Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

While there has been plenty to talk about on the basketball recruiting front recently, things have been fairly quiet when it comes to OSU football recruiting. But a lack of news did not deter Mr. Bucknuts from cranking out another monthly report. The recruiting report card is back today with Mr. Bucknuts' opinions on where things stand regarding OSU football recruiting.

We're stalling for time here at the Inter-Galactic Recruiting Headquarters. Stalling? Yes, our four-corner attack recognizes that it is early May, the camps aren't until late next month; there are already offers out there to the most obvious candidates. And that there will probably be no new offers – and few if any commitments – until the first group of offerees begin to settle their hash.

Which makes one (well, at least this one…) take a 25,000-foot view of the whole recruiting process.

Each year, we tend to focus more on how Ohio State ranks versus other schools in the recruiting wars than we focus on how well the team filled their needs. It's only natural. We are competitive, as fans, and the hard data of some guru's list is easier to digest and analyze than the infinitely more difficult task of trying to put together a cohesive team and think of the tactical possibilities 3-4 years out.

And when we narrow our fanatic focus to "How did Ohio State do last year in recruiting?", we often answer that question with "Here's how Ohio State did versus everyone else". And – to be even more specific – the "Here's how Ohio State did…" answer usually pivots on how many Top 100 players we secured.

These Top 100 national lists are about as bogus as Maurice Wells falling 20 spots in the running back rankings after getting two carries in the All-Star game. Coordinating lists is like trying to get Al Franken and Ann Coulter together just to anticipate what their kids would be like. The lists themselves tend to get more similar as the season goes along, only because each guru reads each other's lists! That just makes them wrong-er about the same people…

All that logic notwithstanding, the goals in the back of many recruitniks' minds typically center around:

1) Are we rated, by consensus, in the Top Five teams in the country?

2) How many Top 100 players did we land?

Goal #2 usually begets the answer to Goal #1 because all the rating systems involve ranking the individual players. Those dubious team rankings are built upon the dubious rankings of the Top 100 players. Chicken and egg. Cart and horse. Tautology like "water is wet". Etcetera.

And, like the dog that caught the car, what do we do with this information? I thought we could take a stroll down Memory Lane and look back at the recent Top 100 players still playing on the Buckeye squad. Let's see how impactful this syllogism, this logical extension, might be in predicting how good the eventual team might be.

Right now, we are sitting on a powder keg of a team. A possible (do we dare say it out loud?) national champion. After all, Bucknuts has formally declared 2005 as "The Year of the Buckeye". So this is a good team with which to test the Top 100 theory of recruiting. We will look at the individual positions of this talent-laden Ohio State team (the spring game vulnerabilities notwithstanding…) and see how the deal shakes out.

At running back, Antonio Pittman was viewed by many as Ohio's best but was not a top 100 guy. Stan White got some talk, but only as a linebacker.

Quarterback? Justin Zwick made many of the lists. We won't go into the critique that he might not even start…We are now up to 1 Top 100's.

Wide-outs and tight ends? OSU had one in Louis Irizarry but he is doing his time elsewhere now. Rory Nicol got some mentions. The amazing thing – looking back – is that Ohio State might have the most talented corps of receivers in the country, and only Ted Ginn was a pure Top 100 guy. Roy Hall had a look but not really. I will give Nicol half a star and Teddy the full treatment.

Offensive line? Doug Datish was a top 100 guy but he might never start again on this team. Kyle Mitchum was a top 100 player but is waiting for playing time. RJ Coleman got some buzz and Ben Person might have made some early lists but that's about it.

So on offense, the Buckeyes have a total of 3.5 Top 100 players. Only one of whom will be considered starters.

Defense? Hey, that's where we always shine, right?

The defensive line boasts a total of…of…well, maybe one. That would be Quinn Pitcock. Kudla can be thrown in there as well, but he was ranked as a linebacker. I'll give on that. The other interior guy to get a taste was David Patterson. So I will go with an acceptable "3" here.

The best linebackers in the country? Marcus Freeman is a top 100 linebacker in waiting, and the most mentions went to two guys no longer playing the position: Kudla and White. Mike D'Andrea, of course, was a consensus Top 100 guy and he might still live up to that. But not Hawk. Not Carpenter. And not Schlegel. Hmmm…

Finally, the DB's. Donte Whitner, for sure, made the list. But not Youboty. Or Salley. Or Everett. Or Mitchell, Patterson, the Underwoods or .

That leaves us with six on defense. Three are pencil-in starters.

Thus, there's a team total of 9.5 Top 100 guys, with 4 (of 22 starting positions) that will answer the bell at starting time.

Maybe not the persuasive case we were hoping to build, but it is a case. And we can't forget the Top 100 guys coming in next year (although projecting where and when they will play is another issue). Who do the Buckeyes have arriving in August? The Consensus Guys are Alex Boone, Jamario O'Neal, and Doug Worthington. Guys who got some mentions include Rob Schoenhoft (he was an Elite 11 quarterback), Todd Denlinger and Maurice Wells. We have to give Wells his due (once rated amongst the top 2-3 backs in the nation), so let's call the class a "4" on the Top 100 scale.

Which brings us – finally – to the discussion of recruiting this year and the Top 100 guys OSU is all rabidly pursuing. If that's still a viable measurement. And if you love this elite recruiting pursuit, you will be in hog heaven as a Buckeye fan this year. The lists are certainly still in their embryonic stages but – even in Ohio – we have candidates for Top 100 sainthood. To wit:

1. Justin Boren

2. Connor Smith

3. Aaron Brown

4. Thaddeus Gibson

5. Chris Wells

6. Ray Small

7. Robert Rose

And there's a good chance the Buckeyes could get them all! Would you be satisfied with, say, five of the seven? OSU already has Chris Wells in the fold. And I will suggest that Ross Homan is this year's AJ Hawk – widely overlooked in the Top 100 world but he will be a fixture where it counts – on the field.

And what about the national net the Buckeyes throw out – the offers they have made (or are rumored to have made) to guys of Top 100 caliber? The names that spring to mind that I would like to catch in a scarlet and gray net include:

1. Tim Tebow

2. Sam Young

3. David Ausberry

4. Asher Allen

5. Antwine Perez

6. Myron Rolle

7. Jamar Hornsby

8. Darrin Walls

That's the theory and conjecture. Let's take a look at what actually transpired during the past month or so.

 

New Offers

Wesley Lyons: An offer many Buckeye fans had anticipated. Wesley is the younger taller brother of current OSU footballer Devon "The Hope" Lyons. They have high-profile teammates (from high school) at Michigan (Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy) and the Buckeyes are fighting over high-profile current high school teammate, Darrin Walls, as well. Wesley implies that it could come down to OSU and Miami, with OSU having the "relationship" edge.

Demetrius Jones: Rumored offer. Sounds like a good one. Demetrius is a QB from Chicago who says he has offers from the likes of the Buckeyes, Notre Dame Purdue and Oregon. Most of the bigger schools are simply "interested" and we put OSU in that category, as well.

Chris James: Rumored offer. Chris is a mid-sized wide receiver from Chicago that might be viewed for the defensive side of the ball. Claims offers from Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota, amongst others.

Josh Adams: Josh told Scout.com that he now has 11 offers with Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee amongst them. This smallish running back is new on the scene and doesn't seem to be a fit for OSU unless he plays on the DB side…

David Ausberry: Big-time California player here, with USC seemingly in the lead. He says that Ohio State is the "#2 school right now" – kinda like they were two years ago with heralded receivers Fred Davis and Dwayne Jarrett, of recent memory.

Vidal Hazelton: Rumored offer. His Vidal statistics are 6'2" and a 4.5 forty. Hazelton is a New York receiver, which would make him a rare Buckeye, indeed.

Greg Matthews: Rumored offer. Matthews is a tall Florida wide-out. His affections for tOSU are currently undetermined…

Sam Young: On some lists, Sam is the #1 prospect in Florida! And that's saying a lot for an offensive lineman. He is alleged to have unofficially visited Ohio State so that gives them some leverage on hope. He also unofficially visited Miami, North Carolina, Michigan, Penn State, USC and Stanford. This pursuit seems a lot like the Aaron Brown situation with dozens of offers and many visits and a wait-and-see attitude.

Jason Pinkston: A defensive tackle from Pittsburgh, Jason claims offers from the likes of Michigan, Georgia, Pitt, Penn State and Iowa. He claims also that there are no leaders and that he will be late in the process before he makes a decision.

Rashad Jones: Rumored offer. One of the top five players in Georgia, Rashad mentions Ohio State casually as an offer. But this safety candidate doesn't mention the Bucks amongst his favorites.

 

Changes Amongst the Offer Sheet

James Aldridge: Went from "long shot" to "no shot" as this intriguing Indiana prospect committed to Notre Dame.

Thaddeus Gibson: We moved him up to the top list…

Kurt Coleman: He's an Ohio boy; same as Thaddeus.

David Lighty: Yes, he committed to Ohio State. But that was for basketball! We might be one of the only foolhardy souls who believe that David will also play football for the Bucks (hey – remember days of yore with Rickey Dudley, eh?), but since he is Ohio's top receiver this year - even without playing - one can always hope. And since David is in a category that defies this list, we've taken him off.

 

The Official Bucknuts Offer Sheet

OSU is amongst the leaders:

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty Time

Boren, Justin

OL

Pickerington North, Pickerington OH

6'4"

295

5.00

Brown, Aaron

OL

Princeton HS, Cincinnati OH

6'6"

285

5.10

Coleman, Kurt

DB

Northmont HS, Clayton OH

5'11"

180

4.40

Jeff Cumberland

TE/DE

Brookhaven HS, Columbus OH

6'6''

225

4.55

Gibson, Thaddeus

LB

Euclid HS, Euclid OH

6'3"

210

4.50

Lyons, Wesley

WR

Woodland Hills HS, Pittsburgh PA

6'5"

185

4.50

Rose, Robert

DL

Glenville HS, Cleveland OH

6'4"

240

4.70

Small, Ray

DB

Glenville HS, Cleveland OH

6'0"

190

4.40

Smith, Connor

OL

Colerain HS, Cincinnati OH

6'6"

300

5.10

OSU is just one of many

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty

Adams, Josh

RB

Cary HS, Cary NC

5'11"

170

4.50

Allen, Asher

DB

Tucker HS, Tucker GA

5'10"

185

4.40

Ausberry, David

WR

Lemoore HS, Lemoore CA

6'4"

215

4.45

James, Javarris

RB

Immokalee HS, Immokalee FL

6'1"

205

4.40

Hebron, Akeem

LB

Good Counsel HS, Gaithersburg MD

6'2"

195

4.45

Hornsby, Jamar

WR

Sandalwood HS, Jacksonville FL

6'4"

195

4.45

Hunter, Jeremiha

LB

Mannheim Central HS, Mannheim PA

6'2"

215

4.55

Johnson, Micah

DL

Fort Campbell HS, Fort Campbell KY

6'2"

260

4.70

Johnson, Stafon

RB

Dorsey HS, Los Angeles CA

6'0"

190

4.40

Perez, Antwine

DB

Woodrow Wilson HS, Camden NJ

6'2"

200

4.50

Pinkston, Jason

DL

Baldwin SHS, Pittsburgh PA

6'4"

260

4.90

Spiller, CJ

RB

Union County HS, Lake Butler FL

5'11"

185

4.40

Rolle, Myron

DB

The Hun HS, Princeton NJ

6'2

210

4.50

Walls, Darrin

DB

Woodland Hills HS, Pittsburgh PA

6'1"

175

4.40

Walton, JB

OL

Lackey HS, Indian Head MD

6'3"

270

5.10

Welsh, Stefan

WR

Woodside HS, Newport News VA

6'3"

180

4.60

Young, Sam

OL

St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Ft. Lauderdale FL

6'8"

280

4.9

OSU is rumored to have offered

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty

Ball, Marcus

LB

Stephenson HS, Stone Mountain GA

6'0"

200

4.50

Dickerson, Dorin

WR

West Allegheny HS, Imperial PA

6'3"

205

4.60

Hakes, Sean

QB

Nolan HS, Fort Worth, TX

6'4"

195

4.65

Hazelton, Vidal

WR

Moore Catholic HS, Staten Island NY

6'2"

195

4.50

James, Chris

WR

Morgan Park HS, Chicago IL

6'0"

185

4.55

Jones, Demetrius

QB

Morgan Park HS, Chicago IL

6'3"

185

4.55

Jones, Rashad

DB

Booker T. Washington HS, Atlanta GA

6'2"

185

4.40

Matthews, Greg

WR

Edgewater HS, Orlando FL

6'4"

190

4.50

Parrish, Devin

DB

Hollywood Christian HS, Miami FL

6'0"

170

4.45

Tebow, Tim

QB

Nease HS, St. Augustine FL

6'3"

220

4.60

Warren, Brandon

 DE

Alcoa HS, Alcoa TN

6'3"

230

4.60

Committed Somewhere

Name

POS

School/State

Committed School

Aldridge, James

RB

Merrillville HS, Merrillville IN

Notre Dame

Homan, Ross

LB

Coldwater HS, Coldwater OH

Ohio State

Logan-El, Antonio

OL

Forestville HS, Forestville MD

Maryland

Wells, Chris

RB

Akron Garfield HS, Akron OH

Ohio State

 

Updates of Current Candidates

The lists are always in transition and April was no exception. Here are some of the prospects we saw movement on.

Aaron Brown was everywhere, visiting schools and talking with the media. Now with more than 40 offers, we still like the Buckeyes' chances. James Aldridge went from very high on Oklahoma State to committing to Notre Dame. Jamar Hornsby, maybe the top athlete in Florida, listed Florida, USC and Michigan when he talked to the Michigan guru; he said Ohio State was near the top when he talked with Bucknuts. He also says the Buckeyes are recruiting him as a safety. Amongst the most intriguing "not offered by the Buckeyes yet" list is Lee Tilley, who does have offers from some lesser schools such as Florida, North Carolina, Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Tennessee and nearly 20 others. Also on that list is Springboro's versatile Jake Ballard and basketball/football player Josh Chichester.

Back to the national scene, Antwine Perez leaves some hope for the Bucks but he has 42 offers and called USC's "special". He seems to like the southern/warmer schools even though (because?) he's from New Jersey. Darrin Walls is a teammate of new Buckeye offeree Wesley Lyons. As we mentioned, his Michigan roots are that Ryan Mundy and Steve Breaston hail from his high school; the OSU root is Devon Lyons, Wesley's older brother. CJ Spiller is a big name back that lists almost every southern school, plus the Buckeyes. Asher Allen is another national recruit that has a partial Buckeye interest – he says he plays six positions (so that will save on five recruits?). Finally, everyone talks about Konrad Reuland, from Southern California. He has some Ohio connections and OSU got teammate Ryan Williams under similar circumstances last year. However, the Ohio State staff has yet to offer. Offers have come in, though, from schools such as USC, Florida State, UCLA, Arizona, Nebraska, and Notre Dame.

The Chart

The changes in the chart are really updates as we get clarity on a few things and other guys drift away. James Aldridge is gone as a possibility and CJ Spiller has been added purely because we don't think that another "big back" wants to come in with Chris Wells already committed. We added Chane Moline as a fullback purely from a wishful-thinking vantage point, since the Buckeyes need at least one there and don't seem to be in on anyone yet. Konrad Rueland has been filling that role for tight ends so far. We put Wesley Lyons on the WR list and hope he is worthy of blue. Sam Young was added to the OL roles purely to answer the question of why the Buckeyes haven't offered Lee Tilley yet…

On defense, we added Jason Pinkston as a DL because our pickings so far have been sort of slim. Linebackers? We added Akeem Hebron and upgraded Thaddeus Gibson to blue. There was nothing new to add in the defensive backfield and – hopefully – we won't be talking about kickers this year!

PLAYER POSITION

NUMBER NEEDED

COMMITMENTS

NUMBER STILL NEEDED

PLAYERS I WANT

GRADES SO FAR (BASED ON NEED)

TAILBACK

2

Chris Wells

1

Stafon Johnson, CJ Spiller

A-

FULLBACK

1

 

1

Chane Moline

 

QUARTERBACK

1

 

1

Mike Hartline, Miles Schlichter, Nate Davis, Tim Tebow, Sean Hakes

 

TIGHT END

2

 

2

Jeff Cumberland, Jake Ballard, Konrad Reuland

 

WIDE RECEIVER

2

 

2

Jamar Hornsby, Stefan Welsh, Wesley Lyons

 

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

4

 

4

Aaron Brown, Justin Boren, JB Walton, Conner Smith, Sam Young, Lee Tilley, Ryan Palmer, Bryant Browning

 

DEFENSIVE END

1

 

1

Robert Rose

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

2

 

2

Micah Johnson, Jason Pinkston

 

LINEBACKER

3

Ross Homan

2

Akeem Hebron, Thaddeus Gibson, Jeremiha Hunter

B

SAFETY

1

 

1

Myron Rolle

 

CORNERBACK

2

 

2

Ray Small, Darrin Walls, Antwine Perez, Asher Allen, Kurt Coleman

 

KICKER/PUNTER

0

 

0

  

 

TOTAL

21

2

19

 

 

 

LEGEND

Red Player: He has already committed

Gray Player: Gray shirt from 2004 that will be part of the 2005 class

Blue Player: I absolutely want this kid!

Green Player: Great potential; I might take him

That gets us through the May stall and revved up for June when the camps will tell a tale for a number of OSU interests. We will be back then to assess and address.

If you can't wait that long to kick around recruiting stuff, feel free to kick your comments in the direction of Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com

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