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Last updated: 01/12/2012 10:42 AM
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Football
Six Members of the 2012 Recruiting Class are Already on Campus
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Head coach Urban Meyer and his staff are on their way to a top five recruiting class this year per most recruiting services, which should mean a bolstered roster for next season.

However, six members of Meyer's first Ohio State recruiting class didn't want to wait until fall to get their Buckeye careers started, so they graduated high school early and have since enrolled for winter classes.

But it's not just classes that have begun for these six. It's also the start of the early-morning winter conditioning drills that nobody looks forward to.

With their college careers now underway, these youngsters are being introduced to things that they have never before experienced in more ways than one.

Quarterback Cardale Jones and receiver Michael Thomas both spent this past season at Fork Union Military Academy. Jones, a graduate of Cleveland Glenville, will immediately factor into the spring depth chart as he battles Kenny Guiton to be Braxton Miller's backup.

Thomas, originally from Woodland Hills, California, is a big receiver (6-4 203) who could step right in and contribute, and being able to go through winter conditioning and then spring football will only increase those odds.

It also doesn't hurt that he gets to bend the ear of guys who have been through everything that he will soon be going through.

"There are guys – teammates – all around who are willing to help you and give you a hand," Thomas said. "There always seems to be a guy to call if you need an answer to this or help with that. It really helps in getting a head start and getting adjusted."

Rounding out the early enrollees on the offensive side of the ball are running back Bri'onte Dunn and offensive lineman Jacoby Boren.

Dunn, rated a five-star tailback by Scout, rushed for 5,533 yards at Canton GlenOak. While his size (6-2 215) may be ideal for Ohio State, it's a bit new to Urban Meyer. It will be interesting to see how the two mesh. Getting an entire spring to figure eachother out will only help.

Rest assured, Dunn certainly had a goal in mind when he decided to enroll early.

“I wanted to get started with classes and get ahead with the conditioning drills,” he said. “Mostly I just wanted to get here though. I want to play.”

Boren, the third Boren brother to wear the Scarlet and Gray over the past few years, comes to Ohio State having an idea of what to expect based on stories his brothers have told him.

But then again, those were stories about old regimes.

As far as expectations for the youngest Boren, both of his brothers have said that he's more like Justin than Zach, and both have cited his mean streak as a reason why.

Defensively, the two newest additions to the Ohio State football team are defensive back Tyvis Powell and linebacker Joshua Perry.

Powell, at 6-4 185, is one of the lankier defensive back prospects in recent Ohio State memory. A graduate of Bedford High School, he spent his summer working out on his own in the early mornings, flipping tires and running stairs, all in preparation for the winter conditioning that he is experiencing right now.

Perry, who was the first commitment of the 2012 class back in June of 2010, is a graduate of Olentangy High School in the Columbus area. His desire to enroll early was equal parts football and academics.

“I wanted to learn the system, and there are lots of people here to help,” he said. “I also wanted to get a head start on the class work. The class load will be a little less [of a burden] down the road by getting started in classes now.”

Oh, and there's also the curiosity factor that intrigues every high school senior.

“I wanted to see what the campus is like,” he said, “and it’s not as big as I thought it would be.”

Perry, listed at 6-4 228 pounds, was more than just a football player for Olentangy. He was also a bit of a track star. As a sophomore he finished second in the state in the long jump (to current Buckeye receiver Devin Smith), and then as a junior he finished fifth. He also ran the 110M hurdles and 400 relay, and ran them very well.

Along with these six early enrollees are two more players looking to enroll for the spring quarter in a few months. Se'Von Pittman, a defensive end out of Canton McKinley, and Luke Roberts, a linebacker out of Lancaster are both planning to enroll in time for Spring Football.

Given the question marks at linebacker, there couldn't be a better time for a young linebacker to get a head start than this year. There are jobs to be won here, and they will go to the best players, whether they are a freshman or a senior.

Pittman will be interesting to watch because he is one of three highly-touted defensive ends currently committed to the Buckeyes, but he is the "least highly touted". Will getting in earlier than higher-rated classmates Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington give him a leg up? It certainly won't hurt.

Enrolling early is usually one way to ensure that you get to play as a freshman. Last season, five freshmen enrolled early—Jeremy Cash, Joel Hale, Jeff Heuerman, Braxton Miller and Ryan Shazier, and all five saw the field in 2011.

In 2010, Zach Boren, Storm Klein and Jack Mewhort enrolled early, and Mewhort was the only one of the three to redshirt.

It's still too early to say who will see the field in 2012, but by coming in early, all six of the early enrollees have certainly increased their chances of playing right away.

Assuming they make it through winter conditioning, of course.

Related Story - Marotti Introducing Buckeyes to “Black January?”

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