-05. Also starter 2002 championship game at LT. First-team All-Big Ten in 2005.
*T.J. Downing (Canton GlenOak) – Two-year starter at RG from 2005-06. First-team All-Big Ten in 2006.
Derek Morris (North Carolina) – Academic issues, transferred to NC State. 

-Easily Tressel’s best offensive-line haul ever at Ohio State, just ahead of the 2008 group. Not only did it produce a future All-American and NFL Pro Bowler in Mangold, but also a pair of three-year starters in Sims and Datish, along with a two-year starter in Downing. Mangold and Sims were a big part of OSU’s success in 2002-03, while Datish and Downing both started in 05-06. All that, and the best guy in the group was supposed to be Morris. He was being compared to Orlando Pace, but had academic issues and transferred to N.C. State without ever playing a down in Columbus.

2001

Ryan Cook (Indiana) – Transferred.
Adam Olds (Dublin Coffman) – Injury issues.

– Tressel took over for Cooper in January and managed to hold together a solid class for Ohio State that including Chris Gamble, Mike Nugent, Dustin Fox and Maurice Hall. He also signed a pair of offensive linemen in Cook and Olds, but neither ever contributed much to the program.

*At least a one-year starter.

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