October 16, 2009

Mail it in: finishing the class

In this week's mailbag, the BuckeyeGrove will examine the origins of journalistic integrity, what the rest of the Ohio State football recruiting class could look like and who is looking to impact the next half of the season.

Q: How hard is it to separate being a journalist and a fan of the team you cover? The reason I ask is if you read BG and then read other sites, you will get two completely different views on the recruitment of some players. I have always felt BG has some of the most non-biased reporters. Do you feel some schools sites (none in particular) let homerism get in the way of good unbiased journalism?

A: I would like to believe that sports writers get into the profession due to their love for sports. Growing up I would research sports statistics as a hobby and really had a passion for it. While it is difficult not to show your biased opinion at points, it demonstrates the strength of the writer by reporting facts rather than feelings.

When it comes to recruiting, I think it is all about kids truly enjoy the process. Especially for a highly ranked recruit, nowadays you are receiving phone calls from teams and writers from all over the country. Whether their intent is to have everyone to like them or they are just confused on who they favor at the moment, it is very common to see different websites telling two different stories on the same player.

I would be surprised if sites wrote with a "homer" angle to all of their reporting, especially a Rivals site. You are always going to read different takes on recruits but that is coming from the player's mouth rather than the writer's keyboard. These kids like to make fans sweat it out till early February so all you can do is read, hope and pray.

Q: My question is give me your opinion on how large will new class will be and who do we end up with in your opinion?

A: I really hate getting into the point where I pick players because I always seem to get those names thrown back at me if Ohio State doesn't land one of them or even worse two or more. I have kind of gone round and round with my colleagues about numbers and I am going to still stick with 20 as being the matching number.

Here is how I have come to that number. There are 14 senior scholarship members of this class to go with four scholarships that are not awarded on a four year basis currently (have gone to walk-ons for the time being. So that gets the number right at 18.

Now you have to look at the attrition factor and you would have to figure that at least one defensive lineman could leave at the end of the year if not two. That would be 20 right there without any transfers out. But it is hard to really lock down on a number there. If there are 21 high I-A players that want to be in the class, they will get 21 in. But I think it seems to end at 20.

A name not to forget in this class will be Carlos Hyde coming back in. That will count against the number and in essence have Ohio State at 14 players in this class right now. I would say players like Latwan Anderson, Christian Bryant and Joshua Shaw all look pretty good to be in this class which gets the team up to 17.

Then you have the handful of usual suspects and if anyone said they knew where Seantrel Henderson, Jordan Hicks and Matt James were/are going, they must be better at the game than I am. I however do believe that the Buckeyes lead for Lamarcus Joyner at this point and that would get this class up to 18.

I don't believe that they will go after that second kicker at this point unless a lot of players fall off of the list but even with that there are players who are on the board as some "later potential offers" that could supersede a second K/P at this point and the staff might rather try and bring someone in as a walk-on or gray shirt and see where the chips may fall.

Q: Which Buckeye will surprise everyone in the second half of the season?

A: Fans have patiently awaited the arrival of running back Jamaal Berry. The talented freshman faced a setback with his legal trouble in the offseason and right when it appeared that he was in the good graces of the coaching staff, he suffered an injury that has kept him out of action for the past few weeks.

Now with Dan Herron likely out for a few weeks, depth will be an issue and a healthy Berry will be vital to the offense. When asked about Berry at Tuesday's press conference, Coach Tressel reaction was comparable to a kid receiving a new toy at Christmas. You can tell that the coaching staff is planning big things for him as soon as he is 100 percent.

Herron and Brandon Saine have been a solid duo and Jordan Hall shows promise but I just get the feeling that Berry adds a dimension to the offense that they have not had all season long. A backfield of Terrelle Pryor and Berry may be the fastest one in the Big Ten.

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