Recruiting Rundown: Flash Forward to 2012
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the Mayans turn out to be right, and we can only assume that they will, then the 2011 recruiting class will be the last to suit up and play for Ohio State.
On the off-chance they are wrong about the world ending in 2012, the Buckeyes are going to continue recruiting for next year just in case.
Having just wrapped up the class of 2011 last week, the OSU coaching staff has a clear picture of what they are looking at for the next class. They are still waiting on the official status of recruit Chris Carter, but it doesn’t appear there will be any charges filed against the young offensive lineman.
Even with Carter in the fold, the Buckeyes No. 1 priority in 2012 has to be on the offensive line. They signed another extraordinary class last Wednesday on National Signing Day, filling just about every need on the roster, save for two.
Their decision to hold off on taking a running back in 2011 had everything to do with the depth of talent already on the roster, along with the talent pool for the class of 2012. The same can’t be said for the fact they fell short of their goal on the offensive line for the second straight year.
Catching Up…Sooner or Later?
Had they landed Seantrel Henderson a year ago, along with Aundrey Walker this year, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The Buckeyes were in it until the very end on both guys, and had to feel good about landing them both heading in to the final week of recruiting.
They deserve a lot of credit for their recruitment of Henderson, an out-of-state prospect with offers from nearly every college in the country. They got in on him early, and nearly closed him, but “nearly” had him playing for the Miami Hurricanes this past season.
Missing on Henderson hurts a lot more than Walker, who is a nice player but probably an inside guy at the next level. The Buckeyes signed three interior linemen on signing day and Carter would give them a fourth if he joins the class.
That will help them with their depth inside, but offensive tackle immediately becomes the top priority for the class of 2012. The Buckeyes have already landed a commitment from the top tackle in the state of Ohio. In fact, Kyle Kalis might very well be the top player at any position in the state.
The 6-foot-5 tackle was the best lineman in the state as a junior last year and helped Lakewood St. Edward defeat OSU quarterback Braxton Miller in the Division I state championship game. He committed to Ohio State last September after starting eight games at right tackle his sophomore year.
The Buckeyes also have a commitment from the third Boren brother, who plays guard for Pickerington Central. Jacoby Boren is mean and tough just like Justin and Zach, but the Buckeyes still need more help on the outside of the line.
For that, the Buckeyes have already extended five out-of-state offers to offensive tackles in the class of 2012. That includes the latest offer to 6-foot-9 tackle Jonah Pirsig out of Blue Earth, Minn. They have also offered Vadal Alexander out of Buford, Ga. and could be on the verge of offering Alex Jauregui, a 6-foot-7 tackle out of Peachtree Ridge, the same Georgia high school that produced Cam Heyward and Bradley Roby.
Though they clearly have some work to do on the offensive line, the Buckeyes have gotten out to an excellent start for next year’s class. Along with Kalis and Boren, they have also landed commitments from three more of the top players in Ohio for 2012.
After stockpiling 13 recruits on the defensive side of the ball in 2011, the OSU coaching staff will likely be looking at a more offensive oriented class next year. They do have a commitment from Galena (Ohio) Olentangy outside linebacker Josh Perry, but only 11 of the 31 offers they have extended for 2012 are for defensive guys.
Unlike the offensive line situation, the Buckeyes are stacked at running back. Even with the loss of Brandon Saine, they have five scholarship backs returning for 2011 and all of them are good enough to start.
Boom Herron will miss the first five games of the season due to the suspension, which means a lot of carries open up for guys like Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith. The Buckeyes didn’t want to add another ball-carrier to the group in 2011, but they have already landed commitments from the two best backs in the state for next year.
Warren Ball (Columbus DeSales) and Bri’onte Dunn (Canton Glenaok) are both big backs in the mold of a Rod Smith or Carlos Hyde. They are both listed at 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds, which already makes them unique.
Ball battled injuries last year, but he impressed everyone at Ohio State’s prospect camp in June. He is a smooth runner with excellent hands, who could play a Saine-type role at the next level. Dunn on the other hand, is a more traditional back with great power and good burst. He reminds many of Rod Smith with how quickly he can move and change direction for a back his size.
Rounding out the Class
The Buckeyes have also offered Aliquippa (Pa.) Hopewell running back Rushel Shell, one of the most productive backs in the state of Pennsylvania. However, they probably won’t take a third running back, and almost certainly won’t commit many resources to the quarterback position after getting Cardale Jones on a grayshirt offer for the class of 2012.
OSU Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman said they consider Jones to be their quarterback in the class of 2012 because they liked him better than any of the traditional options. They could do him a big favor by landing Dwayne Stanford. A 6-foot-5 target out of Cincinnati Taft, Stanford is the best wide receiver in the state for 2012, and has already received more than a dozen offers.
Ohio State would also like to land Stanford’s high school teammate, Adolphus Washington, who is one of the top defensive ends in the state. After taking five defensive linemen in the class of 2011, Jim Heacock may not have much room for 2012, but it will be hard for him to turn some of these kids away if they’re interested.
Along with Washington, Ohio boasts another deep class on the defensive line, including Chris Wormley of Toledo Whitmer and Se’von Pittman of Canton McKinley, along with Greg McMullen and LaTroy Lewis of Akron Hoban.
They should have in-roads with Wormley and Pittman after signing their high school teammates Kenny Hayes and Steve Miller, respectively.
Meet the Class of 2012
RB Bri’onte Dunn (6-2, 215, Canton Glenoak)
RB Warren Ball (6-2, 200, Columbus DeSales)
OT Kyle Kalis (6-5, 302, Lakewood St. Edward)
OG Jacoby Boren (6-3, 273, Pickerington Central)
LB Josh Perry (6-4, 228, Galena Olentangy)
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