Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Too early to start talking about 2004-05 recruiting? Nah. Mr. Bucknuts checks in today with an early look at the players that are generating discussion.

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 2005. 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 Ohio State.  Send all broadsides to

For more info on these players, check out recruiting database

February Report

All right – rest period's over. Everybody back in the pool. It's time to kick off the "Class of 2005" recruiting season. That's right!

There are just a few simple guidelines that we abide by here at Bucknuts. They are:

1. Too much is never enough.

2. Nothing exceeds like excess.

3. I like what I have so much, I want more.

4. Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps. Through excess, we are lead to wisdom.

Actually, long-time football fan – and part-time poet - William Blake, helped me with that last one.

We admit it. We are unrepentant recruiting nuts. That's why we started the site in the first place. That's why college football is a 365-day of the year sport. Except for this year, of course. When it's a 366-day a year sport…

So, in keeping with our Bucknuts tradition of speculation and inappropriate timing, it is now officially Class of 2005 season!

To start the analysis, we have to break this puppy down into three specific areas of inquiry: 1) How many schollies will we have to offer? 2) What positions do we need to recruit? 3) Who are the guys we are going after? I always say, "Never start a vast project with half-vast ideas". Thus, here are a few of my half-vast ideas for the rest of you to critique.


This is a more mystical question than you all might think. The simple answer appears to be "16". We will have 14 graduating (or at least they are leaving…) seniors on next year's team and we can add Chris Gamble (going to the NFL) and Maurice Clarett (yeah, yeah, yeah) to the list as well. That screams out, "16".

But you are allowed to take 25 in any given year. Or 28 if you are going to over-sign but then you have to cut down by season's start. In any event, you can't have more than 85 total scholarship players. But that doesn't count medical guys (like an Angelo Chattams) and that doesn't take into consideration gray shirts. And you have to factor in walk-ons versus schollies. Is Cedric Scott included, for instance? And what about Joe Bauserman?

Then you have to factor in the attrition, the injuries, the transfers, the shocking incidents and anyone who might be leaving early.

So, I am saying that we will have 2-4 more scholarships available than our minimal number of "16". I am rounding that to "19". Just because I can.

I also am positing that a typical class takes 21 kids in the following approximate dispersion:

RB – 2

FB – 1

QB – 1

TE – 1

WR – 2

OL – 4

DL – 4

LB – 2

DB – 4

So, that's "21". And then there are those years that you have to take a place kicker. Or a punter. It is one of those years for the Buckeyes in 2005. And finally, there are considerations such as special teams, spacing of players, long-snappers, and guys that have the cheerleaders' home phone numbers. All of that leads us to:



With only 19 recruitable positions, one has to be judicious with how those scholarships are used. Who are we losing at that position? Who is coming back? Who is coming off their redshirt year? Who is coming in with the Class of 2004? And who is there for depth at that position?

Who knows? Oh, yeah, I do…Here goes:

Running Backs

We will lose all three, no matter what Clarett does this year. And we have 2-3 coming in. I say "2-3" because many assume that Kennedy was recruited as a DB although he insists he's coming to Columbus as an RB. Everyone who has seen the Ohio boys play is really high on both Haw and Pittman but they are both just getting to campus. If you assume that Guilford and Kennedy are defensive backs, then wow – we need at least two more running backs in the next class.


Note that I classify "fullbacks" separately from "running backs" because that's how they were utilized until Joe emerged in the Fiesta Bowl. He will be leaving for good after next season, leaving us with Schnittker, perhaps Stan White (an H-back type), Dionte Johnson and the promising walk-on, Ryan Franzinger. There's also the possibility of Cedric Scott performing here, which is a better possibility than moving Andre Tyree back. In an ordinary year, we would take one. This is not that year, so we take none.


We will have Zwick and Smith as juniors and Boeckman as a freshman. We have Bauserman choosing between baseball and football. And no one has seen Nathan Szep in so long that we just assume we don't have him. If Bauserman is coming, I would say we only need 1 more QB to keep the spacing right and give us depth. If he's not (and that's the way I'm betting it), we need two quarterbacks.

Wide Receivers

We try to take two great ones every year and I don't see an exception in 2005. In 2004, we took Miles Williams and Dajuan Morgan, and then they went elsewhere. For a while, we thought we had them replaced with Fred Davis and Dwayne Jarrett. They went elsewhere, too. We ended up with two four-star guys in Albert Dukes and Devon Lyons. We will lose Childress and Hollins, leaving the newbies with Santonio Holmes, Roy Hall, and Devin Jordan. There is the possibility that Dareus Hiley and Tony Gonzalez will be WR's as well. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that Holmes might leave early if he has another standout year. Therefore, we will take two great ones again next year.

Tight Ends

We keep taking Top 100 tight ends every year but we keep using two-tight end sets so we need depth there. We will lose Jason Caldwell (yes, he's still here) and Ryan Hamby, Louis Irizarry, Redgie Arden and Stan White will be back. We brought in the highly promising duo of Chad Hoobler and Rory Nicol although there is some concern/excitement that Hoobler might become your middle linebacker of the future. That would leave just four tight ends in a two tight end set which would leave us looking for one more.

Offensive Linemen

The walk-on (ne scholarship) player Kne is the only loss from next year's group. That's the good news. The bad news is that we will struggle to scrape together enough OL bodies to play a spring practice game. That is, we are still missing depth. We will return Mangold, Sims, Olds, Downing and Datish as your classically trained linemen. We then have position-switchers in Tyree, Schafer and Coleman. In other words, there are question marks there. Then there is Kirk Barton coming off his redshirt year and Ben Person, Steve Rehring, Kyle Mitchum and Jon Skinner coming in as freshmen. That's 13 in total but Olds is a question mark (injuries). I say that means we need a minimum of three more – possibly four.

Defensive Ends

The D-line positions can switch back and forth but what's the point of being obsessive about recruiting if you can't obsess specifically? We will lose Simon Fraser here and bring back Mike Kudla and Jay Richardson. Other D-line candidates that can play on the end are Joel Penton, Marcel Frost and Sian Cotton. Incoming frosh include Vernon Gholston and Alex Barrow. Keep in mind that we lost at least four 4-5 star DE guys at the very end of recruiting in the last two years alone. That should signify what the staff wanted to bring in. And their concerns. They will want to bring in two superstars next year as well.

Defensive tackles

With the same caveat as expressed in the DE discussion, here is what we know: No one is leaving; Marcus Green, Quinn Pitcock, Penton, David Patterson, Brandon Maupin, Frost and Cotton are all returning. Nader Abdallah is an exciting addition. Tremendous talent in this group. Although you always like to find two great tackles a year, our guys are young and deep. Therefore, we will take just one.


Thomas Matthews is the only one leaving. Otherwise, we have Mike D'Andrea, AJ Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Schlegel and Curt Lukens to drool over. There's a good chance that Reggie Smith will move down to DE and a good chance that Hoobler will end up at LB. Plus, other LB's (D'Andrea?) could move down and we also have the "free schollie" guy in John Kerr. Newcomers include Marcus Freeman, Brandon Smith and Curtis Terry although Terry could end up as, well…you know. OSU seems loaded here but this is a special teams position and some of the guys can "only" play the middle. Plus, Hawk and class will only be playing one more year (hard to believe, eh?). Thus, I am saying that we take two more linebackers.


This is another switcheroo conundrum as safeties and cornerbacks often interchange (see "Donte Whitner" or "Dustin Fox" as prime examples). Donte will be back as a safety along with starter Nate Salley and backups Tyler Everett and Brandon Mitchell (could move to LB?). To offset the movers, Curtis Terry is so fast and athletic that he might move the other way – from LB to safety (see the "Cie Grant experiment"…). We also have coming in Sirjo Welch and Nick Patterson. And I'm predicting that Ira Guilford goes back to this position next year. That's a bunch of safeties and a lot of young ones. In a normal year, you might take two. In this year, there is room for one.


In one of the greatest recruiting years in Ohio in memory, that almost automatically means we will take two CB's. Particularly if the staff views the immensely talented Jamario O'Neal as a CB. And we still have a lot of DB's left over. We lose Dustin Fox but EJ Underwood returns along with Ashton Youboty and Michael Roberts. Newcomers include the estimable Ted Ginn, Brandon Underwood and Shaun Lane. Forget the numbers – wait until you see the talent lining up in Ohio at this position. Ya gotta take two!


Nugent and Huston will both be leaving. The staff seems to have selected their future punter in AJ Trapasso. And their future place-kicker in Aaron Pettrey, who is gray shirting and will be part of the 2005 class. As far as we know (and that's never very far…), Brian Pierce is still available as a walk-on PK. So, Pettrey means we will take one here. Him.

And if you're counting – and still awake – that breaks down as follows:

RB: 2

FB: 0

QB: 2

WR: 2

TE: 1

OL: 3

DE: 2

DT: 1

LB: 2

S: 1

CB: 2

K: 1

And that adds up to 19. Thank god that reconciles with the 19 spots I said we would have available!

Now, who will fill those 19 spots? Let's take a look:



Some of this speculation was easier than others (like the guys that have already committed, f'rinstance…). But as we hear of players that are interested in OSU or players with offers or players that we think should get offers, we will present them here and let you decide how to put together this class.

Running Backs

Ray Williams: He's ba-a-ck. Actually, he never went away. Or went anywhere else, for that matter. Ray was last year's Mr. Ohio Football and – arguably – could have won the award the previous year, as well. He's that good. He has two detractions: 1) He's a smallish back and OSU seems to have a bunch of those and 2) He needs work on his grades. If the Buckeye staff was truly interested and Ray went to a prep school for a year, he would be a Buckeye.

Tyrell Sutton: Another smallish back (from Hoban) that could be a DB, but not in the year of the DB in Ohio. He's still someone to keep your eye on.

Javon Ringer: The class of the class. Dazzling upside. He replaced one of the best backs in Ohio (Pernell Williams) in the middle of the year and rushed for 2000 yards. As a sophomore! He ran for more than that last year in a Dayton Chaminade program that is known for producing great talent. Small like Archie was small with unusual power and exquisite balance. Grades could be a problem here, but he's working on it.

Maurice Wells: The first out-of-stater to make a splash…Only 180 pounds but urban legend has it that Conley was so impressed with his tape that he made an offer without even checking with Tressel. Great stats and an alleged 5-star ranking forthcoming…



Tyler Horner: An up-and-comer from and up-and-coming program (Northmont) that goes to the air a bunch. He might be the best of the class in a so-so year in Ohio quarterbacking.

Joe Bauserman: The big "B" as in "Big Question". A real talent, he has already committed to OSU as a gray shirt. His talents in baseball might prevent him from ever living in Columbus, however. We should know after the baseball draft this spring.

Wide Receivers

Brian Hartline: With Manningham gone, Hartline is best-in-class and might be better than Mario, anyway! A great receiver and engaging kid out of Canton Glen Oak, he is an OSU lean and would be a, well… great catch.

Derrick Williams: Maryland wide out that is purported to have already been offered by the Buckeyes.

Offensive Linemen

Alex Boone: Alex has already committed to Ohio State, of course, and he's a great one. Don't let anyone tell you differently (like the gurus who make a living off the kids that commit late…). A dominant drive-blocker with size, agility and an attitude, he should be in the two-deep the day he arrives on campus.

AJ Haas: Here's a Haas we need to ride; a potential Top 100 kid out of Copley, Duane describes AJ as a "super athletic big man; lean with a great frame – runs like a player 50 pounds lighter". Nuff said…

Rocco Cirroni: The next great one out of Warren Harding (and not a Michigan guy), he's been improving dramatically.

Dave McClain: Puts Ohio State at the top of his early list. 6'5" and 325 out of Pennsylvania (and you know we like those PA linemen!).

Defensive Ends

Antwon Hight: Already projected by Duane to end up in the NFL if he can just get through high school and make it into college. Has everyone drooling except the Dean of Admissions.

Curtis Smith: A great one out of Glenville (i.e. OSU's if they want him…), at 6'2" and 235, he has some growing to do to be a DE.

Louis Holmes: Yes, after his brother Sherlock, probably the greatest consistent mystery man around the OSU recruiting circles. Says he still needs to get eligible and says he still wants to be a Buckeye. You have to admire his persistence, if nothing else.

Defensive Tackles

Todd Denlinger: Probably the best DT potential in Ohio and a possible Top 100 player that has a definite lean to the Buckeyes.

Joe Akers: Defensive lineman from Maryland that attended the OSU junior day. 6'2" and 310…

Jeffrey Owens: Florida DE from Plantation High School (FL) where the OSU coaches recently spent the whole day…

Ekem Udofia: From Arizona with OSU on his Top 5 list, Ekem ran a sub-4.7 40 at 270 pounds with 29 bench press reps and a 4.1 GPA. Now, there's some unusual combinations…

James McKinney: Could be a DT, could be a TE. Could be a commitment to Michigan (he did that once already…) but could be still looking. The scuttle is that OSU offered him this week and that he will take a look. The 6'4" 255-pounder from Louisville caught 14 passes and played stellar defensive line last year. Projects more as a DE, perhaps…


Freddie Lenix: Could be the best linebacker in the class or could be the best safety. He's from Glenville and he's one we want.

Jim Ramella: St. Ignatius linebacker and tight end, Ramella is 6'4" and 235 with a 4.7 and a 3.4.

Elijah Hodge: From our friends at Dillard HS in Ft. Lauderdale, Elijah is a small linebacker that might follow in the OSU footsteps of Thomas Matthews and Chris Gamble. Rated #25 in Florida…

Brian Cushing: 6'3" and 225 with a 4.45 forty, this New Jersey LB says OSU is in the hunt.


Jamario O'Neal: Think of this: Ted Ginn Jr.'s father coaches both these kids. TG Jr. was the defensive player in America last year. TG Sr. says that Jamario is better. He was offered as a sophomore. When Steve Helwagen saw his highlight tape, his only question was "Why didn't we offer him sooner?" Pretty exciting stuff…Duane Long thinks he will play at cornerback but he could play either. Both?

Adam Myers-White: Already offered by Ohio State. He would add nicely to the all Hamilton/Glenville backfields with Whitner, Hiley, Ginn, O'Neal and the Underwood brothers.


Brandon Harrison: In a year of major talent at this position, Brandon might be the best of them all. From the same program that could bring us Javon Ringer…

Ryan Brinson: Just a great athlete who would rather be an RB but might be too small at the next level. Out of Canton McKinley, so he faces big time competition. Duane says, "Ryan is often the fastest player on the field and always the toughest".

Justin King: An alleged OSU offeree out of Pittsburgh. Blinding speed and a possibility that he goes somewhere as a tailback.


Aaron Pettrey: A gray shirt commitment with a huge leg out of a small town in Kentucky. If he doesn't work out as a K, he could be our QB. Aaron broke the all-time KY high school record last year by completing more than 71% of his passes.

* * * * *

One of the many observations and conclusion-jumps you could make from this overwhelmingly early and incomplete list of speculation is this: You could get the remaining 15 players we need all from Ohio! Wanna see how?

At quarterback: Ty Horner

At running back: Ray Williams and Javon Ringer

At wide receiver: Brian Hartline (and maybe Brian Robiskie since Manningham took himself off the board…).

At tight end: Jim Ramella

At offensive line: AJ Haas and Rocco Cirroni

At defensive line: Antwon Hight, Curtis Smith and Todd Denlinger

At linebacker: Freddie Lennix

At defensive backs: Adam Myers-White, Brandon Harrison and Ryan Brinson.

Like any pre-season exercise, I am stretching a bit here. But my point is that – in a relatively thin year in Ohio – the talent at the top is such that we can fill up the class with worthy Ohio additions. Then, you throw in 3-4 five-star out-of-staters, and you've got something to talk about!

Believe me, we will talk about it anyway…Much much more to come!










Javon Ringer, Maurice Wells, Tyrell Sutton, Ray Williams








Joe Bauserman


Tyler Horner









Brian Hartline, Derrick Williams




Alex Boone


AJ Haas, Rocco Cirroni, Dave McClain






Antwon Hight, Curtis Smith, Louis Holmes, James McKinney






Todd Denlinger, Joe Akers, Jeffrey Owens, Ekom Udofia






Jim Ramella, Freddie Lennix, Elijah Hodge, Brian Cushing




Jamario O'Neal


Adam Myers-White






Brandon Harrison, Ryan Brinson, Justin King




Aaron Pettrey










Red Player: He has already committed

Gray Player: Gray shirt from 2004 that will be part of the 2005 class

Blue Player: I absolutely want this kid!

Green Player: Great potential


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