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March 11, 2011

Roundtable: Tressel's troubles

MORE ROUNDTABLES: March 5 | Feb. 25 | Feb. 18 | Feb. 6 | Feb. 1 | Jan. 31 | Jan. 30

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.

How much of an issue on the recruiting trail - especially from rival coaches - will be made of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's current troubles with the NCAA?

Barry Every: I don't believe it will have any effect on kids from the state of Ohio. Now, the kids Ohio State recruits outside of Ohio, well that may be a different story. I am sure some recruiting peers will bash Tressel and Ohio State, especially schools from the SEC since Ohio State and the Big Ten always acted so high and mighty about how clean their respective programs were.

Mike Farrell: I'm sure it will be something that schools attempt to use against Tressel and Ohio State, but I don't think it will be a factor at all to be honest. If he were fired and the program was overturned that's one thing. But a two-game suspension is a slap on the wrist and can be explained away in living rooms - as long as OSU is still the top team in the Big Ten every year and continues earning BCS bowl bids. Winning overcomes almost everything.

Adam Gorney: A great deal. Big Ten coaches could see this as an opportunity to pluck some prospects away from Ohio State by merely stating the facts - that Tressel intentionally hid information from his own university and the NCAA. Planting that seed in the minds of recruits, families and coaches could play an influence. It probably won't have a major effect though. Kids still want to play for the Buckeyes, still want to be relevant on the national stage and that's why Ohio State should be just fine recruiting the 2012 class. The NCAA didn't come down hard on Tressel. Ohio State fans that are honest would say the same thing. I doubt it will be a major issue in recruiting, either. The Buckeyes will be fine, although Big Ten coaches will see this as an opening.

Chris Nee: Ohio State, like all big schools, has to combat negative recruiting. But the issue now will be that instead of fighting off whispers and allegations with no basis, they have to combat the talk that surrounds suspensions, fines and other factual items that have been enforced by the school and other governing bodies. It will provide another roadblock, but at the end of the day many kids will disregard all of that and look at their success on the field, along with the program's tradition.

Keith Niebuhr: Most, if not all coaches, asked this question would probably go on record as saying the subject wouldn't be brought up to recruits, because each generally contends he doesn't take part in "negative recruiting." But let's not kid ourselves - this issue will be raised, and probably raised often. Rest assured, the words "trust" and "honesty" will be used often. Some coaches will take the high road on this subject, but I'd be willing to bet those guys would be in the minority. How much will all of this hurt Ohio State and Tressel's ability to recruit? That remains to be seen. My feeling is, if any school can survive this public relations nightmare, it's Ohio State. The Buckeye brand has been tarnished a bit, but this remains one of the truly elite programs.

Brian Perroni: Combined with the suspensions of a few star players, it will definitely come up. However, a lot of coaches try to stay away from directly attacking other schools. They may talk about it in a more general scope but I don't see many of them trying to tell a kid not to go to Ohio State because of it. They may try and hint that his future could be in doubt.

Who has been the most personable 2012 prospect you've talked with so far?

Barry Every: I have covered Oklahoma State commit Bralon Addison at multiple camps, and he and his family have always been very gracious, joyful people. And at most of these camps he has dominated the competition. Another top prospect that is a treat to cover is Geno Smith, very unassuming off the field, polite and well-spoken, yet a fierce competitor on the football field.

Mike Farrell: I really like Stefon Diggs a lot. He's very comfortable with the media, he doesn't think too much of himself despite the fact that he is flashy and loves to talk on the field. He has a good sense of humor. Diggs has the savvy of a kid much older than he is.

Adam Gorney: I'll go with Puyallup (Wash.) recruit Joshua Garnett, arguably one of the top offensive tackles in the 2012 class. Garnett is well-spoken and long-winded, a reporter's dream for good quotes. He's also really intelligent and thoughtful, not always giving the stock answer to questions. Garnett wants to study medicine in college. That career might have to be put on hold because the 6-foot-5, 275-pound prospect definitely has NFL potential if he continues to perform well.

Chris Nee: Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian defensive back Travis Blanks is a great young man to speak with. He gives questions a lot of thought and provides in-depth answers. Away from the recruiting process, he is a hard-working kid who is just easy to strike up a conversation with.

Keith Niebuhr: There are several kids I could pick, but I'll go with Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson defensive end Jarontay Jones. Simply put, this young fella gets it. One of the South's elite recruits, it's obvious he realizes how fortunate he is to be in his position. I know this because he reminds me every time we speak. Jones truly seems humbled by all the attention he's getting.

Brian Perroni: Barry Sanders has been receiving major attention ever since his freshman year in high school and, growing up the son of one of the greatest players in NFL history, he has been around the media his entire life. Because of that, he is very comfortable in interviews and yet is still very down to earth.

Does the 2012 class possess better pro-style or dual-threat QBs?

Barry Every: Well, even though dual-threat quarterbacks are becoming more common, PQB still has the edge in sheer numbers. Right now, 47 PQBs have offers and 27 DQBs have offers. I have to give the slight edge to guys such as Zach Kline, Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike over Anthony Alford and Jameis Winston. Every day I find another PQB that looks very good on tape: Patton Robinette, TCU commit Tyler Matthews and Chad Voytik. The gap gets closer every year.

Mike Farrell: I like the pro-style group a little bit better but there are some very good dual-threats. But for pro-style guys you have Gunner Kiel, Zeke Pike, Connor Brewer, Zach Kline and a few others. Jameis Winston is a stud dual-threat and Anthony Alford could be special but he'll likely play baseball. Overall I like the pocket guys as far as depth and high-end talent.

Adam Gorney: I lean toward better pro-style quarterbacks. I saw Kiel and Kline last summer at the Elite 11 and both were fantastic. Others really like Pike, Greyson Lambert, Connor Brewer and others. There are definitely quality dual-threat quarterbacks - Winston, Cyler Miles and Justin Thomas come to mind - but I think there is more depth in the pro-style variety.

Chris Nee: I cover Florida and I am having a real hard time finding well-developed quarterbacks in any system in the 2012 class in Florida. Plant City (Fla.) dual-threat quarterback Bennie Coney is a talented one but has maturing to do on and off the field. There are others in the class with talent, but nobody really has jumped off the page so far.

Keith Niebuhr: I'll give a slight edge to the pro-style category, which is bolstered by the presence of players such as Pike and Brewer, a Texas commit. Overall, though, it doesn't appear to be an overly strong year for signal-callers.

Brian Perroni: There are some very good dual-threat prospects such as Winston and Alford. But, overall, the depth is probably better with pro-style passers. After a couple of down years at the position, Kiel, Brewer and Pike headline what should be one of the better years in recent memory at the position.

Is there a certain region of the country that does not have enough elite camps/combines available for its prospects as it should?

Barry Every: There are never enough camps in the big five of Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Ohio. I just wish there were more quality yet affordable camps around the country. I also wish coaches, mentors and/or handlers would stop discouraging kids from going to camps. If you don't want to run a 40 then don't, but the only person that is getting hurt not going to camps is the prospect himself. But if I had to pick one state in which there seems to be too few camps I would say Mississippi, hands down, and then Louisiana.

Mike Farrell: California needs to have more camps in my opinion. It's really hard to gauge the top players from that state because there just aren't as many regional events in the months of February and March. The NIKE camps out there are great, but I'd like to see some more events there.

Adam Gorney: From my perspective, I wish there were more major camps in Arizona. Last year, NIKE held camps at Oregon and Oregon State and the talent was good but not outstanding. I'm happy to see that NIKE is holding a camp in Seattle. There is a lot of talent in the Pacific Northwest this recruiting cycle and I hope the prospects all show up to compete.

Chris Nee: Camps and combines seem to be prolific these days. I'd say it is tough to find a place where you can't reach a high-quality camp or combine by hopping in the car and driving a few hours.

Keith Niebuhr: No. Based on where the talent is, it seems to me there are plenty of camps and combines out there for players. Obviously, in certain parts of the country, longer trips are required to reach them. But if you go region-by-region, there seems to be enough.

Brian Perroni: The area may not produce quite as many prospects as other parts of the country, but the Kansas and Missouri region is very underrepresented when it comes to camps and combines. The players from those states have to drive to Chicago or Dallas to attend some of the bigger camps. Missouri is especially deep this class with Dorial Green-Beckham, Durron Neal and Evan Boehm, yet they will not have the same chance to showcase their skills on a national stage as those who live in other states.



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