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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Ohio State commits still with Buckeyes

By Jamie Newberg
ESPN Recruiting

The sudden resignation of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel on Monday caught some members of the Buckeyes' Class of 2012 off guard, but it didn't cause any immediate defections.

"Well, I thought all along that this stuff going on at Ohio State has been crazy," said Westlake (Ohio) St. Ignatius tight end Blake Thomas, who committed to Ohio State in May. "But Ohio State will do their thing and they will live on. I have always had a pretty good relationship with Coach Tressel. I am still solid with the Buckeyes and I am not considering any other programs."

What recruits are saying

So what do the players who are considering Ohio State think of the news? Corey Long checked in with players the Buckeyes have offered to find out. Story
Ohio State's 2012 commits

Ohio State has seven commits for the Class of 2012, all of them from Ohio. Tressel and Ohio State have routinely brought in the Big Ten's best class -- the Buckeyes had the conference's top class in three of the last four years -- and the 2012 class is among the best in the nation as well. The Buckeyes were in the top 10 three of the last four years and four of the last six. The two years they weren't in the top 10, they still made the top 20.

"It was surprising news at first," said Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales RB Warren Ball, who committed in September of 2010. "Ohio State is my dream school and I am scarlet and gray no matter what. I am a Buckeye through and through. Sure this happened while I am committed but I am always going to be rock solid with Ohio State."

Fellow Buckeyes RB commit Bri'onte Dunn, a Watch List member from Canton (Ohio) GlenOak who also committed in September 2010, is also sticking with Ohio State.

"We haven't even discussed it yet," said Brian Dunn said, Bri'onte's father. "We know what's happened and Ohio State has got to go through what they have to go through. It's hard because we had a pretty good relationship with Coach Tressel, including me. We have made no decisions yet. I know Bri'onte understands what's going on and things are pretty crazy. I am sure his phone is blowing up. Ohio State was always his first choice and at this point he's still committed to Ohio State."

It was surprising news at first. Ohio State is my dream school and I am scarlet and gray no matter what. I am a Buckeye through and through. Sure this happened while I am committed, but I am always going to be rock solid with Ohio State.

-- Ohio State RB commit Warren Ball

Offensive linemen Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and Jacoby Boren (Pickerington, Ohio/Central), wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and linebacker Josh Perry (Galena, Ohio/Olentangy) round out the seven-member class.

But this does not just affect members of the Class of 2012. Players who signed with Ohio State just a few months ago in February were shocked when they learned they would not be playing for Tressel.

"I was stunned but I guess it's something that had to be done," said cornerback Doran Grant. "He was just trying to protect his players. I always had a very good relationship with Coach Tressel. He wasn't like the guy that people portrayed him. It's like people outside that school had it out for Ohio State because they are always winning. It's still Ohio State and we will overcome this."

Defensive end Steve Miller decided to sleep in and woke up to texts with the news.

"I have to admit that I didn't see it coming and was very surprised," Miller said. "He's a cool guy and we have a good relationship. Coach Tressel always talked about me getting an education and helping me get to the next level. I still feel the same regarding Ohio State. The same coaches will be there but him. You have to do what you have to do and hopefully we will all be successful."

But for all the shock, it's not like any of these current players are rethinking their decision.

"The committee thought long and hard and was very thorough about the best decision for our university," LB Joshua Perry said. "Coach Tressel is a standup guy that made a mistake and in the end, probably did the right thing. The Buckeye nation will be OK. He owned up to his mistake and he did what he needed to do. We are going to miss him. I am 100 percent committed to Ohio State."

Still, one area of concern is how the high school coaches in the area react. Cleveland Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr. has has sent many players to Ohio State over the years, including quarterback Cardale Jones from this past season. He seemed pretty upset about Tressel's leaving the Buckeyes program.

"I have nothing to say right now," Ginn said.

But plenty more will undoubtedly be said in the coming days, weeks and months.

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.