Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mailbag: What will it take to get Bri'onte Dunn?

Bri'onte Dunn (#25 with ball)

Assuming Bri'onte Dunn is waiting to see what the sanctions are prior to decommitting from OSU, how lenient will the penalty have to be to keep Dunn in the fold at OSU?
Bri'onte Dunn, the heralded running back from Glenoak High School in Canton, OH, has given every indication that his commitment to Ohio State depends upon how badly the NCAA punishes the Buckeyes for their transgressions.  He and his family maintain that he's committed to the program, but I think that's generally because he's leery of seeming wishy-washy, drawing the ire of Ohio State fans, etc.  After all, if he commits to another school right now and then the NCAA only gives OSU a slap on the wrist, he'll not only anger people by decommitting in the first place, but he'll infuriate another fan base who hope to see him wearing their jersey.  For now he's playing it safe, and I think that's the smart thing to do.

Dunn's father has suggested that a multi-year bowl ban will weigh heaviest on the decision.  If the Buckeyes are prohibited from participating in the postseason for three years, that could be Dunn's whole college career.  Who wants to go play football where you might not ever play during bowl season?  Even though Dunn has the size and talent to make it to the NFL, some guys' best accomplishments and legacies are built in bowl game performances.  When I think of Tai Streets, I think about his 4 receptions, 127 yards, and 2 touchdowns against Washington State in the Rose Bowl.  When I think of Adrian Arrington, I think about his 9 receptions, 153 yards, and 2 touchdowns against Florida in the Capital One Bowl.  Streets went on to a nondescript NFL career, and Arrington has seven career catches for the New Orleans Saints.

Recent rumors on message boards and from "insiders" have suggested that Dunn's more and more likely to stick with his Ohio State commitment, but I think that's partly because the NCAA investigation keeps getting elongated due to the new information popping up here and there.  The longer it takes for the NCAA to punish Ohio State, the better chance Dunn has of sticking.  And despite some obvious shenanigans regarding Terrelle Pryor's use of loaner cars, no wrongdoing has been found yet.

Pryor, the other accused players, and the university are still on the hook for the selling of merchandise, the free tattoos, and the alleged selling of autographs; Jim Tressel is still on the hook for lying and playing dumb.  There's a chance that the NCAA will say, "Well, Pryor left the school, and Tressel resigned, so here's a stern look and wagging of the finger and don't do it again."

I think it's more likely, though, that Ohio State gets a couple years of holidays off and the loss of a few dozen scholarships over the next few years.  USC got two years of bowl bans and 30 scholarship losses, but USC's issues mainly involved one player (Reggie Bush) and an assistant coach.  Ohio State's issues probably involve less money, but they were pervasive and involved the most visible employee of the university.  And by "employee" I mean Tressel, but I guess Pryor counts, too.

To answer your question more concisely, I think two years of bowl bans keep Dunn in Columbus.  Three years sends him elsewhere.  That doesn't mean Dunn would necessarily come to Michigan, because he's also been looking at Penn State.  But if I had to guess, I would say Michigan is #2 on his list if Ohio State's program does indeed get blasted by the NCAA.


  1. I heard that Dunn was recently recruiting a 2013 standout running back from Ohio. Reports say that he was very talkative with the recruits family.

    More and more I think Dunn will stay at osu.

  2. It would be nice to see him flip to UM. He looks smooth on his film. But if his heart is really set on OSU, I have some sympathy for him. Even though OSU has had some shady dealings and shady players and deserves punishment, it must be tough for the 2011 and 2012 recruits who had their hearts set on OSU and then had the rug pulled out.

    With or without Dunn, I have a strong feeling that Hoke will get the RB talent-train running again at UM as it did in the 80's and 90's. I expect a recruiting stampede at RB/WR for 2013 much like we have seen at OL/DL/LB for 2012. He has a lot to sell in the Borges offense and he can add early PT to the sales pitch for the 2013 class, much like he is doing on defense and OL in this cycle.

  3. The recruit is his cousin Dymonte Thomas- so that isn't exactly shocking that he is talkitive with his family.

  4. Not even a joke about offering to match his salary at OSU?

    While I'd be happy to land Dunn, if it doesn't work out, you can count me in the group of people that would rather take a second DT or a sixth OL than offer another RB.

  5. Well there is Dymonte Thomas who is a top player in Ohio and he has Michigan as his number 1. If I remember correctly he is Dunn's cousin and they were considering playing together

  6. The running back is dymonte thomas and they are cousins.But dymonte has michigan number one right now.hopefully he can sway dunn away from osu.

  7. The upside for Buckeye fans in losing Tressel was they all said "Well at least now we can finally fire our OC." Buckeye faithful have no illusions about how meek their offensive line is, and losing Kalis only compounds the problem. Dunn playing in Columbus will be a major obstacle to him having a standout career and a potential high draft pick in the NFL, especially considering his first few years he'd be it for the offense. Pryor led the BigTen in passing touchdowns last year and his mobility is the only thing that allowed them to have a decent pass attack at all. Fortunately for them Miller is mobile, but Denard Robinsons don't happen every year, it might take time for him to excel while running for his life every snap. The run game will be the target for most defenses looking to shut down the buckeyes.

  8. @ Anonymous 3:28 p.m.

    The list of commitss who recruit for their future team only to flip their own commitment is a long one. Bryce McNeal, Kevin Newsome, and Demetrius Hart are just a few of the guys in Michigan's recent past who were trying to convince others to go to Michigan, and now they're at Clemson, PSU, and Alabama, respectively.

    Don't put too much stock in it.

  9. In my heart I feel as though the recruiting class falling apart will be enough for him to drop the buckeyes. I don't think they are being truthful when they say what they say about bowl bans, I think he's already made his decision but is just keeping it quiet for now in order to save himself some grief from the locals down there. Sanctions are just the excuse.

  10. I suppose loss of scholarships and probation wouldn't matter to a recruit compared to a bowl ban. A top program with a large recruiting base could selectively recruit top prospects for a smaller class, but top prospects wouldn't want to play for a team with no bowl games and new coaches every year.

  11. Not trying to pick a fight here, but there are times where being a gifted athlete is not all that needs to be evaluated. If a kid is more inclined to like the campus down in columbus and likes the mentality of that program then we need to take a long hard look at whether or not he will fit in Ann Arbor. TP was a prime example, Plow boy the same way. This is about more than just getting good players, it is about finding guys to represent U of M. We dodged a major bullet during the RR years with TP, let's not take a kid just for the sake of his athletic ability.....let's make sure he will represent the university in the best light possible.

  12. @everyone who thinks it was Dymonte Thomas,

    It was not actually Dymonte Thomas's parents that Dunn was talking to at the osu camp. It was either Ross Douglas or Derrick Green. I guess I shouldn't have said standout RB from Ohio since Green is from VA.

    I don't think it would be significant if he was talking to his aunt and uncle, but he was actually talking to parents of another recruit.