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Feb. 7, 2007

All-Ac cess Signing Day Press Conference

COLUMBUS, Ohio: Fifteen of the nation’s top high school football players have signed on the dotted line to attend Ohio State.

“We lost a significant amount of speed this past year, but we feel as though we were able to replace that speed with this class,” said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. “That was a high priority for us.”

This year’s class includes 10 players from Ohio, two from Florida and one each from the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“We like the blend of in-state and out-of-state players,” said Tressel. Anytime you can sign 10 players from Ohio, you have a tremendous nucleus to build upon down the road.”

Broken down by position, there are 10 defensive and five offensive players. The defensive contingent includes six defensive backs, two linebackers and two defensive linemen. On offense, there are two wide receivers, two running backs and one offensive lineman.

“This is a group of young men who are excited to be at Ohio State, and it will mean a lot to them to represent this university and play in Ohio Stadium,” said Tressel. “I like the potential of this class a lot.”

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Evan Blankenship OL 6-3 300 Monaca, Pa./Center Area
Eugene Clifford DB 6-2 190 Cincinnati/Colerain
Donnie Evege DB 5-11 185 Huber Heights/Wayne
Daniel Herron RB 5-10 200 Warren/Harding
Cameron Heyward DT 6-6 280 Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge
Jermale Hines LB 6-2 205 Cleveland/Glenville
Nate Oliver S 6-0 195 Lakewood/St. Edwards
Rocco Pentello S 6-0 195 Westerville/South
Brian Rolle LB 5-11 210 Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee
Brandon Saine RB 6-1 205 Piqua/Piqua
Dane Sanzenbacher WR 5-11 175 Toldeo/Central Catholic
James Scott DB 5-10 165 Daytona Beach, Fla./Seabreeze Senior
Solomon Thomas DE 6-5 225 West Chester/Lakota West
Devon Torrence S 6-1 190 Canton/South
Taurian Washington WR 6-2 180 Orchard Lake,Mich./St. Mary’s

Press Conference Quotes
Jim Tressel, Ohio State Head Coach
On signing day
“This is always an exciting day for the program. This is a year-round operation for us and we always have certain parameters when we go about recruiting. We want good people who want to earn a degree from The Ohio State University. These kids want to have success and be a part of a team. Obviously we recruit on football skills, but we look at their character, too.”

On positions
“We’re not always on target with these recruits. Guys like Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez came in as cover corners on defense. Chris Gamble came in as a wide receiver but as you have seen on Sundays the last couple years he’s pretty good on defense.”

On academics
“The thing that really stuck out was the wish to excel academically by this recruiting class. And with that, it takes a total team effort throughout The Ohio State University and we had tremendous assistance from academic counselors and housing.”

On the recruiting class and winning
“There is no question that this recruiting class is used to winning and excellence. Of the 15 guys in the class, 14 of them played on playoff teams. The one that wasn’t was on an undefeated team whose team wasn’t eligible for the playoffs.”

On team speed
“We lost a tremendous amount of speed this past season and the extraordinary speed displayed by this class is going to be a great asset to our program.”