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 MrBucknuts@yahoo.com
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We will be aiming high with my bullets in the next few weeks to pick off the top recruiting prospects and to make some sense out of the randomizer we know as "the recruiting process".
Here it is, December 28, with still 37 recruiting days to go until Signing Day. The day of judgment. The final tide washing onto the beach. And so on and so on…
We are passionate in our pursuit of recruiting here, so I will be giving you my highly subjective opinions as we sprint down these final weeks. Most of you are used to reading my award-winning monthly recruiting reviews. And for the same low price, I will make these recruiting reviews weekly during January! Hey –you always get what you pay for here at Bucknuts.
And why the quickening pace? Well, since last month's review two weeks ago, we already have three new commitments and a whole bunch of people from "The List" dropping off for various reasons. Let's take a look:
NEW BUCKEYE COMMITMENTS
Brandon Smith: To the surprise of nearly everybody that follows recruiting, Euclid's Brandon Smith was offered a schollie as a potential linebacker for the Buckeyes. And to the surprise of absolutely no one who follows this sort of thing, he accepted the week it was offered. Brandon is your quintessential "two star" recruit (like a Donnie Nickey or a LeCharles Bentley?) that could be a pleasant surprise down the road or simply a good kid serving in the two deep (like a John Hollins or a Bobby Britton?). We shall see.
Rory Nicol: Wow. A Top 100 tight end that we were wooing but not expecting. The biggest name since, well…Louis Irizarry! A good enough big athlete that he competes in the high hurdles! Wow! This is a good one and puts more positive spin on recruiting the state of Pennsylvania. Could Kyle Mitchum be next? Or James Bryant? Or Andrew Johnson or Devon Lyons? Regardless, Nicol finishes off a great TE class that started with Hoobler and ended with Rory.
A.J. Trapasso: OK, I thought we would get that Vandy transfer, Greg Johnson. But he went to Texas. Then I figured we might get the Australian kid, David Lonie. But he chose Cal. So, according to me – Mr. Bucknuts – then the decision for punter comes down to either Jason Gianini or the odds-on favorite Justin Kucek. And who was it? Running back A.J. Trapasso from Pickerington. There you have it.
GUYS ON THE LIST THAT COMMITTED ELSEWHERE
Brandon Barrett: The wide receiver from West Virginia narrowed it down to Ohio State and West Virginia before choosing his home state squad. This guy is a great receiver but not really in a position of need for us. Plus, he did stay loyal to his state. Thus, I didn't feel badly about the "loss".
Mike Massey: He had one brother at Michigan and one who played at OSU. As per the above-logic, I get a little tweaked when an Ohio boy picks the Wolverines even though we assumed he was going there. But if his preferred position is tight end, we got a better one in Nicol, anyway. So there.
Robert Reid: The Oklahoma State commit re-affirmed his loyalty to the Cowboys. We didn't really lose anything here except the potential optimism.
NEWS ABOUT OTHER GUYS ON OUR LIST
Kyle Mitchum: Here is a must get, and we seem to be in the final two or maybe the final three. Kyle seems to lean toward the Bucks but his last visit is to Michigan, and that is never good. Plus, his interest in Iowa is sincere. They have brought in other guys from Erie like Bob Sanders and Ed Hinkle. Kyle says he will announce after his January 9 Wolverine visit.
Vernon Gholston: Here's another super out-of-stater must get that could be leaning our way. He says OSU and Michigan are his co-leaders but his last trip is to Columbus on January 9. He will also announce after that.
Rhyan Anderson: We would love him here but it's hard to see that happening. Rhyan just returned from a visit to Oklahoma last weekend and still has Miami to go. OSU is in his top five but I don't see us being in his top one.
Albert Dukes: Just visited OSU and was hosted by former teammate Santonio Holmes. He says it's down to NC State and Ohio State but he seems like a southern lad, which means that the Bucks could be latitudinally challenged in the end.
Chris Rutledge: We are in this Florida O-lineman's top six along with Miami, Florida, Rutgers, NC State and Pittsburgh. We are running sixth, it seems, so we are dropping Chris from The List.
Jeremy Zuttah: Destined to finish last alphabetically if not chronologically, Jeremy says that Ohio State and Maryland lead for the services of this offensive lineman. He still has a visit scheduled to Pitt (Jan 9) and is planning to see Rutgers and Virginia Tech. In these cases, the last school in usually wins…
James Bryant: We would love to land this big fella (OK, who do I sound like?). He just returned from a Miami visit and was properly impressed. Got along great with Fred Davis, which might be a break for Ohio State. Or – ugh – Miami.
Alex Barrow: Has visits left to OSU (Jan 9), Michigan State and Northwestern. If OSU pushes hard on the visit, they have a good chance here.
Izzy Bauta: Izzy coming? Odds look good as Bauta declared that OSU was his leader after his December 12 visit. The Brooklyn O-lineman still has Duke, Rutgers and South Florida to go. Not much of a congruous list, there…
Terrail Lambert: Still planning a Jan 9 visit but Notre Dame and Florida State lead and it's hard to visualize us overcoming those leads. But hope springs eternal…
Darius Walker: It just doesn't get more interesting than this…Darius is a super running back who just broke most of Herschel Walker's (no relation) Georgia records but Georgia, the favorite, is not recruiting him. OSU is, however, along with Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame; Ohio State is the only one of the four that doesn't have an official visit date set.
Fred Davis: Fred's coach (Rios) has been on the Bucknuts' recruiting board and on the radio show saying that Fred will be a Buckeye. The paranoia says that Miami or USC are winning him over. Fred says he will wait until after the Army All-Star game to announce (since he doesn't want his announcement to get lost in the hubbub…) and that he wants to start college in January. Here we go…
Ted Ginn: All indications are that the national defensive player of the year will play his football and run his track in Columbus. He will announce at the All-Star game in about a week.
Olu Hall: Virginia DE prospect, Olu looks like he will stay in state at V-Tech but still plans to visit here on January 9.
SOME OTHER GUYS WORTH MENTIONING
Gartrell Shavers: The Louis Holmes for 2004? Rumors had it that the Miami Springs running back committed last week to OSU. That turned out to be, well…he hadn't been offered and he hadn't committed and he wasn't academically qualified. But it was close!
Andrew Johnson: Big time running back that committed some time ago to Pitt says he is now a "soft commitment". Also says he will visit the Buckeyes on January 16 and that both Tressel and Daniels are scheduled to make home visits.
Trevor Ford: Dropped Iowa and says he plans to visit OSU (1/23) along with Florida State and Miami.
Dennis Kennedy: All over the rumor mills but not on any scheduled flights, he says OSU is his fave but they haven't offered. The FL running back does have an offer from Ole Miss.
Derrick Harvey: Derrick has been rated in the Top Ten in the country so you have to notice when he says he's coming. The date is January 9 and the competition is Maryland, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia.
Nader Abdallah: Louisiana defensive tackle thought to be headed to Colorado; has a scheduled visit to Columbus for comparison purposes.
Willie Young: Florida DE that seems to be a lean to NC State, Willie is coming to Columbus on January 9 to see if we can compete with the other offers…
Alfred Martin: Lyndhurst Brush (think Roy Hall) product that wants OSU to want him. He's visiting January 23 but doesn't have an OSU offer yet.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO GET "A's" IN EACH POSITION
We want the best class in the country, of course. To get there, we have to fill our needs with the best players at almost every position. So let's get real (and realistic) and look position-by-position at what it would take between now and February 4 to earn a recruiting "A" at each of the positions.
Quarterback: We need Xavier Lee.
Running Backs: Darius Walker for an "A"; Ray Williams gets us a "B+"…
Tight Ends: We are there. Rory Nicol and Chad Hoobler make a classic pair.
Wide Receivers: Fred Davis (along with Miles) makes this class an "A".
Offensive Line: A small explanation here…I divide up O-line recruits into the "P" categories: Projected Starter, Prospect and Project. So far, we have one of each. Person is a Projected Starter, Skinner is a Prospect and Rehring is a Project. We need one more first "P" and two more second "P's" to get our "A". So…give me either Kyle Mitchum or Leon Hart as our P1 and two out of Bauta, Zuttah, Feliciano, Rutledge, Claude and Atkins as our P2's and I will give you an "A".
Defensive Ends: Rhyan Anderson and Vernon Gholston get us over the top. Either of those plus Alex Barrow and/or Chris Zellner get us to B+/A- territory.
Defensive Tackles: I'm not sure we can get there from here. Joe Joseph or Aaron Jones would do it but they are extreme long shots. Frank Morton would get me off the hook. Louis Holmes would get BSB off the hook from last year. That's the best we can hope for at this position of non-need…
Linebacker: Estopinan or James Bryant gets us the "A".
Safety: Either Devon Lyons or Terrail Lambert gets us there.
Cornerback: Can you spell "Ted Ginn"? Then you get your "A".
Kickers: If AJ is as good as BJ, we get to keep the "A".
That's it for this week. Look for a new recruiting review after the bowl game. And – hey – it will be my first crack at it in 2004. Now, that's exciting!
LATEST RECRUITING REPORT CARD
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