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Football: Bobcats hope bowl win helps them in recruiting
Football coach Frank Solich received an early Christmas gift last year with his first bowl win for the Bobcats. Wednesday, he will receive a late holiday present: written commitments from a talented recruiting class on National Signing Day.
The Bobcats are expecting between 16 and 19 high-school recruits to sign National Letters of Intent to play football at Ohio. The class will replace its 18 outgoing seniors and a couple of underclassmen who decided to transfer after the 2011 season.
Ohio is coming off its most successful season in recent memory. The Bobcats picked up their first bowl win, won five of their six games on national television and claimed their third Mid-American Conference East Division title in six years.
NCAA regulations prohibit Solich and his staff from commenting on any recruits before National Signing Day, but he’s dropped hints along the way that Ohio’s success has helped to attract top-notch talent.
“We probably have more commitments (through December) than maybe what we’ve had in previous years,” Solich said shortly after the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. “It’s going to be somewhat of a smaller class that we have because of the number of seniors graduating.”
The Bobcats lose key starters at the running back, linebacker and wide receiver positions, and two backup quarterbacks transferred out of the program. Ohio also has to fill two spots on the offensive and defensive lines, and need a new punter.
According to Rivals.com, Ohio has oral commitments from at least 15 players. Five of those are wide receivers and four are linebackers. The oral commits also include two defensive linemen, one offensive lineman, a running back and a quarterback.
The earliest recruits to commit orally to Ohio made their decisions in September. High-school teammates Chris Murray and Greg Windham from Tampa, Fla., made their decisions after Ohio defeated Marshall 44-7.
“The atmosphere was crazy,” said Windham, a 6-foot-2 wide receiver. “They beat their rivals and made Marshall look like a Division-II team. That right there made me want to come up (to Ohio).”
Five potential players have said they will play for the Bobcats within the last 10 days.
The most recent oral commit is Trae Clark, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive lineman from Colerain High School in Cincinnati. He visited campus last weekend and talked with potential teammates Neal Huynh and Antwan Crutcher before declaring his commitment Monday.
The Bobcats will know the size and caliber of their recruiting class by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Until then, Solich and his staff can only wait to see what signatures will end up under the proverbial Christmas tree.