Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Signing Day is eight days away, and Mr. Bucknuts is back with one last installment of opinions on where this recruiting class stands.


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

Final Review:

And as to Kyle Mitchum, I should add, "As we were the first to say some two weeks ago…". Oh, never mind!

Welcome to the final review. The next Mr. Bucknuts' column on recruiting will be a post mortem. And probably will be a little more accurate in retrospect than it was in speculation. I will become like that definition of an editorial writer: The guy hiding out in the hills until the battle is over; then he comes down and shoots the survivors.

And welcome to my offensive line review. Here's why I am think offensively. First, you have the saga of Izzy Bauta. Ohio State was the best football school on his list (by a lot) and Duke was the best academic school on his list (by a lot). He chose Duke and my fellow Buckeye fanatics blasted the kid! Hey – I love Ohio State as much as the next guy but how do you beat up a kid for making a sincere choice like that?

Then there's a different end of the offensive spectrum with Jeremy Zuttah. He was a four star O-lineman who chose the least quality football school, to go with his heart and stay with a downtrodden Rutgers team. And Buckeye bashers everywhere went nuts again. But how do you beat up a kid who stays "in state" despite the comparisons with bigger time programs? Imagine if an Ohio kid stayed home and spurned USC and Miami (hi there, Fred….). Would we give him grief over that?

I think not.

So, bear with me, people, as we give a free pass to the OSU recruiting staff when we lose guys like Bauta and Zuttah. We can't fall so much in love with our own situation that we are blind to everyone else's. Or as the all-time offensive line champ – Oscar Wilde – once said, "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance". Romance and recruiting? Yechh…

We lost Leon Hart to a similar geographical struggle. Remember the "Bucknuts' Dictum" about southern kids choosing late? Then you haven't been paying attention. Here's another of Mr. Bucknuts' weird recruiting thoughts: maybe the staff might re-visit the possibilities or Gerald Cadogen and Chauncey Incarnato, quality O-linemen that committed to Penn State and Notre Dame, respectively.

So, as we watch the offensive line pool sparkle and fade, let's take a look at everything that happened in the past seven days since I had the courage to address you with my theories and half-assed explanations:


Kyle Mitchum: As we told you some two weeks ago (oh, did I already do that?)…Seriously folks, this is a big one. A great kid at a great position of need. This is our fourth Top 100 kid – I am counting Ginn, Freeman, Nicol and Mitchum – and our second touted stud O-lineman – I am counting Person in that group, as well. He's from out-of-state and he's a mobile tackle that pile drives for rushing and blocks well for passing. A great get!


Miles Williams: Bucknuts was also the first to bring you the fast-forming story of the lost commitment of Miles Williams. It seems Williams didn't clear the academic clearinghouse at OSU due to a shortfall in his core studies. That didn't stop Michigan State from taking him a week later (don't ask). With Devon Lyons, Dwayne Jarrett and Albert Dukes on the horizon, we can replace this quality catch (and catcher), but now the pressure's on.


Darius Walker: The first of our disappointments last week, Darius surprised absolutely no one by committing to Notre Dame. In the midst of the worst recruiting season for the Domers in recent memory, Walker was a pleasant three-star pick-up for them. Yet, he is three stars and is a smallish back and I would posit that we already have two of those coming in 2004 (Pittman and Haw) and I wouldn't trade either of them for Walker. FWIW.

Jeremy Zuttah: As previously mentioned, Jeremy went with his heart and committed to Rutgers. And as previously asserted in this series, he was our back up in case we didn't get Mitchum and Hart.

Leon Hart: And speaking of Hart, this one broke a lot of Buckeye fans'. Leon said we were 50-50 with Auburn although we all thought he was a southern lean. Then, just to make us feel worse about the geographical imperative, he took a quick visit to Holtz Heaven and said OSU was out of the running. Hey – if he picks the Gamecocks, I will forgive him (see my "Zuttah Argument" above…).

Anthony Reddick: It feels like Anthony strung us along until he got his Miami visit. He got it last week and they got their man. Oh well, I guess we really didn't need the 17th DB verbal after all…

Fred Davis: As this goes to press/cyberspace, Fred has disappointed virtually everyone in Ohio (including his coach) and has committed to SoCal. This is an example of a good young man being swept off his feet and making a decision based on momentum. So I think…However, and I might be the only one thinking this, it could turn out to be a Louis Irizarry parallel. Stay tuned.


Devon Lyons: Of all the players left on the list, this is one I am highest on. It is also one I feel the most confident that will commit to the Buckeyes. He announces next Monday night with OSU, Miami and Michigan being the contenders.

Curtis Terry: New to the list, this low profile recruit transferred to Glenville last season and will confound everyone if he qualifies academically. A 6'1" linebacker that could grow into a speed rusher, OSU is high on Terry and it wouldn't surprise us to see an offer.

Dennis Kennedy: The message board scuttlebutt was that Kennedy would be our "Plan B" running back if Darius Walker went elsewhere. Walker did. The coaches visited Kennedy that day in Florida. Kennedy said he would commit if offered. No offer has – as yet – been forthcoming.

Olu Hall: Hall got a visit from Tressel on Friday morning and then went on an official visit to NC State later that day. He still has a visit to home state Virginia next weekend and then will decide amongst those three, Purdue and Virginia Tech. Expected to wait until signing day to announce.

Chris Zellner: Chris made his last official visit (to Miami) over the weekend and is sorting through the possibilities with OSU, Miami, and Clemson. Tressel is supposed to make an in-home stop there this week and Chris is supposed to make a decision by Friday. Also plays tight end.

Nader Abdallah: Down to Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida State, Tressel spent the day with Nader on Monday to try to swing the big DT over to the good guys. Fulmer and Bowden have already been in but their assistants are slated for visits. Then Abdallah plans to announce tomorrow at 4 PM.

James Bryant: A commitment from James would certainly salvage the finish line doldrums we seem to be headed toward. James told Bucknuts that he missed his scheduled trip to LSU due to weather but that they were still in it. He seems to be down to Ohio State and Pitt (brother plays there…) but he mentions Miami and Florida as well. He will announce on Signing Day.

Albert Dukes: All of a sudden, WR has become a "need" position. With Gamble leaving early, Jenkins and Carter leaving as scheduled, Williams not arriving at all and Davis heading elsewhere, Dukes would be a good get. He says he is down to NC State and Ohio

State. Latest info is that he will announce this Thursday.

Anthony Morelli: Once a Pitt commit, Anthony is looking around but we don't think he is looking any farther than Penn State or Pitt. He keeps giving OSU a wink and a nod, however, so we will leave him on the list.

Ray Williams: No real update here although we speculate that Ray will get to Columbus if he stops at a prep school for a year first. He is just now taking visits but he says he wants to be a Buckeye.

Dwayne Jarrett: A kid we would really like to land, particularly in light of the Davis Defection. He says OSU is still in the picture after he made a courtesy visit to in-state Rutgers. But in the past few days he has commented that USC and Virginia are his favorites. Another interesting comment: that USC has him as their #1 receiver. Didn't they just tell Fred Davis that? Hmmm….

Javier Estopinan: Our Florida contact just loves this kid. Super wrestling talent and a budding inside linebacker. Javier says he is down to Florida and Ohio State. That always looks tough when you are looking down from up north. Expected to announce on signing day.

Rhyan Anderson: Our new nemesis, Pete Carroll strode in with his fancy jet and his fancy sales pitch and Rhyan liked what he heard. Oklahoma, USC, OSU and Miami are all still in the mix. He is going to announce on signing day and is not tipping his hand.

Willie Young: The Florida gurus love this kid. He is still developing physically but can add 40 or more pounds and could dominate as a fast defensive end. Great upside here.

Gartrell Shavers: Seemingly a back up to our back-ups, we don't know enough about Gartrell's plans to take him off the list.

Andrew Johnson: He says that Ohio State is still in the mix so who am I to argue? He has taken visits now to Miami and Florida plus received a visit by Coach Tressel all while being a "soft" verbal to Pitt.



Quarterback: Our only way to an "A" has to begin with "Anthony".

Running Back: Dennis Kennedy doesn't get us the "A". Maurice C does, and lets us live to fight another recruiting season.

Tight Ends: Hoobler and Nicol already took us there.

Wide Receivers: With Miles gone, we need a good combination of Lyons, Jarrett and Dukes to make it. I say we fall short.

Offensive Line: We can't get there from here. Hopefully we try to get back in on Incarnato or Cadogen though as depth back-ups…

Defensive Ends: "A" stands for "Anderson", in this case. Zellner would make a nice get here, as well (from "A" to "Z"?).

Defensive Tackle: "A" as in "Abdallah"? I would like to think so but Nader is not enough to get us over the top. Not a position of need so don't worry.

Linebacker: Bryant gets us the "A". Estopinan gets us some depth.

Safety: Patterson put us in. We are loaded, this year and next.

Cornerback: We are there. Thank for Ted Ginn (Junior and Senior).


Some subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes on the master list…I am leaning toward believing the rumor mill and I have "down-graded" the commitment of Sirjoseph Welch. I have moved Dennis Kennedy (who I project won't get an offer) to defensive back, as that's what we are told he is being recruited as. And, finally, we have moved Devon Lyons from defensive back to wide receiver since he told us that's the position he plans to play in college.

I will be back next Thursday after all the arrows have flown. Maybe we will have a "Buster Davis Day" like two years ago wherein someone doesn't sign until after signing day. Now, wouldn't that be fun? Otherwise, we all have to go back to our humdrum existences.

And speculate on the next round of 17 year-old decisions…


1. Shaun Lane DB
2. Ben Person OL
3. Antonio Pittman RB
4. Chad Hoobler TE
5. Steve Rehring OL
6. Erik Haw RB
7. Jon Skinner OL
8. Brandon Underwood DB
9. Marcus Freeman LB
10. Dionte Johnson FB
11. Dajuan Morgan DB/WR
12. Brandon Smith LB
13. Rory Nicol TE
14. A.J. Trapasso K
15. Ted Ginn
16. Aaron Pettrey [grey-shirt]
17. Vernon Gholston DL
18. Alex Barrow DL
19. Nick Patterson DB
20. Kyle Mitchum OL


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

1. Chris Zellner
2. Devon Lyons
3. Nader Abdallah
4. Rhyan Anderson
5. Curtis Terry


(Given my druthers…)

1.Devon Lyons
2. James Bryant
3. Rhyan Anderson
4. Dwayne Jarrett
5. Nader Abdallah
6. Albert Dukes












Antonio Pittman
Erik Haw


Ray Williams, Gartrell Shavers, Andrew Johnson




Cedric Scott, Ryan Franzinger, Dionte Johnson






Todd Boeckman, Nathan Szep


Anthony Morelli




Chad Hoobler, Rory Nicol







Dwayne Jarrett, Albert Dukes, Devon Lyons




Ben Person
Steve Rehring
Jon Skinner, Kyle Mitchum






Vernon Gholston


Rhyan Anderson, Chris Zellner, Olu Hall, Willie Young




Alex Barrow


Nader Abdallah




Marcus Freeman, Brandon Smith, John Kerr


Javier Estopinan, James Bryant, Curtis Terry




Dajuan Morgan, Nick Patterson


Dennis Kennedy




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. 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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