Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breaking my Hartline and other Buckeyes Bites

Two Buckeyes made decisions on their futures today with Junior WR Brian Hartline declaring for the NFL Draft and Junior S Kurt Coleman declaring that he would return for his Senior season in the Scarlet and Grey.

Here is the statement which Hartline released to the media:
"I am thrilled to declare my eligibility for the National Football League draft.
"Everyone involved within The Ohio State University football program has done a tremendous job for me. I want to thank all of them, particularly Coach Tressel, for helping me to succeed as both a student and an athlete during my time here.
"I would especially like to thank the media and the fans of Ohio for being great to me and to my family throughout my career.
"I have had an outstanding experience at OSU and am thankful for the support I continue to receive. I now look forward to testing myself against the top competitors in the National Football League."
While it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hartline was going to leave, and valid justifications exist for his decision, as a Buckeye fan it's easy to be selfish and wish that he would have returned for his remaining year. However, considering all the factors, leaving is probably the best option for Hartline at this point.

Make no bones about it, I don't think Hartline gets drafted on the first day. I'm sure a number of Buckeyes' fans out there are making arguments about how Hartline could come back, put up impressive numbers and move into day one of the draft. But honestly, I just don't see that happening. Look at Hartline's statistics over the past two seasons:
  • 2007: 52 Receptions, 694 Yards, 13.3 YPC, 6 TDs

  • 2008: 21 Receptions, 479 Yards, 21.8, 4 TDs
With Terrelle Pryor taking over the QB position from Todd Boeckman this year, Hartline's numbers dropped noticeably. Hartline had obvious chemistry with Boeckman that he lacked with Pyror, probably due to Pyror's inability to throw the football with any sense of consistency. In fact, Hartline didn't catch more than 3 balls in any game this season and didn't even go over the 100 yard receiving mark once. With Pyror and Brandon Saine in the backfield next year, I see the Buckeyes moving to more of a spread offense, meaning that Hartline isn't going to suddenly come back next year with a 1000 yard season. And with Ray Small (hopefully), DeVier Posey, Dane "Concussion"Sanzenbacher, Taurian Washington, and Lamaar Thomas all coming back next year, Hartline's contributions on the field, while missed, won't be noticeably missed. I'm pretty sure the pedestrian numbers which he put up can be replaced or improved upon by any of the above.

Hartline is getting married this spring. He's close with a number of the graduating Seniors on the team. He hasn't really exhibited any of the leadership qualities that makes me think that we're losing a valuable captain off next year's team. He will be remembered as a solid, but rather average OSU receiver. As a Buckeye fan, we need to wish him the best as he moves towards the draft and hope that he has another career to fall back upon we he gets cut in training camp.

On the other hand, Coleman's decision to return is a reassuring one for the Buckeyes and their fans. Here is the statement which he released today :
"After a lot of thought and study, I have decided to remain at Ohio State for the 2009 season to complete my degree and my college football career.
"I am extremely blessed to be in the position where these opportunities are possible, and I'm very grateful for the support of my family, my teammates and the Ohio State community.
"My decision to come back is a lot about helping this team. I feel we can do anything next year. We have a lot of great leaders coming back and an excellent group of underclass talent. For me personally, my family and I felt this was the best decision for me, to make my career at Ohio State even better than it has already been.
"I have a lot to prove to myself and a lot of things I want to accomplish. With one more year here, I can attain all those goals."
Unlike Hartline, Coleman has the potential to increase his draft stock in the coming season. According to Plain Dealer Buckeye expert Doug Lesmerises, Coleman has a chance to improve his play into a first round pick next year. And while the Buckeyes have young depth at the wide receiver position, they lack such depth in their secondary. With the departure of both James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins, the Buckeyes are going to need a vocal leader on the defensive side of the ball. Coleman not only seems capable of filling that role, he seems to embrace it. And as a third-year starter, he can set the tone for the younger players. Coleman had 4 Ints this season, and I would look for more big plays to come next year.

On a final note, yesterday 5-Star DE Corey Adams chose ASU over OSU for his college career. I can't fault Corey's decision as he decided to stay close to home and attend college with his high school teammates and girlfriend. I'm sure the weather came into play as well. His decision just goes to show how impressive Tressel is as a recruiter when he can talk players into playing at OSU. Unless born a Buckeye's fan or from the area (Beanie or Teddy Ginn and all the Glenville kids for example) - a school like Florida or USC has to be much more desirable to a stud high school kid (in terms of weather and "scenery"). Kudos to Tressel for continuing to bring in the talent.(Images from Buckeye Banter

4 comments: said...

Hartline also graduates this spring. Definitely the right move for him to move on with the problems the passing game are likely to have next year.

By Land By Sea Baerga said...

From a pure football standpoint, and this may sound harsh, I don't think Hartline gets remembered really at all. I think he and Robiskie will fall into the Reggie Germany Ken Yon Rambo class of Buckeye tandems rather than a Jenkins/Carter. Love the fact that Coleman is returning.

Biff said...

Good Post. A few comments:

1. I thought Hartline should've stayed in the slot for his entire career. I hate the notion that just becase you are supposedly one of the "top 2" receivers on the team, you had to play the X or Y. I think the buckeyes would've been much better letting Posey start on the outside once Pryor came in but for the present and future. Posey is an obvious playmaker who will be playing on the outside for the next 2 or 3 years and he could've started building chemistry with TP. Meanwhile, I don't think Hartline was every really explosive enough to distinguish himself when matched up against other teams' top corners. Sometimes, guys are just made to play in the slot.

2. I'm excited Coleman is coming back because I like the way he plays. It's just too bad he's not a little bit bigger (he's 5'11, 187 compared to a guy like Taylor Mays who is 6'3, 230). That being said, there are plenty of smaller guys that have succeeded at the safety position (like Bob Sanders). But if you're small back there, you'd better have awesome instincts and be a lights out hitter.

3. I doubt Saine is the guy back there with TP next year. I know he's battled injuries but it sounds like he's already in borderline bust territory. I wouldn't be surprised if your two top backs next year are Herron and Jamaal Berry. If things aren't looking good, I wonder if they'd move Flash Thomas back to RB.

4. Looks like Marlon Brown is headed to the SEC. It's really a shame because with him, Duron Carter, and Posey, OSU could've had a really good looking group of young receivers.

Alvaro Espinoza said...

Regardless of who is in the backfield with Pryor and who his receivers are - Pryor needs to spend every moment working on his passing this summer if he wants any chance to make the pros as a quarterback.

What are we predicting on where Hartline gets drafted?

I'm saying late 4th