The Weekly Rant

In-State Recruiting: Part 1

 To anybody who has paid any
attention to my many rantings on various social media sites, you know that I am
not only a recruiting addict, but also a staunch supporter of locking down the
state of Ohio from all who dare try to take our talent elsewhere.  I am not shy to argue my ways and am open to
argument from any and all who challenge me, but the matter of the fact is that
in my arguments and my rantings, a truth lies within: The in-state pipeline is
EVERYTHING! The only other states that have produced more great talent in the
past ten years or so have been Florida, Texas, California, and Georgia. Little
argument can be made over the fact that Ohio as a state plays some of the best
damn football in the country on the prep level.

In a study done in
2008 by USA Today, Ohio ranked 5th in the nation with 231 players
sent to the NFL. With all the talent that Ohio produces annually, Ohio State has
taken advantage and usually cleans up the state of all of its best talents.
Sadly, Ohio State cannot keep all of the players in the state whether it is
because of lack of scholarships available, lack of interest in the player, or
lack of interest from the player.

  Whatever the reason may be, the starving institutions from around the Midwest
flock to the Buckeye State to scoop up those players left over. Schools such as
TSUN, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and other schools from the Big Ten and around
the region are able to collect a few players or more, and add some of the best
talent available to them to their rosters. Now I know that Ohio State can’t get
them all, and I also know that Ohio State may not even want them all in the
first place, as some players may have character issues, flaws in their game, or
may just not fit right into the system. What I do know however, is that it is
the responsibility of the coach at Ohio State, whoever it may be, to get as
many Ohioans as possible in the recruiting class to not only make sure the
schools surrounding know who runs the state, but simply because most recruits
outside of the state just can’t truly appreciate what Ohio State is, what the
rivalry is, and what Big Ten Football is. You may not believe what I believe,
you may think that my logic is flawed and that I don’t know a damn thing about
recruiting and College Football, but I ask you to keep on reading, and listen
to the argument that I bring to you. In this seven part series, I will bring
you six coaches that we know all too well on both sides of “The Game” and tell
the tale of the importance of recruiting in Ohio. Are you ready? Let us begin.


Jim Tressel: Locking down the state


Jim Tressel was not the coach that
many had expected to take over after John Cooper at Ohio State. Tressel, who
had spent the last 15 years at Division 1-AA school Youngstown State, certainly
had the resume to impress: 4 National Titles, ten playoff appearances (A
College Football playoff, how about that?) and was named the Coach of the Year
in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 1997. But a coach at the Division 1-A level? And at a
place like Ohio State? Not an easy transition to make for any coach, but for Jim, this was a dream come true.

    Tressel’s return to Ohio State since his departure as an assistant in 1985 was
nothing short of a blessing for the Ohio Native, and he never let anybody forget
how important it was to him being there. Taking the reins from a coach who led
a pass happy, high scoring offense, a national recruiting base, but a 2-10-1
record against TSUN, and a departure from the tradition that Ohio State is
blessed with, Tressel knew that he had a lot of work to do in restoring pride
back into the team. It wasn’t long after his hiring that Tressel told Buckeye
Nation where he stood on Ohio State tradition, and especially with TSUN, when
he spoke at halftime of an Ohio State-TSUN men’s basketball game, saying: "I
can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in
the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the
football field.”


Jim Tressel knew the importance of The Game, and the tradition
of Ohio State, something that previous Head Coach and Tennessee native John
Cooper just couldn’t grasp while at the helm of the Buckeyes. Tressel would go
on to hit the recruiting trail hard in the state in an effort to lock down Ohio
from TSUN and other suitors out of state, something that Cooper never put too
much stock into. Tressel, restoring the pride that was lost in the Cooper era,
would go on to beat TSUN nine time in his ten seasons Columbus, with a National
Championship and seven Big Ten Conference Championships and an overall record
of 106-23 (yes I am counting the vacated season because fuck the NCAA). Through
all of his time at Ohio State, many people sought out flaws, starting with the
famed “Tressel-Ball” style of play that Ohio State featured, along with his
sometimes suspect recruiting classes that were either some of the best, or on
the fringe of the top 25. Within those recruiting classes you will find much of
the reason of his success, 60% of the recruits he brought in from 2002 until
2011 were from the state of Ohio with many going on to success at both the
college and pro levels.

    With his dominance in recruiting in the state, it also
limited rival schools such as TSUN to dive into the state to bring in talent.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that many schools in the Midwest depend on
talent from Ohio to succeed. Any player worth anything at TSUN, for example,
was more than likely an Ohioan (i.e. players such as Charles Woodson, Desmond
Howard, Dan Dierdorf etc., and coaches like Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller, and
Brady Hoke.) Other schools such as Notre Dame and the rest of the Big Ten,
journey to Ohio often in search for talent, and are often left with the scraps
left over from Ohio State and TSUN. What made Jim Tressel so great in this
department is that by locking down the state of Ohio, he effectively clamped
any pipeline that rival schools had into the Buckeye State, which then affected
the final product put out on the field by those teams.

   Cooper1 Now granted those schools still got their fair share of talent from the state, players like Mario
Manningham, Fitzgerald Toussaint and LeVeon Bell among others left for schools
up north and around the Midwest, and even some down south (Trey DePriest to
Alabama) and out west (Aundrey Walker to USC), but all in all Ohioans new that
the school to go to was THE Ohio State University. There are very little
schools in the country that can match the tradition and excellence of Ohio
State, and Jim Tressel was as great of an example as ever of Ohio pride. It was
truly an honor and a privilege to have Jim Tressel at the helm of the Buckeyes
for ten great years, and I wish that he was still on the sidelines.