Jim Tressel's resignation this week is a game-changer for recruiting.
With Tressel there, rarely did a top player in Ohio go anywhere but Ohio State. Tressel had cultivated friendships with every top high school coach in the state when he was at Youngstown State and then Ohio State.
Interim coach Luke Fickell is the program's top recruiter, but they're saying they're going to look for a permanent head coach at the end of the season. It could go either way; Alabama, it took almost a decade to rebound from NCAA sanctions. But USC was hit with major sanctions and still had a great recruiting year.
Ohio State does have a natural talent base. A lot of kids are just born to play there. I think what they should do is concentrate on Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Right now, there's blood in the water and the sharks are Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan State. Ballplayers will start having doubts about Ohio State. It could devastate recruiting for the next couple years.
Michigan has already offered most of the top kids in Ohio. Michigan State, maybe they can dip down into the neighboring state. Notre Dame and Penn State have not done much in Ohio the last couple years, but they could come back in,
Of the top 10 guys in Ohio in the Class of 2012, the Buckeyes would have got at least eight of them if Tressel had stayed. They had already got the No. 1 guy, Kyle Kalis, an offensive lineman from Lakewood St. Edward, who's been offered by everybody. Of my top 12 players in the state, they were leading on 11 of them.
Another program that could benefit is Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have no talent at home and since they're leaving the Big 12, they have to come into the Midwest, especially Chicago and Ohio.