It's been a trying few days at Ohio State. From the bang-bang news Monday of head coach Jim Tressel resigning and a damaging Sports Illustrated article, there's been plenty of "down" moments for Buckeye fans across the country. It is, however, not all bad for the football program on the recruiting front as Ohio State reinforced the notion that the program is one of the few that can withstand major issues that would otherwise derail others.
The first sign of good news came Tuesday as the prize in the Buckeyes' class of 2012, Lakewood (Ohio) offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, planned on decommitting from the program but was convinced to remain a part of the class by interim head coach Luke Fickell over a 45 minute phone conversation.
"The only way I'd go to Ohio State is if Coach Fick is the coach," Kalis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I know him pretty well. He knows the way I'm a fighter and I don't give up on things. He said he went through the same thing in college and ended up going to Ohio State, and he said if I go to Ohio State, it will be the best decision of my life."
Kalis is ranked 61st overall in the class of 2012 according to MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming, the only member of the OSU recruiting class to be ranked in the top 100. Like many players, fans and recruits, Kalis' initial reaction to hearing that Tressel had resigned was one of complete surprise.
"My first thought was shock. My heart sank and my stomach started hurting," he told the paper. "I turned my phone off and went back to bed. I had 87 missed calls from all over, the New York Times, ESPN. I didn't return one of them. I thought it would be disrespectful, like I was talking behind coach Tressel's back."
The 6-foot-5, 310 pound Kalis is one of two offensive linemen committed to the school at the moment. In another bit of good news, Kalis was joined in the Buckeyes' class by Bedford (Ohio) safety Tyvis Powell, who committed to the school Wednesday afternoon. A lifelong Ohio State fan, Powell was unphased by all that's gone on in Columbus.
"I made this decision, I'd say back in 2003," Powell told Bucknuts.com. "For eight years I've known where I want to go.
"I'm not going to take my talents to another state. It's about dedication to Ohio. I can't leave. I can't see myself going out-of-state to play my football."Powell, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound defensive back who plays both safety and corner, becomes the eight commitment for the class of 2012 - all of whom are from Ohio. He selected Ohio State over offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Minnesota and West Virginia among others.
Things are not going well in Columbus with the NCAA circling around ahead of the school's August hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions and an interim head coach but at least there is a little positive news on the recruiting front.