Wednesday, August 4, 2010

OHIO STATE'S OUTCOME FOR 2010 MAY HAVE BEEN DECIDED IN 2008

(Photo of OSU's Class of 2008 by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — If Ohio State lives up to the expectations bestowed upon them in 2010, it may be because 2008 had a whole lot to do with it.

Many remember the 2008 Ohio State recruiting class as the one that gave the Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the man regarded as the nation's top overall player that year. But make no mistake about it, the talented signal caller isn't the only player from that class making an impact.

On the 2010 Buckeyes roster, there are 10 players from the class of 2008 that are currently starting and another four on the two-deep depth chart.

Offensively, six players are starting: Pryor, left tackle Mike Adams, right tackle J.B. Shugarts, center Michael Brewster, tight end Jake Stoneburner and wide receiver DeVier Posey.

Defensively, three players are currently starting: defensive end Nathan Williams, outside linebacker Etienne Sabino and safety Orhian Johnson. And four on the two-deep: defensive tackle Garrett Goebel, outside linebacker Andrew Sweat, cornerback Travis Howard and safety Zach Domicone. Ben Buchanan — also from the 2008 class — is the starting punter.

That's a whole lot of experience and production from just one class.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel admits that the 2008 class is quite special, and they're really beginning to come into their own.

"I think our rising junior class has really grown quite a bit," Tressel said. "And you can see how they're coming along."

Tressel said what makes the class so unique is not only the talent, but where they all came from. Of the 14 players in the 2008 class (which is starting or in the two deep), half of them come from somewhere other than Ohio.

"That's the fun part of recruiting and coaching, there's no two groups that are the same," Tressel said. "The makeup of our classes typically is about 60 to 65 percent Ohio guys and 35 to 40 percent guys either from states that touch us or even farther.

"This group was a little bit more far and wide. I think it was even. It was like 50/50. A lot of them were very well thought of, which is a challenge of its own."

Many of the 2008 guys were thrown into action immediately, and others were given playing time very soon after their arrival. They have certainly had their ups and downs, but the progress is very much apparent. Just look at the Rose Bowl for example, where fellow classmates Pryor and Posey connected eight times for 101 yards and the game-clinching touchdown.

Brewster and Shugarts also started during that game, and helped pave the way upfront for 26 points and 419 total yards.

Tressel said that the class of 2008 has been a fun group to watch grow up.

"It was a situation where a handful of them were thrown into the lineup in 2008 as real young guys," Tressel said. "It's been fun watching them progress. I just see a lot of growth in them, and that's the fun of what we do. We get all nervous and so forth, and we talk a lot about how we do, whether we won the Rose Bowl or won this many games or that many games.

"I know what coaches get nervous about is how does a young person progress, are we getting him ready for the rest of his life? It's fun to see those moments when you see the evidence that guys are coming along.

"And that class just seems to me that they're giving us more and more evidence that they're coming along."

REMEMBER THE NAME — Ohio State senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher wanted to set the record straight at the Big Ten Media Days this week in Chicago.

"It's SONZ-in-bach-er," the receiver said. "There's been some discrepancies in our family with the name, but it's SONZ-in-bach-er."

Many in the media have been pronouncing his name as SANZ, rather than SONZ.

Sanzenbacher finished the 2009 season with 36 receptions for 570 yards and six touchdowns (second on the team in all three receiving categories).

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