April 24, 2007

Buckeyes stocking up on OL talent

There are some amazing traditions involved with Ohio State football - Woody Hayes, national championships, Heisman Trophies, The Shoe, Script Ohio, Hang on Sloopy after the third quarter and many, many more. But if things continue the way they are in this recruiting class, a new tradition might have to evolve.

Don't be surprised if you start to hear chants of "Block O" in the near future.

Ohio State has quickly gobbled up blue-chip recruit after blue-chip recruit on the offensive line. It has assembled what could go down as one of the best line classes in recent memory. Buckeyes fans have already dubbed the O-line class of Mike Adams, Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts as "Block O."

Block O is the name of a registered student organization at Ohio State that considers itself to be comprised of the "greatest Buckeye fans on campus." Now, Ohio State fans have given their high profile line recruits the endearing nickname.

"It's so amazing to be associated with such a great university and such a great group of fans," Brewster, the 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater said. "Everywhere I went when I was up there last weekend, people were telling me about how great it was to be at Ohio State. They are so supportive of their football program, and I couldn't wait to become part of that great tradition."

The new Ohio State tradition started with the pledge of Adams, an offensive tackle from Dublin (Ohio) Coffman. He committed to Ohio State on March 10, turning down offers from Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State and numerous other national programs.

"Just everything about it made it an easy decision for me," said Adams - who is ranked as one of the top 250 players in the nation by Rivals.com. "They are great coaches. There's nothing like them in the country. They are great guys, I love coach (Jim) Tressel, coach (Jim) Bollman. I also feel I have an opportunity to play there as soon as I get there - especially with me graduating a semester early next year. I just felt like that was the right place for me, my family loves it there and it is close to home."

Block O

Ohio State is working on assembling the nation's top offensive line class.


Mike Adams

6-7, 308

Michael Brewster

6-6, 305

J.B. Shugarts

6-7, 299

Top Targets

Josh Jenkins

6-3, 282

Kyle Long

6-7, 280

Lucas Nix

6-6, 295

Greg Shaw

6-6, 285

Adams then went to work immediately on two other big pieces of the puzzle - Brewster and Shugarts.

Brewster has spent a lot of time with Adams and fellow Ohio State commitment Jake Stoneburner. That bond helped make the decision to commit to Ohio State easier for Brewster. Through a visit in March where Brewster stayed at Adams' house, to trading text messages and lengthy phone calls, Adams did what he could to sell Brewster on Ohio State.

"I want the best players to play for Ohio State, and there's no question that Mike is one of the best around," Adams said. "Jake and I had to get him to become a Buckeye."

The sales pitch definitely worked.

And the second piece of the new Block O was officially in place. And it was a big, big piece.

Brewster was recently ranked by Rivals.com as the top offensive lineman in the country. He first worked himself onto the recruiting radar in June 2006, when he was one of the top overall prospects at the Eugene, Ore., NIKE Camp. The 6-foot-6, 305-pounder moves well laterally and is athletic enough to handle most pass rushing defensive ends coming off the edge. He also stands out in the classroom and is planning to graduate from high school early to enroll at Ohio State.

The third piece of the puzzle was added Tuesday when Shugarts officially went public with his long-anticipated commitment to Ohio State. Shugarts - who is a 6-foot-7, 299-pounder from Klein, Texas - is one of the best offensive linemen in the country and is ranked as one the top 100 players in the nation.

As a junior, Shugarts earned First Team all-Greater Houston honors for his performance on the field. He added U.S. Army all-combine first-team honors after impressing at the U.S. Army Junior Combine. Shugarts also earned first team all-district honors as a sophomore.

The original group included myself, J.B. Shugarts, Mike Adams and Kyle Long, and we now basically have most of it coming together.
- Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater OT Michael Brewster

"I can get better," he said. "I am working on the little things everyday to become a great offensive lineman. I want to dominate in the fall, distinguish myself as the best offensive tackle in Texas and lead my team deep into the 5A Texas state playoffs."

And when he's done there, he'll head to Columbus to join up with Adams and Brewster.

The Buckeyes continue to chase several other high profile offensive line targets. Four other top prospects on the radar are Miami Pace tackle/guard Greg Shaw, Vienna (W.Va.) Parkersburg tackle Josh Jenkins, tackle Kyle Long from Charlottesville, Va., and Jefferson Hills (Pa.) Thomas Jefferson tackle Lucas Nix. All four are very interested in the Buckeyes as well.

"The original group included myself, J.B. Shugarts, Mike Adams and Kyle Long, and we now basically have most of it coming together," Brewster said. "Now you have to throw in a guy like Josh Jenkins, and we have the potential of a really special offensive line class."

If the Buckeyes get one of their four remaining targets, they have a great shot to cement their slot at the top of the offensive line rankings this year. If they get two or three of the four, this could be one of the best offensive line classes of all time.

"This will be the finest class of offensive linemen the Big Ten has seen since Bo Schembechler reeled in Bubba Paris, Ed Muransky, and Kurt Becker in the late 1970's," bhambuck posted on BuckeyeGrove.com. "Getting the best offensive linemen from the state of Ohio, Florida, and Texas shows that Ohio State is one of the great powers in college football and will be in the national title hunt for years to come."

Other posters agree.

"This OL is the best potential group OSU has had since the early 80s, and maybe best in the nation since the Budde, Munoz, Claiborne, VanHorne, USC group of the late 70s," 8183 wrote on BuckeyeGrove.com. "Nickname of Block O is all well and good, but most of all, we cannot wait to see these kids play USC in '09 and Miami in 2010."

If the Buckeyes come out victorious in those games and Block O has a lot to do with it, the legend will only continue to grow.


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