Dr. Recruitnik analysis - Linebackers

Dr. Recruitnik seldom stares into the face of Unabashed Glee. But talking about "Ohio State and linebackers" gives him a glimpse…

Yes, Ohio State. The football farm system for linebackers in the NFL. Including such notables as Marcus Marek, Randy Gradishar, Tom Cousineau, Pepper Johnson, Chris Spielman, Craig Powell, Steve Tovar, Andy Katzenmoyer and Matt Wilhelm. Oh, yes, and Cie Grant and Courtland Bullard, of course!

Well, the lineage continues and the path from high school to Sunday play is fully open and operational. We lose two seniors this year (three, if you include the great walk-on story of Jason Bond …). And let's not understate the importance of both Robert Reynolds and Fred Pagac. I was going to say that Reynolds doesn't get the headlines he deserves but fate took care of that this year, in a perverse way, when RR found himself karate-chopping his way into national notoriety. And if that's what he's remembered for – then that's a shame. Because here is a solid performer who has done the dirty work for two years on what are – arguably – two of the best defenses in OSU history. Pagac survived the firing of his father-the-coach, a few off-the-field incidents, and being overlooked by even the most rabid Buckeye fans, to perform admirably despite his somewhat smaller stature and a dinged wing.

You guys will be missed.

That said…whoa, Nellie! Look at what we have coming back!

We have AJ Hawk, who is creating his own lore and legend. And he will be but a junior next year.

We have Bobby Carpenter, a bigger version of AJ, who will also be playing two more years.

We have Mike D'Andrea, the most touted linebacker out of high school since Katzenmoyer. He has two years to go, as well.

We have Anthony Schlegel who, a year ago, was captain of the Air Force football team as a sophomore. He has two years to prove that he is as good as all the insiders are claiming.

We have John Kerr, who was the freshman Big Ten linebacker of the year last year at Indiana. He wanted to be a Buckeye so badly that he gave up his Hoosier scholarship to walk on at OSU. John has three years left in Columbus.

We also have Thomas Matthews (a hard-hitting safety moving up to LB), Reggie Smith (a huge linebacker destined to move up to DE), Curt Lukens (a safety moving up who has "star" written all over him) and Joe Bradley, a soon-to-be senior walk-on from Upper Arlington, who is enjoying a bench seat view of all this talent. Also listed on assorted rosters are walk-ons Trevor Robinson and Blake McAllister.

Technically, there is Stan White, as well, recruited as an All-American LB out of high school but he seems destined now to play either TE or FB.

Two great names are already slated to join us next year. The spotlight commit is Marcus Freeman, one of the most touted high school defensive talents in the nation. He will probably play an outside backer position. The other name is Chad Hoobler, who could be a tight end or a defensive end, depending on his development. But he also could surface in the line backing corp. Another name to consider is Cedric Scott, who will be gray-shirting. The brother of Darrion, Cedric comes from West Virginia in the same fashion – playing linebacker but assumed to be moving "up" to either fullback or defensive end. We shall see…

What else do we see? We are in on some intriguing national talent still this year, some of which are scheduling visits to tOSU as I write this. Names? You want names?

1. James Bryant – Perhaps the class of Pennsylvania. He is focusing on recruiting now that the season is over. This guy would be a serious Big Get. We are "in the running" along with Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Virginia and Miami. I know that sounds like a big list, but this kid is in Marcus Freeman territory and worth the aggravation. He says it is down to OSU, Miami, Florida and Pitt (where his brother plays).

2. Javier Estopinan – Once rumored to be shunned by Florida State (?), they are now back in the hunt which is good news for Javier but probably bad news for his recruiting possibilities as a Buckeye. OSU has also mentioned to Javier that they see him potentially as a DE. Does that help? We should find out soon as he is scheduled to visit Columbus the weekend of December 12.

3. Roderick Johnson – Maybe the guy the Bucks are going after the hardest. A half star down from the Freeman-Bryant level, this Texas native was born to be an outside backer in the Buckeye system.

4. Robert AyersSouth Carolina outside backer, he likes home state USC and Tennessee. Difficult to see Robert coming north, though.

5. Vernon Smith – Another Dillard stud, Smith has visits set for Oklahoma, Michigan State and Kansas State. Still looking at Pitt, Iowa and OSU.

6. Brandon Siler – Eliminated OSU as he set Southern Cal, Florida, Maryland, LSU and Tennessee as his visit list.

Of the group above, we have the best shots, I believe, at the first three. Bryant would play the middle with both Johnson and Estopinan on the outside, although Javier has the size (and wrestling pedigree) that he could be in the middle.

And how about next year's homegrown talent right here in the Buckeye state (ya gotta look ahead when you're planning this recruiting stuff…)? Well, once again we're looking right at Cleveland Glenville where the super-athletic Freddie Lennix patrols the field. Freddie is a little undersized (probably will play at 6'0" and 210 pounds and might be destined for safety as a Buckeye. Glenville also has the bigger – but talented – Curtis Smith. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of other names ready to jump out at us yet so you can't use a potential haul next year as an excuse to wait. Maybe Jamario O'Neal just gets bigger and bigger. And – hey – he's at Glenville, too, now!

Dr. Recruitnik sez…We got one (Freeman) and we want another one (Bryant is my first choice…). We don't really need anymore but we will next year (2-3). And we might just wait until then…

E-mail Dr. Recruitnik at mrbucknuts@yahoo.com

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