Mr. Bucknuts Recruiting Report Card

Mr. Bucknuts is back with a look at his recruiting report card and what players might be possibilities for Ohio State.


Mr. Bucknuts' Recruiting Report Card

This report is Mr. Bucknuts' unique attempt to coordinate and grade the recruiting process on a dynamic basis between now and the end of recruiting season for the Class of 2004. As players commit - or emerge on the scene - the report will change to reflect that. Your comments are welcome! The report is the opinion of Mr. Bucknuts and not OSU.  Send all broadsides to

For more info on these players, check out recruiting database


A new month. A new perspective. And new items to report on the Recruiting Review.

First, let's discuss the two areas that trouble old Mr. Bucknuts the most: quarterbacks and the Keystone State.

Taking the second trouble spot first, we are nearly 0-for-PA, with the obvious exception of Jon Skinner, a big kid who still slipped below everyone's radar. We were originally in on Chad Henne. He committed last week to Michigan. We were way in on Anthony Morelli and Andrew Johnson. They committed (or probably will), respectively, to Pitt and to Pitt. We had good vibes about Greg Harrison. He went to the Nits. And I had high hopes on Dan Conner. He pledged his troth to Penn State, as well, last week.

There might be a James Bryant or a Rory Nicol kicking around Pennsylvania somewhere but if we don't get super-recruit Kyle Mitchum, then we got kicked around pretty good ourselves in PA.

As to the quarterbacks, here was the list we started with some four months back: Anthony Turner and Brian Hoyer from Ohio; Morelli and Henne from PA; Robert Reid from Texas; and Xavier Lee from Florida. From my perspective, Lee is the only one left. The PA boys we accounted for above. Turner is heading toward West Virginia. Hoyer announced for Michigan State. Reid just committed to Oklahoma State (hey – maybe he just mixed up the initials, you think?). That leaves one known possibility at quarterback, plus an espoused grey shirt in Todd Boeckman, a transfer in Nate Szep, and a potential baseball player in Joe Bauserman.

So that's the bad news. On the positive side of the ledger, well… we have two great commitments for the Class of 2005! That's right – both Jamario O'Neill and Alex Boone have taken the plunge at age 16 and we look to be in good shape for next year's class already.

I'm being a trifle cynical, of course. We have had some more action last month with the 2004 class, as well. Brandon Underwood is a real solid get and builds up our cornerback (maybe safety) depth. If you project Ted Ginn in this class (I do), then we have a super cornerback class.

And speaking of cynical, two relatively modest body blows help bloat this class total up to the maximum 25. First, LeAndre Boone either transferred or blew out academically, or both – depending on who you want to believe. And then Sian Cotton never made it to school at all, as he is still ineligible. The good news on the academic eligibility front is that Dareus Hiley did make it, confounding cynics everywhere. Dareus is a very special talent who can play multiple positions. His coach thinks he will end up as a starting cornerback. And he should know – he has also produced cornerbacks Donte Whitner and Ted Ginn…

Finally, the unique management of Todd Boeckman's career continues as reports have it that he is working out with the current squad. By next month, we will take off the grey shirt label and try on the red shirt label. But that's next month, pending further clarification…

Let's look at the additions, deletions and some newsworthy activities by members of The List:


Andrew Johnson: To almost no one's surprise, Andrew committed to Pitt.

Brian Hoyer: To almost everyone's surprise, Brian never received a Buckeye offer and committed to Michigan State. I think (my opinion only…) that he could be swayed if OSU went after him late.

Anthony Morelli: Despite some protests, I am removing Anthony. He hasn't formally committed, but when he does, it won't be to the Bucks.

Robbie Reid: In a perplexing move (at least to me…), Reid committed to that other OSU, Oklahoma State. He referenced not getting enough love from the Buckeyes.

Chase Clowser: After getting no love from OSU, the Chase ended at Pitt.

Dan Connor: To the relief of Nits everywhere, Dan will enroll at Penn State.

Gerald Cadogen: He was disappointed that the Bucks didn't offer and decided to pledge to Penn State. I know I am being provincial here but I think he could be wooed if needed…

Chris Patterson: The Illinois linebacker with unlimited potential and limited grades, made his choice for Oklahoma.



Terrail Lambert: I've received insistent e-mail that this great athlete should be on the list. I agree, now that the Buckeyes made an offer to the California defensive back. This would be a pleasant surprise no matter how loaded we are in that position.

Dwayne Jones: No, he hasn't been offered but there is enough buzz about this potential fullback that we out him on the list. And it is a position of need.

Chris Pino: This Hawaian lineman is highly sough on the West Coast. Normally, OSU does not seek junior college transfers but the word is that he has a Buckeye offer.

Alleged offers without any buzz: RB Dennis Kennedy from Florida, LB Brandon Siler, South Carolina LB Robert Ayers, FL DE Brandon Daniel, GA RB Darius Walker, FL DE Willie Young, FL LB Keith Rivers, and FL DB Toney Collins.

As we learn more about these newest offers and the chances they have to be Buckeyes, we will move them around on the lists.



Kyle Williams: Set to visit Columbus this week or next. We are in his (gasp) final eight.

Brandon Nicholas: This exceptional lineman is a message board staple as there is rampant conjecture that the former-Ohioan-current-Californian has the Buckeyes on his Very Short List.

Carlos Feliciano: We are in the Final Six for this offensive line Big Fella.

Devon Lyons: A nationally sought safety prospect (23 offers) says he will "definitely" make an official visit to Columbus. With our limited success this year in Pennsylvania, I wouldn't hold my breath for this Pittsburgh native.

Leon Hart: Yet another offensive lineman with a national rep, the South Carolina prep star plans to make an official visit to OSU.


  1. Shaun Lane DB
  2. Ben Person OL
  3. Antonio Pittman RB
  4. Miles Williams WR
  5. Chad Hoobler TE
  6. Sirjo Welch DB
  7. Steve Rehring
  8. Erik Haw RB
  9. Jon Skinner OL
  10. Brandon Underwood CB

Running Backs
1. Delbert Ferguson
2. Ray Williams
3. Gary Russell
4. Tony Johnson
5. Jamell Benjamin

1. Darryl Clark
2. Alex Engram

Wide Receivers
1. Fred Davis
2. Trumaine Smith

Tight Ends
1. David DiFranco
2. Diyral Briggs

Offensive Linemen
1. Brandon Braxton

Defensive Linemen

1. Mike Massey
2. Chauncey Incarnato
3. Nii Adjei Oninku
4. Alex Barrow
5. Nick Smith

1. Marcus Freeman
2. Bob Miller

Defensive Backs
1. Ted Ginn
2. Brandon Wamsley


Running Backs
Charlie Jones (FL)
Dennis Kennedy (FL)
Darius Walker (GA)

Xavier Lee (FL)

Brandon Barrett (WV)
Fred Davis (OH)
Demiko Goodman (GA)
Dajuan Morgan (FL)
Derrick Jones (CA)
Early Doucet (LA)
Dwayne Jarrett (NJ)
Kenny Ingram (FL)
Toney Collins (FL)

Tight Ends
Rory Nichol (PA)

Offensive Linemen
Courtney Abbott (GA)
Brandon Braxton (OH)
Calvin Darity (FL)
Brett Gallimore (MO)
Leon Hart (SC)
Dumaka Atkins (FL)
Jacky Claude (FL)
Jeff Byers (CO)
Carlos Feliciano (NJ)
Drew Miller (FL)
Nyere Aumaitre (NJ)
Kyle Mitchum (PA)

Defensive Linemen
Antonio Dixon (FL)
Aaron Jones (FL)
Pat Sims (FL)
Joe Joseph (FL)
Dion Gales (LA)
Michael Massey (OH)
Tyrell Sales (PA)
Vernon Gholston (MI)
Brandon Nicolas (CA)
Rhyan Anderson (WI)
Dewayne Hendricks (NJ)
Brandon Daniel (FL)
Willie Young (FL)

Bruce Mompremier (FL)
Vernon Smith (FL)
Kyle Williams (IL)
Willie Williams (FL)
Roderick Johnson (TX)
Robert Ayers (SC)
James Bryant (PA)
Marcus Freeman (OH)
Brandon Siler (FL)
Keith Rivers (FL)

Defensive Backs
Trevor Ford (FL)
Ted Ginn (OH)
Devon Lyons (PA)
Nick Patterson (MO)
Terrail Lambert (CA)
Donte Herrod (D.C.)

(Kids I want that we have a shot at…)
- In order of priority -

1. Ted Ginn
2. Fred Davis
3. Jeff Byers
4. Kyle Mitchum
5. Marcus Freeman
6. Early Doucet
7. Brandon Barrett
8. Brandon Braxton
9. Jacky Claude
10. James Bryant
11. Xavier Lee
12. Brandon Nicolas
13. Willie Williams
14. Vernon Gholston
15. Delbert Ferguson
16. Rory Nicol
17. Brett Gallimore
18. Mike Massey
19. Terrail Lambert
20. Chris Pino











Antonio Pittman
Erik Haw


Delbert Ferguson, Charlie Jones




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger


Jamell Benjamin, Tony Johnson, Dwayne Jones




Todd Boeckman, Nathan Szep


Xavier Lee




Chad Hoobler


Rory Nicol




Miles Williams


Fred Davis, Xavier Carter, Brandon Barrett, Early Doucet, Kenny Ingram




Ben Person
Steve Rehring
Jon Skinner


Brandon Braxton, Kyle Mitchum, Jacky Claude, Chauncey Incarnato, Jeff Byers, Leon Hart, Carlos Feliciano, Courtney Abbott, Brett Gallimore, Brandon Nicholas, Chris Pino






Mike Massey, Josh Hunt, NiiAdjei Oninku, Rhyan Anderson, Vernon Gholston, Alex Barrow






Pat Sims, Dumaka Atkins, Will Johnson, Frank Morton




John Kerr


Marcus Freeman, Willie William, Kyle Williams, Eric Andino, James Bryant




Sirjo Welch


Toney Collins, Devon Lyons, Donte Herrod, Terrail Lambert




Shaun Lane
Brandon Underwood


Ted Ginn, Nick Patterson




 Brian Pierce


Jason Giannini








* Joe Bauserman is a gray shirt candidate for 2005 and won't count against this class any more than Jamario O'Neal will.


Red Player: He has already committed

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

Blue Player: I absolutely want this kid!

Green Player: Great potential; I might want him

Black player: Good potential




Y'all have busted me up pretty good in the past for my projections as to how many players we will take in a given year. So this year, I am going to do a more thorough "available scholarship" analysis by position – which should change dramatically, of course, by the end of next season.


Which walk-ons will end up getting schollies next year? Dunno. Who's gonna transfer? No idea. Academic and felonious fallout? Not a clue.


But I do know who will be seniors (even there, we have to assume Ivan Douglas graduates as a fifth year senior and not as a sixth…). And I am excluding Richard McNutt and Jesse Kline (again). I'm putting back in Kyle Andrews as a scholarship player and I'm not falling for the Bryce Bishop rumors. That leaves 22 seniors and one short-of-the-full-85 for this season, or 23 spots. I will go way out on a limb and say we will get at least one more opening somewhere, leaving me projecting 24 scholarships for the 2004 class.


For those of you already firing up your keyboards to flyspeck this analysis, let me give you my version of the 22 graduating seniors (listed alphabetically for your convenience…):


Will Allen

Tim Anderson

Bryce Bishop

Jason Bond

Bobby Britton

Drew Carter

Adrien Clarke

Ivan Douglas

Ben Hartsock

Michael Jenkins

Craig Krenzel

Maurice Lee

Scott McMullen

Shane Olivea

Pat O'Neill

Fred Pagac

Robert Reynolds

BJ Sander

Darrion Scott

Will Smith

Nate Stead

Alex Stepanovich


Oh, and no one's going pro early either. Because my model doesn't allow for that variable.


In my continuing endeavor to be cutting edge or perhaps fearless forecaster, it is time to look at the recruiting needs and predictions for the Class of 2004. Note the clever defensive stance here. Most of you will make fun of me at some point during the next 11 months of recruiting (see message boards for specifics...). So I am already making fun of myself to take the sting out of your collective wit. Hah!

We thrive at Bucknuts to be "frequently wrong but seldom in doubt". That rubs a bunch of you the wrong way, as you would prefer that we change our motto to "Always perfect all of the time". Now, where's the fun in that? So we will burnish our tradition of making bold and broad statements and see how close we get to reality in the end. Remember, sports fans, perception is not reality. People who believe that live on the border of madness. Only reality is reality and that is only revealed over time.

As I tell my children, you can't explain the meaning of life. It can only be revealed.

With that metaphysical disclaimer behind me, I plan to talk about the needs of this class - by position - and how many kids we will take to fill those needs. Tomorrow, in my recruiting column, I will explain why we will have 24 openings in the Class of 2004 and I will begin the ponderous listings of the players on the recruiting chart.

I don't plan to update this stuff every week in the off-season. That is really hubris (chutzpah?). But I will do a monthly update until the summertime, and then we will go back to the schedule. Dr. Recruitnik is in his perverse hibernation pattern and will re-emerge in November to tackle the positions, as we know them at the time.

Until then, enjoy. Discuss amongst yourselves. And think of me, perhaps as the first of the worst.


Running Backs

Unless we lose RB's to injury or transfer, we have three terrific tailbacks with two years of expected utility ahead of them. Maurice Clarett leads the charge but I am only counting on him through his junior year and Maurice Hall/Lydell Ross will finish their eligibility at the same time. There are a few crossover possibilities (like Ira Guilford) but suddenly, OSU is in a position of questionable depth at this important position. The old saw about tailbacks is "a pair and a spare" and we are at the minimum. Expect the Bucks to take two tailbacks in this next recruiting class.


It's hard to project what the coaches want from the fullback position because I infer that the coaches have never had their prototype player for that position. Branden Joe and Brandon Schnittker are close, but the former is a built-up tailback and the latter hasn't seen enough game action to help us form a conclusion. We lost valuable (and versatile) depth in Jesse Kline's premature retirement and we lost whatever upside Nate Stead held so far due to academics. You've got to love the 300+ pound Andre Tyree experiment (Sian Cotton also played here in high school!). And we've already got a commitment from Cedric Scott for this class. Plus, Stan White might still end up on this side of the ball. Regardless of the Scott and White conclusion, we will take one more fullback in the next class.


Like the "passing" of Joe Germaine, we don't realize how much we'll miss Krenzel until he is gone. Gone with him is back-up Scott McMullen. On the horizon loom Justin Zwick (a Krenzel type...) and Troy Smith (a Mike Vick type...). But we need two more. One will be Todd Boeckman, who graciously gray shirted, giving him some logistical distance from Smith/Zwick. The other one? Well, we would like it to be Brian Brohm from Kentucky but that's unlikely. In Ohio, we are blessed with three (or more) great candidates: Anthony Turner (a Troy Smith type), Brian Hoyer (a Justin Zwick type) and Darryl Clark (a Youngstown Ursuline type). Plus, there's a transfer coming in to Harding from Texas ( Alex Engram) and there's five Young Guns still left in Texas and...well, you get the point. Take two, they're not small... 

Tight Ends

I might be the only analyst alive who still says that Marcel Frost will be a tight end - and that includes Coach Tressel and Marcel Frost, himself! He's got the speed, power and hips and he's a tough kid who can block. Meanwhile, we have the sensational Louis Irizarry as our TE/WR threat. On either side of that high/low pair, we have the graduating Ben Hartsock - a possession receiver and a third offensive tackle. We have a better receiver and good blocker in sophomore Ryan Hamby and a very interesting experiment in big athlete Redgie Arden. Jason Caldwell seems to have gotten lost in the numbers shuffle and RJ Coleman is moving over a couple of feet to tackle. Stan White? Hey - if the coaches don't know where he's going to play, what am I supposed to tell you? Although I do predict he will not end up here...normally, then, we would be well stocked at TE, but in a class of 24, we will take the best one we can find, anyway. 

Wide Receivers 

Speaking of passing, we passed on the most talented wide-out in Ohio last year due to his fragile academics - Ernie Wheelwright. And we only pursued the best talents in America. That means the coaches felt good about the current and future pipeline. We did land Devin Jordan, who will be a good possession receiver. But with Vance gone and Drew Carter and Michael Jenkins leaving (and Gamble's return being a ...well, gamble), who will step up? Bam Childress? Maybe. But I don't see him getting any taller. Angelo Chattams? Huh uh. My choice is hard worker John Hollins. And behind him, we have two potential superstars in Roy Hall (think David Boston-type) and Santonio Holmes (think Chris Gamble-type). Plus - and it's a big plus - Dareus Hiley and Tony Gonzalez could be sensational receivers. All that said, we will "take two more for 2004" including phenom Fred Davis from Toledo Rogers. No one will weep for us at wide receiver...

Offensive Linemen 

Critics have pummeled both me and Coach Tressel (not necessarily in that order...) for his perceived (and my reported) O-line development strategies. We have five good junior starters who will be better as seniors but they won't make anyone forget Orlando Pace and Korey Stringer. We have two great sophomores (Mangold and Sims) plus a soph in Adam Olds who is the kind of kid you want. And the best of the bunch, possibly, is the heralded but forgotten freshman Doug Datish. For depth, we have TJ Downing, Ryan Cook, newly schollied Kyle Andrews, incoming Kirk Barton, and re-positioned RJ Coleman. That's 14 this year and Ivan Douglas might get a shot at a sixth season next year. Plus, there will be more re-positioning from the defensive line. Candidates include Tim Schafer, Joel Penton, Brandon Maupin and Sian Cotton. They might resist at first but the playing field looks a whole lot better when you have a chance to be on it. What does that leave, strategically? I say "four more for 2004", because next year's class might be even better than the 2002 vintage that got us Mangold, Sims, Datish, Downing and a kid named Morris, who went south on us. Remember these names: Person, Braxton, Armstrong, Clowser, Rehring, and Stanchek We will probably take three from that group and the best out-of-state kid we can find. And critics will talk about other depth problems for a few years.

Offensive Summary

Without any place kickers, that should add up to 13 offensive recruits. As you can see elsewhere from my econometric modeling system and rigorous derivative analysis, I project 24 open positions, leaving 11 for the defense and for a punter.


Defensive ends

With the best pair of defensive ends in the country (either Smith/Scott or Smith/Fraser - pick a pair...) and the pair of Kudla/Richardson coming on, we are not in dire need here. Add to that analysis that the strategy is far from determined where Marcel Frost or David Patterson or Brandon Maupin or even Sian Cotton might play and you've got the means and the ends. There's a chance Redgie Arden ends up here. And some guys say that D'Andrea's natural position could be as a rush end. We had our heads in the clouds when we thought we might get both Turk McBride and Stanley McClover. We got neither. But the fact that the coaches wanted both signifies that we want two defensive ends in this next class.

Defensive Tackles

With Anderson and Scott rotating through this position, we are covered in 2003, but we say good-bye to both those seniors next year. I think that the up-and-coming rotation will be either Pitcock/Patterson or Pitcock/Penton, one of the groups of Killer P's. Brandon Maupin will likely be in this mix in two years and Marcus Green will be in it this year. And if Sian Cotton doesn't end up on the offensive line (my continuing guess...) or as a defensive end, well...there's certainly a lot to say for flexibility, eh? We didn't go after that many "pure" inside guys last year. We will go after two this year to keep the pipeline flowing.


Is this a fun group, or what? Many pundits (including Spielman and Rudzinski) think that some combination of Hawk/D'Andrea/Carpenter/White might become the best group of linebackers ever at OSU. And they are all entering just their second year as Buckeyes. As depth behind them (and here's where the fun begins!), we have Reggie Smith, walk-on Cliff Reynolds, transfer Anthony Schlegel (not eligible until 2004) and gray shirt Cedric Scott (not eligible until 2004). You've got talent and you've got spacing. But you've also got to take the best two linebackers you can land in a class of this size. Plus, these guys tend to play elsewhere (i.e. Arden, Kudla, etc.) as well as perform on special teams.


I like our safeties this year. A lot. Honestly, Fox (my assumption...) and Allen could be better than the super safeties Nickey and Doss. But Allen leaves this year and Fox the next. Behind them, you have huge potential in Nate Salley and Ira Guilford. You also have a young Tyler Everett and Curt Lukens (although he could move "down" to LB...). Also in the potential mix as Young Guns are Leandre Boone and Brandon Mitchell (both still looking to get on the field), and Thomas Matthews (who might get on as an OLB). Since safeties are great special teams guys, and are needed in that necessary evil of nickel and dime situations, we will take two more safeties this year. But we can afford to be very picky.


Just like the linebacking coup of last year, I think we got the best class of CB's in the nation this year. Whitner is going to be very special (Clarett already describes him as "freakish") while Youboty and Gonzalez have terrific athletic skills and unusual speed. Hiley is so athletic that he will probably end up as a wide receiver. The best CB recruit we got last year was Chris Gamble and, hopefully, he will play there two more seasons. EJ Underwood is a good one and he'll be around three more seasons. Once you get by the logjam of upper-classmen who will serve as depth (now, that sounds strange...), you've still got the promising Canadian speedster Mike Roberts. So whom do you take for 2004? Yes, you take two. Why? Because you can...


Whew. This position has been cussed and discussed. Will BJ learn to kick straighter and faster? Doesn't matter - he'll only be here one more year. Will Huston get a sixth year? He still isn't the punter of the future. With all the shenanigans at the end of the recruiting year, I was disappointed that we didn't land Super Leg, Adam Graessle. The coaching staff obviously didn't feel as strongly as me (go figure...) so they must have a plan. I assume that includes find a scholarship kicker next year!

Defensive summary

So that's two each at every position plus one punter. That's still only 11 players and most of those are merely needed as depth on the defense. That gives us some idea just how strong and deep we already are on this side of the ball.


That's 13 on offense and 11 on defense for 24 overall. Check my recruiting column tomorrow for the definitive analysis of why we will have 24 scholarship openings in 2004. And that's where the second-guessing can begin. But anything worth doing is worth over-doing, so now it's over-do you...

Looking forward to your e-mails!

E-mail Mr. Bucknuts at

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