Mr. Bucknuts Recruiting Report Card

Mr. Bucknuts is back with his monthly thoughts and opinions on recruiting, including his own report card, a look around the recruiting scene and more.


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


The days get short as we reach September…

There is never much activity to report (insofar as commitments are concerned…) in an early September report. One reason is that football practice begins with a vengeance in August and the coaches are otherwise consumed. The other reason is that there's a silent period that extends until September 1, during which the coaches can't contact recruits. Thus, not much happens.

Actually, both reasons are related since the Powers To Be want to make sure our coaches are attending to their existing flock and not just dreaming ahead about those yet to be fleeced.

Without appearing too sheepish, we did do quite a bit of work during the past month on recruiting. Let's skip through all the usual foolishness (oops- too late!) and go right to the list of names that were both in the news and have relevance to the Ohio State recruiting picture.

Drew Miller: A new name on the scene; offensive lineman from Sarasota who is reported to have a Buckeye offer.

Robert Reid: Super QB specimen from Texas who committed to Oklahoma State; our OSU is not giving up yet and is still in contact.

Dumatka Atkins: OL from Florida who has offers from virtually every D-I school; says Ohio State is in the top four and he will visit.

Joe Joseph: Yet another Florida OL with a reported OSU offer; he also says he will visit.

Chris Pino: JUCO lineman who flirted with visiting Columbus now indicates he's not coming.

Charlie Jones: Florida running back with a glittering set of offers says he will make us an "official" visit.

Brett Gallimore: Included us on his official visit list by visiting for the San Diego State game. His father told us the top three is OSU, Michigan and Florida State. Officially, Brett says he will still visit Iowa, Florida State, Oregon and UCLA.

David Lonie: An Aussie kicker by way of Iowa Falls; he says he will visit Columbus and is being recruited by the Buckeyes.

DJ Davis: Texas DB says he has 23 offers, one of them coming from Ohio State but hasn't decided on his trip list yet.

Aaron Jones: DL superstar teammate of superstar receiver Kenny Ingram; told us his favorites are Miami, Florida State and Ohio State. Has also listed Auburn and LSU.

Kyle Williams: Scheduled for an official visit this weekend to OSU. Also plans to see Miami, USC, and Oregon.

Brandon Nicolas: Said the decision came down to Ohio State and UCLA and he chose…Notre Dame. It's amazing how much influence an actual offer makes…

Michael Massey: In the same vein as Nicolas, he finally got the offer he wanted from Michigan. That eliminated Pitt. It's our feeling that we might be running second…

Carlos Feliciano: Says his favorites are Maryland, Virginia, OSU, Pitt, Iowa and Boston College, in about that order.

Jeff Byers: Great visit to Ohio State by the nation's best offensive lineman. We are in the top 3-5.

Nick Smith: Duane Long is high on this defensive lineman and OSU is on the list.

Nick Patterson: A wide receiver from Missouri who claims to have an OSU offer also claims he might set up a visit.


Here are the changes we have made to our master list in the past month since we last visited the overall recruiting questions.

We removed Rory Nicol, a TE who seemed to like a dozen schools better than he liked us. We also removed Chris Pino, a JOCO OL who isn't coming to visit, and Brandon Nicolas, who committed to the Domers.

For the well-respected and oft-quoted Top Twenty list, we dropped Brandon Barrett down simply because wide receiver is not a position of need. We also reduced Brandon Braxton simply because he is off to a slow start for Ursuline. Conversely, Brett Gallimore is coming on and showing interest in the Buckeyes. And we added to our wish list Carlos Feliciano, Kyle Williams and Charlie Jones. We can always dream…


Let's take a quick tour – by position – of one man's opinion of recruiting as it stands and recruiting as we hope it will be…

Running Backs

We have two in the fold: Pittman and Haw. Of the two, I think Haw has the most big time potential while Pittman reminds me of the scatback-Maurice-Hall type. Last year, we had an embarrassment of riches with four good young tailbacks. Remember? Now we have one of those healthy and playing and he's the most diminutive. OSU lives on bruising tailbacks and we don't have one now or in this class. Therefore, I say we will take at least one more tailback. If OSU can't land Charlie Jones or Darius Walker, I think OSU will "take a chance" with Delbert Ferguson. As to fullbacks? We wait until next year.


It's a cafeteria and you can pick one as you move along. Is Boeckman a QB or a TE? Will Bauserman play football or baseball? Is Szep good enough for this level of football? If you can answer those questions and the answers all look like "quarterback", then we won't take anyone not named Xavier Lee or Robert Reid. If the coaches start to question the position, look for them to swoop in on MSU-commit Brian Hoyer, who is doing great things this year up in Cleveland.


We are set at tight end with Hamby and Irizarry as stand-outs and Hoobler coming. Plus, there is always the mercurial Redgie Arden waiting in the wings, plus Stan White. I don't see us further adding to this position this year. At wide-out, we have Miles Williams plus possibilities of a bunch more in the Gonzalez/Hiley mode. I feel confident that we will get both Fred Davis and Ted Ginn, either of who could be an All-American at that position. So, the only ones left are superstuds like Brandon Barrett and Dwayne Jarrett. If they want to come? We want to take them.

Offensive Linemen

We need ‘em. And we've got some of them. With the exception of Brandon Braxton (who hasn't shown much yet this year), we are done in Ohio. But we are in on some of the best O-linemen in the country right now: Byers, Hart, Gallimore, etc. I think we take Braxton and two more if they are of the aforementioned quality. Plus, we have two great Ohio specimens coming out next year: Alex Boone (who has already committed) and A.J. Haas, a dandy. Things are looking up for the future of the offensive line.

Defensive Linemen

We are hopeful on Mike Massey and Vernon Gohlston plus a few of the lesser lights. Duane Long really likes Ohioan Nick Smith. But we haven't closed on any of them. Luckily, the need is not a priority although we lost two "commits" to the DL at the last minute for the 2003 class. So…I expect we will eventually see three new faces behind Buckeye face masks at these positions. Who knows? One might even be Frank Morton!


John Kerr and Anthony Schlegel are next year. Plus, a simmering Reggie Smith will reach a boil then, as well. We have a strong cast of sophomores playing now and a few recruits who will likely end up at linebacker (Curt Lukens, to name one…). The main target is Daytonian Marcus Freeman. But we would also take any of the James Bryant, Willie Williams, Eric Andino and Kyle Williams group. I project we get Marcus and none of the others.

Defensive Backs

Our safeties are young and powerful and Donte is waiting in the wings. We have already "signed" Sirjo Welch, Shaun Lane and Brandon Underwood. And don't forget the position-switching possibilities of a Tony Gonzalez and a Darius Hiley. Now, landing Ted Ginn is a must (we will). But you don't shut the door on national kids like a Randy Estes or a Terrail Lambert or a Devon Lyons. I don't project any of those will be Buckeyes, however.


We look good for place-kickers with Nugent-Huston and Brian Pierce warming up on the sidelines. Punters? Yech. We need one. A name will pop up in the next 60 days and we will grab him, although I still think we should have taken Adam Graessle…

That's all the time we have for this month, kids. Look for my friend – Dr. Recruitnik – to return from the re-hab center some time in September. Dr. R will look at each individual position in even greater depth (some describe it as "ad nauseum") and make specific predictions for this recruiting class.

See you in October!



  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. [Frank Morton] DL
  9. Erik Haw RB
  10. Jon Skinner OL

(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. Charlie Jones
8. Kyle Williams
9. Jacky Claude
10. James Bryant
11. Xavier Lee
12. Willie Williams
13. Vernon Gholston
14. Delbert Ferguson
15. Carlos Feliciano
16. Brandon Barrett
17. Brett Gallimore
18. Mike Massey
19. Brandon Braxton
20. Terrail Lambert


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. Nii Adjei Oninku
3. Alex Barrow
4. Nick Smith

1. Marcus Freeman
2. Bob Miller

Defensive Backs
1. Ted Ginn
2. Brandon Wamsley



* Eliminating those who have committed somewhere

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)

Tight Ends
Rory Nicol (PA)
Craig McGovern (NJ)

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

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)
Rhyan Anderson (WI)
Dewayne Hendricks (NJ)
Brandon Daniel (FL)
Willie Young (FL)
Derrick Harvey (MD)

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)
Toney Collins (FL)












Antonio Pittman
Erik Haw


Delbert Ferguson, Charlie Jones, Darius Walker




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger


Jamell Benjamin, Tony Johnson, Dwayne Jones




Todd Boeckman(?), Nathan Szep


Xavier Lee




Chad Hoobler





Miles Williams


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




Ben Person

Steve Rehring

Jon Skinner


Brandon Braxton, Kyle Mitchum, Jacky Claude, Jeff Byers, Leon Hart, Carlos Feliciano, Courtney Abbott, Brett Gallimore, Drew Miller, Dumatka Atkins, Joe Joseph





Mike Massey, Josh Hunt, Nii Adjei Oninku, Rhyan Anderson, Vernon Gholston, Alex Barrow, Nick Smith




Frank Morton


Pat Sims




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, DJ Davis




Brian Pierce


Jason Gianini, David Lonie







* Joe Bauserman is a gray shirt candidate for 2005 and won't count against this class 


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


(Previous reports:)



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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