Thursday, November 18, 2010

OHIO HAS BEEN VERY GOOD TO THE HAWKEYES; MOELLER BACK FOR 2011

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi is one of 12 Hawkeye players from the state of Ohio. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Ohio is definitely known for its football.

The Buckeye State is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, coaching legends Woody Hayes, Paul Brown, Don Shula and Chuck Noll, NFL greats Roger Staubach, Jack Lambert and Lou "the Toe" Groza, and nine Heisman Trophy winners, including the only two-time receipient, Archie Griffin.

Ohio is also known for having some of the very best high school football in the country.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz certainly knows a thing or two about how valuable recruiting Ohio can be, as his Hawkeyes possess several players from the Buckeye State on its roster.

Iowa hosts ninth-ranked Ohio State this Saturday, the team that seems to have the pick of the litter from within its own borders each year.

"In a nutshell, you let Ohio State take their guys and then you go from there," Ferentz chuckled. "That's how it works."

That statement may be true, but it doesn't mean the cupboard is bare after the Buckeyes fill their openings, that's for sure.

The Hawkeyes have three star players from Ohio in quarterback Ricky Stanzi, split end Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and cornerback Micah Hyde, who have the talent to play anywhere in the country — including Ohio State.

"Oh, yeah, if you look at the Big Ten rosters, there are a lot of good players from Ohio," Ferentz said. "(Ohio State) can't take them all. It's like Florida and Texas, they only have so many spots. If they got 12 or 13 (scholarships) available, that's a good thing for everybody else, because everybody else has a chance to go in and get some good players."

Stanzi is definitely one of those "good players." The senior from Mentor is just 80 yards away from moving into third place all-time in career passing yards at Iowa — behind Chuck Long (1981-85) and Drew Tate (2003-06). He is already third all-time in touchdown passes with 53.

"Ricky Stanzi is one of the top quarterbacks in the country," Ferentz said. "Fortunately we were able to recruit him. That spot was already taken at Ohio State. I know they weren't involved in the recruitment and that's a good thing."

Johnson-Koulianos, a native of Campbell, Ohio — suburb of Youngstown — has also made a name for himself at Iowa, becoming the all-time leader in school history in receptions (168) and receiving yards (2,544).

"If you look at his production, it speaks for itself," Ferentz said of Johnson-Koulianos. "I don't know how many records he's set, but they're all big ones. Possessions, TDs, I'm losing track. It seems like every week he's surpassing someone else. He's done a really great job."

The Hawkeyes have 12 Ohioans on their roster, with six of them playing in the two-deep on their current depth chart.

It's pretty safe to say that if the Buckeyes are upset by the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, more than likely, one or two of their native sons had something to do with it.

Tyler Moeller
(The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
MOELLER WILL BE BACK ... Ohio State senior safety Tyler Moeller was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA on Wednesday.

Moeller, who missed all of the 2009 season with a head injury — suffered after being attacked on a family vacation in Florida — filed for the medical red-shirt prior to this season.

"Im excited," Moeller said. "It's great to have another year here. My mind has been five million different places for the past couple weeks. It's just great knowing that I have another year here and another chance to play."

The Cincinnati-native played in five games this season, before suffering a season-ending injury (torn pectoral muscle) at Illinois on October 2.

Moeller recorded 20 tackles (4.5 for loss), a sack, an interception, two pass break-ups and two forced fumbles this season for the Buckeyes.