Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Mr. Bucknuts is back with one last installment of thoughts and opinions on recruiting before signing day.

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

Interim Review:

Despite my well-publicized penchant for going out on a limb, I refuse to hide away and hibernate until spring football. And so much has happened since my last report on Tuesday of last week that I thought I would do a quick update prior to Commitment Day this Wednesday.

So here we go… 


  1. Sirjoseph Welch: We talked with Sirjo on the radio more than six months ago and you just can't help liking this kid. So, I was depressed to hear that he might not pass the eligibility requirements (a la Miles Williams). Our reporters got the news from at least two different sources. I received over 100 e-mails from some of you asking what's what. To those e-mails, I uniformly replied that we heard he wasn't going to make it. But I sure hoped what we heard was wrong. I think it is and I couldn't be happier to be wrong in this instance.
  2. Fred Davis: He's no Buster Davis. And he's no Louis Irizarry either. I say…let's just forget the whole thing and move on.
  3. Dennis Kennedy: First I was wrong concerning if OSU would offer (hey – that was just a hunch). And then our expert in Florida high school football (Larry Blustein of Florida Kids) said he would make a better DB than an RB. In the end, Kennedy was offered. He accepted. And he said he will be a running back. I will run with that, too.


Usually this is a much shorter list than the one above…

  1. Miles Williams: We said it. We stuck with it. We were ridiculed by other sites and by some of you. We were right. And I'm sorry we were…
  2. Kyle Mitchum: We said he committed. We stuck with it. We were ridiculed by other sites. And by some of you. Some went so far to suggest that we were responsible for losing him as a commit. We were right. And we were at the press conference. And Kyle will be on our radio show this week. I guess he didn't mind so much after all…
  3. Devon Lyons: I will be right about him committing tomorrow evening. Check back around 7 PM Monday
  4. Hall? Young? Bryant? Jarrett? Estopinian? Your guess is as good as mine…but you already knew that! The only thing I will be right about is that the Bucks will take at least 25, maybe more this year. They will take that many, but the players have to commit in order to fulfill that projection.
  5. Ray Williams: We said he could be a Buckeye if he got his grades in order for a year at prep school. We still say that. And I hope it happens.
  6. Louis Holmes: We said he didn't sign last year. We were ridiculed. Hey – he didn't sign this year either, guys!



And that brings us to the special case of DaJuan Morgan. One school of thought has it that we offered Morgan, screwed up his academic transcripts and reports, dropped Morgan and then realized we had jumped the gun so we tried to make it right. If that school is correct, then OSU was wrong and should just admit it and move on. If – as another school of thought has it – that DaJuan didn't pass the admissions screening twice, then the rest of you should get off the staff's back and let them move along. If, as a third – and a very cynical school - presents it, that we shoved Morgan aside because we were going to get two "better" guys (Lyons and Jarrett, perhaps?), then shame on us. We have made an already scurrilous process murkier.

But here's the bottom line: Morgan is not coming and the next time we see him is when we play at NC State in September. Hey – maybe he will be sitting next to Derek Morris! So that's no different than Richard Washington switching his decision on Signing Day (yes, he plays at NC State, too, if you are looking for conspiracies or trends). DaJuan is a delightful young man that has had a horrendous run of bad luck and we wish him well.

Now, all of us, let's move along…


Albert Dukes: Just like Santonio Holmes was two years ago (a teammate at Belle Glades), Dukes could be the steal of this class. He caught 54 balls for a million yards this year and when his coach was told that he was the 24th rated receiver at Insiders, he said, "Then I would like to see the other 23". Coaches and analysts who know the players are very high on Albert. 

Nader Abdallah: The exception that proves the rule…it came down to Florida and OSU for this blue chipper from Louisiana and he chose…OSU! The Termi-Nader has a great motor, great size and great desire. Expect to see him playing soon on a defensive line near you; that is, if you live in Columbus.

Dennis Kennedy: See above apology. We didn't think he would be offered and – if so – not as a running back. Then his coach said, "This is the best running back in the county". And that is quite a Florida county. To use the coach's summary of the situation; "You stole one!"

Curtis Terry: Just announced today, this speedy LB/DE has qualified academically and will be joining teammate Ted Ginn, Jr. in signing for the Buckeyes.


Dajuan Morgan: I think that's been covered elsewhere. Ad nauseum…I can't add anything else.

Chris Zellner: Chris said he was trying to decide between Clemson and Ohio State, so he took the weekend and visited Miami. He then committed to the Hurricanes.


Gartrell Shavers: With the commitment of Kennedy as a running back, it is a consensus assumption that we are no longer pursuing Shavers.

Andrew Johnson: We don't need RB's and we don't need DB's, so Johnson looks to be SOL.

Ray Williams: We are speculating here, as well, but the group speculation runs that 1) Williams really wants to be a Buckeye 2) The Bucks are still interested in Williams 3) Williams is still short academically, so 4) After a year at prep school, everyone can get what they want! Hey – it worked with Eddie George…

Anthony Morelli: All signs point to Anthony staying in Pennsylvania, either with original commitment Pitt or with new interest PSU. Although Iowa is a late entry into the new Morelli sweepstakes…

Devon Lyons: Devon wouldn't go out on a limb to predict if he would commit to either OSU, Michigan or Miami. I went out on that limb (it's a lot easier for me…) and predicted that he will be a Buckeye come 7 PM Monday evening.

Dwayne Jarret: he told the first interviewer on Friday that "USC is too far away. It's down to Virginia and OSU." He told the USC guru (same day) that "It's down to USC and OSU". So, he's telling everyone what they want to hear. I will tell you this: Dukes and Lyons might be as good as Fred Davis. Jarrett might be better! And if we want to get past the DaJuan Morgan fiasco (and I'm being selfish here…), signing Jarrett on Commitment Day would be a great way to do it.

Javier Estopinian: Still Florida and OSU. Still waiting until Wednesday. If we don't get Bryant, I would love to land Javier. If we do (and might I then say, "Yee ha!"), we don't have room for Estopinian.

Rhyan Anderson: Of the three defensive end signing possibilities (along with Olu Hall and Willie Young), Rhyan is the one guy that can elevate this whole class a notch or two by himself. That's saying something special. He's not saying anything at all, but indicates we are in his top 3 (?!). There have been stories that we are in his top two and he's struggling with Miami. But those are just more stories.

Olu Hall: Virginia. Or Virginia Tech. Or OSU. That seems to be the betting order. We will find out in the next 72 hours.

Willie Young: You have to lust over the upside on this "young" DE, and we are hoping we get to watch him develop up close and personal in Columbus. He visited Florida over the weekend and he includes them in his final group along with OSU and NC State (yeah, them again…).

Could there be a surprise before this is all over? It would be a surprise if there weren't! The biggest surprise – to me – is if we actually won the Derrick Harvey sweepstakes, a contest we were hardly in.

And how many spots do we have open, anyway? Well, the way I understand it, the "over-signing rule" says you can take up to 28 in a year; but you have to get that down to 25 by the time the class is eligible. If – to push the boundaries of propriety, we took the full 28, that would leave us with maybe five more positions we could fill.

There are certain guys that you take no matter what, even if you wait until after signing day. In this class, those guys are James Bryant, Derrick Harvey, Rhyan Anderson and Dwayne Jarrett. We would take any – or all – of that group regardless of whom we signed before them.

And the rest? That includes Devon Lyons, Olu Hall, Willie Young, and Javier Estopinian.

I would be very satisfied with Lyons and one of the Big Four must-takes. Throw in one other out of the secondary group and I would be ecstatic. If we get two of the Big Four, we have a Top Three class in the country. In any event, we should finish in the Top Five. And with a group of kids that fills the needs we had as well as fulfilling the "quality kids" need that every school should have!

Finally, we have insured against the Commitment Day Massacre that we saw last year, simply because the staff has already closed the deal on enough players this year that we don't have that kind of finishing possibility. And that's a good thing. For those of you with strong stomachs and weak memories, here is a part of my column last year, 5 days after that massacre occurred:

(Mr. Bucknuts from February 10, 2003)

It was like standing up against the wall and having someone shoot at you. Luckily, I was wearing my scarlet-and-gray bulletproof vest. But the slugs nearly knocked me down, anyway.

"Did we get James Lee?"

"No, he went to Georgia"  Pow!

"Well, how about Devin Stearns?"

"Huh uh. He committed to Cal."  Bam!

"I know the coaches really really wanted Turk McBride. Did we get him?"

"No, he went to Tennessee."  Oof!

"And…and…and Aaron Sears?"

"Tennessee, too."  Ouch!

"Gosh, I'm scared to ask, but with Spielman on our side, I felt pretty good that we would get Shawn Crable, right?"

"No can do, Bucky. He opted for Michigan."  Wham!

"Good god – and Michael Bush?"

"Stayed home and went to Louisville" 
Oh, man!

"All right, at least we kept all the verbals. After all, it was a great class, no matter what the other …"

"Not so fast, there Mr. Bucknuts. Stanley McClover decommittted and picked Auburn"  Kapow!

That's it. I'm asking no more questions. The news just got worse and worse as the day went on last Wednesday. A number of us had used the unfortunate phrase "Even if we don't get a single other commitment…", but we didn't actually believe that would happen. It was like Michael Jordan missing seven straight free throws. It was like Matt Zahn passing up a smorgasbord. It was like LeBron James resisting temptation. I mean, what are the odds?

Now, back to the future…

We have a terrific class and there will be a bunch of stories to tell when it's all over. Let's enjoy the final few days. Yes, that's possible – it is sports we are talking about here, people.

And I will chime in again next weekend with a summary and my final grades.



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. Sirjo Welch S
10. Marcus Freeman LB
11. Dionte Johnson FB
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
21. Nader Abdallah DT
22. Albert Dukes WR
23. Dennis Kennedy RB
24. Curtis Terry LB











Antonio Pittman Erik Haw Dennis Kennedy


Ray Williams




Cedric Scott, Dionte Johnson






Todd Boeckman *


Anthony Morelli




Chad Hoobler, Rory Nicol






Albert Dukes


Dwayne Jarrett, Devon Lyons




Ben Person Steve Rehring Jon Skinner, Kyle Mitchum






Vernon Gholston


Rhyan Anderson, Olu Hall, Willie Young




Alex Barrow, Nader Abdallah






Marcus Freeman, Brandon Smith Curtis Terry


Javier Estopinan, James Bryant




Sirjoseph Welch, Nick Patterson






Shaun Lane, Brandon Underwood, Ted Ginn






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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