Will Lawrence is an Offensive Tackle coming out of the Class of 2018. Already, he has piles of offers from all over the country. Being so young, he is not rated by any recruiting sites at the moment but it is clear he will be one of top tackles coming out of his class. When asked about the recruiting process Will said “It’s been great! I’ve enjoyed meeting the coaches and learning about the schools.”
Will stated that Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arizona State, TCU, West Virginia, Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Florida Atlantic, Indiana and Cincinnati as the programs that had offered him. When asked about the schools recruiting him the hardest he listed Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama, Ohio State, TCU and Florida State. “I have no favorites at this point.” Lawrence said.
Lawrence will head over to Auburn on March 7th. “That’s all I have set up right now. I’m going to set up other visits later but not right now.” he explained.
Right now, there has not been much contact with Ohio State recently, but Will stated he is planning on calling Coach Johnson soon. Will described his game as “The best part of my game right now is pass protection on the edge. I get a lot of pancakes on the run game but I really want to improve my run game technique so I’ll get more.”
The biggest thing he is looking for in a program is a team that feels like a family, and an offensive line coach that could develop him. He is also looking for a really good strength program. Already, Will squats 430, deadlifts 480, power cleans 240 and benches 250. Off the field, he likes to hunt and mountain climb. Will Lawrence will just continue to pile on the offers and he will be rated as one of the top recruits in his class in my opinion.
Here are some highlights:
Follow him on twitter @will_lawrence76
With a convincing win over eastern power No. 15, Edinboro University, the third ranked Buckeye wrestling team has advanced to the Elite Eight in the National Duals. They begin action Saturday on the University of Iowa campus, where they will face the upstart Lehigh Mountain Hawks. A win against Lehigh would likely set up a rematch with No. 2 Missouri on Saturday. If the Buckeyes can keep it going, they would go for the championship on Sunday, also a likely rematch, against Iowa. Thus, the weekend sets up many potential great matches and a chance for Buckeye redemption on multiple fronts which could lead to a national title.
Buckeye Coach Tom Ryan is a big supporter of the National Dual format (he has co-authored a forceful argument in favor of shifting the team title to the dual meet format in this months’ Amateur Wrestling News). While the hard core wrestling observer is perhaps more interested in individual matchups at the top of a weight class, the more casual fan can get behind a team first format with more enthusiasm. Coach Ryan believes the National Dual format is the perfect vehicle to grow interest in the world’s oldest combat sport. While most are focused on the traditional NCAA Championships in March, this weekend presents a real opportunity for Ohio State wrestling to claim its first national title. (For one list of the weekend’s top ten individual matchups, go here.
This year, all five of the top ranked teams participate in the National Duals and all will be in Iowa City this weekend: Iowa, Missouri, Ohio State, Minnesota and Cornell. In addition, No. 12 Illinois advanced to this weekend’s finale. Given that kind of high end participation, it is hard to say the winner is not in fact the best team in the country, man for man. That, combined with the excitement from Cinderella programs such as Lehigh and Chattanooga (which upset perennial power Oklahoma), seems to demonstrate two things: power programs are getting behind the National Dual concept, and lesser programs have a chance to participate in and add to the excitement (I would suggest also that in the future, the lesser ranked teams face off against each other first–kind of like the B1G Tournament does for the lower seeds).
Lehigh, currently ranked No. 11 has competed with distinction in the venerable Eastern Interscholastic Wrestling Association (which includes Army, Navy, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and a number of Eastern wrestling powers). In fact, Lehigh and powerhouse Cornell are expected to compete for the league title this year. Lehigh earned its bout with Ohio State by pummeling George Mason last week. While it would be difficult to see Lehigh pulling the upset against the Buckeyes, they will come well coached with hardened competitors full of fire for the upset.
Assuming the Buckeyes can advance to the semis, they likely would face No. 2 Mizzou, assuming Mizzou takes down No. 12 Illinois (which blanked a decent Kent State team). The Buckeyes lost 20-19 to Missouri in December. The teams actually tied at 19 but Missouri was awarded the win on tie-breakers (which the wrestling world euphemistically calls “criteria”). They had to go deep into the tie breakers—something like most first takedowns. Regardless, some interesting things were apparent in that first meeting that warrant watching this time around:
• At 125, Nathan Tomasello wrestled very strongly against current No. 2 and long-time power Alan Waters, losing 11-8. This was yet another example of Nathan’s early season habit of going too aggressively and getting caught for back points by more seasoned competitors. If Nathan avoids these kinds of mistakes while still keeping up the assault he can start to his climb to the very top. This is a titanic match-up that could be a great measuring stick for freshman Tomasello’s advancement.
• At 141, three time NCAA champion Logan Stieber picked up a six point forfeit. This weekend, he is likely to go against fifth ranked Lavion Mayes. Nothing is beyond Stieber’s ability–he has pinned high ranked Josh Dwieza of Iowa (pronounced jebba) and has scored major wins against other top competitors. His decisive win over No. 2 Mitchell Port is evidence that Stieber is back on track after struggling with a bad flu. However, it is still a tall order to expect a pin against a top-ranked wrestler. So the six points will be much more in doubt this time around (Buckeye fans might be interested in another comment in this month’s Amateur Wrestling News which practically bemoans the fact that Stieber has just “ruined” this weight class as he pursues an epic fourth title).
• On the other hand, at 149, Hunter Stieber made a surprise appearance in December, though clearly he was not ready. The six points Missouri registered for a first period pin were shocking. Stieber likely will not go this weekend as he takes all the time he can in an effort to go to the Big Ten with fully healed elbows in two weeks. His backup is Randy Languis. I am sure Randy is disappointed with his results this year—he actually seemed more competitive last year while wresting up at 157. But Randy is a talented young man with pride and a lot of fight. It is hard to see Missouri’s No. 4 ranked Drake Houdashelt duplicating his six point effort.
• The clearest difference is at 165. In December, Missouri’s unranked wrestler squeezed by with a two point overtime win against back-up Justin Kresevic. But Buckeye Bo Jordan is long recovered from his turf toe and has just been destroying opponents. Buckeye fans can look to an eight, perhaps the full nine-point swing in this match alone. For an earlier write-up, see this.
• In December, Missouri’s 14th ranked Willie Miklus put a 12-2 major win up against a game John Fox, filling in for No. 12 Kenny Courts. The outcome is tough to predict in this case, but it is unlikely that Miklus can add that extra point for a major decision, even if he is able to subdue the higher ranked Courts.
• 197 was a huge disappointment for wrestling fans in December. Ohio State phenom Kyle Snyder was slated to go up against returning NCAA champion J’Den Cox, but, in a successful effort to win the dual, Missouri shuffled around its line-up by sending Cox up against heavyweight Nick Tavanello. It is unlikely the dual will set up that way again, so we should see the new match of the year (the previous match of the year was last week’s Logan Stieber win over Mitchell Port).
• In turn, that should set up a match between No. 9 Buckeye Nick Tavanello and No. 16 Devin Mellon. Perhaps Nick is the favorite, but he has not wrestled in a good long while as he recovers from a banged up knee. It is not a lock that the Buckeyes will recapture these three points.
This is a wild one. While I think a Buckeye victory is likely, the Buckeyes have to hold serve with December winners Johnni DiJulius, Josh Demas and Mark Martin, or look for Nathan Tomasello to finally bust through against the elite of the class.
If the Buckeyes do advance, and if they face No. 1 Iowa (who has to get past Chattanooga and the Cornell/Minnesota winner), they will have their hands full. The Hawkeyes narrowly beat the Buckeyes in Columbus 18-14. The Buckeyes put forward their full line-up, including Hunter Stieber who lost a close one. While it is possible Hunter could be sent out if it meant winning a national title, odds are that Randy Languis will be tasked with leaving the mat without a loss by major decision or more.
In January’s first meet-up, the Buckeyes got a close win at 133 but suffered close losses at 125 and 184. Those matches are up for grabs and a change either way in any one of those three could decide the National Championship. Which reminds me of 197. Kyle Snyder suffered one of his two losses to Nathan Burak in this match, and it was a curious one. Some kind of mix-up deprived Snyder from taking down in his period of choice and the loss of a likely escape point cost him the match. This match could well go the other way as well, and it needs to. It is too much to ask a recovering Nick Tavenello to go out at 285 and beat third ranked Bobby Telford for all the marbles.
Buckeye fans—remember how fun the football national championship was? OK, if you are not a serous wrestling fan, this may not seem quite as exciting, but give yourself a break. You get a chance this weekend to watch something that will be memorable and fun, perhaps historic. You will have to find BTN to watch it, but win or lose, it should have great drama.
Ever since the 2002 college football recruiting class, Ohio State football has been largely successful in persuading the top Ohio talent to remain home and play for the Buckeyes. Under former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, it could be argued that Ohio State’s recruiting philosophy seemed to zero in on the top fifteen or twenty players in the state of Ohio, then the class would be complimented with players from other states to push the class over twenty members. A classic example of this is the 2002 recruiting class, which was Tressel’s first full recruiting class at Ohio State. Among the players who helped lead Ohio State to the national championship were Ohioans Maurice Clarett, A.J. Hawk, and Bobby Carpenter; a Floridian who redshirted that season but was a prominent member of Ohio State’s teams from 2003-2005 was Santonio Holmes.
Even with the transition to Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, Ohio has been the focal point of Ohio State’s recruiting efforts. A significant difference lies in Meyer’s approach – while focusing upon Ohio, Meyer will identify the top Ohio talent, but will not necessarily offer scholarships to all of the top players in the state.
Of the top twenty players in the state of Ohio for 2014, Ohio State was able to land six players. While that number seems low, scrutiny must come into play to determine the answer to the following question – did Ohio State recruit these players who went elsewhere?
The rationale for this question is simple – did Ohio State let a player go to a rival school, thus elevating the possibility that Ohio State will have to face that player, and thus, their mistake, for the next four or five years?
Fortunately for Ohio State, the number is low. Below are the players who were offered scholarships by Ohio State, were considered a top twenty Ohio player, yet chose to go elsewhere…
OL Noah Listermann - offered by Ohio State, yet never visited. Signed by Michigan State. Considering the six offensive linemen signed by Ohio State in this recruiting class, hopefully Listermann’s decision will not be a factor over the next few seasons.
OL James Daniels – offered by Ohio State, yet signed with Iowa. While Ohio State does not play Iowa until the 2017 season, this one could hurt for two reasons. First, Daniels is the son of former Ohio State player LeShun Daniels, so the fact that a legacy player selected Iowa stings the pride a little bit. Secondly, and more importantly, Daniels was recruited to play center for Iowa. With Jacoby Boren leaving after the 2015 season, Daniels could have been an ideal candidate to move into that spot after Boren’s eligibility expired.
DB Shaun Crawford – Crawford was originally committed to Michigan, visited Ohio State, and wound up signing with Notre Dame. Fortunately for Ohio State, the only way Ohio State will run into Crawford will be in a bowl game, so the chances of Crawford hurting Ohio State is lessened over the next four or five years.
L.J. Scott – A powerful running back from Hubbard, Ohio State offered Scott, yet Scott stayed firm in his commitment to Michigan State. Considering how Ohio State and Michigan State are both in the B1G East, and how Michigan State Mark Dantonio has long favored a power running game, Ohio State fans need to get used to the possibility of facing Scott in a Spartan uniform for the next few seasons.
Anyone who has ever been a fisherman laments “the one that got away”. Hopefully, Ohio State fans will not be lamenting the loss of these Ohio players on the gridiron when the next few college football seasons begin.
This week Chip and myself had the great opportunity to get to talk with David Mormino to talk about TTUN recent recruiting class. David who can be found on twitter @davidmormino is a proud member of thebighousereport.com and Cohost on @GoBlueRadio. Chip and David discussed about some of the TTUN recruits Jim Harbaugh received for 2015 class plus who has early enrolled for the Wolverines. Naturally the hot topic of Mike Weber was brought up and David didn’t play the homer card and was a true college football fan about the whole situation. It was a great pleasure having him on our show.
The second half of the podcast we had Kevin McGuire who we always love have join our show. Kevin can be found on twitter @KevinonCFB, you can find his work on collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com and no2minutewarning.com. Chip and Kevin discussed the Class that James Franklin has coming in for Penn State next season. Franklin pulled in a Top 15 class plus seems there was a twitter war between PSU and Pitt.
These were two great guests and we are thankful for them taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us. I would suggest checking out there work they are really great at what they do and will help you become extremely smart around your family and friends. Especially the ones from the fans of these teams that think they know eveything but they don’t since they aren’t smart enough to follow smart guys like David and Kevin. Hope you enjoy the show this week.
“As you walk on by
Will you call my name?” ~
Don’t You Forget About Me, Simple Minds
These song lyrics from a classic 1980s song “Don’t You Forget About Me” represent to me what it must be like to football players redshirted at major college football programs. While there is always considerable fanfare when players sign their respective letters of intent, players who redshirt seem to fall by the wayside of fans.
Think about the players who signed with Ohio State in February 2014. While all were accomplished athletes coming out of high school, and coveted highly by Ohio State and other top football programs, several of them were redshirted for various reasons by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. Perhaps some were battling an injury; perhaps others were not deemed ready to contribute during the 2014 season, and the coaches did not want to waste a valuable year of eligibility.
Regardless of the reason, these players are now facing the challenge of a newly-signed crop of recruits coming into Columbus in 2015, while many of the top players who won the national championship return. It will be important for these players to step up over the next few months, during winter conditioning, spring football, and summer workouts, to gain traction on the depth chart.
Below are the various position groups, and some names that may become more prominently known over the coming months to Ohio State fans ~
Quarterback: Stephen Collier. Anyone who listened to me on various Men Of The Scarlet And Gray podcasts this past season will recall how I often speculated if Collier was going to play in 2014. With J.T. Barrett’s injury at the conclusion of the regular season, Collier was elevated on the depth chart. With Cardale Jones’ strong performances at the end of the season, Collier was not needed to play, but contributed tremendously on the scout team during the bowl preparation periods. With two quarterbacks signed, as well as both Barrett and Braxton Miller rehabilitating from injuries, Collier should get ample playing time this spring behind Cardale Jones.
Wide Receiver: Parris Campbell Jr.; Terry McLaurin; Johnnie Dixon. Dixon was an early enrollee last winter, and seemed primed to be a contributor, until redshirted due to tendinitus in October. Campbell and McLaurin redshirted from the onset, due to a logjam at the position. With the departures of Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, the time is ripe for any or all of these players to move up on the depth chart at wide receiver.
Offensive Line: Kyle Trout; Demetrius Knox; Brady Taylor. With six new offensive linemen arriving this summer, with one already on campus in new enrollee Grant Schmidt, none of these players can waste any opportunity to try to move up on the depth chart. The challenge is Ohio State is only losing one starter from its offensive line in Darryl Baldwin, so the test will come in trying to perform well in the eyes of the coaching staff for possible backup time in 2015 as a springboard for the 2016 season.
Defensive Line: Dylan Thompson; Sam Hubbard; Darius Slade. Thompson was redshirted almost immediately, due to a broken kneecap suffered early in the season. Hubbard fluctuated from tight end to linebacker to defensive end; it remains a mystery if he will remain at defensive end this spring. Slade was a signing day addition who had previously committed to Michigan State. With the losses of Noah Spence to transfer, and Michael Bennett, Steve Miller, and Rashad Frazier to graduation, the opportunity to rise up for playing time along the defensive line is there for these defensive linemen.
Linebacker: Kyle Berger. Berger reinjured a knee ligament during the summer of 2014 that wiped out his senior year at Cleveland St. Ignatius in 2013. It is possible that the coaching staff will take a cautious approach to rushing Berger onto the field, lest he sustain another injury.
Defensive Back: Malik Hooker; Marshon Lattimore. Hooker was an athlete designated for the secondary; it is possible that special teams will be where Hooker can make his first impact upon the depth chart. Lattimore was considered for both defense and offense, yet sustained a hamstring injury serious enough to warrant surgery that necessitated his redshirt season.
“As you walk on by Will you call my name?” ~ This question will be on the minds of the players listed up above, as well as by Ohio State fans such as myself, as the 2015 season approaches.
This week I had the privilege of interviewing Danny Clark, who was the first verbal commit in the 2017 class for Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Clark hails from legendary Massillon, Ohio where he plays for arguably the greatest high school football team in world history. Sound dramatic? Here is a little history lesson for you: From 1935-1965, the Massillon Tigers won 9 national championships and 20 state championships. That is incredible and will never be replicated again. The Tigers are also involved in the greatest high school rivalry in the nation when they square off against archrival Canton McKinley. Great tradition, great rivalry… sounds like another team I root for.
He is ranked at No. 2 for players in great state of Ohio (trailing only OL Josh Myers from Miamisburg- Ohio State commit) and as the second ranked Pro-Style Quarterback in all of America for the 2017 class. Clark is ranked as the 48th best player in the nation according to 247 Sports. I highly suggest getting to one of his games this season because he is fantastic to watch on the football field. You will not be disappointed. So without further adieu, here is my Q&A with 4 star Massillon Tigers Quarterback, Danny Clark.
NB: When did schools start recruiting you?
DC: I’ve started taking unofficial visits in 7th grade but schools weren’t allowed to recruit me until I was a freshman on varsity.
NB: What was the first school where you had an unofficial visit?
DC: Tennessee Volunteers, me and my dad went to a Tennessee Alabama night game as a guest of Tennessee.
NB: What schools have made a strong impression on you besides Ohio State?
DC: None. No other school comes close.
NB: What has it been like playing in the football crazed town of Massillon?
DC: It has been a great experience there’s only one Massillon.
NB: What has been your favorite memory playing for them so far?
DC: The second play of my of varsity career was a 59 yard touchdown pass to Reggie Rogers, I’ll never forget it.
NB: How does your rivalry game against Canton McKinley help prepare you for Ohio State’s game with the team up north?
DC: It’s the greatest high school rivalry in the country. There’s nothing like playing in that game. Its huge. 20,000 people. It’s a must win. NB: Who is your favorite current or former NFL quarterback and why?
DC: Peyton manning. There’s no one like the sheriff. He’s a great quarterback, a great leader, and a good guy off the field.
NB: What is a hobby you enjoy outside of football?
DC: I love lifting weights, boating, working on cars, motorcycle, and watching the Buckeyes.
NB: Have you gotten to know a lot of other 2017 recruits looking at Ohio State?
DC: Yes. Josh Meyers and I are real close, and I’ve developed a strong relationship with Bruce Judson. Trevon Grimes and I are real tight too. They’re all good guys I just try to let them know how great Ohio State is and what we can do together here. There has never been a better time to be a Buckeye.
NB: Do you know what you will be majoring in yet?
DC: Right now I’m thinking journalism. Or maybe sports broadcasting.
NB: Last question: favorite movie of all time?
DC: Predator or The Program.
I would like to thank Danny Clark for taking the time out of his day to give me this interview, my first as a member of the staff at Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Out of all the players that the Buckeyes have, either on the team already or in the midst of recruiting, Clark is one of my favorite ones. He will be something to behold when he heads to Columbus.
Below is a Danny Clark highlight tape:
The Class of 2017 is full of talent, including four star Jordan McNair. McNair is a highly recruited tackle out of Owings Mills, MD. 247Sports has his rating at 92 and the 8th Offensive Tackle coming out of the Class of 2017. The recruiting process has started to pick up for McNair just this past year as he was able to take some visits to a couple of Big Ten schools. “The recruiting process has been going good so far.” McNair said.
When asked about schools showing interest McNair said “Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland have offered me. I also have interest from Georgia, Tennessee and NC State.”
McNair plans to visit Ohio State over this upcoming summer. The staff was able to get out to his HS for a visit. He had many positive thoughts about Ohio State. He explained his relationship with Ohio State as “I talked to coach Larrry Johnson when he visited and told me that he liked my tape and then later that day my coach told me that they have offered me.”
Having a scholarship on the table from a top program means a lot to McNair. He explained how it was a huge honor to get an offer to play for a championship team just as only a sophomore. “Ohio State is at the top right now.” McNair said.
There is no set date on a commitment right now. Jordan just wants to improve on his game and become better. “I think I could always get stronger and work on staying on blocks longer.” he explained.
Jordan also plays basketball for his high school team. In college, he wants to study sports medicine and later become a physical therapist.
Here are some highlights of Jordan.
According to the guys at FootballScoop.com OSU has found their new RB coach and it is a big time get…
Ohio State: Per source, Notre Dame’s Tony Alford plans to accept Urban Meyer’s offer to join the staff at Ohio State as running backs coach.
Tony Alford is a big time recruiter that has landed many big time recruits and has coached a lot of players into the NFL. He is a big time force in Florida for recruiting and will fill the huge shoes of Stan Drayton.
Kareem Walker- #13 and a Five Star
George Hill- #60 and a Four Star
Jake Hausmann- #84 and a Four Star
Jonathon Cooper- #101 and a Four Star
Tyler Gerald- #183 and a Four Star
Kierre Hawkins- #222 and a Four Star
Interesting note that all 6 commits are ranked in the top 300.