2003 Recruiting Class Grade: D-

Donte Whitner

Following on the heels of Jim Tressel's greatest class, the 2003 Ohio State recruiting class did not live up to expectations, although many players were key contributors. How does the class grade out?

Although a few players hit it big in the 2003 Ohio State recruiting class, this group was plagued by injuries, legal issues and grade problems.

It was going to be tough to live up to the star-studded 2002 class, and this class was one of the lowest rated in the Jim Tressel era. Even with an average star rating of 3.53, the 2003 class checked in at number-25 because there were only 15 signees.

FIVE-STAR PROSPECTS:

Donte Whitner. Glenville. Cornerback. Lived up to the lofty ranking with an amazing career as a Buckeye, culminating in a first round draft selection by Buffalo. Ranked as the number-one cornerback in the country, even though he starred at safety at Ohio State.

FOUR-STAR PROSPECTS:

Anthony Gonzalez. St. Ignatius. Cornerback. Another player that lived up to the ranking, even though it was on the other side of the football. The number-eight ranked corner in the country was a first round pick of Indianapolis following a great career as a wide receiver at Ohio State.

David Patterson. Warrensville Heights. Defensive tackle. The number-four ranked defensive tackle in America lived up to the hype, as he was a two-year starter and key performer for the Buckeyes.

Dareus Hiley. Glenville. Cornerback. Oh what could have been for the number-six ranked cornerback in the country. Probably would have played offense and done a heck of a Ted Ginn impersonation, but grade and personal issues derailed a certain star career. "Superman" was the real deal.

Brandon Maupin. Lakota West. Defensive tackle. Another member of the "What could have been" club. The number-ten ranked defensive tackle could have played either side of the ball and had a world of talent. Grade and personal issues killed his Buckeye career.

Louis Irizarry. Ursuline. Tight end. The number-four ranked tight end in the country, and that might have been too low. Legal issues ruined the career of the best tight end I've ever seen in Ohio. Would be voted president of the "What could have been" club.

Marcel Frost. Brush. Tight end. Not to be outdone by the previous group of guys, the nations number-11 ranked tight end also saw his career go up in smoke at Ohio State. Could have played either side of the football, and was an impressive athlete.

THREE-STAR PROSPECTS:

Curt Lukens. North Canton. Safety. Ranked at number-44 at his position, Lukens grew into an outside linebacker before being forced to give up the game due to recurring shoulder problems. Gave it several tries before it was just physically impossible for him to continue.

Devin Jordan. Massillon. Wide receiver. Foot problems ended the career of the nation's number-51 ranked wideout. Hard to see where he would have played with the wide receiver talent coming behind him, but he was a hard worker with a great attitude.

Todd Boeckman. St. Henry. Quarterback. The number-28 ranked quarterback in the country had as weird a career as you will ever see. Sat for several years waiting his turn to be a starter. Impressed as a junior starter leading the Buckeyes into the national title game. Was on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to his senior season, then benched in the first month, never to be heard from again.

Kirk Barton. Massillon Perry. Offensive line. The number-101 offensive lineman in the country far exceeded that ranking and had a great career at Ohio State. This was a perfect example of the "Tressel sleepers" that became so prevalent over the years, and Barton was a multi-year starter.

Ashton Youboty. Klein (TX). Cornerback. The number-24 ranked cornerback in America also exceeded his ranking, and blossomed at Ohio State. Left early for the NFL and had a long career as a pro.

Reggie Smith. East Cleveland Shaw. Linebacker. The number-23 ranked linebacker joined several of his teammates and left Ohio State with academic issues. A top linebacker prospect in-state, Buckeye fans never saw much of Smith.

Sian Cotton. St. Vincent-ST. Mary. Defensive tackle. Former hoops teammate of LeBron James, and a heck of an athlete. Shockingly, grade issues ended his career at Ohio State. The number-24 defensive tackle in America.

Ira Guilford. Hoboken (NJ). Cornerback. Yet another cornerback Tressel recruited, but was probably best suited to play tailback. The number-19 cornerback in the country fit in well with the "What could have been" crowd, and hit the triple crown with legal, grade and personal issues.

CLASS OVERVIEW: When you have two washouts for every contributor, that's not good. This class DID produce some great Buckeyes, just not a lot of them. One to forget in the long run.

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