Feb. 4, 2004

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel
Opening statement
“Last year, some of our most important recruiting was getting Michael Jenkins and Will Smith and those guys to feel as if it was best in all of our interests for them to be with us. We didn’t do quite as well recruiting this year from that standpoint. Obviously as you know, Chris Gamble will be going on to the NFL.

“We felt our coaching staff did an extraordinary job with the new class of guys. We have some guys that are here already (Todd Boeckman, Marcus Freeman and Steve Rehring). We have a number of guys that we are allowed to talk about today that have signed letters of intent. We have 23 guys. As you know, we had a large senior class so therefore we have a number of spots to fill and needs to take care of.

“I thought our coaching staff did an extraordinary job of setting up the organization for us to have an outstanding recruiting class. Coaches spent hours and hours and hours leading up to this fall, during the season and during the contact part of recruiting which is in December and January. I thought we ended up with a very, very good recruiting class.

“I think it’s a very diverse class. We have 14 players in the group that signed today from the state of Ohio, four from the state of Pennsylvania, two from Florida and three from other individual states (Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri). We have guys of all different academic interests. The positions right now across the board are pretty solid. I think there are 12 on the offensive side, 11 of the defensive side. The diversity is spread across the board. The needs were met so that we could have as deep and as strong of a football team as possible. That really symbolizes this recruiting class. It’s an extraordinary group of young men.

“This is our fourth recruiting class and one of the things that have been most important to me over the years is the guys that have chosen Ohio State truly have a passion to be here. No doubt about it these guys what to get a college degree. They want to play championship football and they want to be challenged with the great schedule that we play. Everyone looks forward to playing against them and they have a tremendous amount of exposure. It’s a group that is excited about what lies ahead. You could hear in their voice today on the phone after they signed their letters that they were excited. Now this is over, we want them to finish strong, enjoy the rest of their senior year and make sure they finish their high school careers in the best possible fashion.

“We felt like we did an outstanding job in the state of Ohio. It was good to see the impact that we made in the state of Pennsylvania. We have been working very hard in all the contiguous states around Ohio. Our coaches travel throughout and have come up with some outstanding guys who are looking forward to being part of the Ohio culture and The Ohio State University. We felt good about getting those Ohio players as well.

“We had needs, our coaches went out and we believe met those needs. I think we met those needs with the right types of people. We are anxious to see as each of them take the field, some of these guys earlier than others, where they can step in, what role they can play and how they can uphold the great tradition of Ohio State football.”