Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

We're right in the thick of recruiting, and Mr. Bucknuts is back with his opinions on where the class stands with his recruiting report card.


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

Well, after taking a tremendous victory home with me from Tempe, we came back to a tremendous beating on the message boards about recruiting. Really, people, I am as nuts about recruiting as anyone out there (with the possible exception of Buster Avis and Fred Davis), but get a grip on yourselves! I remember this mania back when Mike D'Andrea was making up his mind. I spoke with his father and gave him sage advice: stay the hell off the message boards!

Since the internet is still expanding exponentially, although information is still growing linearly, you have a classic mismatch. That is, there are far more opinions than there is information. It dovetails nicely into a classic definition of an intellectual: someone who is educated beyond his intelligence.

Therefore, remember the source when you try to ascertain the analysis on recruiting.

Which – ahem – brings me back to my own impeccable credentials. Yes, I have been right as much as I have been wrong. So that puts me ahead of 90% of the experts.

What we do at Bucknuts that separates us from a lot of the recruiting analysts is that we go out on a limb and give a lot of gut opinions. But remember, these are 17-18 year old kids who change their minds like they change their underwear (about once a week in our house…). They can give you a dead-solid-certain answer and then do a 180 the following day.

What does all that mean? That means I need to file this column more often so that I can a) Stay up-to-date with all the rumors, gossip and innuendo and b) Come out with new projections so that you don't remember my old ones. Here goes!


Aaron Pettrey: Since we have Mike Nugent for another year and a walk-on wunderkind in Brian Pierce, I innocently assumed we didn't need another place-kicker in this class. Particularly one from a town of 500 in Kentucky. But when a coach sees a kid knock through a 58 yarder, split the uprights on successive kickoffs, and is also a helluva athlete – you give him an offer. In Aaron's case, it looks like a gray shirt. But when we get a commitment, we report it. (Remember Frank Morton and Kenyon Buford? Just checking…)

Ted Ginn: Thank god for Ginn, is all I can say. My credibility was going down faster than a Democratic Presidential hopeful. I have stated forcefully all year (stridently at times) that Ginn was an OSU lock. Now, he says so, too! Better than that, he's trying hard to recruit his Top 100 friends to the Ohio State. He is a super kid and a super super get.

Vernon Gholston: Here's a lesser-known recruit that you can really get excited about. Gholston was a highly sought rush DE from Michigan. He cancelled his Michigan trip this week (yeah baby!) after visiting Columbus and committing to the Buckeyes. More on Gholston as we put our stories together.

Alex Barrow: Alex is a 6"4" DE that will probably slide to the inside when he's ready. From Dublin Coffman, Alex is a 2-3 star type in the recruiting world and needs to keep growing in stature and ability.



Carlos Feliciano: After coming down to Ohio State and Maryland, Carlos committed to the Terps. This Carlos Feliciano is not to be confused with the other New Jersey Carlos Feliciano that doesn't have an offer. Neither will play in Columbus.

Xavier Lee: Technically, the Lee-ster hasn't committed elsewhere yet, but he will. FSU is definitely the odds-on favorite to land him.

Terrail Lambert: Sources tell us (yes, we really do have sources…) that Terrail's mom didn't like our graduation rate. Hey – all she has to worry about is her kid, not the rest of them! Either way, Lambert will be taking his considerable talents to either Notre Dame or Florida State.

Toney Collins: It seems that I am the only one to have Toney on my DB database. Thus, as the old cowboy put it: If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there. Toney is gone…

Jacky Claude: This peripatetic young man blew through our analysis like Buster Davis of year's past. He seems destined for a southern school and destined to struggle with his academics to get into one.

Sirdarean Adams: Here's your typical teenager. In the same week that he pledges a commitment to Michigan State, he says he will "probably" visit OSU. In either event, I am writing him off.

Anthony Reddick: Returned from his Georgia trip this weekend saying he fit in better there than Ohio State. This is the time to figure that out!

JR Bryant: Miami commitment is sticking with Miami. Cancelled OSU trip.

Joe Joseph: Florida DL has eliminated Ohio State from consideration and is likely to go to Miami. Say hi to JR for us…

Trevor Ford: Our long shot here is now "no shot" as Trevor has narrowed his field to Miami, FSU and Kansas State.

Izzy Bauta: Izzy or Izzy not? Not. He put up his Dukes along with his brother when he picked the Blue Devils.


Leon Hart: The biggest baddest name on our board for offensive linemen, Leon was said to be a lock for his native South Carolina. Now, the scuttlebutt has it that he is down to OSU and Auburn! Leon told us last week that he gave his OSU trip a "10 out of 10". But he gave that to Auburn, too. His last visit is there on Jan 16. He just returned from a trip to Georgia last weekend and still has Auburn and OSU tied for first. That's the good news. The bad news is that he visits Auburn last. And he's from the south…

Devon Lyons: This PA wide receiver/safety says he has narrowed his field to three: Michigan, Miami and OSU. Just visited the UM's last weekend as somewhat of a surprise. Coaches will make their in-homes this week and then he will decide.

Chris Zellner: Another "Z" to keep you awake (Don't forget Jeremy Zuttah…), this FL defensive end is down to Miami, Ohio State and Clemson. He visited Clemson over the weekend, had an unusual Monday visit (yesterday for those reading this on Tuesday) with the Buckeyes and is tripping to Miami on January 30.

Dwayne Jarrett: New to the list but not new to recruiting nuts around the football world, Jarrett burned a hole right through the sun in the Army All-Star game. He was befriended by new OSU ambassador Ted Ginn and now talks about visiting Columbus. This is a sensational kid.

Derrick Harvey: Also new to the list, Harvey might be the best defensive end prospect in the country. He visited OSU over the weekend and still has trips to Florida and Tennessee. Home state Maryland seems to have the lead right now. Had a great visit to the Buckeyes but too many trips to go to get excited. Yet.

Tim Jamison: Exciting new name possibly on the list, Jamison absolutely tore up the national all-star game with rave reviews. This Illinois DE is a big-time prospect. He visited Michigan last weekend and Wisconsin before that. He has Michigan State scheduled and we are still vying for one of the final 2 visits.

Nick Patterson: Could be real close on Nick. At least close to hearing. The popular vote says it's down to Missouri and the Buckeyes. Nick will announce his decision this evening.

Kyle Mitchum: Fellow PA Top 100 player, Rory Nicol, sung the praises of Mitchum when we talked with him this week. Everyone loves the kid and everyone insists he loves us. It still comes down (most likely) to OSU and Iowa. Perhaps West Virginia could crash the party late…

Dumaka Atkins: Visited USC over the weekend and still has slated Michigan (1/16), OSU (1/23), LSU (1/27), and Florida State (1/30). Too many schools, and too many good schools to make a call.

CJ Hunnicutt: Said most recently that West Virginia leads for this FL defensive end. Still has visits, though, to South Florida (1/16) and OSU (1/23)..

Rhyan Anderson: Big time Wisconsin DL has just Miami left to visit (next weekend) and that caps the tour that included Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma and Florida. Pretty good company, that…

Albert Dukes: 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. Says Miami is also in the hunt. Selfishly, it seems Dukes is a "back up" if both Davis (gulp) and Jarrett go down in flames.

Jeremy Zuttah: New Jersey O-lineman has visited OSU, Iowa and Maryland. He checked out Pitt over the weekend and has one more visit set; to either Rutgers or Virginia Tech.

Nader Abdallah: Defensive lineman seemed to have "surprised" himself with a great visit to Ohio State this past weekend. He has already seen Colorado and Michigan State and is still visiting Tennessee and FSU. He knows our depth chart and loves the coaches. Hey – we might end up in his top three!

James Bryant: We are all over James and he is all over us. At worst, we are in the top three (probably with LSU and Florida). He is close with RB Andrew Johnson and the two of them could make some noise together. His trip to Florida last weekend didn't seem to make his socks go up and down. It could get real interesting when he and Johnson trip to Columbus.

Darius Walker: He says that Notre Dame is his slight leader. Others say that he is a Notre Dame lock. Who ya gonna believe? Still has visits scheduled to Ohio State (1/16) after canceling a USC visit, and – uh oh – Notre Dame (1/23).

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 said 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. Says now he will announce this Thursday. Here we go…

Olu Hall: Hall loved his OSU official, hosted by Marcus Green. Says he will wait until signing day to announce but that we are even with Vtech, Still has travel plans to Purdue, NC State and Virginia.

Willie Young: Will wait until all visits are done; after OSU and NC State, that's Florida and Georgia. Said he had a "pretty good" visit this weekend in Columbus. Not exactly a ringing endorsement…

Anthony Hill: Not to be confused with the TE recruit who is already at Texas, this tall Hill has been obscured at Hargrave Military Academy. He missed his visit with OSU over the weekend and we will have to see what develops with re-scheduling a trip that he says was cancelled due to weather. Also looking at the Carolinas, Vtech and Texas, although that might get confusing…

Javier Estopinan: His visit news was that he cancelled one to FSU. He still has Florida and Clemson but says we are in his top five (!).


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: Still "committed" to Pitt. Also says he will visit the Buckeyes on January 16 and that both Tressel and Daniels are scheduled to make home visits. On top of that, super LB James Bryant (see above…) hints that the two of them are going to school together and that Bryant probably won't go to Pitt. Go figure. Johnson cancelled his UCLA trip last week…

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. One bit of info we received stated that Kennedy will give a commitment to OSU over Pitt, Vtech, Wisconsin and MSU this week, so stay tuned to see if that comes to fruition.

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. Says he enjoyed meeting Coach Dantonio at Cincinnati, however.

Frank Morton: I have officially given up my position that he is an OSU commitment no matter what he says! He now asserts that it's between OSU, Arkansas, and Tulane. Fuhgetaboutit…

Louis Holmes: The other mystery man from the past two seasons, Louis is unavailable for comment but was spotted visiting the Buckeyes over the weekend. I think the coaching staff has guys like this just to drive guys like us nuts.


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: Can't get there from here. We were done when Xavier Lee was done with us.

Running Backs: Darius Walker for an "A"; Ray Williams gets us a "B+"…Andrew Johnson changes that but Dennis Kennedy doesn't.

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". You could substitute "Jarrett" for "Davis" and still make it. Doesn't work with "Dukes", though…

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 either Zuttah or Atkins as our P2's and I will give you an "A".

Defensive Ends: Rhyan Anderson or Derrick Harvey gets us over the top. Chris Zellner or Olu Hall or Jamison gets us to B+/A- territory.

Defensive Tackles: I'm not sure we can get there from here, either. Frank Morton would get me off the hook. Louis Holmes would get BSB off the hook from last year. Nader Abdalla could save the day. That's the best we can hope for at this position of non-need…

Linebacker: Javier Estopinan or James Bryant gets us the "A".

Safety: Either Devon Lyons or Nick Patterson gets us there.

Cornerback: We got Ginn. We got our "A".

Kickers: If AJ is as good as BJ, we get to keep the "A". Adding the unknown Pettrey can only help.

So that's this week's wrap-up, from Atkins to Zuttah. By the time you read this, two kids will have changed their minds and there will be a third Carlos Feliciano to obsess over. Fred Davis is supposed to announce Thursday but his grades won't be available for another week in order for him to get started early. There. That gives you something else to obsess over…

In the I'm-Not-Sure-Who-Cares Department, I changed my needs on Defensive Tackle from 2 to 1 and upped my needs on offensive line from 5 to 6. We have a wealth of the former and a dearth of the latter.

We can argue all day about these recruits but they will have the final word. Or as Will Rogers said, "There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither one works".

I will be back next week to update all the imprecise and inadequate information from this week. Until then, I will take Will's other advice: Never miss a good chance to shut up!


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 OL
8. Erik Haw RB
9. Jon Skinner OL
10. Brandon Underwood DB
11. Marcus Freeman LB
12. Dionte Johnson FB
13. Dajuan Morgan DB/WR
14. Brandon Smith LB
15. Rory Nicol TE
16. A.J. Trapasso K
17. Ted Ginn
18. Aaron Pettrey [grey-shirt]
19. Vernon Gholston DL
20. Alex Barrow DL

(In which Mr. Bucknuts predicts the last commitments for this class)

1. Fred Davis
2. Kyle Mitchum
3. Nick Patterson
4. Chris Zellner
5. Devon Lyons
6. Willie Young

(Given my druthers…)

1. Fred Davis
2. Kyle Mitchum
3. Leon Hart
4. James Bryant
5. Derrick Harvey
6. Rhyan Anderson

January 16

Alfred Martin
James Bryant
Andrew Johnson
Anthony Hill

January 23

Dumaka Atkins
CJ Hunnicutt
Terrance King


(Kids I want that we have a shot at…)

  1. Fred Davis
  2. Kyle Mitchum
  3. Andrew Johnson
  4. Darius Walker
  5. Leon Hart
  6. Rhyan Anderson
  7. Derrick Harvey
  8. Jeremy Zuttah
  9. James Bryant
  10. Dwayne Jarrett
  11. CJ Hunnicutt
  12. Javier Estopinan
  13. Devon Lyons
  14. Olu Hall
  15. Nader Abdallah
  16. Nick Patterson
  17. Dumaka Atkins
  18. Ray Williams
  19. Willie Young
  20. Anthony Hill












Antonio Pittman

Erik Haw


Darius Walker, Ray Williams, Andrew Johnson, Dennis Kennedy




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger, Dionte Johnson







Todd Boeckman, Nathan Szep







Chad Hoobler, Rory Nicol





Miles Williams


Fred Davis, Dwayne Jarrett Albert Dukes




Ben Person

Steve Rehring

Jon Skinner


Brandon Braxton, Kyle Mitchum, Leon Hart, Dumaka Atkins, Jeremy Zuttah




Vernon Gholston


Derrick Harvey, Rhyan Anderson, CJ Hunnicutt, Chris Zellner, Tim Jamison, Olu Hall, Willie Young




Alex Barrow


Aaron Jones, Frank Morton, Louis Holmes, Nader Abdallah




John Kerr, Marcus Freeman, Brandon Smith


Javier Estopinan, James Bryant




Sirjo Welch, Dajuan Morgan


Devon Lyons, Nick Patterson




Shaun Lane, Brandon Underwood, Ted Ginn






Brian Pierce, AJ Trapasso, *










* Joe Bauserman is a gray shirt candidate for 2005 and won't count against this class any more than Jamario O'Neal will. Aaron Pettrey as a kicker is in the same category.


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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