By Tim Ertle
There is no denying Ohio State has a problem on its hands, and don’t think for a second this is close to being over. The NCAA Committee on Infractions is still going to get involved, and that could mean scholarships being stripped from Jim Tressel’s program.
Less scholarships mean you have to hit on landing the top recruits – and that hasn’t been a problem. Rivals.com has traditionally rated the Buckeyes’ recruiting classes in the top-15 nationally.
Obviously opposing coaches are going to put a bug in the ears of top recruits about the uncertainty of Tressel’s future in Columbus. That will hurt. Why sign up for four years in Columbus when there is an increased chance the head coach could be nudged out the door? That’s a strike against the Buckeyes.
While watching the NFL Draft over the weekend, I think some opposing coaches gained some more ammo by watching Buckeyes fall into the later rounds. That can’t be good for recruiting. Go to Columbus, they’ll say, and they don’t develop you for the league.
Outside of Cameron Heyward, who went 31st overall to Pittsburgh, no other Buckeye has heard their name called in the first 100 picks in the last two Drafts.
I did some research and examined the last five NFL Drafts, and I found nine former Buckeyes, including Heyward this year, have been selected in the first three rounds. Of the eight that have played in the league, five (Ginn, Gonzalez, Gholston, Wells and Robiskie) have yet to meet expectations and Pitcock walked away after one season.
Santonio Holmes and Nick Mangold are guys who fall outside of this five-year window and have had productive careers under Tressel and also in the NFL.
So maybe it’s nothing, but it certainly doesn’t help Ohio State in their recruiting efforts. I know people will say that in 2007, only Florida (nine) had more picks than Ohio State (eight). Of those eight that got drafted, however, none have wowed anyone in the NFL (although in fairness, that Florida class of 2007 failed to produce any studs, either).
Using 2009 as a point of reference, 28 Big Ten players heard their name called, typing the conference with the Big XII for the fourth most. When recruiting national prospects, the USCs and Floridas of the world can ask a kid if he dreams of playing in the NFL. If so, he might not want to play in the Big Ten.
The next year, 34 players taken from the Big Ten were selected, putting the conference only behind the Southeastern Conference, which produced 49 selections.
Think SEC coaches are using these stats when recruiting 18-year-old kids? You bet.
Top prospects go to school with the hope of being there for three seasons and then going to collect a paycheck. Some might start to wonder if Ohio State is the best place to help them do that.
With all Ohio State has going on, this isn’t going to help the future of their program.
A quick look at the Ohio State players drafted in the last five years:
Ted Ginn Jr. (1st – 9) — Started 35 career games. Totaled 12 career touchdowns. … Anthony Gonzalez (1st – 32) — Caught 99 balls in 12 career starts. Seven touchdown catches. … Quinn Pitcock (3rd – 98) — Nine games with 1.5 sacks in 2007. And then retired. … Antonio Pittman (4th – 107) — Five career starts and zero touchdowns. More fumbles than scores. … Jay Richardson (5th – 138) — Disappointing last year in Seattle, but seven sacks in first three years with Oakland. … Roy Hall (5th – 169) — Caught a pass for nine yards. … Troy Smith (5th – 174) — Career 78.5 quarterback rating. Touched eight touchdowns in eight starts. … Doug Datish (6th – 198) — Floated around practice squads. Nothing of note.
Vernon Gholston (1st – 6) — Five career starts, 16 tackles. … Larry Grant (7th – 214) — 28 career tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles. … Kirk Barton (7th – 247) — Played one game for Cincinnati in 2008.
Malcolm Jenkins (1st – 14) — Has 21 career starts, totaling 93 tackles and three career interceptions. … Beanie Wells (1st – 31) — Two career starts. Nine touchdowns and five fumbles. Does average 4.1 yards/carry. … James Laurinaitis (2nd – 35) — Started all 32 NFL games. 205 tackles. Five career sacks and three interceptions. … Brian Robiskie (2nd – 36) — Started 12 games … on a bad team. Just 36 career catches with three touchdowns. … Donald Washington (4th – 102) — Has played in 20 games and has 13 career tackles for Kansas City. … Brian Hartline (4th – 108) — Started 13 career games. Totaled 74 career catches with four touchdowns. … Marcus Freeman (5th – 154) — Linebackers coach at Kent State University.
Thad Gibson (4th – 116) — Didn’t make Steelers roster, played two games with San Francisco. … Doug Worthington (7th – 242) — Zero tackles for Tampa Bay. … KurtColeman (7th – 244) — Played in 15 games, starting two, for Philadelphia. Has 22 tackles and one interception. … Austin Spitler (7th – 252) — Played in 12 games for Miami.
Cam Heyward (1st – 31), Chimdi Chekwa (4th – 113), Jermale Hines (5th – 158), Brian Rolle (6th – 193), Ross Homan (6th – 200)
This article originally appeared on LandLoyalty.com