Mr. Bucknuts Recruiting Report Card

Mr. Bucknuts is back with his monthly thoughts and opinions on Buckeye recruiting. Today he sums up the (lack of) recruiting events of the past month and hands out his latest grades.

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


Kirk told me that I have to write something this month because, well…otherwise it wouldn't be a monthly update! OK, I can accept that. But, man, there seems to be a news blackout when it comes to recruiting lately. It is the middle of the season and just little dribbles and drabs are oozing out to us hungry recruitniks.

Ohio State didn't add to the small pile of accomplishments as we basically sat on our previous Marcus Freeman commitment and have nothing since. There is only one more home game to showcase the football program and most of the big visits are scheduled for December 5.

The basic bad news a week ago was the commitment of Jeff Byers to USC. Byers was considered the #1 offensive lineman in the country and – by – the #1 player regardless of position. He was considering OSU in his top 5 but we finished somewhere between #2 and #5. Not good enough. We have shots at a few more "national" offensive linemen but it's hard to be optimistic. Leon Hart is probably the last 5-star O-lineman left on the OSU board, and the South Carolina star has us in his top four along with South Carolina, Virginia and Auburn. You will note that we are the only non-southern team on that list and that hasn't boded well in the past.

The annual bizarre Legend in His Own Mind award is about to be handed out to a good OL from Florida, Jacky Claude, who has already visited the Buckeyes. Claude says he wants to be a package deal along with teammates Marc Dile and Richard Clebert. To quote Jacky, "If they will take all three of us, we'll go to Miami or NC State or Ohio State automatically". That kind of over-aspiration usually eliminates the programs with any self-respect which means that Michigan State or – unfortunately, in this case – NC State would be in the running.

The other big names for Ohio State recruiting fans of the offensive line are Brett Gallimore from Missouri, Kyle Mitchum from western Pennsylvania and Dumaka Atkins from Florida. Gallimore is being wooed by so many schools that you have to temper your enthusiasm. He has visits still left with Florida and Michigan. Atkins brother goes to Miami so it will come down to if Miami even offers him – if so, that may be where he will likely go. Our best chance seems to be with Mitchum, where we are still considered the leader.

If you read the fine column by Dr. Recruitnik last week, he intoned that, gosh, if nationally-rated offensive linemen don't see an opportunity for early action at Ohio State, we not only have a line problem but also a perception problem.

Before we leave the "problem" portion of this assessment, special mention goes out to Brandon Braxton. The Youngstown Ursuline product didn't progress much during his senior year and now has the "Potential" label attached to him for two years in a row. Although his radius of impact diminished linearly, the radius of schools he's now looking at has expanded exponentially. Huh? Brandon's new perspective is that he grew up in Georgia and "I grew up down there and I would really like to play in the south. It's cold up here. If I go to a southern school, my family has already said that they would move back down there, too." So – hey – if you get Brandon, you get the whole Braxton family! Great ghost of Derek Morris, sports fans…

While we are talking about home-grown talent (perhaps by way of Georgia or elsewhere), let's use this opportunity to examine the Ohio list. By far, the best evaluator of high school football talent in Ohio is our very own Duane Long. He publishes his fabulous Ohio's Future Stars and ranks the seniors as to their football future for college. So let's take a look at Duane's last Ohio rankings and see what's up with those kids:

1. Ted Ginn: One of the top five players in America and a lock to end up at Ohio State.

2. Fred Davis: One of the top twenty players in America and a lock to end up at Ohio State.

3. Delbert Ferguson: A sad decline for this kid. He struggled last year under a new coach at Ursuline. He transferred to a tough Warren Harding program and didn't get the love. He hung out with Maurice Clarett and didn't get the respect. He broke his leg during the season and didn't get the offer. Maybe he never would. But the story of Delbert is not finished…

4. Brandon Braxton: Another Ursuline product, he did get the offer but his stock is dropping faster that HealthSouth. Now he wants to go south and maybe there is a good chance that the OSU staff is not going to try to stop him.

5. Ben Person: A good person and a commitment to Ohio State.

6. Chad Hoobler: Another OSU solid commitment

7. Marcus Freeman: Perhaps rated too low on this list, Marcus is a Top 100 national kid and a Buckeye commitment.

8. Brian Hoyer: Wanted to go to OSU but was never offered. Committed to Michigan State after a good senior season. I still think that if the Bucks wanted him, he would be willin…

9. Miles Williams: Another early OSU offer and OSU commitment.

10. Antonio Pittman: The first back to commit to Ohio State this year.

So, what do we have? Out of the top ten players in Ohio, we will end up with seven of them. Two of the other three were not offered and the one kid that was is not nearly as attractive as he once was. And of the two that were not offered, they both would probably be Buckeyes if asked.

I say that record of achievement is a pretty clean sweep for Coach Tressel and his staff.

If the Buckeyes land seven out of the top ten from Ohio every year (and the three or four national Top 100 kids from Ohio), then we have done a great job. Now, we need another 3-4 Top 100 kids from out of state. Let's focus on those possibilities:

Off the list

Delbert Ferguson: It has not been an easy year for Delbert. He transferred from Youngstown Ursuline to Warren Harding only to find himself in Coach McDaniels' doghouse and plating second string to good running back Richard Davis. Just when he was starting to assert himself, Delbert broke his leg. And he never received the offer we once assumed automatic years ago. Until something changes, Delbert is off the list.

Jeff Byers: A nice kid who had OSU in his Top Five, the 2003 offensive lineman of the year took the beach babes and sunshine of USC over the Buckeyes two weeks ago.

Randy Estes: Perhaps off everybody's list, Estes was once considered the #1 safety prospect in the country and has mentioned OSU as a leader in pursuing his services. Last week, Estes was expelled from his California high school and it is doubtful that he will qualify to play at the collegiate level next year.

Charlie Jones: To the surprise of no one in this part of the hemisphere, Jones verbaled to long-time favorite Miami.

Derrick Harvey: We weren't in the top seven of his considerations for an official visit. So it goes…

Eric Andino: The lack of interest turned out to be mutual.

Dwayne Jones: Despite all the e-mail (sent to me…), OSU apparently isn't going to offer.

Brandon Siler: After expressing some interest in the Bucks, the Florida LB set his five official visits as USC, Maryland, Tennessee, LSU and Florida. OSU finished somewhere between 6th and 117th.

Kenny Ingram: Miami and Florida State are his favorites (where have we heard that before?), and OSU is not on his visit list.


On the list

Ray Williams: Just to be contrary…Gary Housteau is so high on this kid and he is challenging yet again for Mr. Ohio Football honors and he has unbelievable stats and the Bucks need another running back and…well, if Ray can get his grades in order, we might be hearing this name called the first week of February.

Chris Zellner: Florida lineman says he will visit OSU, along with Maryland and Georgia Tech. That's more our kind of competition!

Trevor Ford: Florida DB has us in the running for his last three visits; we have offered.

Anthony Reddick: Another Florida DB. Anthony has OSU in the top four of "think I will visit" list and has an offer from the Bucks.

Javier Estopian: An off and on again relationship. The Florida LB now implies that he will make OSU one of his official visits (along with Florida, NC State, Miami, and NC State). Which of those schools are not from the south? I wouldn't hold my breath…

Chris Rutledge: A Florida O-lineman, Chris visited OSU unofficially last weekend and is pondering an official visit. Has offers from Maryland, Miami and NC State; says OSU is at the top of his list.

Izzy Bauta: Our Duane Long spoke with his coach yesterday and confirmed Izzy had a Buckeye offer and was high on OSU as well as Maryland.


And the best of the rest

Darius Walker: Nationally rated RB visited unofficially and is hoping to come back officially on December 5, pending his playoffs.

Frank Morton: My personal favorite…Frank says he will visit Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Maryland. Since he once "committed" to OSU, it's hard to be very optimistic here.

Sirdarean Adams: Potential roommate for Sirjo Seph Welch, this super athlete has visited Michigan State and has Nebraska, Ohio State and Georgia as his other leaders.

Brandon Barrett: It appears that it will come down to OSU and West Virginia with the betting against the Bucks.

Dajuan Morgan: Is scheduled to visit this weekend so we can gauge the interest needle at that point.

Rhyan Anderson: Has Oklahoma as a big leader and Miami as a pronounced #2 with OSU somewhere farther back in the pack.

Xavier Lee: A long shot in the category of a Steve Bellisari completion, the super Florida QB is still available but likely to stay in Florida, probably with the Seminoles.

Rory Nicol: The Xavier Lee of tight ends, Nicol called his visit to Virginia "close to a ten". He's also talking about Boston College, Pitt, and Penn State. And maybe OSU…

Michael Massey: It's still OSU and Michigan down to the wire. Even though Massey is a bit of a ‘tweener, this one carries recruiting clout and we need it.

Justin Kucek: Attended the OSU/MSU game and is off to Iowa for this weekend. Says that the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes are his favorites.

Not much of a "November to remember" just yet. And if Fred Davis and Ted Ginn wait until the Army All-Star game to announce themselves to Ohio State, we might all be sweating, well…buckets of bullets.

But how far away are we, really, from a truly great class? I think we need one more budding superstar at RB. We need a great WR (think Fred Davis) and a back up (think Brandon Barrett). We will take, but don't need either a quarterback or a tight end. And we need two big name offensive linemen to build the program.

On the defensive side, we really haven't recruited anyone yet at either DE or DL (all right, already – you can't count Frank Morton). That's a problem. We only have one great linebacker coming but that's all we need. We need to pick up another safety and a great corner (can you say, "Ted Ginn"?). And, of course, we will end up with a punter.

I say, get the guys we should get and we have a B+ class. Get two national guys we don't think we're gonna get as of today and we have an A- class that could rival the super class of 2002.

And I also say we can probably take 25 more again next year – so don't worry!



  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
  11. Brandon Underwood DB
  12. Marcus Freeman LB
  13. Dionte' Johnson FB

(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. Ray Williams
2. Gary Russell

1. Daryll Clark
2 Alex Engram

Wide Receivers
1. Fred Davis
2. Trumaine Smith

Offensive Linemen
1. Brandon Braxton

Defensive Linemen
1. Mike Massey
2. Nii Adjei Oninku
3. Alex Barrow
4. Nick Smith

Defensive Backs
1. Ted Ginn

1. Justin Kucek
2. Jason Giannini











Antonio Pittman
Erik Haw


Darius Walker, SirDarean Adams, Ray Williams




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger, Dionte Johnson






Todd Boeckman, Nathan Szep


Xavier Lee




Chad Hoobler





Miles Williams


Fred Davis, Brandon Barrett




Ben Person
Steve Rehring
Jon Skinner


Brandon Braxton, Kyle Mitchum, Jacky Claude, Leon Hart, Carlos Feliciano, Brett Gallimore, Dumaka Atkins, Joe Joseph, Chris Rutledge, Izzy Bauta






Mike Massey, Rhyan Anderson, Vernon Gholston, Alex Barrow, Nick Smith, Chris Zellner




Frank Morton


Pat Sims, Demario Pressley, Aaron Jones




John Kerr, Marcus Freeman


Willie William, Javier Estopinan, James Bryant,




Sirjo Welch


Toney Collins, Devon Lyons, Terrail Lambert, Dajuan Morgan




Shaun Lane, Brandon Underwood


Ted Ginn, Trevor Ford, Anthony Reddick, Nick Patterson, DJ Davis




Brian Pierce


Jason Gianini, David Lonie, Justin Kucek








* 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

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