DEAD-ENDERS: Their names are mentioned in connection with Ohio State, but they absolutely WILL NOT be signing with the Buckeyes next February. Should even a glimmer of hope arise, they will be moved to the pretender list, but as of today there is no need to mention their names again.
PRETENDERS: This list includes players I'm not seeing at Ohio State, but there is a faint heartbeat. They will either be moved up, or down, depending upon what transpires over the next few months.
Shane Dillon: The California QB is probably one Ohio State could land, but there isn't room, unless Cardale Jones washes out, which is a 50-50 proposition at this time. If Cardale is good, then Dillon is bad.
Angelo Jean-Louis: Questionable whether he truly has an offer or not. Will see him in Tampa this weekend, and will try to judge where things currently stand.
Zach Higgins-Ryan Anderson-Tyler Orlosky-Anthony Stanko: All eliminated because they play guard, even though all four are Buckeye-quality players. Tackles only need apply.
Kaleb Ringer: Not a wise strategy to back Jim Tressel into a corner, looking to force him to offer. Right Will Studlein? I believe he's clearly good enough, but maybe Ringer just wants to look elsewhere, which is perfectly fine. Should be committed to Michigan very soon.
Bam Bradley-DeShawn Hall-Allen Gant-Marcus Foster: Of this group, I could see moving Bam over to the contender list once he visits this spring. The others are barely breathing today.
Terry Richardson: Offered by Ohio State two weeks ago. Not coming to Ohio State.
Tracy Howard: Not feeling it right now. A spring visit breathes new life into this one.
CONTENDERS: Alright, now let's get serious. There are five commits, and I'm using 19 as my number for 2012. That means we need to have 14 more come off this list of prospects.
Ricardo Louis: Multi-talented Miami athlete. He stays on this list because Ohio State loves his athletic ability, and he keeps insisting he will visit for the spring game. No spring visit = back with the pretenders.
Frank Epitropoulos: Should be commit #6. And soon, let's guess spring game weekend.
Dwayne Stanford: Offers from the world. Gotta think Ohio State is a main player for Stanford, and I have no reason to think otherwise.
Sam Grant: Keeping him here because Ohio State is showing interest, but I'm not sold on them offering a tight end for 2012, especially with the rumor that McNamara tried to commit and was denied.
Jordan Diamond: Keeping him on this list because he likes Ohio State. Strong Michigan lean for now, but until it's over, it's not over.
Evan Goodman: The Florida offensive tackle has at least been to Ohio State's camp before, but he was with his coach who worked the camp. And Evan did not work out. Buckeyes are in the game, but trailing.
Jonah Pirsig: Ohio State has an excellent shot, and might even be a slight favorite once Pirsig visits. One to watch very closely.
Kyle Dodson: Tough one to read, but if Ohio State offers, that could open things up. Not sure if he's in serious contention for an offer, as space is tight and there are others they seem to like more.
Danny O'Brien: Ohio State has stayed in contact, but I don't see him getting offered. Big Ohio State fan growing up, but I do not see him becoming a Buckeye.
Tommy Schutt: Holds an offer, and has visited, which is a strong combination. Gotta see how this one progresses, but it's hard to not see Ohio State as a main player.
Greg McMullen: Was not thrilled with his Notre Dame visit, and this one should come down to Nebraska and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes holding a decided advantage. This would be a real steal for Pellini.
Se'Von Pittman: I still see him at Ohio State, but there appears to be some stars in his eyes right now, and he is certainly liking the attention of other programs. It is Canton McKinley, so it should also be Ohio State.
Adolphus Washington: This would seem like it's falling the right way for Ohio State, and a commitment before summer would not be surprising at all.
LaTroy Lewis: Not really attracting the recruiting attention that was expected, so it might be time for him to call off the hunt and end this thing. I see Lewis at Ohio State.
Chris Wormley: Everything points to Michigan, but I know for a fact that Chris thinks a lot of the Ohio State program, so you fight it out. A commitment to Ohio State would be surprising, but not shocking.
Tom Strobel: A surprising offer, not because of talent, but because of the names listed above. There is no evidence of Ohio State taking the first three, or the first four to commit. Hard to see them pulling offers to any of the defensive ends.
Ifeadi Odenigbo: Notre Dame would appear to be a threat, but the Irish defensive end situation mirrors that of Ohio State: Lots of talented bodies. Too tough to call, and education will actually be in the mix for this kid.
Deaysean Rippy: A great offer list and plenty of great options, including staying home to Pittsburgh. How does he feel about Ohio State bringing in four backers in 2011? That's the key question in this recruitment, and I do not have the answer right now.
James Ross: Grew up loving the Buckeyes, but this is about business, not the hoodie you wore at 13 years old. I do not see Ross picking the Buckeyes in the end, but as long as he's visiting and communicating, he stays on this list. Just too good to not recruit until the final bell sounds. Probably a Wolverine.
Travis Blanks: Barely stays on this list, and will likely be moved to the Pretender list soon. I do not see him at Ohio State, but the lines of communication are still open. Barely.
Jordan Diggs: A very real possibility, but as of right now he has no offer from Florida, Miami or Florida State. Will that change things for Diggs? A spring game visit puts Ohio State in the driver's seat, I would believe.
Deon Bush: Love this kid, and the entire family thinks a lot of Ohio State, but much of that love came before the major blow-up occurred last month. He now has offers from America, so things might be several degrees cooler toward Ohio State. No unofficial visit: No Deon at Ohio State.
Devan Bogard: There is a tendency to be a little gun-shy on Glenville these days, but not for me. Bogard will be a Buckeye.
V'Angelo Bentley: The most underrated player in Ohio, which is so odd for a Glenville kid. A pure cornerback, and a chance to be a great one. They might want to see him in camp, but Bentley can play anywhere in America, for my money.
Jarrod Wilson: The best safety on Ohio, but will he be offered? So far, not much interest from Ohio State.
Piece of cake, right? Now, pick out the 14 players Ohio State will add to the five prospects that previously committed. Good luck.