With the ink still drying on the national letters of intent, it appears that Ohio State has managed to go wire-to-wire with the nation’s top recruiting class as ranked by Scout.com.
Praising a class that he said has versatility and plenty of talent, OSU head coach Jim Tressel met with reporters to break down his class of 2009. As of 6 p.m. on National Signing Day, this year’s class of future Buckeyes is ranked as tops in the country.
“I think this group is mature,” Tressel said. “I think they’re focused. I think they’re talented. I think they’re going to be a good group.”
The Buckeyes welcomed in 25 new members to their football program, and Tressel said that number could have gone as high as 26. That created some awkward moments for the coaching staff in the final days heading into signing day, as OSU was in line to end up with as many as 27 or 28.
“We were a little bit nervous,” Tressel said. “We were still involved with one or two more guys than we could fit.”
However, things basically worked themselves out in the days leading up to signing day. At 3:45 p.m. on signing day, five-star wide receiver Marlon Brown selected Georgia from a list of finalists that included OSU. The Buckeyes lost four-star cornerback prospect Justin Green on the eve of signing day, but Tressel said the only decision made in the last 24 hours that affected the Buckeyes was Brown’s.
“We kept saying to ourselves, ‘It works out. Things take care of themselves,’ ” Tressel said. “As the days got closer, we thought, ‘What’s going to take care of itself?’ As it turned out, it was a perfect size for us.”
The Buckeyes engaged in some back-and-forth with Big Ten foe Illinois during this recruiting season. OSU drew first blood by landing five-star defensive end Melvin Fellows, who had initially committed to the Illini, but Illinois struck last by nabbing Green.
Tressel admitted that there is no sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” within the Big Ten that coaches abide by when it comes to pursuing recruits who have issued non-binding verbal commitments.
“There’s no such thing as a gentlemen’s agreement,” Tressel said. “There’s a signing day. That’s why they have it.”
One of the latest and most surprising additions to the class is three-star quarterback prospect Kenneth Guiton. Prior to landing an OSU offer less than a week before signing day, Guiton was set to commit to Prairie View A&M. Tressel said the Buckeyes knew they wanted a quarterback in this class from the beginning with just two scholarship quarterbacks returning on the roster, but added that they found themselves late in the game concerning the quarterback position.
Looking ahead to next year, Tressel said the Buckeyes will be able to bring in a class of 17 new players. Had OSU exceeded 26 players in this year’s class, the Buckeye coaches were prepared to start discussing the possibility of grayshirting with a few members of this year’s class.
Tressel said he does not expect any players who have not exhausted their eligibility to leave the program, and he added that none of the incoming players are facing any sort of NCAA problems regarding their academics. Two or three players are going to continue re-taking some standardized tests, he said.
Four members of the class were on hand for the press conference. Adam Homan, Zach Boren, Storm Klein and Jack Mewhort all had enrolled in winter courses, and Tressel said he feels that those four players will be in position to make a big impact sooner rather than later.
“It’s a very exciting day for all of us,” Homan said. “We’ve been here for five weeks already and it’s starting to feel like home. The transition from high school to college life has been great, and it makes it easier when you have these other guys going through the same stuff you’re going through.”