(Summarizing what Ohio State football coaches and recruits had to say about the 2011 class after it signed yesterday)
Defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said he really likes this group because it is tough. Everyone they recruit is athletic, but toughness wins games.
Elyria’s Chase Farris is an end who can probably play inside at the 3-technique tackle in nickel situations. He has good speed and is a big, rangy guy who can come off the edge.
Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove’s Joel Hale is a big, quick guy who can run. He gets off the ball well and is very active. He could play inside or out as well, although he’s a lot bigger than Farris.
Kenny Hayes of Toledo Whitmer is also a very good basketball player who is tough, physical and can run. He can rush the passer (I saw him at OSU’s camp and he is a man-child. He is good-sized now but looks like he’ll get a lot bigger).
Michael Bennett of Centerville has great explosion. He figures to be a great inside guy for them because he can get up the field and force the action (I’ve heard talk about people wanting him to move to offense, but that looks like it would be a big mistake to me. I like how aggressive he is on defense, and as an offensive linemen for the Elks he wasn’t doing much more than drive blocking because they run the triple option).
Steve Miller of Canton McKinley could be a dominant player, and Heacock loves him because he’s a no-nonsense type of guy. He may never have smiled during their camp last summer. He’s very physical and a good athlete.
Heacock likes the versatility of the class, and that is important because of all the different styles they see in the Big Ten. Guys like outgoing senior Cameron Heyward are good to have because they can help inside and out.
He’s really pleased with the depth the team has now.
Joel Hale was there and said the adjustment to college life is a day-to-day thing that was tough at first. He’s excited to see everybody getting together to dominate.
He needs to work on his ability to rush the passer and he thinks he needs to lose some weight. Stopping the run is a strongsuit of his.
He loves the team aspect of football and thinks he can play inside or out.
Linebackers coach Luke Fickell said they began the year looking for two linebackers but ended up taking four because they had a chance to get two guys who were too good to pass up (Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant).
Ejuan Price of Pittsburgh Woodland Hills (Ohio State continues to raid Pennsylvania at an unprecedented rate) was mostly a pass rusher in high school. He is not tall but he is powerful. He played both ways and is smart.
Conner Crowell of Waldorf (Md.) North Point s a youngster who broke his leg during the playoffs and is rehabbing but has great potential.
Shazier of Plantation, Fla., was mostly an end who rushed the passer in high school but he has a great motor and is picking things up well.
Grant of Richmond, Va., is a big, physical kid who will fit in their system. He is very intelligent and really understands football and loves the guys on the team already. He has great charisma and can really take over a room. He might even help them draw more players from his area in the future.
Regarding taking two guys who didn’t play a lot of true linebacker, he said that’s not unusual for them at any position. They like to find kids who play the game like they want and then they’ll teach them what they need to know.
He figured losing two senior starters helped get the attention of some of those guys who might see an opportunity to play early.
Price nearly flipped for Pittsburgh at the end, but they stayed on him without pushing him too hard and he followed what was in his heart.
Ryan Shazier said he has four good guys with him helping him cope with the cold Columbus winter for the first time.
Ohio State was always in his mind even when he was committed to Florida. He took advantage of the opening when Urban Meyer retired and came to see Ohio State and liked the guys here a lot.
Then he had to make a quick decision so he could get his paperwork filed in time to get into school for winter quarter.
Ohio State’s linebacker tradition and all the guys who have been drafted from here over the years was a factor for him.
He isn’t worried about the adjustment to standing up at linebacker. He did it a lot in practice as a senior and impressed people at practice at an all-star game, too.
Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson is impressed with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s cornerback Doran Grant’s focus. He saw that both at a track meet and before a playoff game. He has great ball skills and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and get dirty. He’s very athletic and fast.
DurJuan “Peewee” Gambrell is a tall guy who reminds Johnson of former Buckeye Donald Washington. he’s athletic and great with the ball in his hands. With his length, he can do a lot of different things.
Both guys really fit the system and the family.
They both have the athletic ability to play early and are coming in at a great time with seniors Devon Torrence and Chimdi Chekwa moving on.
He expects those guys to come in and learn what it takes to compete against the team’s receivers every day.
Safeties coach Paul Haynes said safety Ron Tanner is smart, an honors student. He will fit in well. Being from Columbus Eastmoor, he is already familiar with some of the community service things they ask the current players to do. He is very physical and rangy.
Same with Jeremy Cash, who was a high school teammate of Shazier at Plantation. He’s a big guy who is very confident and a great leader.
Losing Jermale Hines and Aaron Gant means those guys will need to learn fast.
Jeremy Cash said he told Shazier about the tradition at Ohio State and pointed out to him he would have a chance to play early if he came here.
Asked about his playing style, he said he likes to try to take heads off. He’s working on pass coverage.
Ohio State has a reputation as a place guys from Florida can go and succeed.
For more from Buckeye Sports Bulletin and Scout.com, check out our Signing Day archive.