Linebackers in the NFL? Defensive backs? Wait – maybe we are Wide Receiver U?
Not exactly, but we've had our share play for the Buckeyes in recent years. Some made a big noise while they were here (David Boston) and some never lived up to their collegiate potential but made a little noise for the Sunday guys (the late lamented duo of Ken Yon Rambo and Reggie Germany are two examples you might have to stretch to catch…).
We've got some star power in tow this year, as well, with Michael Jenkins looking to cash in next year and Drew Carter going to get some looks. Plus, don't completely discount Chris Gamble's ability to play that side of the football at any level.
You gotta ask yourself: in a world of hard recruiting, just how hard is it to convince an All-World high school receiver to ply his trade for the Buckeyes? Damn hard, I would say. OSU is becoming a program that prides itself on throwing about twenty times a game and hoping to complete twelve of the twenty. When you figure in a couple of chucks to the tight ends, and an errant pass or two to a back (and the fact that three-four guys man those wide-out positions), a big game could be five catches for that All-World guy.
Contrast that to a Larry Fitzgerald or Roy Williams, guys that could get that many grabs in a quarter and you can see why receiver recruiting is an uphill battle in Columbus. Yet – they just keep on coming!
Look at the receivers we've got:
1. Michael Jenkins
2. Drew Carter
3. Chris Gamble
5. John Hollins
7. Maurice Lee
8. Roy Hall
10. Devin Jordan
From a planning perspective, we can reduce that list quickly because: 1&2) Jenkins and Carter are gone after this year, 3) Gamble is mostly defense and could be gone over the winter, as well 6) Chattams is on a medical waiver after catching mostly flak and one (1) ball in his career and 7) Maurice Lee made the rounds of all the positions and will depart the program without ever impacting any of them.
So, now the list is:
1. Bam Childress – He will be a senior and we are still waiting for the Human Pinball to get a couple grabs.
2. John Hollins – Also to be a senior; a career of great promise as a "possession receiver" got sidetracked solely because of the talent ahead of him.
3. Roy Hall – Could be the next David Boston. And he will be only a sophomore…
4. Santonio Holmes – Could be the next Gamble; also, only a soph next year…
5. Devin Jordan – Caught 100 balls in one season receiving for Justin Zwick at Massillon. We will see him on the field for the first time next year.
Let's not forget those famous Position Switch Possibilities. First amongst several is the supremely talented Dareus Hiley, who could end up catching balls rather than batting them down. He was called "Superman" at Glenville for a reason. Then you have the very fast and talented Tony Gonzalez who could play "O" instead of "D". And the long-shot consideration is QB Troy Smith. If he gets aced out by Zwick, and the Buckeyes want to get him on the field, it could eventually be at the receiver position.
For the sake of full disclosure, we also field walk-on Brent Ullery, a freshman from Centerville. This year, Jamal Luke and Mike young will graduate in that same category. Can you imagine a longer shot in the whole world than a walk-on receiver seeing action for an Ohio State offense that goes 9-10 deep already at that position?
With two potential starters (and potential stars in Holmes and Hall), we also sport two back-ups/starters who are seniors Hollins and Childress) with three unproven red-shirt-freshmen-to-be (Jordan, Hiley and Gonzalez). Suddenly, the embarrassment of riches out there on the flanks is taking a leaner and hungrier look.
Dr. Recruitnik sez that we need three big bang names in this recruiting class. One maybe-Big Banger is commitment Miles Williams from Austintown Fitch. He could be in the Holmes and Hall category or slip slightly to the Hollins category. A good grab, nonetheless.
The biggest fish out there that I have predicting will be a Buckeye is, of course, Fred Davis. He has superstar written large on him like a Louis Irizarry or a Maurice Clarett. He will be in Columbus and he could contribute right away.
The third catch? I think it will be Brandon Barrett, the great all-around athlete from West Virginia. If not, we can always hope for either Dwayne Jarrett from New Jersey, Kenny Ingram from Florida or Dajuan Morgan, also out of Florida. But these three guys are national recruits and if you follow the logic outlined so painfully above…why would they want to come to offensively challenged OSU?
Down the road a bit, we have two more Ohio phenoms in junior Mario Manningham from Warren Harding and Cleveland sophomore David Lighty. A plus is that our ultra-phenom, junior Jamario O'Neal, from Glenville-by-way-of Mansfield could also end up as a receiver and he has already committed to the scarlet and gray.
In the end(s), Dr. Recruitnik stands by his prediction of picking up Davis and hoping for one of the big national names to fill out a very good class.
Now, how we get all these receivers some footballs in the game…that's another question entirely.