Friday, January 28, 2011

Diamonds in the Rough: The Best Three-Star Recruits to Ever Play at Ohio State

Jim Tressel has been recruiting at Ohio State since 2001. He has recruited a number of three-star athletes during that span.

Many recruiting rankings rate the success of a recruiting class largely based on the star level of their recruits, hence, a top recruiting class will be loaded with four and five-star athletes.

Jim Tressel has shown that one does not need to depend on star rankings for a recruiting class to be successful.

Tressel has proven that a player can arrive on campus as a good player rated as a three-star recruit, and leave in three to five years as a great player and a five-star pro prospect.

Here are the top 10 players who arrived here "good" but left here "great."

10—Chimdi Chekwa

Chekwa, a three-star cornerback, came to Ohio State via Florida.

He had an interception during his freshman year at USC that was the beginning of a solid four-year OSU career.

He will definitely play at the next level, but did suffer a serious wrist injury during the 2011 Sugar Bowl that may result in him sliding ever-so-slightly in the April draft.

9—Jay Richardson

Jay Richardson was part of Ohio State's 2002 recruiting class that had other star-studded 3-star players.

Richardson often went under the radar due to the emergence of A.J. Hawk, Troy Smith and others that were stars on the team.

Anyone who watches OSU football, however, knows that Richardson was a solid D-lineman and was drafted into the NFL.

8—Dane Sanzenbacher

Sanzenbacher was voted the team's offensive MVP for 2010 and he came up big in the Sugar Bowl by scoring the first touchdown off a Terrelle Pryor fumble.

A three-star prospect out of Toledo, Sanzenbacher proved he had five-star value to the wide receiving corps during his career, but especially in 2010 while leading Ohio State in catches, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions.

Much like former Buckeyes Cris Carter (retired), Anthony Gonzalez, and Brian Hartline who Dane has drawn comparisons to, Dane will find himself on an NFL roster and should continue to be an excellent clutch receiver at the next level.

7—Brian Robiskie

Robiske was a late commit to the 2005 recruiting class.

Many thought he was just filler as Ohio State still had unused scholarships as the recruiting class was being finalized, but his career at OSU proved otherwise.

He was one of the Buckeyes top receiving prospects during his Ohio State career, and he now plays in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

6—Brian Hartline

Brian Hartline suffered a devastating leg injury during his senior season of high school that may have been part of the reason he was only rated as a three-star prospect.

His production during his OSU career clearly surpassed the three star level.

He was a top OSU receiver and sidekick to Robiskie, and he now plays for the Miami Dolphins.

5—Chris Gamble

Chris Gamble did it all at Ohio State.

Recruited as a receiver, Gamble would later be switched to cornerback, shutting down Andre Johnson of the Miami Hurricanes in the 2002-03 National Championship game, and acting as the primary punt returner for OSU during that season.

He did still see action at wideout, and was the receiver on the controversial pass interference call on the Hurricanes that allowed the Buckeyes to force double overtime and eventually win the 2002 BCS National Championship.

He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers and continues to play cornerback for them at a very high level.

4—James Laurinaitis

The son of former professional wrestler Hawk, Laurinaitis came to OSU via Minnesota as a three-star prospect.

He played his freshman year in the Michigan game after Bobby Carpenter suffered an injury. He went on to win the Butkus and Nagurski awards in his career as the nations top linebacker and best defensive player.

He could have left early for the NFL and likely would have been a top-10 draft pick, but instead stayed in college for his final year.

The three-time, first team All-American is now with the St. Louis Rams.

3—Malcolm Jenkins

Hailing from New Jersey, OSU fans were wondering just who this kid from The Garden State was.

People stopped wondering, and started cheering, when he began playing.

He repeatedly shut down the Big Ten's best receivers but decided not to go to the NFL early despite being projected as a first day pick.

Instead, he returned to Ohio State for his senior season and at years end, was named the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner, given annually to the nations' best defensive back.

The New Orleans Saints selected Jenkins with the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft. In week 11, Jenkins made his first career start and down the stretch, played an integral part in helping the Saints reach, and win, Super Bowl XLIV (that's 44 for those who don't do well with Roman numerals).

2—Santonio Holmes

This three-star recruit out of Belle Glade, Florida became a superstar at Ohio State.

The No. 25 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft would later be the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII for the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers before being traded to the New York Jets in April, 2010 after several off-the-field incidents.

It worked out for both Pittsburgh and New York, as Holmes helped the New York Jets advance to the 2010-2011 AFC Championship game, ironically against his former team, the Steelers. Pittsburgh won that game 24-19 to advance to Super Bowl XLV, which will be played on February 6, 2011.

1—A.J. Hawk

A.J. Hawk was part of the 2002 recruiting class that featured prominent five-star recruits like linebacker Mike D'Andrea and running back Maurice Clarett, and four-star recruits such as Troy Smith, Justin Zwick, and Bobby Carpenter.

Hawk was under the recruiting radar, but he quickly established himself at OSU while the careers of several fellow recruits like Stan White Jr. and Mike D'Andrea fizzled out.

Hawk was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.

He has emerged as one of the NFL's best linebackers and will be playing in his first Super Bowl on February 6, 2011.

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(Photo copyrights: Getty Images / BleacherReport
This article was edited, revised, altered, and rewritten by BlockONation founder, HD Handshoe.
Original article written by Michael Chung.

Monday, January 24, 2011

National Signing Day 2011: Florida Verbal Commit Ja'Juan Story Hits Ohio State Campus for Official Visit

For years, there have been rumblings from the Buckeye fanbase about Jim Tressel's "inability to close" down the stretch leading up to National Signing Day.

Anyone suggesting that this year might just be completely out of their gourd.

Ohio State's highly-rated 2011 recruiting class (3rd via Scout, 7th via ESPN, 11th via Rivals) is nearly full with very few slots left.

One of those remaining scholarships could end up going to Brooksville, Florida wide receiver Ja'Juan Story, a (apparently soft) verbal commit to UF.

According to Laura McKeeman of Scout/FoxSports, "Story is still committed to Florida but says his final decision will be between the Gators and the Buckeyes."

She also noted via Twitter that Story referred to his weekend visit to Columbus as "amazing" so far.

Story, who is listed at 6'4, 192 pounds and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, is a four-star prospect who is ranked the No. 33 overall wide receiver in the nation by

With the five-game suspension of No. 1 Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey looming, the loss of Dane Sanzenbacher to graduation, and the overall youth and inexperience the Buckeyes have on the roster heading into 2011, Story could be the big story if he follows in the footsteps of linebacker Ryan Shazier and jumps ship from UF, preferring to head North to Columbus instead—stay tuned!

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(Photo copyrights: Tressel/Getty, Story/FoxSports)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Head of the Class: Top 10 Ohio State Recruits for 2011

 Grant Freking—BlockONation Featured Contributor

National Signing Day 2011 is fast approaching and the Buckeyes currently have 21 commitments in their 2011 class, which is ranked No. 6 by, No. 2 on and No. 7 on

After considering talent level, immediate and future impact, rankings and video evidence, here are the top 10 2011 Buckeye football commitments.

No. 10—Jeremy Cash

There isn’t a recruiting category for hybrid defensive backs. If there was, Cash would be higher on that list than he is on some safety rankings. He fits the mold of the “Star” position at OSU, a combination of a linebacker and safety.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound Cash will probably need to pack on a few more pounds before he can take the punishment of the Star position at the college level. However, he does have a nose for finding the ball-carrier and tackles like the former linebacker that he is.

It takes awhile for players to grow into the Star position. Both Jermale Hines and Tyler Moeller earned their stripes as backups and as special team players before they matured into their hybrid roles on defense. Expect Cash’s route to be similar.

No. 9—Evan Spencer

The only wide receiver in this top 10 is Spencer, who hails from Vernon Hills, Illinois. After seeing video of Spencer, two things are clear: he’s got good hands and he’s got the so-called Ginn Stride. He’s not as fast as Ted Ginn Jr., but the two have similar 180-pound body types (Spencer is two inches taller at 6-foot-1) in addition to running with longer strides than of what one sees out of your typical player.

Spencer is your prototypical do-it-all receiver: he sets up his blocks well on reverses, he’s not afraid to take a screen pass over the middle and he great on “go” routes because of his ability to hit top speed quickly.

Odds are, Spencer probably won’t see the field as a freshman. DeVier Posey (once he’s back from suspension) is the No. 1 with Philly Brown and Chris Fields probably next in line. Check back on Spencer in 2012.

No. 8—Chase Ferris

A lot of scouts dog Farris for being relatively slow-footed as far as change of direction plays. I don’t see it. Is he DeMarcus Ware? No. But he's no sloth either.

Farris stands 6-feet-6-inches tall, weighs 265 pounds and exhibits great strength both as an offensive and defensive lineman. On the defensive side, he sheds blocks very well and while he may not be great in pursuit, he still causes havoc in the backfield.

There’s a good chance Farris could be a poor man’s Cam Heyward. Or he could be moved to the offensive side of the ball. It’s too early to tell. But the key for Farris is once he finds a position he needs to perfect the technical aspects of his game, because he’s already got all the physical gifts.

No. 7—Kenny Hayes

Hayes edged Farris by the slimmest of margins because the vibe is Hayes is slightly more ready for college football. At 6-foot-5-inches and 250 pounds, Hayes is built like an NFL defensive end, but could move inside if he adds more weight.

He doesn’t have the speed of Steve Miller or Ryan Shazier, but Hayes is very, very strong and looks like he would be able to handle a double-team pretty well. It will be interesting to see if he’s moved inside to defensive tackle or remains at end.

As far as an immediate impact, I just don’t see Hayes cracking the rotation in 2011. He should, however, make a big impact at OSU before his career is over.

No. 6—Brian Bobeck

Think current OSU center Michael Brewster but only three inches shorter. Bobek doesn’t grade out quite as well as Brewster did as a prospect, but he’s not far behind. Those who have watched him play say Bobek is a very cerebral lineman who is able to recognize blitzes quickly.

Bobek, who is stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 275 pounds, chose OSU over Michigan State, where his brother Jeff is a fullback. During his U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice interview, Bobek cited aggressiveness what seemed like a dozen times. He claimed he was a really aggressive lineman style-wise, but that he also needed to be more consistent with that style.

With Brewster coming back for his senior year and Corey Linsley being a safe option as a backup, Bobek may redshirt and sit a few years before seeing the field. But when he does secure playing time, OSU fans can expect to see a center that won’t be fooled by blitzes and has the technique to handle any defensive linemen.

No. 5—Michael Bennett

Bennett was a two-way stud as an offensive and defensive lineman. After watching this Centerville, Ohio monster of a man on tape, one word came to mind: Disruptor. He’s a menace on both sides of the ball, pancaking overmatched defenders on one play and bulldozing offensive lineman on another.

However, sheer talent won’t make him a star at the next level. The 6-foot-3-inch, 275-pound Bennett is incredibly athletic for a lineman, but he lacks the requisite strength to play right away.

It appears Bennett, who broke his left forearm in the third quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last week but should be ready to go when he enrolls in OSU in June, will play defensive tackle in college. He’s certainly athletic enough to play offensive guard too. Keep an eye on him as he looks like a pretty safe redshirt bet.

No. 4—Ryan Shazier

The Plantation, Fla. product, who was an originally a Florida commit before having second thoughts after Urban Meyer stepped down, was a pass-rushing machine at defensive end in high school and will continue that as an outside linebacker at Ohio State. At 6-foot-2-inches and weighing a hamburger over 200 pounds, Shazier doesn’t exactly have linebacker bulk, but that should come with weight training.

Watching Shazier on tape, it’s easy to see how big an upside this kid has. He’s already a college-level pass-rusher, using his non-stop motor and cornerback speed to drag down opposing ball carriers.

One thing to look for in Shazier’s transition to linebacker is his ability to shed blocks at the point of attack. If he can add the necessary strength to do that, he’s got a chance to be an All-Big Ten linebacker.

No. 3—Doran Grant

Grant ((pictured above, top right) could be the next great one at “Cornerback U.” He’s that good. What Grant lacks in ideal size and technique, he makes up for with ball skills and agility. The 5-foot-11-inch, 177-pound Akron Saint Vincent-Saint Mary cornerback also excelled as a wide receiver and return specialist in high school, but will probably be relegated to cornerback duties in Columbus.

What Grant also has going for him is that while plenty of players saw time in the injury-ravaged OSU secondary this season, there weren’t any breakout stars. This could lead to Grant seeing backup duty as a freshman and perhaps making an impact on special teams.

Once Grant perfects his technique, the sky is the limit for him. Why? He’s already developed a football sixth sense of baiting quarterbacks, something that can’t really be taught. And after he makes an interception, he’s extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands.

No. 2—Steve Miller

It was apples and oranges choosing between Miller and Grant for the No. 2 spot. Miller got the edge because it was determined he may have a better chance at seeing the field next season. A few things stood out to me about the 6-foot-3-inch, 235-pound Miller after watching him on tape.

The first was for not being the strongest looking guy, he did pretty good job discarding lineman at the point of attack and getting to the ball. Another thing is that he’s got a really good motor, which will suit him well in terms of getting on the field as a freshman, even if it’s special teams. The final item that stood out was Miller’s exceptional tackling ability, which also will pay dividends in the future.

Look for Miller to be wrecking havoc in opposing backfield’s perhaps as early as next season, especially if he can add more muscle to his somewhat gangly frame.

No. 1—Braxton Miller

The undisputed crown jewel of the 2011 class is Miller, the 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound dual threat quarterback from Huber Heights, Ohio.

At first glance Miller will remind OSU fans of a taller, less stockier Troy Smith. But don’t confuse Miller with Smith; Miller has big-time wheels (4.47 40-yard dash) and the juking moves of a slot receiver.

In many regards, Terrelle Pryor’s heir apparent is already a better QB than the current OSU starter in the traditional sense of the term: Better footwork, better at going through progressions, better accuracy and the ability to make every throw.

What will be worth watching is how he adjusts to a more traditional offense in Columbus. He was mostly in the shotgun in high school, but since he has already enrolled at OSU and will go through spring practice, perhaps he can nip that potential transitional problem in the bud before fall camp.

Miller is expected to be the starter in 2012, however, fans will be calling for Miller during Pryor’s suspension in 2011, which currently stands at five games, but could be reduced.

If Miller doesn’t see any action during Pryor's absence, bet on Tressel redshirting him so not to waste a year of Miller’s eligibility.

If you liked this article, you may also like National Signing Day 2011: Florida Verbal Commit Ja'Juan Story Hits Ohio State Campus for Official Visit

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is Ohio State Still a 2011 BCS Championship Contender? You Bet They Are!

The Ohio State Buckeyes had one of the more unusual seasons in school history in 2010. The Buckeyes started out a preseason top five team, quickly jumping to No. 1, before losing to Wisconsin.

The loss to Wisconsin not only put a damper on their national title hopes but also meant they weren't going to the Rose Bowl either.

As the Buckeyes finished the season 11-1, and earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl, the idea that the Buckeyes would have a chance to defeat an SEC school in a BCS game was something they relished.

Then, after it was revealed five players would be suspended next year for selling memorabilia and accepting discounts on tattoos, a victory over Arkansas seemed somewhat tainted.

The five players facing suspension next year were more than likely all going to be starters, and one, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, was likely to be among the favorites for the Heisman Memorial Trophy.

With the tat-five set to miss the first five games of next season, Ohio State is surely out of contention for not only the national title, but also the Big Ten Championship as well..

Or are they?

Here are five reasons why we could still see the Buckeyes in the BCS National Championship game next season.

Depth at QB and RB

Terrelle Pryor missing the first five games of next season is supposed to be a huge blow for the Buckeyes.

Behind Pryor, it's a fact that none of the four quarterbacks who will vie for the starting job have all that much experience.

Yet, the Buckeyes do have some very talented individuals ready to step up and take the reins, including redshirt sophomore Ken Guiton, redshirt freshman Tyler Graham, or incoming freshman Braxton Miller.

And at running back, the Buckeyes should do well without Herron, as junior Jordan Hall, redshirt sophomore Jaamal Berry, or redshirt freshmen Rod Smith all appear more than ready to pick up the slack.

With all of this inexperience at key positions in the offense, can the Buckeyes really be expected to go 5-0?

It should not be forgotten that when Ohio State won it all back in 2002, they did so with a first-year starter under center, junior Craig Krenzel, and a true freshman running back, Maurice Clarett.

The Defense Will Reload

The next hurdle that many point to in the Buckeyes' quest to contend for a national title is the defense, which loses several seniors, including Ross Homan, Brian Rolle, Chimdi Chekwa and Cameron Heyward.

While those losses are significant, none of those players are irreplaceable. In fact, head coach Jim Tressel went on the offensive before the start of the season and landed several key recruits.

The additions of blue-chip prospects Doran Grant, Steve Miller, and Ryan Shazier, combined with returning Buckeyes John Simon, Nate Williams, Jermale Hines, Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino, and Tyler Moeller to name a few, means that Ohio State will not be rebuilding on defense next year, just reloading.

Corey Brown's Impact on Offense and Defense

When did coach Tressel decide to make 'Philly' Brown a two-way player?

The answer is he didn't. Yet Tressel did recruit two players both named Corey Brown in 2009 and 2010—one who plays wide receiver, and one who is a defensive back.

While many know the exploits of Corey 'Philly' Brown at wide receiver, not much is known about Corey 'Pittsburgh' Brown, the defensive back.

But by the time the suspended five hit the field next season, people will know what Brown can do for you on both offense and defense at Ohio State.

An Offense (that should be) Firing On All Cylinders

The big question in Columbus now is what happens to the suspended players should the team go 5-0 without them.

While it doesn't seem fair that the "replacement" players lose their job should they do well, head coach Jim Tressel will do what is best for the offense.

Whether that means benching Joe Bauserman, Ken Guiton, Braxton Miller, Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, or James Jackson (or whomever the starters are) in favor of Pryor, Herron and Devier Posey is anyone's guess.

It would be safe to say that however the scenario plays out, if the offense is clicking, it will continue to do so once Pryor and Co. return.

Tressel Knows How To Win, Period

Despite what anyone may say about the man, Jim Tressel keeps on winning. He has been the fastest to win 100 games as Buckeyes head coach.

His 10 years in Columbus have been 10 of the most successful years ever enjoyed by any college football program in the nation, and his 10 teams from each of his 10 years were all special in one way or another.

He won a national championship in only his second season, and led the Buckeyes to two more BCS National Championship games—and he led the Buckeyes to a 12-1 record last season.

The critics say Tressel needs to hire an offensive coordinator and/or that he is too much of a control freak. Tressel just lets the Buckeyes' record do all the talking for him.

The last three seasons, the Buckeyes have finished 10-3, 11-2 and now 12-1.

Still don't think 13-0 is possible?

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Written by Jarrod Argobright -

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2001-2010: Ranking Jim Tressel's 10 Buckeye Teams

In his 10 years at Ohio State, Coach Jim Tressel has compiled an impressive 106-22 win/loss record.

That is an amazing average of 10.6 wins per season, and an astonishing .828 winning percentage.

There have been a few lows along the way, but through it all, the Buckeyes have been one of college footballs best teams over these last 10 years.

Not to say that any of his teams have had the distinction of really being bad, but let's just say perhaps some were better than others.

Here's how each of Tressel's teams from 2001-2010 stack up against one another.

Number 10—2001

In his first season in Columbus, Tress led the Buckeyes to a 7-4 regular season record and a near miss at that then-elusive bowl game win vs. an SEC opponent, barely losing 31-28 to South Carolina to finish the year at 7-5.

The season was a success though when considering the Buckeyes had a winning record, played in a bowl game, and they beat Michigan in Ann Arbor as Tressel had promised they would right after he was hired.

Number 9—2004

The 2004 season was a rebuilding year but it was also still a bit of a disappointment.

You see, 10 win seasons (at least) are not the exception, but have become the rule to most Buckeye fans, so an 8-4 season in year four nearly caused the sky to fall in Columbus as you might imagine.

The Buckeyes uncharacteristically lost four conference games to four teams they historically don't lose to very often—Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Purdue.

The season ended better than it was looking it might for a few weeks when the Buckeyes again beat rival Michigan and followed that win up with a victory in the Alamo Bowl over Oklahoma State and then-coach Les Miles, who coincidentally is currently in the running to become Michigan's next coach.

Number 8—2008

The 2008 season had the potential to be one of the best in Ohio State's glorious history. Instead, while it was a good year, it was definitely not the great year that many expected.

In week three, the No. 5 ranked Buckeyes traveled to the L.A. Coliseum to face top ranked USC in "The Game of the Century." Unfortunately, only USC showed up and they routed and embarrassed the Buckeyes, 35-3.

After climbing back into the top 10 with five consecutive wins, the Buckeyes hosted No. 3 Penn State who hadn't won in Ohio Stadium since 1970. It was a defensive battle that was ultimately decided by an ill-timed fumble that led to the game's only touchdown and a 13-6 PSU victory.

The Buckeyes finished the regular season with three straight wins, including another victory over the Wolverines. In return, they received a bid to the Fiesta Bowl to face No. 3 Texas.

That game ended up being very entertaining and it came right down to the wire, but in the end, with a little bad luck, Ohio State lost a 24-21 heart breaker to the Longhorns to finish the year at 10-3.

Number 7—2003

This one was very close. The 2003 team almost earned slot No. 6, but it was edged out by the thinnest of margins by the team you will read about after this.

What made it so tough to put the 2003 team down here instead of one spot higher was the difficult schedule the Buckeyes faced in 2003. Of their 13 opponents, only five were not ranked when the Buckeyes played them.

What ultimately landed the 2003 team here was the fact that they didn't win the Big 10 Conference despite having a solid season, and they lost to Michigan, the team that did win the conference in 2003.

That was salt in the wound to not win the conference and have it be because of a loss to the Wolverines.

As noted however, it was still an extremely good season as the Buckeyes defeated No. 10 Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl to finish off the year at 11-2.

Number 6—2007

In 2007, the Buckeyes were suppose to be one of the favorites to make a run at the BCS title game.

By week eight, they were the No. 1 team in the polls and well on their way.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the BCS title game. No. 1 Oho State lost to unranked Illinois at home, in The Horseshoe, to Ron Zook and his Illini, 28-21.

A week later, the No. 7 Buckeyes somewhat salvaged their season with another victory over Michigan.

After the rest of the teams finished their regular season games and then conference championship games, wouldn't you know it—Somehow, someway, after every team from one to six lost, Ohio State went from No. 7 back up to No. 1 in the final BCS rankings.

Unfortunately, LSU had the same fortune and moved up to No. 2 and the BCS title game, which was to be played in New Orleans, right down the road from Baton Rouge, was set.

The Buckeyes looked sharp early, even taking a 10-0 lead, but they were outgunned down the stretch and finished the season at 11-2 after the 38-24 loss, their ninth bowl loss in nine tries vs. an SEC foe.

Number 5—2009

Once again, the Buckeyes were an early favorite to play for the BCS title, and once again, the season was derailed unexpectedly not once, but twice.

After looking ahead in week one and narrowly escaping Navy, the Buckeyes were looking for sweet revenge against USC and coach Pete Carroll.

With true freshmen QB Matt Barkley taking over for the Trojans, and the Buckeyes hosting USC in The Shoe at night, the stage for redemption was set. A few blown calls and a big dose of Tressel being way too conservative ultimately led to another disappointing defeat by just an 18-15 margin.

They always say, it's better to lose early as it allows a team to recover and climb back up in the rankings. A look at the slate of games remaining gave reason for great optimism and the potential for the Buckeyes to finish 11-1 was very real.

Then came that fateful day in week seven in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Bucks looked out of it all game long. Terrelle Pryor had his worst day as a Buckeye and the seasons' goal was derailed a second time, only this time for good as the Buckeyes lost to lowly Purdue, 26-18.

After that, Tressel went back to good old-fashioned Tressel-ball. Run, run, and run some more—play defense—kick plenty of field goals—and punt fairly often—and it worked.

After winning their final five games and winning the Big 10 title, Ohio State won the Rose Bowl bid and would face PAC-10 champion, Oregon and their high-powered offense.

The Buckeye defense contained Oregon and the offense set a Rose Bowl record in time of possession. In what was dubbed by the media as "Terrelle Pryor's coming-out party", OSU defeated the Ducks 26-17 to finish the season 11-2.

Number 4—2005

The 2005 season almost came in third. The combination of two losses and only playing 11 regular season games are really the only reasons for this. Going forward from here up to No. 1 in these rankings, we'll really be splitting hairs to differentiate the teams.

In week two, Vince Young and No. 2 Texas visited Columbus for one of the biggest games the stadium has ever hosted. The Buckeyes were a Ryan Hamby dropped touchdown pass away from victory over the eventual 2005 National Champion Longhorns, instead suffering a 25-22 defeat.

One month later, the No. 6 Buckeyes found themselves in Happy Valley to face the No. 18 Nittany Lions. In a low-scoring battle, PSU prevailed 17-10, dropping the Buckeyes to 3-2 and all the way down to No. 15 in the polls.

With six consecutive wins, including victories over three ranked teams—Michigan State, Minnesota, and Michigan—the No. 4 Buckeyes were back in business and earned another trip to the desert, this time to face No. 6 Notre Dame.

The outcome was never really in doubt as the Buckeyes dropped the "Fightless" Irish, 34-20 to finish the season at 10-2.

Number 3—2010

Heisman Trophy contender? Check.

Highly ranked veteran team to start the season? Check.

Another BCS title game appearance derailed? Check.

Sure, the Buckeyes did have the preseason Heisman favorite, and the team was ranked No. 2 in the polls to open the season. And yes, they were No. 1 during the season after Alabama lost, until they themselves met the same fate just one week later.

Then there was what became known as Tat-Gate after the regular season was over and a couple of weeks before their bowl game.

But all that said, this team and this season was very special, despite falling short of another BCS title game appearance.

How often do three teams go 12-0 or 13-0 in a season making an 11-1 season not that impressive? Almost never, that's how often.

But winning a share of a sixth consecutive conference title, beating Michigan for the seventh straight time, playing in yet another BCS bowl game, and winning that BCS bowl game against No. 8 Arkansas to finally capture that elusive, first-ever win over an SEC team in a bowl game to finish the year 12-1 all adds up to one of the best seasons under Tressel, or any Buckeye coach for that matter.

Number 2—2006

The 2010 season was a lot like the 2006 season.

Heisman Trophy contender? Check.

Highly ranked veteran team to start the season? Check.

Troy Smith was not the preseason favorite for the Heisman like Pryor, but he was in the running, and the Buckeyes were actually No. 1 in the first poll and remained at No. 1 wire to wire.

They defeated three ranked teams during the regular season, two of which were No. 2 at the time. They finished the regular season 12-0 after what was surely the best Ohio State-Michigan game in the history of the series as No. 1 OSU edged No. 2 Michigan 42-39.

After the season and some controversy over who should be No. 2 and face Ohio State for the BCS title, SEC Champion Florida jumped the Wolverines in the final rankings and faced the Buckeyes in Arizona.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Troy Smith did win the Heisman and he and several other of his teammates lost their focus and determination. They also had to become overconfident after hearing constantly how they couldn't lose and that Florida had no chance.

What ensued was a beatdown of epic proportions. No. 1 Ohio State looked like a high school team on both sides of the ball against the Gators. Florida beat the Buckeyes 41-14.

Ohio State might have been the better team on paper in 2006, but Florida was the better team on the field that night, hands down.

Number 1—2002

In 2002, Ohio State became the second team to win 14 games in a season, and the first to win 14 games in an undefeated season. BYU was 14-1 in 1996.

Over the course of the year including the BCS title game, the Buckeyes faced and beat five top 25 teams. Two of those games were blowouts, while the other three were fairly close as you might expect games between two ranked teams to be.

What was not expected and actually surprising were the three games Ohio State nearly lost against three below average and unranked teams.

Cincinnati almost became the first state school to beat the Buckeyes since Oberlin College did it in 1921. The No. 6 Buckeyes eked out a 23-19 win over the Bearcats to save their season.

A few games later, the No. 4 Buckeyes (7-0) faced unranked Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. The Buckeyes again escaped, this time with a 19-14 win.

Three weeks later, No. 3 Ohio State (10-0) saw their season slipping away late in the fourth quarter as they trailed Purdue 6-3.

On fourth down and a yard to go as the clock ticked under 1:40, Buckeye QB Craig Krenzel delivered a miracle 37-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins that caused announcer Brent Musberger to exclaim "Holy Buckeye!"

One thing is for sure. The Buckeyes were battle-tested in 2002 and they found ways to win games even in the face of tremendous adversity—something elite teams do.

The season ended with the unbeaten Miami Hurricanes ranked No. 1 and the unbeaten Buckeyes ranked No. 2. Much like the 2006 Gators team, the 2002 Buckeyes constantly heard the experts projecting that OSU had no chance and to expect a big Miami win.

It made sense at least when you considered how chock-full of future NFL pros the Miami roster was stocked with.

Nevertheless, in what most people still consider to be the greatest BCS title game to date, the Buckeyes shocked the college football world and won the 2002 BCS championship 31-24 in a double overtime instant classic.

There was some controversy over a possibly questionable interference call on fourth down against Miami in the first overtime period that allowed the Buckeyes to force a second overtime, but there were calls earlier that went against OSU that would have allowed them to win the game without OT, so it all evened out in the end.

You can see there have been a few games and moments we'd all like to forget, but overall, we really can't complain about where JT has taken the program in his 10 years.

Having won 10 or more games in eight of his 10 seasons is boast worthy. He has made Ohio State football the cream of the crop in the Big 10, and restored it as one of the best programs in the country.

We're looking forward to ranking the next five or 10 years under Coach Tressel if we're so blessed to have him at the helm that long.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cupboard Overload: Video Spotlight on Ohio State's Returning and Incoming Future Stars

With the 2010 season in the books and as National Signing Day 2011 approaches, it seems fitting to shift the focus onto several key returning and incoming prospects on the offensive side of the ball.

Given the pending suspensions for the tat-5 (assuming they keep their word and return in 2011) and the fact that a couple of them might have the opportunity to make an instant impact because of that whole unfortunate situation.

Quarterback is obviously the most important position on the field and with Terrelle Pryor out for up to five games, let's hope that doesn't mean the beginning of the Joe Bauserman era, but rather perhaps the beginning of the Braxton Miller era instead.

If Ohio State sticks to their original plan however, which by all indications is to redshirt Miller in 2011, redshirt sophomore Kenny Guiton would be a good choice to replace Pryor until his return.

Another option at QB is redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, son of former OSU quarterback Kent Graham. Unlike Pryor, Miller, and Guiton, Graham is more of a prototypical pocket passer.

At running back, there are several young and talented guys ready to step-up in place of suspended starter Dan Herron. Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, and Carlos Hyde all have game experience, while 2010 late-enrollee Rod Smith dazzled his teammates and coaches during the teams' Suagr Bowl preparations. Here's a look at each of them.





Last but not least is the wide receiver position. Dane Sanzenbacher is graduating and DeVier Posey is among those suspended, leaving the Buckeyes with a plethora of youthful inexperience. Corey Brown, Chris Fields, James Jackson, James Louis, T.Y. Williams, Devin Smith, and Evan Spencer are all candidates for significant playing time early in 2011. Here is a look at each of them.








Despite losing DE Cam Heyward, LBs Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, and DBs Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence, Ohio State's defense will still be one of the best in the nation.

As always, there are plenty of 4-star and 5-star young guys ready for their turn.

There are not videos of all of them, but several names to know of recent OSU recruits who could end up replacing the departing starters at each of those positions include D-Linemen Melvin Fellows, Adam Bellamy, JT Moore, David Durham, Chase Ferris, Michael Bennett, & Steve Miller, LBs Etienne Sabino, Keith Sweat, Storm Klein, Scott McVey, Jordan Whiting, Jonathan Newsome, Dorian Bell, Ryan Shazier, Connor Crowell, and lastly DBs Christian Bryant, Jamie Wood, Chad Hagan, Bradley Roby, Donnie Evege, Dominic Clarke, CJ Barnett, Doran Grant, Ron Tanner, Jeremy Cash, and the other Corey (DB) Brown.

It is safe to say that the cupboard is overflowing with talent in Columbus and that the Buckeyes will continue to be one of the best teams in the nation year-in and year-out for several years to come.

As an example of the bright future for OSU beyond 2011, here are two bonus videos of Warren Ball and Brionte Dunn. These guys are two of the top running backs in the nation and both have already verbally committed to Ohio State's 2012 class.



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Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Recruiting Class Gets Huge Boost: 5-Star Cornerback Doran Grant Commits to Ohio State

Live during Wednesday's Under Armour All-American game, which was broadcast on ESPN, Doran Grant chose Ohio State and Buckeye Nation over his Dad's Alma mater, Michigan State.

“I will be attending The Ohio State University,” Grant said. “My relationship with the coaches was the greatest, I’m ready to be a part of the Buckeye family and do my part in Columbus.”

Grant is an Ohio native and has maintained close ties to the Buckeyes for years, but his family also has a legacy at Michigan State, where his father starred for the Spartans.

He consistently maintained that both schools remained on an equal plain, but after tonight it became clear that his heart was with the Buckeyes all along.

“I’ve been ready to make this decision for a long time,” Grant said.

Grant is the best cornerback prospect in the country, rated No. 1 by Rivals and No. 2 by Scout. He's even better than advertised, and definitely fits the bill at a generous 5'10" and 175 lbs.

He's lighting-fast, tests off the charts athletically, tackles with a lot of power, and has a great nose for the ball.

According to, Ohio State now has the No. 2 overall 2011 recruiting class in the country, and Grant arguably becomes one of the school’s top prospects alongside 5-star quarterback, Braxton Miller.

Updated 2011 Recruiting Class



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Original article by Michael Pinto. Edited, revised, and reposted by HD Handshoe

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ohio State-Arkansas 2011 Sugar Bowl: History Lesson, Outlook, Prediction, and LIVE In-Game Chat

1/04/2011—Game 13—8:30PM Kickoff

After the 0-for-five New Years' Day Bowl Game Massacre of the Big Ten and subsequent media ridicule, the Buckeyes can make a statement for both themselves and the conference with a win over No. 8 Arkansas in the Big Easy.

The Buckeyes are no stranger to being the flag-bearer for the conference. They've played in the most BCS games of all Big Ten teams (and of any school in the nation too) and entering this game, they are 5-3.

The conference is now 2-5 in the bowls after a 2-0 start, and while 3-5 isn't great, it's better than 2-6 and better than 0-10 all-time vs. the SEC in bowl games for Ohio State.

The Hogs have had troubles as well as they are 0-3 vs. the Big Ten in bowl games all-time. One of those streaks will finally end.

Brief Game Outlook

Razorback quarterback Ryan Mallet, the backup QB at Michigan in 2007, is a (albeit vaguely) familiar foe to Jim Tressel and a few of the Buckeye players.

In a small sampling facing the 2007 Buckeye defense, Mallet was one for three passing for eight yards and had one carry (sack) for minus six yards in that game.

The 2010 Ohio State defense has different faces, but is still one of the best units in the nation, and should be a huge factor in the outcome of the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

Knile Davis has emerged as the top running back for the Razorbacks and he has had a fine season against lesser defenses. Ohio State's strength is stopping the run so the Hogs will likely be forced to ask Mallet to throw and throw often.

Offensively for Ohio State, all indications are that starters Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, and Mike Adams will play. Each of them will serve up to five-game suspensions to start the 2011 season if they don't elect to go pro.

While the Arkansas offense has been good most of the year, their defense has not measured up on occasion. They have given up nearly 23 points per game on average this season, including a 65-point outburst in a loss to Cam Newton's one-man Auburn show.

Pryor and Newton are very similar players, but Pryor does not have to be a one-man band. He has several other weapons (Herron, Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, DeVier Posey, Dane Sanzenbacher) at his disposal.

Don't look for the Buckeyes to score 65 with their pro-style, ball-control offense, but them scoring over 30 points won't be surprising.

Arkansas will move the ball and score a handful of time as well against the bend but (unusually) don't break Buckeye defense.

Time of possession and turnover margin will also likely sway the outcome, as it so often does in these type of evenly-matched games.

Ohio State—Arkansas Rankings and History Lesson

• This will be the 1st ever meeting between Ohio State and Arkansas.

• Ohio State is 0-9 all-time vs. SEC opponents in bowl games.

• Ohio State is 5-3 all-time in BCS Bowl games.

• Counting the 2011 Sugar Bowl, Ohio State has played in nine BCS Bowl games, the most of any school in the nation.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just two 100-yard rushers in their last 34 games.

• Ohio State ranks 2nd nationally in total defense—3rd vs. the rush, 6th vs. the pass, and 3rd in points allowed.

• Ohio State ranks 20th nationally in total offense—14th in rushing, 55th in passing, and 11th in scoring.

• Ohio State is 19-22 all-time in bowl games (1920-2009).

• Jim Tressel is 5-4 at Ohio State in bowl games (2001-2009).

• Terrelle Pryor is now 30-4 as Ohio State's starting quarterback.

• Arkansas is 0-3 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents in bowl games.

• Arkansas is 12-22-3 all-time in bowl games (1933-2009).

• Arkansas ranks 33rd nationally in total defense—66th vs. the rush, 18th vs. the pass, and 42nd in points allowed.

• Arkansas ranks 8th nationally in total offense—65th in rushing, 4th in passing, and 14th in scoring.

Final Score Prediction

Last year, Ohio State stopped what was considered to be a very high-powered, potent offense when they faced the Oregon Ducks in their 26-17 2010 Rose Bowl win.

It's going to feel kind of like deja vu all over again in 2011.

Ohio State 34
Arkansas 23

FYI: Ohio State is NOT AFRAID of you, Arkansas!

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