|Following an epic National Letter of Intent Day at Ohio State, several of the Buckeye Blogs wanted to take a closer look at how this will all play out for the future. Be sure to check out the work at The Buckeye Blog, Buckeye House Call, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Our Honor Defend, and The Silver Bullet for their responses to the round table questions and all things NLOID related.|
It’s Groundhog Day; February 2, 2012. While it might be tempting to channel our inner Ned Ryerson, reliving the epic signing day yesterday over and over and over again wouldn’t be all that productive (unless you’re Bret Bielema’s therapist). Nope, it’s time to embrace the other side of the festive event and recognize that yesterday was a sign that the seasons were changing. The long, dismal, self inflicted winter of Buckeye Nation’s discontent is moving on, and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.
No, Urban Meyer didn’t look for his shadow as he emerged from the Ohio State War Room on Monday, but you can bet that his presence has cast a shadow across the hearts of B1G fans as certainly as it brought sunlight to Columbus and beyond. A new day was here- a day where most of the B1G took yet another step strengthening their position against signing day abuses; a day where the most egregious oversigners had to change their habits and make decisions on NLOID; heck, a day where James Patrick Tressel may have even found a home.
But for Buckeye fans, little of that mattered. Most of them celebrated by quoting the great Mark Twain in reflection of their favorite squadron- “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” As we all know, though, they don’t hand out crystal footballs on signing day so the work continues for the OSU staff and student athletes. And for those of us who follow and report and reflect on their decisions, there are always questions to be answered.
Who are you most excited to see in the Scarlet and Gray?
Eric- Hands down, I’m the most excited to see what Brionte Dunn can bring to the fold. Reportedly, Dunn is a bruising power back that will harken back to the days of yore for the Buckeyes.
Many people have made a big deal about how Dunn won’t fit into Urban Meyer’s system. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Recall that Tim Tebow was often used in lieu of a power back, being used to plow ahead for yardage. Florida is not a state known for it’s big bruisers, being better known for it’s speedsters of course, and Urban Meyer was simply not able to get the kinds of running backs he prefers – the big kinds.
Meyer will easily integrate Dunn into the offense, and it should be fun to watch unfold. As a bonus, Bill Greene commented during his Q&A liveblog yesterday that he believed Dunn would be the starting running back for the Buckeyes next season. Just as an FYI.
Mali- Did we sign another long snapper? No? Rats.
Well, as odd as this might be, I’m actually looking forward to seeing two of the “original” members of this recruiting class suit up: Josh Perry and Cardale Jones. I was high on Cardale when he was at Glenville and tearing up the Big 33 game before heading to Fork Union, and I think having him in the fold with a year or so under Meyer will certainly put the Buckeyes in a better place in terms of “Plan B” than they’ve been in a while. That being said, Cardale isn’t interested in being a backup- not that he doesn’t seem like the type of player to work hard at whatever role he’s assigned, it’s just that his competitive fire seems pretty obvious from the things he says and the reports we get out of the WHAC. While he may never usurp Braxton, competition can only serve to make both stronger.
As for Perry, he may be the best all around athlete and has an advantage of being a part of the transition to the new staff and philosophy from day one. He’s also all Buckeye- the first recruit, and one who stuck with the program throughout all of the chaos of 2011. He’s expected to be a part of the Silver Bullets at linebacker/rush end on defense, but I’d love to see him stay on offense given his speed and build. He’s a “Stoneburner” type- big enough to cause matchup problems for defensive backs, fast enough to drive linebackers crazy… and that’s before getting involved in Coach Mariotti’s strength program. In other words, the perfect match for Urban Meyer’s offense.
Who make an immediate impact from the 2012 class?
Mali- Not sure who it was who labeled this class the “Un-Block-able O”, but it certainly is true- there’s a solid defensive tackle (Tommy Schutt) but three of the top ends in the nation this year. I was already ecstatic about this coming year’s front four- Big Hank continuing to wreak havoc, Nate Williams coming back from injury, and just hoping that John Simon doesn’t kill someone this year. And there are some solid backups in there as well, although “back up” isn’t fair because there was plenty of opportunity for them to excel this last year. You add these four young guns (particularly the edge speed) and not only do you have the opportunity to groom and develop these youngsters, but also gain another wave of fresh bodies crashing against the offensive lines of the B1G Conference. Honestly, I believe that many conference quarterbacks will end up with post traumatic stress disorder by the end of their careers.
Eric- Brionte Dunn would obviously be a good choice here, but I want to talk about more than just one guy.
The best bet may be 4-star Outside Linebacker Camren Williams. With the Buckeyes struggling at the linebacker position this last season (except for standout freshman Ryan Shazier), Camren Williams has a big chance to make a huge splash early. He will have some tough competition for that spot from Jamal Marcus, David Perkins, and Joshua Perry. It’ll be very exciting to see who comes out on top.
Who do you wish that OSU hadn’t “missed” on?
Eric- It’s not a closed story as of yet (from what I can tell), but the biggest miss has to be that of Davonte Neal. It also has to be the strangest story of signing day.
During his signing day interview, Urban Meyer was caught making a reference to a “Neal” with a slight hesitation. Many took this as a sign that Davonte Neal was sure lock for the Buckeyes and would sign on National Signing Day, despite reports that he would wait until later in February to make a decision.
Later that same day, Mike Farrell of Rivals.com tweeted,
It is a matter of great speculation as to why Davonte Neal is not signing, especially considering Urban Meyer himself claimed earlier in the day that they had one last scholarship to give. One theory is that a current player that was planning on transferring has instead decided to maintain his scholarship, and taking away the last remaining free schollie. Another possibility is that the OSU coaching staff has solid knowledge on Stefon Diggs, another prospect that was considering the Buckeyes, and that OSU preferred Diggs much more than Neal.
However, a post from TusconCitizen.com put the lie to all of those thoughts and rumors, particularly considering the comments from Luke Neal, Davonte’s Father.
The elder Neal, who has been handling his son’s recruiting throughout the process, said Davonte’ did not try to commit to Ohio State and he had not heard that Ohio State was no longer saving a football scholarship for his son.
We may never know exactly what happened on signing day, if anything at all. Neal may not even be a miss yet for all we know. I can only say that if he doesn’t become a Buckey, I will be quite disappointed.
I’ll agree with Eric a bit, although we might be seeing a “correction” in the near future. We missed on a “playmaker”- a Ted Ginn or Percy Harvin speedster who can not only stretch the defense but also serve as a viable counter punch to the “power” aspect of Urban’s version of the spread offense.
As I said, though, there may be some hope on the horizon. Eric mentioned that Stefon Diggs is still in the mix and there are some who believe that the Neal situation is fluid due to some numbers/attrition confusion. Even if one of these two doesn’t end up in the Scarlet and Gray, though, it’s important to remember that Ohio is loaded with speedsters and athletes for the 2013 class, and the Buckeyes have already received a verbal commitment from standout Jalin Marshall.
So, yeah- it really feels like the sun has come out. It’s the definitely beginning of a new era for Ohio State.
For other perspectives from the Buckeye Bloggers Network:
- The Buckeye Blog: It’s An Amazing Day For Ohio State
- Buckeye House Call: National Signing Day: A New Beginning
- Men of the Scarlet and Gray: National Signing Day: The Aftermath
- Our Honor Defend: National Signing Day Thoughts
- The Silver Bullet: Family Feud- Three Questions from Ohio State’s 2012 Signing Day