Offer our honor then honor that offer

As we follow recruiting each year, there is intense speculation about…well, just about everything. Who are we after? Who would like us to be after them? And why aren't we after the guys that we think we should be after? After all…

But in addition to that type of lottery information, there is a seething subset of speculation surrounding which high school recruits we actually offer. That word "offer" is a bold one because there is no better signal of interest from a coaching staff than to make the good-faith offer.

To make that faith a little-less-than-perfect, the coaches end up offering many more players than they have room to accept. That brings up another hoary recruiting situation, in which the recruit who actually gets an offer might be "slow played" by the recruiting staff even after he decides to accept that extended offer, while – concomitantly – the coaches want to wait to see if a competitive offerree might accept, as well. Huh? Let's look at an example of that legalistic morass.

I believe that the offer/acceptance/honor-that-offer scenario gets played out each year in different flavors. My example from last year would be Todd Boeckman, who got an early offer but did not accept immediately. In the aftermath of that offer, the coaches went all-out for Brady Quinn. But they only wanted one of the two guys to accept. Plus, there was Michael Bush in Kentucky. So when Todd wanted to accept, the coaches "slow played" that acceptance to see how the rest of the poker hand played out. Once Brady seemed a certainty for Notre Dame, Boeckman was officially extended the offer again and this time his acceptance was honored.

(Don't get me started about the whole gray shirting area, which puts an additional spin on offer/acceptance…)

The fiasco with Kenyon Buford is a lower realm example of the process at work. Was he offered? Maybe? Was his acceptance honored? Absolutely not

And… do the offers have to be in writing? Probably. The one thing we are pretty sure of is the "acceptance" part. To have formal offer/acceptance closure, the recruit has to accept formally to Coach Tressel. So we know when the deal is closed, in that manner.

Let's talk some facts and cases. Last week, we had an offer (on a Tuesday) to Akron Buchtel's Antonio Pittman. He accepted (on a Wednesday). He accepted to Tim Spencer first (his position coach), then Jim Bollman next (his recruiter) and finally to Coach Tressel (that made it official). Well, it probably wasn't really official until the right media outlets made that declaration. But that's another story…

So why wasn't Delbert Ferguson offered? And what about all those out-of-state superstars who will make Maurice Clarett yesterday's news?

Ha! That's the stuff that everyone's interested in. Recruiting junkies are like, well, heroin junkies. They'll do anything for their immediate fix but then just nod once they get it. Pretty soon, they need a new fix. The first message board question Duane Long received (after Bucknuts became the first website (ahem) to confirm Pittman's commitment) was this question : Who will be the next to commit?

And in order to commit, the "next one" has to have an offer. Kenyon Buford notwithstanding, we're pretty sure of that!

So Mr. Bucknuts has sifted through mountains of data and filtered out the pretenders and the wannabe's. This is the initial off-the-record official listing of Bucknuts' offer list for 2003 recruiting. Please don't try this at home as we can't be responsible for the gnashing of teeth and the furrowing of brows.

Guys We're Sure have offers (because they've committed)

1. Shaun Lane

2. Ben Person

3. Antonio Pittman

Guys We're Pretty Sure Have Offers (because they've said so…)

1. Ted Ginn

2. Fred Davis

3. Brandon Braxton

4. Marcus Freeman

5. Greg Harrison

6. Chad Henne

7. Anthony Morelli

8. Willie Williams

Now, even if one of the recruits on that list doesn't have an offer, they should have, so our butts are covered. For those of you who don't know the names…Ted Ginn is the Ohio's best DB prospect. Davis is Ohio's best offensive prospect. Braxton is Ohio's best uncommitted offensive lineman. Marcus Freeman is Ohio's best linebacker. Harrison, Henne and Morelli could be considered Pennsylvania's best offensive lineman and two best quarterbacks, respectively. And Willie Williams is a superstar Florida linebacker.

We spoke directly with the first five and they all confirmed they have offers (but – hey – so did Kenyon Buford!). We will have Harrison and Morelli on the Bucknuts Radio Hour (Morelli this week) so you can hear them tell us that they have offers. But, then, so did Kenyon Buford…

Then, of course, there's this list:

Guys Who Somebody Says They Have Offers (and it may even be the recruit who says it)

1. Mike Massey

2. Jacky Claude

3. Bobby Washington

4. A.Q. Shipley

5. Terrail Lambert

There will be more. There's always more. I ran into Coach Conley in the halls of the WHAC last week and he gave me that tolerant smile when I suggested that we were all over his out-of-state targets. He said, "I'd love to look at them." So we figure this site must be the place where Coach Conley gets most of his good information…

Next week, I will have my monthly update for the recruiting lists. The "Report Card" will start to fill in now that the offer list is starting to fill out. But the lists will all be long and speculative this early in the process. And that's why we keep changing them!

Until then, "honor" and "offer" are just terms twisting in the recruiting breezes…


Contact Mr. Bucknuts at

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