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 MrBucknuts@yahoo.com
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MR. BUCKNUTS RECRUITING REVIEW
Well, here we are in April, nature's cruelest month, where a young man's heart turns to football!
And, Jerry, can I hear an "absolutely"? Yes, we have a witness.
And, although most college football fans slumber serenely without worries of the recruiting follies that are about to befall them, can we at Ohio State ever have that peaceful slumber? Never! There is always something afoot with Ohio State football and Ohio State football recruiting. And that's where I come in…
And as I come in, the door swings both ways. Bill Conley, long time recruiting coordinator and lightening rod of the recruiting program, chose April 1 to announce his departure from the Buckeye program. Coach Conley oversaw one of the greatest recruiting machines of the past decade. Sure, the machine itself is bigger than just one person. And certainly, Coach T has involved himself so intensely that the momentum will take care of the foibles that will emerge. But let me – Mr. Bucknuts – give a huge tip of our Woody cap to a man that bled scarlet and gray for about thirty years: Bill Conley.
We still have John Hill and the recruiting staff aboard and we are in the off-est part of the off-season, but fans will ask: Why did Coach Conley choose this timing and who will succeed him in his dual roles of coaching assistant and recruiting coordinator?
The first question is the easier. Coaching contracts/seasons run from April 1 to March 31 so Coach C had to make some determination prior to April. And – with the sudden departures of Mark Dantonio (to the Bearcats) and Tim Spencer (to the Bears), this is a crazy mixed up shook-up world of staff changes. I think Jim Tressel has been classy about letting Conley get out the door and announce his new career before a successor comes in right on top of him.
And that successor? Announced Monday, it was a bit of a surprise, in John Peterson. The surprise was to those folks looking for a Conley clone. Peterson is not that. In fact, it was an announcement – of sorts - that recruiting coordination will be a-changing in the future of the Tressel era. That is, Conley was more a "Recruiting Czar" for the Coopster and Tressel is so much more hands-on, that he is the czar himself. With great recruiting coaches like Joe Daniels and Mel Tucker and Luke Fickell amongst others, Coach Peterson will truly be a "coordinator" and will also be a contributor as a coach. Hey – if you liked the recent Miami o-lines, you should like this guy! And – as surprising as that quick announcement – the initial feedback from ThoseGuysThatKnow seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
We have a new commitment since we last got together: Jim Cordle from Rob Carpenter's growing football empire in Lancaster. Cordle is a very mobile 6'5" 265 pound offensive lineman that had a number of high-ranking colleges excited. And we are excited that he chose to come play with us here in Columbus!
The best rumor-of-a-commitment in a while would have to be Adam Myers-White, who is said to want to wait until June to pull the trigger. And whom is he shooting at? Your Buckeyes, of course. Adam is a big get. As in "National". And now Hamilton High (EJ Underwood, Brandon Underwood and Adam) can compete on an even field with Glenville (Donte Whitner, Dareus Hiley, Ted Ginn, Jamario O'Neal, and Freddie Lenix) for Buckeye defensive backfield supremacy.
If I am right (mark down the date if that happens) and the 2005 Buckeyes only have room for 19 new schollies, we are more than 25% there with five commitments for the class already. Assuming that guys like Myers-White and Lenix and at least one from the June camps are commits, we are nearly halfway toward filling a larder that usually takes a whole year and a lot more shuckin' and jivin' than this. Hoo boy…
If that's the biggest news in the past month (and it is…), there were other happenings around the fringes of recruiting. And, as always, some rumors and innuendos. Hey – we didn't start ‘em this time!
But let's take a look…
NEW RECRUITS ADDED TO THE LIST
Walker Ashley: Reports from Minnesota indicate that Ashley has been offered by the Bucks. Two surprises here: this was the first offer he received; and he didn't know that much about Ohio State. The 6'5" 290 pound defensive lineman seemed pleased and it was obvious that his highlight tape made an impact, eh?
Robert Brewster: One of the O-linemen in discussion in Ohio, Robert attended the spring practice opening day. That was one of two notable aspects about Brewster, the other being that he had dropped 40 pounds and weighs in at a svelte 320 now. He was the most valuable junior O-lineman at Buckeye camp last year, and his shed girth could reflect a strong desire to be a Buckeye. With Cordle and Boone already in the fold, the last OL (?) offer might be extended sparingly…
Bill Stull: Considered the top gun this year in PA (and that's meaningful…), Pittsburgh's Stull has been to a West Virginia camp and lists OSU as amongst his favorites that include Mississippi, MSU and Kentucky, as well. Stull says he was born in Ohio but that won't be a determining factor…
Ryan Perrilloux: An early contender for the nation's best QB, and he insists that Ohio State is in his top three in the early going. This Louisiana product has it all but you always think that the south guys stay in the south. USC and Texas are said to be his other favorites.
NEWS AND VIEWS ON OTHER RECRUITS
AJ Haas: I've already listed April as a cruel month, and without any personal malice, I am removing AJ from this early tentative list. The tapes from last year didn't help distinguish him, and with two Ohio commits already in from O-liners, I will be a hard-liner and say that AJ won't be the third…
Fred Rouse: The accolades just keep coming for this Florida WR. He might be the #1 receiver in the state – which should be all you need to know. He considers FSU, Miami, LSU and Southern Cal as his leaders but also gives a secondary nod to OSU, Michigan and Tennessee. I wouldn't hold my breath but we will certainly hold a spot for Fred.
Justin King: The only update here is that Justin has gone from "probably the best football player in PA" to "maybe the best football talent in the country". If we land Justin and Adam Myers-White to go along with Jamario, we will have the best DB recruiting class in many years, anywhere…
Adam Myers-White: Offered two months back, this standout Hamilton, Ohio talent will eventually commit to the Buckeyes, according to our spies. Really, this is different than Kenyon Buford and Frank Morton. Really!
Brian Cushing: Already on the list. Brian avers that he likes the Bucks a bunch and hopes to camp here this summer. He also likes Stanford, BC, MSU and Syracuse…
Marvin Sapp: A smallish defensive tackle with great bloodlines (yes, that Sapp…), we would be saps not to take his interest at face value. This Florida star is naming all the usual names (Notre Dame, FSU, Maryland, Georgia) but says he has an interest in the Buckeyes.
Derrick Williams: Now considered by many pundits as a challenger for "Best Player in the Nation". Has nearly 20 offers and they are from the 20 best teams in America. OSU is one of them, but don't get too excited yet…
Todd Denlinger: Destined to be a Top Five guy in Duane Long's new Ohio High Magazine, Todd is racking up offers and interest from big name schools across the country. My feeling is that he is simply waiting for the OSU offer; it might come if he goes to camp this year in June.
GUYS WHO WE'VE TALKED ABOUT IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS
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, but he might be the odd man out in a year of few schollies.
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. A bunch of schools have now offered as befits one of the best back prospects in the country. He has family in Ohio and keeps naming the Buckeyes as amongst his faves.
Gene DelleDonne: Delaware QB that has expressed an interest in the Buckeyes. He is a likely choice for the Elite Eleven quarterback camp this year, which puts him into an elite group, indeed.
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. Don't look for too much noise from the local lads this year at quarterback.
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. If we take a receiver from Ohio, it will probably be Brian.
Rahmir Cottman: Tall and fast New Jersey receiver that lists Ohio State amongst his top schools.
Rocco Cironi: The next great one out of Warren Harding (and not a Michigan guy); he's been improving dramatically.
Joe Akers: A Maryland O-lineman that attended the Junior Days at Penn State and at OSU. That has to mean something…
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. Now says his numbers are in order and we are waiting to hear from the NCAA clearinghouse before the coaching staff opines.
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 various Deans of Admissions.
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… Ekem is leading the list of Most Offers The Soonest.
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 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…
Terrance Taylor: A national recruit that has already been offered by Michigan. Lists OSU as an early favorite.
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.
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…
Ray Herring: Florida safety from a small school that is making a big noise. He has a number of elite schools on his list, Ohio State amongst them.
Jayson White: From the same Pennsylvania high school as Kyle Mitchum, you know that Coach Daniels has certainly gotten a look at Jayson.
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.
That's the cast of characters in a thumbnail Mr. Bucknuts sketch…
Interestingly, I think we are off to a great start for this class. Let's think it through: Ohio State has somewhere between 16-19 scholarships for the Class of 2005. Even at the high end of 19, we are more than 25% full with the two grayshirts (Pettrey and Bauserman) and Jamario and the two linemen (Boone and Cordle). With Jamario and Boone, we have the top two players in Ohio. With Boone and Cordle, we have the top two offensive linemen, as well.
If you look at the top six Ohio players on the Duane Long list, I think we can have them all: Denlinger is just waiting for an offer, Myers-White should commit soon and Freddie Lenix is, well…from Glenville! And of the next seven quality Buckeye kids? Manningham is off to Michigan, Brandon Harrison and Curtis Smith might become "numbers casualties", Brian Hartline wants to be a Buck, and the next two offensive line candidates (Robert Brewster and Rocco Cirroni) seem to be simply waiting for offers.
That's a pretty nice position to be in: we decide whom we want and need.
Plus, if Antwon Hight qualifies (doubtful) and if Javon Ringer qualifies (probable) and we need him (possible), we can have those outstanding talents as well.
And then you have the national kids: Derrick Williams might be the best athlete in the country, Maurice Wells might be the best tailback, Ryan Perrilloux might be the best quarterback, Justin King might be the best available DB, etcetera. Those are not bad fallback choices and every one of them has an OSU interest.
I am optimistic, therefore. We need specific talent this year and that talent is available. Tressel has done a terrific job at getting through the first (and inevitable) sea change of his coaching staff and we are well set up for the future.
I've said it before: it's a great time to be a Buckeye!
Red Player:He has already committed
Gray Player:Gray shirt from 2004 that will be part of the 2005 class
Blue Player:We absolutely want this kid!
Green Player:Great potential; we might want him
Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets
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