Mr. Bucknuts' Recruiting Report Card

Mr. Bucknuts is back today with his monthly opinions on Ohio State football recruiting and where things stand.


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

December Report:

The days get short when we reach December.

And this is every recruiting fan's time to clutch at our collective throats and rue the future of Ohio State football. We aren't getting a Top Two class. And some kids that we absolutely had to get are absolutely going somewhere else.


So it goes.

But hold on, folks. We are quietly putting together a pretty good class. Yes, it is a strategy I like to call "hiding in plain sight". If we graded out the commitments for 2004 that we've landed so far, here are the grades old Professor Bucknuts would hand out:

1. Marcus Freeman: A

2. Erik Haw: A

3. Chad Hoobler: A

4. Dionte Johnson: B

5. Shaun Lane: B

6. Dajuan Morgan: B+

7. Ben Person: A

8. Antonio Pittman: B+

9. Steve Rehring: B

10. Jon Skinner: B+

11. Brandon Underwood: B+

12. Sirjo Welch: B

13. Miles Williams: B+

There's a pretty good trend going on there with a preponderance of A's, some great potential from the B and B+ group and – most importantly – filling voids that need to be filled.

Now how about this group to round out the 2004 class:

1. Ted Ginn: A+

2. Fred Davis: A+

3. Kyle Mitchum: A

4. Leon Hart: A

5. James Bryant: A

6. Carlos Feliciano: B+

7. Mike Massey: B+

8. David Lonie: A

Yeah, man, we might not get them all but you do get the picture. And we are still in on other "names" like Darius Walker, Xavier Lee, Rory Nicol, Brandon Barrett, Jacky Claude, Dumaka Atkins, Rhyan Anderson, Javier Estopinan, Terrail Lambert and Nick Patterson. We could make a pretty compelling argument that all of those are A's as well.

In the past month, we only received one commitment and he was a pleasant surprise: DaJuan Morgan from Florida, who can play cornerback, wide receiver and safety and who can run a 4.27 or "a 4.3 pretty much any day of the week". He came, he saw, and we conquered. That should make you feel pretty good for our stretch drive possibilities.

As for the rest of the gaggle of names? Well…

Names that have taken themselves off the list

Brett Gallimore: Says we missed the cutoff. So it went…

Kenny Ingram: Plans visits to USC, Miami, Florida State and Florida. We didn't make the Good Weather list.

Demarrio Presley: Everyone wants him. He says Ohio State is not going to get him.

Willie Williams: See "Demarrio Pressley"…

Pat Sims: The only positive after all these months is that he was from Dillard HS, once fertile OSU recruiting grounds. That's not enough anymore.

Nick Smith: The boy loves the school more than the school loves the boy…

Trevor Ford: Not hearing anything for this long means "not anything" is going to happen.

DJ Davis: See "Trevor Ford"…

Roderick Johnson: He's been on and off the list like a nervous man riding an elevator. He expressed his love for Ohio State, then committed to Oklahoma State but is still scheduled to visit here. Might be another example of those "OSU initials getting confused…

Names that have been added to the list

Chris Rutledge: Says OSU offered and we are in the top four although it sounds as if we are between three and four…

Louis Holmes: Last year's surprise commit-that-wasn't is back in the picture after finishing a year at a Maine prep school.

Other names – Other news

Izzy Bauta: The Brooklyn offensive lineman is expected to visit officially next weekend. We are competing with Maryland, Rutgers and Duke for his services. Coach Snyder and Tressel have been on in-home visits to the Bautas.

James Bryant: A super physical specimen, he just got an offer from Miami. They are on his short list with OSU, Pitt and Florida and with Virginia Tech probably getting the last visit.

Kyle Mitchum: The Buckeyes have seemed to lead for this lineman for the longest time. Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Tennessee are also in the running for the PA product. He has been in Columbus for an unofficial visit and is expected to return for his official the weekend of January 9,

Dumaka Atkins: Says he is down to his "final four" with Ohio State being visited January 23, Michigan on the 16th, USC on the 9th and Florida State going last on January 30.

Nick Patterson: Had a great visit last weekend and his father was "sold" on OSU. Brandon Underwood even talked with Nick about rooming together! Prior to the visit, he listed OSU along with Missouri, Wisconsin, UCLA and Notre Dame.

Joe Joseph: One of the best D-linemen in Florida, Joseph has visits set up with South Carolina, Miami, Florida, Tennessee and OSU (tentatively on January 23).

Jacky Claude: He has backed off his "package deal" blather and needs to re-schedule his OSU visit since his team was still in the playoffs last weekend. We are vying with NC State, Florida State, Auburn and Miami for Claude's services.

Xavier Lee: This multi-talented and highly sought Florida QB was in Columbus over the weekend. He got home visits prior to that from coaches Conley and Tressel. Also looking at Florida State (supposed to be a big lean), Syracuse, Florida and maybe Tennessee.

CJ Hunnicut: Florida lineman spent a visit with OSU nemesis Stanley McClover at Auburn. He plans to visit the Bucks January 23. Also says he likes South Florida and West Virginia.

Javier Estopinan: This Florida linebacker/wrestler keeps rising on the recruiting charts. Recently offered by Florida State, they are now said to lead for his attention along with Florida and NC State. He will visit the Buckeyes this coming weekend.

Anthony Reddick: Florida DB says he is down to Florida State, Ohio State, Miami and Georgia (it never seems to work when we are the only northern school…). Visited with OSU's Florida contingent this weekend.

SirDarean Adams: He raved about his November Nebraska trip but that was before they lost their coach. Also likes Michigan State, Miami and Georgia.

Vernon Gholston: Left Michigan saying that OSU and Michigan are tied for his lead. That is very promising since he has yet to visit the Buckeyes! Will be here January 16. Also is looking at Michigan State and maybe Iowa or Wisconsin.

Chris Zellner: Is visiting South Florida, Ohio State (January 16), Tennessee and Maryland. Could hear soon on his decision.

Rory Nicol: Loved his visit this past weekend to the Buckeyes and lavished praise on Ben Hartsock. Very cagey with his comments. Still seems like a long shot…

Leon Hart: Called his visit with the Bucks "a ten out of ten". We moved way up on this surprised lineman's list but he still has visits to go and home-state South Carolina looms large.

Robert Reid: Says he's still committed to Oklahoma State and says he still plans to visit Ohio State. Plans to enroll at one of the OSUs in January so decision is imminent. Buckeye visit is December 19.

Darius Walker: Scheduled to be in Columbus this past weekend but had to postpone as his team is still in the playoffs. Has not re-scheduled yet and is said to be a strong Miami lean…

The All-Important Visit Lists

On the visit lists, this past weekend, we hosted officials for Rhyan Anderson, Fred Davis, Carlos Feliciano, Marcus Freeman, Ted Ginn, Leon Hart, Erik Haw, Dionte Johnson Xavier Lee, Mike Massey, Rory Nicol, Nick Patterson, Antonio Pittman, Anthony Reddick, Brandon Underwood, Darius Walker and Jeremy Zuttah. Of that group, Johnson, Pittman, Freeman, Haw and Underwood have already committed to the Bucks. And of that group, Top 100 players included Ginn, Davis, Freeman, Hart, and Nicol.

Next weekend, we are already lining up the following: Izzy Bauta, Jacky Claude, Javier Estopinan, Devon Lyons, Ben Person, Steve Rehring and Jon Skinner. Person, Rehring and Skinner are already Buckeye commits. Top 100 players (on someone's list) include Estopinan, Lyons and Person.

Here's what we know that's "scheduled" for the subsequent weekends:

December 19: Robert Reid (a verbal to Oklahoma State)

January 9: Olu Hall, Roderick Johnson (a verbal to Oklahoma State), Kyle Mitchum

January 16: Vernon Gholston, Alfred Martin, Chris Zellner

January 23: Dumaka Atkins, CJ Hunnicut, Joe Joseph

What Ohio State Needs to do to Get an "A" at Every Position

We have solid grades throughout the position charts. But what do we need (hey – a man can dream, no?) to get "A's" across the board for the 2004 class? Here's one view:

Running Backs: We've got one potentially good one (Pittman) and one potentially great one (Haw). We will take either Gary Russell or Ray Williams. To get to an "A", we need a Charlie Jones or a Darius Walker, however.

Fullback: We've got a good one in Dionte Johnson and a capable one in Cedric Scott plus some walk-ons. We are not in on a name that can get us to an "A".

Wide Receivers: We've got Miles Williams and a host of position-changers. Give me Fred Davis and Brandon Barrett and I'll give them an "A". Or Tedd Ginn would do…

Tight Ends: Chad Hoobler is a great start. Rory Nicol would make it an "A".

Offensive Line: Ben Person, Jon Skinner and Steve Rehring are in the barn. We need two big names (Leon Hart, Kyle Mitchum) plus one from amongst the Izzy Bauta, Jacky Claude, Brandon Braxton, Carlos Feliciano group to get our "A". Is that too much to ask?

Defensive Line: Here's where a bunch of work is needed. We need Vernon Gholston and Chris Zellner and CJ Hunnicut and Joe Joseph as examples. Mike Massey or Frank Morton could help, too. Luckily this is not a "position of need" this year.

Linebackers: We've got the great one in Marcus Freeman. We get the "A" with an addition of either James Bryant or Javier Estopinan.

Safeties: DaJuan Morgan helped a bunch and we have Sirjo Seph in the bag. To get to an "A", we need one more: either Terrail Lambert or Devon Lyons.

Cornerbacks: Shaun Lane and Brandon Underwood make for a solid start. Ted Ginn gets us to an "A" by himself. Nick Patterson and Anthony Reddick are possibilities here, as well.

Kicker: David Lonie gets us an "A". The rest are more speculative

It's hard to believe but next month's recruiting round up and report card will be the last monthly update until commitment day (February 4). I will give out my final non-final grades and then update the whole megillah the week after Commitment Week.

And then? We'll start looking forward to the Class of 2005!


  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
  14. DaJuan Morgan DB/WR



Running Backs
1. Ray Williams
2. Gary Russell

1. Darryl Clark

Wide Receivers
1. Fred Davis

Offensive Linemen
1. Brandon Braxton

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

Defensive Backs
1. Ted Ginn

1. Justin Kucek
2. Jason Gianini


(Kids I want that we have a shot at…)

  1. Ted Ginn
  2. Fred Davis
  3. Kyle Mitchum
  4. Darius Walker
  5. Leon Hart
  6. Rhyan Anderson
  7. Jacky Claude
  8. James Bryant
  9. Robert Reid
  10. Xavier Lee
  11. Vernon Gholston
  12. Carlos Feliciano
  13. Javier Estopinan
  14. Nick Patterson
  15. Dumaka Atkins
  16. Mike Massey
  17. Terrail Lambert
  18. Izzy Bauta
  19. Ray Williams
  20. David Lonie












Antonio Pittman
Erik Haw


Darius Walker, SirDarean Adams, Ray Williams




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger, Dionte Johnson






Todd Boeckman, Nathan Szep



Xavier Lee, Robert Reid




Chad Hoobler


Rory Nicol




Miles Williams


Fred Davis, Brandon Barrett




Ben Person
Steve Rehring
Jon Skinner


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






Mike Massey, Rhyan Anderson, CJ Hunnicut, Vernon Gholston, Alex Barrow, Chris Zellner




Frank Morton


Joe Joseph, Aaron Jones, Louis Holmes




John Kerr, Marcus Freeman


Javier Estopinan, James Bryant




Sirjo Welch, Dajuan Morgan


Toney Collins, Devon Lyons, Terrail Lambert,




Shaun Lane, Brandon Underwood


Ted Ginn, Anthony Reddick, Nick Patterson,




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

Black player: Good potential

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