The Big Board, Part 5: The Final Analysis

We wrap up our in-depth look at the scholarship situation and personnel on the Ohio State football team. We add up all the numbers and figure out where the last few scholarship spots in the 2004 class may go.

We are back with the fifth and final installment of The Big Board, my position-by-position look at the Ohio State football team.

We opened this five-part series Wednesday with a look at the offensive backs and receivers. We continued Thursday with the tight ends and linebackers.

Friday, we looked inside the huddle on the defensive line and at linebacker. On Saturday, we examined the secondary and specialists.

Today, we will tie all of this data together.

Before we get into the breakdown, we have to note several special cases. These include:

* Senior OT Ivan Douglas, who is sitting out this season after his blood clot problem has reoccurred. It is unknown whether Douglas will be able to return for a sixth year of eligibility in 2004.

* Linebacker Anthony Schlegel, a transfer from Air Force who will be a junior in 2004.

* Sophomore tailback Maurice Clarett, who is sitting out a school-imposed suspension of at least one year for receiving extra benefits. Clarett is suing the NFL to obtain early entry to the draft, so it is unclear whether he will play for the Buckeyes in 2004.

* Junior wide receiver Angelo Chattams, whose career is apparently over due to a spine problem.

* Linebacker John Kerr, a transfer from Indiana who will be a sophomore in 2004. Because he is a transfer from within the Big Ten, he is not scholarship player.

* Quarterback Todd Boeckman and fullback/linebacker Cedric Scott, who could enroll in the winter as "grayshirts."

* Freshmen Tony Gonzalez and Dareus Hiley, who are working on offense at receiver but could also play DB. For the purpose of this analysis, they are listed with the DBs.

Now, let's go inside the numbers:

Position Analysis

* QB -- OSU has four scholarship QBs, including two seniors. OSU has two verbals (Joe Bauserman and grayshirt Boeckman)

* TB -- OSU has four scholarship tailbacks, including Clarett. OSU has two verbals (Erik Haw and Antonio Pittman)

* FB -- OSU has two scholarship fullbacks and no verbals.

* WR -- OSU has eight scholarship wide receivers (not including Chattams), with three of them as seniors. OSU has one verbal (Miles Williams).

* TE -- OSU has six scholarship tight ends, including one senior. The Buckeyes have one verbal (Chad Hoobler).

* OL -- OSU has 16 scholarship linemen, including five seniors (including Douglas). The Buckeyes have three verbals (Ben Person, Steve Rehring and Jon Skinner).

* DL -- OSU has 14 scholarship linemen, including three seniors. The Buckeyes have no verbals.

* LB -- OSU has nine scholarship linebackers (including Schlegel), including three seniors. OSU has two verbals (Marcus Freeman and grayshirt Cedric Scott). Plus, they also have Kerr.

* CB -- OSU has nine scholarship corners (including Gonzalez and Hiley) with one senior. The Buckeyes have two verbals (Shaun Lane and Brandon Underwood).

* S -- OSU has five scholarship safeties, including one senior. OSU has one verbal (Sirjo Welch).

* K-P -- OSU has three specialists on scholarship, including one senior. The Buckeyes have no verbals.

* Summing Up -- That gives OSU 80 players on scholarship at the present time with 12 verbals and two grayshirts for 2004.

Class Analysis

For a class breakdown of scholarship players, OSU has 20 seniors (including Douglas), 15 juniors (not including Chattams), 17 sophomores (including Schlegel, but not including Kerr), 14 redshirt freshmen and 14 true freshmen.

With 80 scholarship players and 20 seniors, OSU can sign up to 25 players in this class. But that number could fluctuate and increase depending on what develops with Clarett. Plus, it is entirely possible that an underclassman (did somebody say Chris Gamble?) could explore the chance of leaving OSU a year early for the NFL.

So, the Buckeyes could have as many as 27 open spots if neither of those players are back in 2004.

However, assuming OSU will have at least 25 open spots, we know they have 12 verbals and the two grayshirts. That leaves 11 spots remaining in this class.

If I had to pinpoint it, I would guess they would use those 11 spots to get another tailback, a fullback, two wide receivers (possibly Fred Davis), two offensive linemen (possibly Kyle Mitchum), two defensive linemen (possibly Mike Massey), one cornerback (possibly Ted Ginn Jr.), one safety and a punter (possibly Justin Kucek).

Obviously, OSU's scholarship situation is constantly changing. But we offer The Big Board periodically throughout the year to get a snapshot of where things stand at that time.

Here are the archives from the first four installments of the midseason edition of The Big Board:

Part 1: QBs, RBs and Receivers

Part 2: Tight Ends and Offensive Line

Part 3: D-Line and Linebackers

Part 4: DBs and Specialists


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