Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Southern Exposure: How the Buckeyes Will Reap Recruiting Rewards

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

Two weeks into fall camps, the impact of some of the Buckeyes' latest recruits is very palpable.

Multiple freshmen, including Duron Carter, Storm Klein, and Dorian Bell, have worked their way already into the second-team units.

Freshman running back Jaamal Berry has drawn a lot of praise from Jim Tressel for his athletic ability early on in camp.

More so now than in recent years do the Buckeyes have tremendous athletic potential at a lot of positions, some at positions they aren't used to being strong at.

Ohio State appears to be solid with three-deep at running back. They also have a very deep, albeit inexperienced, wide receiver corps bursting with ability.

In addition, the Buckeyes appear to have one of their deepest linebacker corps in recent memory, with almost anyone in their two-deep rotation capable of starting.

The biggest reason for such depth has been dramatically improved recruiting methods.

In the last few years, the Buckeyes have been better at recruiting in the Southern states and landing some elite talent from states like Georgia and Florida.

As of right now, three of their main defensive contributors—defensive end Cameron Heyward, linebacker Brian Rolle, and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa—hail from both of those states.

Starting center Mike Brewster also hails from Florida as one of the major prospects from the South in the past two years.

Sophomore linebacker Etienne Sabino and redshirt freshman defensive back Travis Howard are both expected to fill major roles on the Buckeye defense.

In addition, Berry and Carter both hail from Florida and both have made early impressions on the Buckeye coaching staff.

But Florida is not the only major outside source for Buckeye talent in the past two recruiting classes. Jim Tressel has left a mark on the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, as he has taken the top player in the state to Columbus twice now.

Last year it was current starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor along with linebacker Andrew Sweat.

This year, stud linebacker Dorian Bell and defensive back/wide receiver Corey Brown came from the Keystone State to Columbus.

No one who follows recruiting can deny how much talent the Buckeyes have landed in their last two previous classes. Those classes ranked among the top five, rivaling recruiting titans USC and Florida.

As with any recruiting class, teams start reaping the benefits after the kids have a year under their belt, or even sooner.

If the 2009 season is the rule and not the exception, Ohio State fans are in for some exciting football.

No one outside of the program knows the current position rankings and depth charts of the roster until just before the first game. So it's unclear at this time what type of impact the freshmen and second-year players will have.

No doubt this is one of Tressel's youngest teams. So odds are high that these young guys will be thrust into action.

But if the youngsters hold true to their recruiting hype, Ohio State's new Buckeyes could have several teams that would be among the best in a storied history.

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