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23 new Buckeyes sign on to 2011 football team

Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor

Cardale Jones, quarterback, Glenville High School (Cleveland)

Coming from the storied Cleveland Glenville program that has produced former Ohio State stars such as Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr., Jones is a late addition to OSU’s future, not committing to the Buckeyes until Signing Day.

Don’t look for Jones of the field next season though, as he will enroll in prep school before coming to Columbus next January, pushing his first year of eligibility back to the 2012 season.

Bryce Haynes, long snapper, Pinecrest Academy (Cumming, Ga.)

In past recruiting classes, coach Jim Tressel has traveled south to pick up skilled players such as receiver Santonio Holmes and defensive end Cameron Heyward. This year, he offered a scholarship to a player possessing a different type of skill. With the emphasis that Tressel often puts on special teams, perhaps its fitting that this year’s class possesses one of the most unheralded members of a special teams unit: the long snapper.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Haynes also received offers from Notre Dame, North Carolina, Utah State and Arkansas.

Conner Crowell, linebacker, North Point High School (Waldorf, Md.)

Crowell is the No. 24-ranked middle linebacker in the class of 2011, according to Scout.com.

At 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, Crowell also received offers from Connecticut, Penn State, Maryland, West Virginia, Kansas State, Stanford and several other schools before choosing the Buckeyes.

Ron Tanner, safety, Eastmoor Academy High School (Columbus)

Scout.com’s No. 11 safety in the class of 2011 decided to stay close to home in Columbus, choosing the Buckeyes over schools such as Michigan and Stanford.

Tanner is a hard-hitting safety that also played quarterback in high school at Eastmoor Academy. Heading into his senior year of high school, he maintained a 3.8 GPA.

Nick Vannett, tight end, Westerville-Central High School (Westerville, Ohio)

A 6-foot-6, 230-pound tight end, Vannett is ranked as the No. 14 tight end in his class, according to Scout.com.

In 2010, Vannett was first team all-conference, as well as a first team all-district selection as a tight end at Westerville-Central in Westerville, Ohio.

Devin Smith, wide receiver, Washington High School (Massillon, Ohio)

The No. 29 ranked receiver in his class, Smith chose the Buckeyes over Big Ten schools Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Smith makes up for his lack of size with the elusive speed that makes him a dangerous downfield threat.

Joel Hale, defensive tackle, Central Grove (Greenwood, Ind.)

One of three defensive tackles in this year’s class for the Buckeyes, Hale chose OSU over Big Ten schools Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

In his senior season at Central Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind., Hale recorded 43 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, two of which were sacks. He also forced nine fumbles and recorded an interception.

Michael Bennett, defensive tackle, Centerville High School (Centerville, Ohio)

A four-star recruit from the same high school that produced OSU stars A.J. Hawk and Mike Nugent, Bennett is the No. 8 defensive tackle in his class.

A two-way lineman in high school, Bennett chose OSU over schools Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford.

Steve Miller, defensive end, McKinley Senior High School (Canton, Ohio)

A five-star recruit according to Scout.com, Miller is the No. 9 overall player at his position in the class of 2011.

Miller could see the field immediately for the Buckeyes, helping to fill the void left by the graduating Cameron Heyward and the suspended Solomon Thomas.

Brian Bobek, center, William Fremd High School (Palatine, Ill.)

The No. 1 center in the nation according to Scout.com, Bobek will look to follow LeCharles Bentley, Nick Mangold, and Michael Brewster as the next All-American center at OSU.

A native of Palatine, Ill., Bobek chose the Buckeyes over Michigan State, Ball State and Purdue.

Curtis Grant, linebacker, Hermitage High School (Richmond, Va.)

Grant left the OSU coaches sweating, as he waited until Signing Day to announce his intentions of joining the Buckeyes, but the nation’s top-rated linebacker might prove to be well worth the wait.

The leading tackler for the East in the U.S. Army All-American Game, Grant will look to be the next great linebacker at a school that has produced Chris Spielman, Hawk and James Laurinaitis.

Ejuan Price, linebacker, Woodland Hills High School (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

One of four linebackers in OSU’s class of 2011, Price joins the Buckeyes as the No. 14 middle linebacker prospect in his class.

The hard-hitting linebacker from Pittsburgh chose the Buckeyes over Big Ten competitors Michigan State and Iowa, and also Big East schools Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia.

Doran Grant, cornerback, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (Akron, Ohio)

Unlike LeBron James, who also attended St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio, Grant chose to stay in Ohio for the next step in his career, choosing the Buckeyes over offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Southern California.

As the No. 5 ranked cornerback in his class, Grant makes up for his 5-foot-10, 177 pound frame with speed that allowed him to play defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner in high school.

Ryan Shazier, linebacker, Plantation High School (Plantation, Fla.)

Ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker in his class, Shazier will attempt to make a transition to a new position in college, as he played defensive end for the majority of his high school career.

Having chosen OSU over national powers Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma and Southern California, Shazier should fit in nicely with an OSU defense that uses versatile players to present multiple schemes.

Evan Spencer, wide receiver, Vernon Hills High School (Vernon Hills, Ill.)

With the loss of Dane Sanzenbacher to graduation, the Buckeyes will be looking to replace a player who made a knack for making tough catches across the middle of the field. Spencer might be that man.

Spencer’s reputation of being a tough player who’s not afraid to take a hit — or make a hit blocking downfield — earned Spencer a four-star ranking from Scout.com as the No. 19 receiver in his class. Spencer is the son of former OSU running back and running backs coach Tim Spencer.

Braxton Miller, quarterback, Wayne High School (Huber Heights, Ohio)

The headliner of this year’s class, Miller made a reputation for himself as a dual-threat quarterback in high school, earning the No. 2 quarterback ranking by multiple recruiting services.

With OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, Miller will compete this spring with Joe Bauserman, Ken Guiton and Taylor Graham to be the Buckeyes’ starter in Pryor’s absence.

Jeff Heuerman, tight end, Barron Collier High School (Naples, Fla)

A three-star recruit and the second tight end prospect in OSU’s class, Heuerman chose the Buckeyes over offers from a number of schools, including Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Heuerman has made a name for himself as a blocking tight end who can also be used as a red zone target.

Jeremy Cash, safety, Plantation High School (Plantation, Fla.)

An early-enrollee at OSU, Cash is joining the Buckeyes following a senior season in which he missed five games with a knee injury.

As a high school junior, Cash recorded 96
tackles, 23 of which were for a loss, seven sacks and forced five fumbles. He also reported a high school GPA of 4.0.

Tommy Brown, offensive tackle, Firestone High School (Akron, Ohio)

An All-Ohio selection as a two-way lineman at Firestone High School, Brown plans to enroll during Spring Quarter at OSU as a three-star recruit.

At 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, Brown has been praised for his strength and run-blocking abilities.

DerJuan Gambrell, cornerback, Rogers High School (Toledo, Ohio)

A four-star recruit according to Scout.com, Gambrell chose the Buckeyes’ offer over his hometown Toledo Rockets.

Gambrell missed four games of his senior season with an injury, but still managed to be named first-team all-city and all-district playing defensive back and wide receiver.

Chase Farris, defensive end, Elyria High School (Elyria, Ohio)

A four-star recruit, Farris joins OSU as the No. 10 ranked defensive tackle prospect in the nation.

Farris earned all-Ohio honors on both sides of the ball as a senior, playing defensive and offensive line for Elyria High School. He was named the district’s defensive lineman of the year.

Antonio Underwood, offensive guard, Shaker Heights High School (Shaker Heights, Ohio)

Ranked as a three-star recruit, Underwood joins the Buckeyes as the No. 22-ranked offensive guard prospect in his class.

Praised for his power and aggressiveness, Underwood was named the Lake Erie league conference’s offensive lineman of the year in 2010.

Ken Hayes, defensive end, Whitmer High School (Toledo, Ohio)

The No. 14-ranked defensive end prospect in his class, Whitmer earned a four-star rating from Scout.com, based on his combination of size and strength.

Hayes was named his district’s defensive player of the year after posting 47 tackles, 11 of which were for a loss, and seven sacks, as he led his team to a 12-2 record.

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