Buckeyes Sign 23, Holding Spot for One More
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just like they did a year ago, the Buckeyes have left the door open to add another player to their 2011 class.
This time, however, it’s under very different circumstances.
On the day where all of Ohio State’s recruit were scheduled to fax their Letters of Intent to the school, one never came in. That’s because Chris Carter couldn’t get to a fax machine from his jail cell in time to be a part of the National Signing Day festivities.
The 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive lineman out of John F. Kennedy High School in Cleveland was arrested Tuesday on allegations of sexual imposition and spent the night in Cleveland City Jail.
He was released Wednesday pending further investigation, but the Buckeyes aren’t ready to completely rule out the possibility of him joining the class at a later date.
“There’s a possibility,” Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel said during Signing Day news conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.
“I think everyone is aware that we had something pop up yesterday that we didn't know much about and we can't talk about it.”
Carter was the third player to commit to Ohio State’s 2011 class, doing so last March . He is being accused of fondling girls while measuring them for ROTC uniforms.
“Once inside the room, (Carter) asked the victim to take off her sweat shirt and shirt so he could take her measurements,” the police report said.
“He cut off the lights ... and stated `I need you to take your bra off.' The arrested male than put his arms under her arms from behind and attempted to pull her bra up.”
A NCAA rules prohibits college coaches from commenting on prospects who have not signed their letters of intent, so Tressel was necessarily vague when talking about the possibility of expanding on the 23 signatures they received Wednesday.
“The only thing we're allowed to talk about today is the kids who have signed letters with us,” he said.
“We don't know what the situation is. It could be larger, it might not.”
Regardless of whether or not Carter is a part of the class, the Buckeyes feel good about the players they did land for 2011. That includes Braxton Miller, Ryan Shazier, Jeremy Cash, Joe Hale and Jeff Heuerman, the five early enrollees who joined Tressel and the OSU coaching staff at Wednesday’s press conference.
“We've got a little bit of everything, which we like to do. We've got guys that are versatile, so I think it's balanced and versatile,” Tressel said.
“These guys have done a lot of different things. There has to be a little bit of projection in talking about what you need, but these are guys that we feel very good about who they are and about the skills that they have.”
In all, the Buckeyes signed two wide receivers, two tight ends, three offensive linemen, five defensive linemen, four linebackers, four defensive backs , a long-snapper and a pair of quarterbacks. Only one of those quarterbacks will count towards the 2011 class, however, as Cardale Jones will take a grayshirt and enroll at Ohio State next January.
Along with Jones, the Buckeyes also added a major commitment Wednesday when 5-star linebacker Curtis Grant selected Ohio State over offers from Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.
“In April, May and June, when you get a good start, you feel wonderful about that,” Tressel said.
“Then when you get in those last two weeks of January and you get a good finish, you feel good about that. In both cases, we didn't get everyone but a lot of times when you don't get someone, it opens up the opportunity for someone else.”
The addition of Grant, the top-rated linebacker in the country by most recruiting services, put the Buckeyes at four linebackers in a class of just 23. That was two more than Ohio State had planned on taking.
“Going into the recruiting season we thought we might be taking two guys, but we had the opportunity to be in on four great guys, guys we didn’t think we could pass up,” OSU linebackers coach Luke Fickell said Wednesday.
“For the team, we felt we could take four guys if they were the right guys.”
Those four linebackers were part of 13 defensive players signed by the Buckeyes. They also landed signatures from nine offensive players and one long-snapper in Bryce Haynes.
“It went through here like wildfire when we got his tape. We watched him in games and it looked like the guy catching the snap wasn’t moving,” OSU assistant coach Dick Tressel said of the Georgia product.
“About 10 snaps in a row and you thought the film had stopped. You start timing a couple of these and pretty soon you’ve got to start looking for a place to get this guy in your recruiting class.”
Meet the Class of 2011 (23)
QB Braxton Miller (6-2, 195, Huber Heights Wayne)
QB Cardale Jones (6-5, 217, Cleveland Glenville)
WR Evan Spencer (6-1, 185, Vernon Hills, Ill.)
WR Devin Smith (6-1, 175, Massillon Washington)
TE Jeff Heuerman (6-5, 240, Naples, Fla.)
TE Nick Vannett (6-6, 230, Westerville Central)
OL Brian Bobek (6-2, 278, Palatine, Ill.)
OL Tommy Brown (6-5, 310, Akron Firestone)
OL Antonio Underwood (6-3, 295, Shaker Heights)
DE Steve Miller (6-4, 230, Canton McKinley)
DE Kenny Hayes (6-5, 240, Toledo Whitmer)
DL Chase Farris (6-6, 265, Elyria)
DT Michael Bennett (6-3, 275, Centerville)
DL Joe Hale (6-4, 290, Greenwood, Ind.)
LB Curtis Grant (6-3, 222, Richmond, Va.)
LB Ryan Shazier (6-3, 205, Plantation, Fla.)
LB Connor Crowell (6-1, 215, Waldorf, Md.)
LB Ejuan Price (6-0, 235, Pittsburgh)
CB Doran Grant (5-10, 175, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary)
CB DerJuan Gambrell (6-2, 180, Toledo Rogers)
S Ron Tanner (6-1, 190, Columbus Eastmoor)
S Jeremy Cash (6-2, 185, Plantation, Fla.)
LS Bryce Haynes (6-4, 185, Cumming, Ga.)
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