October 25, 2011

Who's in and who's out?

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There are still more than a handful of spots left in Ohio State's class of 2012. With some big-time prospects still left on the board and some key positions left to fill, the months leading up to National Signing Day should provide plenty of suspense for Ohio State fans. Below, we take a look at some of the biggest remaining targets on the board and predict where these prospects will ultimately land.

  Player Considering Givler Noon
Adolphus Washington

DE - Cincinnati (OH)
Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State

Givler's Take: When factoring in overall ability, position value, and the current depth chart at Ohio State, Washington is the most important prospect left on the board for the Buckeyes. The athletic pass-rusher has made Ohio State fans sweat over the last few months as he weighs his options but all signs in this one are pointing to Ohio State. Washington lists a final three of Alabama, Michigan State, and Ohio State and without visiting Alabama you can cross the Crimson Tide off the list.

The Spartans made their best pitch last weekend to sway Washington but the word from those around him was that it wasn't enough and that this one is '99-percent done' to Ohio State. Washington grew up a huge Ohio State fan and is more comfortable and familiar with the campus than any other school on his shrinking list. Another positive for Ohio State is that a potential coaching change is not something that is being worried about by the Washington camp. This one is just about over.

Dwayne Stanford
WR - Cincinnati (OH)
Cincinnati, Ohio State, Oregon

Givler's Take: Like Washington, Stanford has mentioned a lot of different schools over the last several months yet has rarely ventured out to visit any of those places. Stanford lists a final three of Cincinnati, Ohio State, and Oregon and after visiting UC recently; the tall, athletic receiver will make a visit to Ohio State this weekend and is slated to visit Oregon on November 19th.

Stanford has made it no secret that he would like to play with Washington at the next level and Ohio State is only school on both player’s lists at this time. Stanford is another player that grew up an Ohio State fan and while his interest in other schools seems a little more genuine than that of his teammate, the Buckeyes are still in the driver’s seat for one of Ohio’s top prospects.

Cardale Jones
QB - Cleveland (OH)
Ohio State

Givler's Take: All indications are that Jones is making the necessary progress in the classroom that he would need to make before joining Ohio State in the winter. With a lack of depth at the quarterback position, Jones is a key member of this class and there have not been any indications at any point that Jones is wavering on becoming a Buckeye. Strengthening Ohio State’s grip has been Jones’ budding friendship with FUMA teammate Michael Thomas, the two have talked frequently about playing together at the next level.

Michael Thomas
WR - Woodland Hills (CA)
Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State

Givler's Take: The Mystery Man, Michael Thomas’ recruitment hasn’t always been easy to get a handle on. The big, physical receiver is not allowed to use a cell phone while at FUMA, which has limited the amount of interviews and updates that he can do.

Ohio State has consistently been at or near the top of his list, especially after making an unofficial visit to Columbus during fall camp. Thomas is expected to be back at Ohio State this weekend when the Buckeyes host Wisconsin and all indications are that Ohio State is the team to beat. This could be over in the next week or two.

Alex Kozan
OL - Castle Rock
Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon

Givler's Take: The newest senior to receive an offer, Kozan has been waiting for months to hear the good news and it was delivered to him by Jim Bollman last Thursday. Kozan has admitted to growing up a big Ohio State fan and the offer moved the Buckeyes into his final nine schools.

Though the timing of the offer was a little late, Kozan still had nothing but glowing things to say about Ohio State following his conversation with Bollman on Thursday evening. The Buckeyes look like the team to beat at this point for Kozan with the only question being how Kozan would react to a potential coaching change. Still, the smart money here is on the Buckeyes.

Nick Davidson
OL - Minneapolis (MN)
Clemson, Colorado, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford

Givler's Take: Davidson is without question the biggest potential wild card on Ohio State’s recruiting board. The Buckeyes need tackles, Davidson is a legacy and he’s interested in Ohio State but how interested? Davidson is not a big fan of having his recruitment play out in the media and because of that, information is scarce on the athletic tackle.

What we do know is that Ohio State is in his top group, he’s a legacy, and he’s looking to schedule an official visit to Columbus at some point. This is more of a guess than an educated prediction but the Buckeyes are firmly in the mix here and have a lot of positive things going for them.

Bri'onte Dunn
RB - Canton (OH)
Michigan, Ohio State

Givler's Take: Though Dunn is a committed prospect, his actions certainly show otherwise. Dunn has visited a few Big Ten schools during the season and maintains a strong relationship with both the coaches and recruits at Michigan. In a world where there was no uncertainty around the Ohio State program, this recruitment would be long over and Dunn would be a lock to be a Buckeye, however that is not the case right now.

Dunn's biggest issues with Ohio State have been the uncertainty. What will the NCAA do? Who will be coaching this team next year? If there is a coaching change, who will be hired and what offensive system will be installed?

These are all questions that Dunn would like to see answered and there probably won't be answers to all of these for at least another month and a half. This recruitment is about as fluid as it gets but as of right now, the upper hand probably goes slightly to Michigan. As things get stabilized at Ohio State over the next month or two, that may pull the Buckeyes back out in front but there are just too many 'ifs' involved right now.

Se'von Pittman
DE - Canton (OH)
Michigan State, Ohio State

Givler's Take: Another committed prospect, Pittman has been in contact with Ohio State recently and it would be difficult to classify his commitment strength as one-hundred percent. Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell was at Pittman’s game last Friday and has not given up in this race.

Pittman was down in Columbus a few weeks ago when Ohio State hosted Michigan State. While the people around Pittman have maintained it was just simply a visit to go watch former teammate Steve Miller, those who understand and follow recruiting know that the story being told there is questionable, at best. There is definitely some mutual interest between Pittman and Ohio State and if Pittman makes it down for an official visit, Ohio State would likely be considered the favorite at that point. With that being said, as long as Pittman doesn’t make that trip, the Spartans are still the smart bet here.

Bam Bradley
DB - Trotwood (OH)
Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford

Givler's Take: This is one that is probably trending downward right now for Ohio State. Bradley has visited Penn State and Pittsburgh officially, Michigan State unofficially, and has an official visit setup for Stanford in November. Ohio State is trying to get Bradley on campus in the near future and if they can get him up for a visit, that could certainly put them back in the game.

Shortly after Ohio State offered over the summer, the Buckeyes seemed to make up a lot of ground, almost to the point where they were leading in his recruitment. However, I have maintained for a long time now that the people around Bradley are more intrigued by Ohio State than Bradley is. All bets are off if they get him to campus but right now the smart money is for Bradley to go join his brother, Nicholas Grigsby, at Pittsburgh.

Ifeadi Odenigbo
DE - Centerville (OH)
Cal, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford

Givler's Take: Odenigbo is still being recruited at a high level by Ohio State, though very little, if any, ground has been made up over the last few months. The Ohio State coaching staff would like to host Odenigbo on an official visit and getting him up to campus for a game and letting him hangout with close friend and former teammate Michael Bennett would give the Buckeyes a puncher’s chance.

As most know by now, the things that appeal to most recruits do not necessarily factor in heavily in Odenigbo’s decision. Academics are first in that household and football tradition and program prestige don’t weigh quite as heavily. My stance, going all the way back to the summer, has been that Notre Dame would end up being a compromise school for Odenigbo in that he would get the academic prestige he was looking for but would also be a reasonable distance from home.

Stanford, Cal, Northwestern, and Ohio State are all still alive in this one, but I believe the Fighting Irish are the team to beat right now.

Gary Simon
ATH - St. Pete (FL)
Iowa State, Miami, Mississippi, Ohio State

Givler's Take: While Bradley and Odenigbo may be trending downward, Simon is definitely trending upward right now. Simon told Rivals.com’s Chris Nee recently that the Buckeyes are among a group of schools that he is interested in visiting and there has been plenty of mutual interest recently as Simon continues to make progress in the classroom.

The smart money is still on ‘The Field’ in this one but Simon comes in much higher on this list now than he would have a few weeks ago.

Demetrious Cox
DB - Jeannette (PA)
Arizona St., Kansas, Michigan St., Notre Dame, Ohio St., Penn St., Pitt, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Wisc.

Givler's Take: Cox has maintained a wide open recruitment for months, though recently he narrowed his list down to approximately 10 schools, of which Ohio State is one. Still, Cox has to be looked at as a long shot and any time a prospect is looking at double-digit schools, no one school is going to have great odds to land that player.

Jordan Diamond
OL - Chicago (IL)
Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Givler's Take: It’s no secret that Ohio State is in serious need of offensive tackles in this class and Diamond is one of the best in the nation. Diamond’s situation is the definition of a ‘fluid recruitment’ with just about every power program in the Midwest showing heavy interest as well as some other programs from around the nation.

Diamond is one that has enjoyed the recruiting process a great deal and continues to make as many visits as his schedule will allow. He has maintained a desire to pick his school on National Signing Day and the Buckeyes would certainly wait on him until the very end. Getting Diamond down to campus would be a huge start towards moving up his list. As things stand right now, this has the makings of a classic Big Ten battle between programs such as Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Jordan Diggs
DB - Cape Coral (FL)
Michigan State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Givler's Take: Back in the spring, Ohio State was sitting very well for Diggs, then came the resignation of Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes essentially fell off of Diggs’ list at that point but did make a comeback late in the summer. That comeback looks to have come up short as Diggs now lists a top five of Michigan State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

Which one of those five Diggs ultimately picks is anyone’s guess, we just know that his choice is ultimately not going to be Ohio State.

Greg Garmon
RB - Erie (PA)
Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

Givler's Take: The Buckeyes lurked around Garmon’s top group of schools for months after offering in June but the ship appears to have sailed on landing the talented athlete from Northwest Pennsylvania. Garmon recently listed a top five of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Pittsburgh.


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