Introducing the Ohio State signing class of 2004. Below are some capsules, photos, and links of interest as well as our own rankings.
|Blue-chipper, one of the nation's best|
|One of the top overall players in the state and one of the top 25 nationally at his position|
|One of the top 25 players regionally at his position|
|/NR||Lesser-known prospect but one with exciting talent|
|denotes premium link|
Nader Abdallah, DT, Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel
(Insiders Ranking: #44 DT )
Abdallah (6-5, 300), who participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last weekend, had 76 tackles and 11 sacks for an 8-2 team as a senior despite missing three games due to injury. Abdallah can bench 365 pounds, squat 530 and run the 40 in 4.95 seconds. He is ranked as the nation's eighth-best defensive tackle and the nation's No. 91 prospect overall by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Rated as Louisiana's 18th-best prospect by SuperPrep. Ranked as the nation's No. 44 defensive lineman by The Insiders. He is qualified academically with a 3.0 GPA and a 19 on the ACT. He picked OSU on Jan. 27, verbaling to the Buckeyes over Florida State and Tennessee.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Abdallah was a player we were unfamiliar with in December. He had already set up four visits with one open, and he was considering several schools for that one open visit, but as fate would have it, OSU won the spot and wound up getting the player. One of the exciting things about Abdallah is the fact that he has gotten so good so soon (he has only played football for two years). Physically, he is ready to compete right away. He has high character and a high ceiling both on and off the field.
Alex Barrow, DE, Dublin (Ohio) Coffman (Insiders
#58 DE )
Barrow (6-4, 240) missed five games as a junior due to a shoulder injury. He then attended OSU's summer camp in June. He solidified himself as one of the state's top prospects with a stellar senior campaign. Fastest 40-yard time is 4.75 seconds. He had 58 tackles (25 solos), 13 sacks, one caused fumble and five batted passes. He earned second-team All-Ohio honors in Division I, where his 10-3 Coffman team reached the regional finals. Rated as Ohio's 23rd-best prospect by Ohio High. Holds a 2.7 GPA. He picked OSU on Jan. 11, verbaling to the Buckeyes over Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern and Pittsburgh.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Barrow fits the mold of "big speed." He has a great frame and can move well. He is a disruptive lineman who could line up at DE or DT down the road.
Todd Boeckman, QB, St. Henry, Ohio (2003 Senior - Grayshirt)
Boeckman (6-5, 215) graduated from St. Henry in June 2003, then enrolled at OSU on part-time basis. Enrolling full-time in 2004 and will be a freshman this fall. A four-year starter at St. Henry. Led St. Henry to the Division V state title game as a freshman. Threw for 7,021 yards and 64 touchdowns in his varsity career. Threw for 2,520 yards and 23 TDs as a freshman. Suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament as a senior, but still completed 95 of 177 passes for 1,415 yards and 15 touchdowns against seven interceptions in limited time. Was considered among Ohio's top 15 prospects a year ago. Ranked as the 19th-best quarterback nationally in 2003 by Rivals. Ranked as the 33rd-best prospect in the Midwest by SuperPrep and as the 51st-best prospect in the region by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Graduated with a 3.0 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Boeckman was a senior last year and committed to Ohio State, but he elected to take a grayshirt, which means he did not sign last year, enrolled late and will sign this year. He has already taken part in Buckeye practices but is being introduced as part of this class.
Albert Dukes, WR, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central (Insiders
#24 WR )
As a junior, Dukes (6-0 ½, 185) had 18 receptions for 440 yards and eight touchdowns. This past year, he had 56 catches for 1,046 yards and 17 touchdowns to lead an 11-1 team. He boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Dukes is rated as the nation's 24th-best receiver by The Insiders. Ranked as the No. 39 player in Florida by SuperPrep. Verbaled to OSU Jan. 28, picking the Buckeyes over N.C. State and Florida. Dukes is qualified with a 3.6 GPA and a 19 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Every indication is that this is a big-time grab for Ohio State. Some in Florida feel more highly about Dukes at this point than ex-Glades Central WR Santonio Holmes.
Marcus Freeman, LB, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne (Insiders #11
Freeman (6-2, 232) was a four-year starter at Wayne, finishing his high school career as a senior with 127 tackles, four sacks, three fumbles forced and three fumbles recovered. Chosen to the USA Today All-USA second team. Also a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division I. Ranked as Ohio's No. 7 prospect by Ohio High. Picked as the nation's 11th-best linebacker and the nation's No. 100 overall prospect by The Insiders. Chosen as the nation's fifth-best linebacker and No. 26 overall nationally by SuperPrep. Rated as the nation's third-best middle linebacker and the country's 22nd-best prospect overall by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Boasts 4.47-second speed in the 40. Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. Graduated in December and is enrolled at OSU and will participate in spring football. Committed to OSU Sept. 24, picking the Buckeyes over Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Miami (Fla.). Comes from the same school that sent Will Allen and John Hollins to OSU in 2000. Graduated with a 3.8 GPA and scored a 990 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: It's fair to say that Marcus is expected to play a big role in the OSU LB picture in the future and most likely pick up a starting spot after the current starters are gone. Coming in early will help him get on the field next year. One of the top players in this class.
Vernon Gholston, Detroit Cass Technical (Insiders #38 DE
Gholston (6-3, 235) played offensive guard, linebacker and defensive end for Cass Tech. He ended his senior year with 103 tackles and seven sacks. Gholston was named first-team All-Detroit and first-team All-Michigan in Division I by the Detroit Free Press. Gholston, who boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40, was ranked as the nation's 38th-best defensive lineman by The Insiders. Rated as the 47th-best defensive lineman in the country as well as Michigan's fourth-best prospect by SuperPrep. Ranked as the country's 18th-best outside linebacker by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Gholston becomes the fifth Michigan player to sign to OSU in the last 10 years. Linebacker Marco Cooper, also a Cass Tech graduate, was the last in 2000. Quarterback Craig Krenzel and receiver Ricky Bryant came on board in 1999. Fullback Charlie Sanders signed with OSU in 1995. Gholston benches 370 pounds and boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40. Committed to Ohio State Jan. 11, picking the Buckeyes over Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa. He holds a 2.9 GPA and scored a 930 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Perhaps the most impressive-looking player at OSU camp from a physique standpoint, Gholston is an exciting prospect with tremendous physical skills. Gholston was a bit of an unheralded prospect before his senior season, but strong performances at the Nike Camp and team camps opened people's eyes. He was an all-state performer on the OL, but DE is his future at OSU. The Buckeyes did a great job to sign him over Michigan.
Ted Ginn Jr., CB, Cleveland Glenville (Insiders.com POY and #1
Ginn (6-1, 165) was the USA Today national defensive player of the year as well as a co-Ohio Associated Press offensive player of the year in Division I. Starred at quarterback and defensive back for Glenville. Had eight interceptions, returning five for touchdowns. Totaled 54 tackles (14 solo) and had seven pass breakups. Returned four kicks and one punt for TDs. Rushed for 845 yards and 13 TDs on 100 carries and passed for 931 yards and 12 TDs on 62-for-92 efficiency. Factoring in his team's Division I playoff game, he accounted for 37 Glenville touchdowns this season. Played for his father, Ted Ginn Sr., head coach at Glenville. Also a state and national champion in the hurdles events in track and has aspirations of participating in the Olympics. Returned a kick for a touchdown in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. Rated as Ohio's top prospect by Ohio High. Ranked as the country's No. 1 cornerback prospect and No. 4 prospect overall nationally by The Insiders. Also named as The Insiders' national player of the year. Ranked as the nation's top cornerback and top overall prospect by SuperPrep. Rated as the country's No. 1 cornerback and No. 3 player overall by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Boasts 4.3-second speed in the 40. Committed to Ohio State Jan. 3 during NBC's live broadcast of the All-American Bowl. Picked the Buckeyes over Michigan, Pittsburgh, USC and Miami (Fla.). At OSU, he will join former Glenville teammates Dareus Hiley, Troy Smith and Donte Whitner. Holds a 3.7 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Not much can be said that hasn't been said already... this is the marquee name in this class and the one most expected to be a superstar. Ginn is one of the top prospects to come out of the Buckeye state in the past 20 years and should make an immediate impact.
Erik Haw, RB, Columbus Independence (Insiders #58 RB )
Haw (5-11, 210) was a finalist for the Ohio Mr. Football award after rushing for 3,030 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns over his team's 10-game regular season and three playoff games. Ended up averaging over 8 yards a carry. Earned co-Ohio Associated Press state offensive player of the year honors in Division II. Haw turned 40-yard times of 4.21 and 4.28 seconds at the OSU camp last summer. He was immediately offered and accepted on July 3. He was also interested in Michigan. Haw was ranked as Ohio's fourth-best prospect by Ohio High. He is ranked as the nation's 11th-best running back by SuperPrep and No. 18 nationally at the position by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Holds a 3.0 GPA and scored a 17 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Nationally, Haw didn't get the rankings he should have since he didn't really explode onto the recruiting scene until the summer of '03, but Ohioans know that he's one of the best. He's a blazing fast back with great tools and strength. He can be a workhorse or a game-breaker. He's experienced a meteoric rise since June of '03, and you can expect that to continue. When talking to him, there's a sense that there's something special about Haw as a player and person.
Chad Hoobler, TE, Carrollton, Ohio (Insiders #4 TE
Hoobler (6-4 ½, 220) has been a three-year starter at tight end and linebacker at Carrollton and could play on either side of the ball at Ohio State. He missed one game as a senior due to a fractured fibula, but returned to action the next week and went on to earn first-team All-Ohio honors in Division II for the second straight year. As a junior, he caught 13 passes for 230 yards and 3 scores. He also had 101 tackles, 3 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. Ranked as Ohio's sixth-best prospect by Ohio High. Rated as the nation's fourth-best tight end by SuperPrep and No. 19 nationally at the position by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Boasts 4.7-second speed in the 40. Committed to OSU May 16, picking the Buckeyes over Penn State. Holds a 2.7 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Great prospect on either side of the ball. Some like him better at LB, while some like him at TE, but he is good enough at either spot to excel wherever he is needed. At LB, he is a ferocious competitor and at TE, he brings the total package with great size, good speed, terrific hands, and great blocking skills.
Dionte' Johnson, FB, Columbus Eastmoor Academy (Insiders NR FB
Johnson (5-11, 235) is the son of former OSU All-American linebacker Pepper Johnson. He impressed the OSU coaching staff when he turned a 4.5-second 40-yard time at the summer camp. Projects as a blocking fullback for the Buckeyes. Earned first-team All-Ohio honors in Division III. Was also his team's leading tackler on defense as a senior. Rated as Ohio's 35th-best prospect by Ohio High. Ranked as the nation's 22nd-best fullback prospect by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Committed to OSU Oct. 6, picking the Buckeyes over Bowling Green and Pittsburgh. Holds a 3.7 GPA and scored a 1050 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Johnson hasn't played much FB, but he's got the physical characteristics you want for the position. Fine athlete who should be able to take a year or two to develop and then step in at the position. High character guy too.
Dennis Kennedy, RB-CB, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranhan
(Insiders #63 CB
Rushed for 967 yards and scored seven touchdowns as a prep senior. Boasts a 4.4-second 40-yard time. Could play on either side of the ball at the college level. Came on the scene late for the Buckeyes, but verbaled after being offered Jan. 29. Picked OSU over Central Florida and Wake Forest. 5-11, 180.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: NR. A star ranking won't be assigned here since we know too little about Kennedy, but we've heard plenty of great things. He will be coming in as a RB but could play on either side of the ball. He had some huge games, and the buzz is that he is quick as a cat. OSU was always his school of choice.
Shaun Lane, CB, Hubbard, Ohio (Insiders #32 CB )
Lane (5-10, 170) is the son of former OSU defensive back Garcia Lane. He was OSU's first verbal commitment in this class, accepting an offer on Feb. 27, 2003. Lane burst on the scene as a junior, rushing for 2,044 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns. He then had 1,700 yards rushing and four interceptions in earning first-team All-Ohio honors in Division III. Ranked as Ohio's 17th-best prospect by Ohio High. Ranked as the nation's 31st-best defensive back by SuperPrep. Boasts a 4.5-second 40 time. Holds a 3.1 GPA and scored a 17 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: The first commitment to this class, Lane is a dynamo who is projected at CB but should also get a look as a return man and maybe even at RB. OSU loves versatility, and he can do a lot on the field. We've heard observers in the Youngstown/Warren area refer to him as the best player they saw this year.
Devon Lyons, WR, Pittsburgh Woodland Hills (Insiders #16 S )
Lyons (6-2 ½, 204) was a fine two-way player for Woodland Hills as a senior and could play on either side of the ball for the Buckeyes. Offensively, he had 23 catches for 756 yards (32.9 average) and scored 14 touchdowns (averaged over 40 yards per catch on his TDs). Defensively, he had 52 tackles and four interceptions. He was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Fab 22" team. Lyons finished his junior season with 49 tackles, five interceptions and five caused fumbles. He is ranked as Pennsylvania's 10th-best prospect and the nation's 17th-best safety by The Insiders. Ranked as Pennsylvania's fourth-best prospect and the country's No. 12 wide receiver prospect by SuperPrep. Ranked as the nation's No. 20 safety by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. He holds a 3.4 GPA and scored a 1030 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: What a great grab for the Buckeyes. This is a big-time talent that had his choice of colleges. He has great size and athleticism and originally was listed as a safety, but he had such a superb senior season at WR that he is being brought in at that position. Another very versatile prospect, Lyons is a gifted player who has a bright future for the Buckeyes.
Kyle Mitchum, OL, Erie (Pa.) McDowell (Insiders #7 OL
Mitchum (6-4, 270) was a USA Today first-team All-USA pick. Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. Tallied 50 tackles and 2-½ sacks on defense as well. Rated as Pennsylvania's sixth-best prospect, the nation's No. 7 offensive lineman and 55th-best player nationally by The Insiders. Ranked as Pennsylvania's 10th-best prospect and the nation's 41st-best offensive lineman by SuperPrep. Ranked as the country's fifth-best offensive tackle and No. 50 prospect overall by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Committed to Ohio State Jan. 26, picking the Buckeyes over Iowa, Michigan and West Virginia. Holds a 2.8 GPA and scored an 880 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Kyle Mitchum is a monster addition for Ohio State. With over 60 offers, he could have played anywhere. He moves very well and has great tenacity. Like so many others in this class, Mitchum is a high character guy as well. He's already a big part of OSU's future offensive line.
Rory Nicol, TE, Beaver, Pa. (Insiders #2 TE )
Nicol (6-5, 242) had just 19 catches (and five touchdowns) as a senior, but observers coast to coast like his upside as a college tight end prospect. He was a three-year varsity starter with excellent size and athletic ability. He also plays basketball and runs hurdles in track. As a junior, Nicol caught 14 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, he recorded 78 tackles and 6-1/2 sacks. Nicol was named to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" team. As a senior, he led the Bobcats to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals. Ranked as the nation's No. 2 tight end prospect, the eighth-best prospect in Pennsylvania and No. 81 overall nationally by The Insiders. Ranked as the nation's sixth-best tight end and No. 11 overall in Pennsylvania by SuperPrep. Rated as the country's eighth-best tight end prospect by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. He boasts 4.8-second speed in the 40. Nicol had more than 40 scholarship offers. But he committed to OSU Dec. 16, picking the Buckeyes over Florida, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. Holds a 3.4 GPA and scored a 1020 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Nicol compares himself to Ben Hartsock, and everyone in Columbus is just fine with that. He's got the frame, blocking skills, and style similar to Hartsock, but Nicol brings athleticism that may be even more impressive. A huge pickup, Nicol selected OSU over 40+ other offers.
Nick Patterson, S, Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central
(Insiders #40 S )
In his senior year, he had 71 tackles (54 solos), one interception, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on defense. He was also a standout receiver with 45 catches for 823 yards and 11 touchdowns. Patterson (6-2, 200) may fit in best at safety at OSU, but he will also take a turn at cornerback. Boasts a 4.5-second 40-yard time. Ranked as the sixth-best prospect in Missouri by SuperPrep and as the nation's 40th-best defensive back by The Insiders. Patterson verbaled to Ohio State Jan. 13, picking the Buckeyes over Missouri and UCLA. Patterson is an outstanding student with a 4.167 GPA (he exceeds 4.0 because of weighted honors courses). He also has a 25 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Another player who saw his stock rise due to fine camp performances, Patterson is a versatile athlete who can play either S, CB or WR. He projects as a safety and has all the tools needed for that position. He performed well at Ohio State camp, going up against some of the best in the country and looking like one of the best himself. Patterson is also a tremendous student with great character.
Ben Person, OL, Xenia, Ohio (Insiders #17 OL )
Person (6-4, 295) could project as either a guard or a tackle at Ohio State. This three-year starter blocked at over 80 percent efficiency and did not allow a sack as a senior. Ranked as the state's third-best prospect by Ohio High. Also ranked as the nation's 17th-best offensive lineman by The Insiders. Ranked as the nation's 35th-best offensive lineman by SuperPrep and the country's eighth-best offensive guard by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. Committed to Ohio State March 14. Holds a 3.5 GPA and scored a 22 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: One of OSU's early commitments, Person is also one of the most important as he projects as an interior lineman of the future. He is rated as Ohio's top OL prospect this year and will have a chance to step into the OL rotation right away. In an area on the team that could prove to be thin, Person could play a valuable part quickly, and he has the ability to excel if called upon.
Antonio Pittman, RB, Akron Buchtel (Insiders #31 RB )
Pittman (5-11, 192) came on the scene after rushing for 2,316 yards and 25 TDs in 13 games as a junior in 2002. A turf toe injury kept Pittman out of three games as a senior. But he still ended up with 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns and was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division III this past season. Pittman, who boasts 4.4 speed in the 40, was ranked as Ohio's No. 15 prospect by Ohio High. Pittman was rated as the nation's 17th-best running back by SuperPrep and as the nation's 25th-best tailback by ESPN.com's Tom Lemming. He verbaled to Ohio State April 2, picking the Buckeyes over Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Toledo.
Bucknuts Analysis: Star ranking: Pittman, as mentioned above, struggled with injury during his senior season, but this is a real talent at RB. He's not a huge, Clarett-type tailback but is still very strong and has the blazing speed to go with it. Pittman and Haw bring immediate help to the backfield, and since he is coming in early, Pittman could get a jump on early playing time this year.
Steve Rehring, OL, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West (Insiders
Rehring (6-8, 320) is a gigantic offensive tackle prospect from the same school that sent defensive lineman Brandon Maupin to Ohio State a year ago. He was offered at the summer camp and accepted on June 27, picking the Buckeyes over Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, N.C. State and Virginia. Rated as the No. 41 in Ohio by Ohio High. Graduated from high school in December and is enrolled at OSU with intentions to participate in spring football. Graduated with a 2.6 GPA and scored a 21 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Rehring is a man determined to succeed. He decided early on that gaining a scholarship was his goal, and even though other Ohio linemen were rated ahead of them, he out-worked them all and showed at camps that he was right up there with any of them. He's a huge player who will just continue to improve. Enrolling early will help his chances of early playing time.
Jon Skinner, OL, Mount Carmel, Pa. (Insiders #95 OL )
Skinner (6-5, 280) recovered from a torn ACL and surgery last January to enjoy a fine senior season, culminating in a second straight first-team all-state selection in Class 2A. He helped his team to a 10-2 record after they won a state title the year before. He was ranked as Pennsylvania's 16th-best prospect by SuperPrep. He committed to Ohio State on July 1, picking the Buckeyes over Pittsburgh, Purdue, West Virginia and Duke. He is an outstanding student with a 4.0 GPA (top three in his class) and a 1230 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Coming from rural PA, Skinner seems like one of those tough-as-nails, business-like big nasties that you want on the offensive line. An ACL tear during his junior year may have caused some schools to take caution, but OSU stuck with him, and it sounds like they pulled out a steal. Skinner may be the most versatile of the incoming offensive linemen.
Brandon Smith, LB, Euclid, Ohio (Insiders NR LB
As a senior, Smith (6-3, 235) had 125 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions for a 6-4 team. He earned Special Mention All-Ohio honors in Division I. Smith had been offered previously by West Virginia, Northwestern, Connecticut, Navy and most of the MAC when he verbaled to Ohio State Dec. 14. He boasts 4.57-second speed in the 40. He holds a 3.4 GPA and has scores of 20 on the ACT and 960 on the SAT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: NR. Smith was an under-the-radar player this year who we did not know much about. Smith hasn't played a lot of football but has developed into a fine LB prospect. He caught OSU's eye at camp, and the Buckeyes kept up with him throughout the year and extended an offer after the season.
Curtis Terry, DE-LB, Cleveland Glenville (Insiders NR LB
Terry (6-3, 205) came out of nowhere to get an OSU official visit and offer late in the process. He verbaled to the Buckeyes Jan. 30. Boasts a 4.5-second time in the 40. He joins teammate Ted Ginn Jr. in this class. He made 48 solo tackles, including 12 sacks and 25 tackles-for-loss. He has run a 21.7 200 meters and has close to a 40 inch vertical jump. Qualified academically.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: A late addition to the class, Terry brings more of what everyone is looking for -- speed. Wherever he lines up, he'll be bringing that track speed and great athleticism to the defense. Fine playmaker.
A.J. Trapasso, P, Pickerington (Ohio) Central (Insiders NR P )
Trapasso (6-1, 215) graduated early and is set to enroll at OSU this spring so he can compete for the vacant punting job. Trapasso earned All-Ohio honors as a kicker in Division I as a junior. His high school then split into two schools, dropping Pickerington Central (the old school just renamed) into Division II. As a senior, Trapasso led Central to a 9-2 record and a playoff berth. He rushed for 1,520 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. He also averaged 41.4 yards as a punter, earning All-Ohio honors as a punter this season in D-II. Trapasso holds 14 records at Pickerington in categories ranging from scoring to rushing to kicking and punting. He graduated with a 3.0 GPA and scored a 23 on the ACT. Trapasso, who boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40, verbaled to OSU Dec. 19.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: OSU definitely needed a punter in this class, and Trapasso was one of the state's best and most athletic punters. Trapasso is coming in early, which is very important as he could be counted upon to handle the punting duties from game one. Trapasso will reportedly sign in the coming weeks.
Brandon Underwood, CB, Hamilton, Ohio (Insiders #14 CB )
Underwood (6-1, 179) is the younger brother of OSU defensive back E.J. Underwood. Brandon tallied 60 tackles as a senior. He was ranked as Ohio's 16th-best prospect by Ohio High. The Insiders also ranks him as the nation's 14th-best cornerback prospect. Underwood, who boasts 4.41-second speed in the 40, verbaled to OSU July 23. He picked the Buckeyes over Iowa, Arizona State, Penn State, Maryland, Purdue and Indiana. He holds a 2.9 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Underwood has developed into a fine cornerback prospect. He brings very good size to go with the position and also is a fine hitter and is good in run support. In this day of big, fast receivers, this is a corner that matches up well. He is a hard worker and high character person as well. Brandon chose to join brother E.J. at OSU over several scholarship offers.
Sirjo Welch, S, Columbus Beechcroft (Insiders #7 S )
Welch (6-0, 185) is a hard hitting safety prospect, although he also had eight interceptions (for 182 return yards) as a senior. He helped lead Beechcroft to a 9-3 mark and a berth in the Division III playoffs. Was also a first-team All-Ohio pick in that division. Welch was rated as Ohio's 20th-best prospect by Ohio High. He is also ranked as the nation's seventh-best safety prospect by The Insiders. Welch, who boasts 4.4-second speed in the 40, committed to OSU over Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Boston College and Maryland on May 19. He holds a 2.7 GPA and scored a 17 on the ACT.
Kirk's Analysis: Star ranking: Welch came out of nowhere in the spring as he gained several scholarship offers after his video circulated. Receivers beware -- if you make a catch (or not) and cross Welch's path, he'll make you pay. He's a guy who is around the ball and in on many plays. Nate Salley and Donte Whitner are solid at safety right now, and Welch seems to be the heir apparent at one of those spots and could give them a run for their money right now when it comes to hitting.
EDITOR'S NOTE -- If you like what you've seen here today, this is just a taste of what we have in store for you all year long. We have big plans to start our coverage on top junior prospects tomorrow. Plus, we will cover spring football like a blanket. Click this link for details on how to subscribe to Bucknuts.com and Bucknuts The Magazine. Try it for one month. You will not be disappointed!