Don’t expect a Mass Exodus of Buckeye Recruits with Tressel gone

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DeSales RB Warren Ball

Jim Tressel’s
resignation may have rocked Buckeye Nation, but not so with the
prospects Tressel signed for his 2011 recruiting class or the 2012
prospects that have committed to the Buckeyes. There has been no mass
exodus among recruits and there probably won’t be.


Jim Tressel’s
resignation may have rocked Buckeye Nation, but not so with the
prospects Tressel signed for his 2011 recruiting class or the 2012
prospects that have committed to the Buckeyes. As evidenced in the two
stories posted here on Bucknuts.com on Monday, there has been no mass
exodus among recruits and there probably won’t be.

In
fact the consensus was close to unanimous among the 2011 and 2012
prospects Tressel recruited. While they are sad to see Tressel go, their
intention to play for the Buckeyes hasn’t changed.

However, Tressel’s resignation will have an impact on Ohio State
recruiting going forward with the class of 2012 prospects that have yet
to select a college.

For one, look for Buckeye recruiting to continue at a slower pace
than it has in recent years. While some might want to think that
prospects for the most part select or should select their college based
on academics first and foremost, the reality is that football and the
head coach are often the actual driving force behind a prospect’s
decision.

As long as the Buckeyes are working under the guidance of an
‘interim’ head coach, it is going to make recruiting more difficult for
the Ohio State assistants and things are going to go at a slower pace.
And it will likely be a snail’s pace with the out-of-state prospects the
Buckeyes are recruiting.

For instance, yesterday defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill) said things have changed dramatically now that Tressel has resigned.

“It’s not really good, so I can’t really consider them the same
without Tressel,” Pipkins said. “Well, I can’t put them in my top five
now.”

On the other hand, defensive back Demetrious Cox (Jeannette, Pa./Jeannette) said for the time being not much has changed in his mind.

“I’m still considering Ohio State,” he said. “That hasn’t
changed. Ohio State is a really good program. Hopefully they are going
to get a really good coach to replace coach Tressel.”

And
that is precisely the point. There are very few top out-of-state
prospects that are going to make a commitment to the Buckeyes without
knowing who their head coach is going to be.

With the Ohioans the Buckeyes are recruiting it is a little
different. Some have grown up wanting to play for the Buckeyes, like
defensive back Tyvis Powell
(Bedford, Ohio/Bedford). Powell says he still plans to announce his
college choice on Wednesday and I expect him to announce at that time
that he is a Buckeye.

But I expect most of the in-state prospects that are considering
Ohio State to wait things out and see what happens. Certainly a
commitment or two might trickle in, but guys like defensive linemen Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati, Ohio/Taft), Se’Von Pittman (Canton, Ohio/McKinley) and Tom Strobel
(Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), as well as defensive back Devan Bogard
(Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville), were likely to wait and take official
visits anyway. By the time they are done doing so the Ohio State coach
could be in place, or they will at least have a better feel for what is
going to happen.

In short I think the Buckeyes will do just fine with the in-state
prospects. They likely won’t get all the ones they want, but they will
get their share. I expect this Ohio State recruiting class to be top
heavy with Ohioans, which is not necessarily a bad thing since it is a
very good year for talent in the Buckeye State.

I would not be surprised if the OSU staff extends a few
additional offers to in-state prospects they think might be inclined to
commit without waiting things out until after the coming football
season. And one should keep in mind that providing Powell commits to
Ohio State on Wednesday, it would give the Buckeyes eight commitments
for a class that right now figures to be a class of about 18. So Luke Fickell and the rest of the current Ohio State staff would be sitting on close to half of their 2011 recruiting class being filled.

What Buckeye fans must now hope for is a recruiting class that
has approximately 15 Ohio prospects including most of the top ones on
their board such as Washington, Pittman, Strobel, Bogard and
linebacker/defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (Centerville,
Ohio/Centerville). Then they should hope that at least a few top
out-of-state prospects wait things out long enough for Jim Tressel’s successor to be named before they make their college choice and ultimately select Ohio State.

I could see that scenario playing out, and if so the Buckeyes
will have another Top 20 recruiting class nationally and likely end up
at the top of the Big Ten recruiting rankings along with yes, Michigan.

Of course the one thing that could change all of this would be if
the NCAA added major penalties such as a multiple year ban on bowl
appearances to the penalties that are already in place.

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