Thursday, January 25, 2007

A recruiting post: Because everyone else is doing it

The 2007 recruiting class for the Ohio State Buckeyes has been disappointing to say the least. However, there was some good news on the recruiting front this week when the "Glenville Pipeline" expanded by one with the commitment of LB/ATH Jer'Male Hines. Despite his low ranking, Jer'Male has a great chance to contribute greatly to the team in the near future. He possesses good speed for an outside linebacker, and is pound-for-pound one of the most athletic guys in this class. Here is a quick look at how things are playing out as the recruiting season wraps-up.

The "Star" Player
Eugene Clifford, Safety
Out of Cincinnati Colerain, Clifford has long been considered one of the top players in the state, and is expected to be the next great Ohio State defensive back, if he even ends up staying there. There is no doubt that Ohio State produced one of the top-overall classes when it comes to members of the secondary, and Eugene also has experience as a wide receiver. Although it's unlikely that we'll see a Ted Ginn-like transition from high school to college, it's not totally out of the question. Clifford possesses an incredible mix of pure athleticism on top of being a great football player. His greatest strength defensively is in pass-support, but his ability to stop the run is not to be overlooked as he has great instincts and is a very physical player with great closing speed, as is evidenced by his 147 tackles as a junior. As his video highlights would suggest, his greatest attributes are clearly his instincts, toughness, and vertical. His ability to go up for jump balls on vertical routes will make him an excellent weapon on either side of the ball.

The "Early Impact" Guy

Brandon Saine, Running Back
Brandon Saine was named Mr. Football in the state of Ohio this past season, after racking up 1,895 rushing yards with 27 touchdowns, while being named to the All-Ohio team. Most people expected him to commit to Michigan following his junior season, but surprised everyone when he picked Ohio State in the end. Saine very well may be one of the fastest running backs in recent memory to set foot in Ohio Stadium, as he boasts a 4.4 forty time and is also a state track champion. However, don't be fooled by his speed, he is also a very powerful runner who is great at moving the pile. It's too bad he's going to have to settle for playing behind Chris Wells, because when I see Saine's film, I see a bigger and faster Antonio Pittman, with just as many moves. However, the departure of Pittman and the sudden rumors of a Maurice Wells transfer could leave the running back position incredibly thin going into next season as Chris Wells would be the only scholarship back with any playing experience. Realistically, Saine could be as high as number 2 on the depth chart by the opening game of the season. Although that may leave many people fearful, as this is a team that will rely heavily on the running game next season, Saine is undoubtedly one of the most college-ready players in this class. Although he's bound to make freshman mistakes (Remember, Chris Wells did, too), his ability to hit home runs could more than make up for it.

I reccommend you take a look at this kid's video also, because it is very, very impressive. Here's the YouTube collection, and then there's also three videos on BuckNuts, which I can't get to work on Firefox for one reason or another.

Player to keep an eye on Donnie Evege, Cornerback
Evege may perhaps be one of the more overlooked members of this recruiting class. Not necessarily because of his rankings (#16 cornerback in the nation via Rivals), but perhaps more because he is being overshadowed by an incredibly group of guys in the secondary. However, of all those defensive backs, there is really only one other true corner (James Scott) and the rest are all safeties. The reason to keep an eye on Evege is because he will be graduating high school early and will enroll in time for the start of spring practice, and if past results are any indication, you can kiss Evege's redshirt goodbye as the extra practice should prepare him enough to see the field as early as week 1. As far as the type of player that Evege is, he is a burner with 4.4 speed and great athleticism. He could also potentially make it as a running back in college, as he played both sides of the ball in high school, but it would take much refining of his skills and he would most likely begin buried down on the depth chart, thus most people believe he'll be a cornerback from the get go. The biggest thing he needs to work on at this moment is his tackling ability, which seems to be a common theme for Ohio State defensive back prospects, both past and present.

Other key players:
Dane Sanzenbacher, Wide Receiver - Despite low rankings on the scouting websites, he has impressed the coaches greatly in his showings at camps and on the field. Has drawn many comparisons to Gonzo, and may be a real steal when it's all said and done.

Devon Torrence, ATH - He is being recruited as a safety, but could very easily move to his natural position cornerback, or even end up as a wide receiver. He has great size for a defensive back and is a physical player, but is also incredibly fast. He is still a bit raw, and may need a year of redshirting before becoming a consistent contributer, but he is a guy we could be seeing on both sides of the ball in the near future. His commitment will pave the way for his younger brother, who some are saying is the #1 player in the state for the class of '08, to come to Ohio State as well.

Boom Herron, RB - Herron may essentially be considered the anti-Saine. As opposed to Saine's electrifying speed, Herron keeps it simple and would probably be Woody Hayes' favorite player if he played back then, due to his lower-the-shoulder mentality (Yes, that is where the nickname "Boom" was created). He's only around 200 pounds, but he is the kind of guy that clearly gives 100% on every play and cannot usually be brought down with just one opposing tackler on him. Realistically, he could be right up with Saine on the two-deep when the season begins.

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