Even without Clarett's overbearing presence, OSU could still tie or match a record for the most draftees since the league trimmed the draft down to seven rounds in 1994. Miami (Fla.) set the mark with 11 draftees in 2002. But draft experts now believe as many as 13 OSU players could be chosen in this draft. That number would certainly become 14 if Clarett's legal team can succeed in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court's decision between now and Saturday.
Speaking last week, OSU coach Jim Tressel was happy to hear so many of his former players will have a chance to extend their careers in the NFL.
"We're excited about those guys," Tressel said. "It's such a large group for a lot of reasons. First, some guys who maybe could have gone out a year ago did not. There weren't many of the guys who came in four years ago who redshirted, so that makes that class pretty big. And, of course, they're very, very good. It's going to be a record setting year for us. I wish the best for them. Whoever gets our guys will have great players for their teams.
"One of the guys was saying we hope to hit the cycle, which would be to have somebody drafted in every round."
Tressel credited OSU's draft-eligible players for getting themselves prepared for the draft.
"I have coached a lot of those guys for three years and they have worked hard," he said. "It's been a dream of theirs to become the best player they could become. They have worked hard in the weight room. You could see when they were tested, you had all the coaches and scouts saying as they walked out, `Hey, you're guys have trained.' That's exciting. It's not exciting to lose all those guys."
Below we will take a player-by-player look at OSU's most talked about draft prospects. We have enlisted the help of Tony Pauline, editor of TFYDraftPreview.com in the Insiders network. Pauline has offered an NFL draft service for fans for 15 years, including the last six seasons at the TFY web site.
With each player, we provide a brief sketch of their OSU career, notes on their pro day workouts (if available), Pauline's thoughts on the player, his projection and my thoughts on the player.
FIRST ROUND POSSIBILITIES
DE Will Smith
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 267 pounds; Hometown -- Utica, N.Y.
* OSU Highlights -- Won first-team All-Big Ten honors and was selected as the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 … also named to first-team berths on the Walter Camp and Football Coaches All-America teams … was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in college football … also a semi-finalists for the Lombardi Award … wound up the year with 49 total tackles, including 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks … both of the latter totals paced the team and were second in the Big Ten … concluded his career with 46.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks, totals that rank him fifth and fourth, respectively, in the OSU records book … played in all 51 games during his career, starting 36 of those contests, including the last 19 … seven tackles in the win over Purdue was his top effort as a senior … career high in tackles was nine in the 2002 Outback Bowl … had eight stops, including a pair of early tackles for loss, in the Buckeyes win over Miami in the 2002 national championship game.
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Smith ran his 40s in 4.58 and 4.62. He did a 38½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-9 long jump and he benched 225 pounds a total of 30 times. A sore ankle prevented him from running the short and long shuttles, but he ran 7.42 in the three-cone drill.
* Pauline on Smith -- "In my mind, he is probably the most underrated defensive player in the draft. When I watched this guy play, I loved him. He has explosion and speed and is just a disruptive force. He is a defensive end who creates havoc in a lot of ways. Plus, you can use him in a lot of systems. He can be an end in a 4-3, but he is so athletic he can also drop into coverage with the zone blitz. He is very effective playing in space. He defends the run a lot better than they may give him credit for. He could go to Buffalo in the middle of the first round, but in a year or two a lot of teams will probably wonder why they weren't on him."
* Pauline's Projection -- First round, 13th overall pick to Buffalo
* Helwagen on Smith -- He passed up a chance to go pro a year ago and came back. Then, as a senior, he was the Big Ten‘s defensive player of the year and defensive lineman of the year. That says a lot. He has been durable and played through various injuries. Opposing linemen found, more times than not, that they needed to hold Smith or double team. That also says a lot. Sometimes, he gets into a zone where he doesn't think he can be stopped. Soft spoken away from the field, Smith should enjoy a long and bright NFL career pummeling quarterbacks and running backs. Going in the top 10 would be nice, but if it‘s No. 13, that‘s OK, too.
CB Chris Gamble
* Height, Weight -- 6-2, 196 pounds; Hometown -- Sunrise, Fla.
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- On March 12, Gamble ran 4.50 and 4.55 in the 40. He had a 39½-inch vertical jump, ran 4.25 in the short shuttle and 6.89 in the cone drill. He also did 16 strength reps. Gamble looked very good, smooth with his change of direction and he closes fast. On April 5, Gamble ran again. He put up times of 4.61, 4.57 and 4.53 in the 40-yard dash.
* OSU Highlights -- Opted to leave Ohio State at the end of his junior year in 2003 and pursue his dream of playing in the National Football League … began his career as a wide receiver, but became a two-way starter midway through the Buckeyes' national championship year in 2002 and started the final six games of the season at both cornerback and flanker … concentrated almost exclusively on defense in 2003 but did see some action at flanker … also returned punts and kicks … wound up his senior year with 41 tackles and three interceptions on defense and three receptions on offense … had a career-high eight tackles as a senior in the win over North Carolina State … 31 receptions as a junior, including a career-high six in a win over Kent State … 24 tackles as a junior … also had four interceptions in 2002, each and everyone a dramatic "game saver" for the Buckeyes … 57-yard reception against Miami in the 2002 national title game was the longest aerial of the year for the Buckeyes … co-MVP as a junior.
* Pauline on Gamble -- "He is big and physical. People are upset that he only ran a 4.52 40, but he is plenty fast enough. It will not be a problem. I think he will be a good, press cover corner. Now there is a lot more involved with that at the next level. Sometimes, he falls asleep and plays the ball and takes chances. He is not a boom-or-bust guy by any means. But until he gets his head into the game and learns the nuances of the game, he is going to take some lumps. He‘ll probably go late first round. Cornerback is another position where guys usually go much higher than anticipated."
* Pauline's Projection -- First round, 21st overall pick to New England
* Helwagen on Gamble -- He has started 18 games at cornerback, so he does have a bit more experience than some would give him credit for. Obviously, he is still learning the position. If I had a first-round pick, I would take him and not look back. There just aren't many athletes on this planet with his physical ability. Plus, he could be an extra receiver and return man as well. He is not Deion Sanders -- yet. But could develop into that kind of game-changing corner with the proper teaching. He is making the right decision to go pro. With Ty Law‘s problems with the Pats, that No. 21 spot looks about right.
ALSO ON THE FIRST DAY (Rounds 2-3)
* Height, Weight -- 6-5, 217 pounds; Hometown -- Tampa, Fla.
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Jenkins ran the 40s in 4.38 and 4.42 seconds. He had a 34-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-6 long jump, ran 4.31 in the short shuttle and 6.93 in three-cone drill.
* OSU Highlights -- Clutch receiver who was selected by his teammates as co-captain and team MVP as a senior … wound up the year with a career-high 55 receptions for 834 yards and seven touchdowns … averaged 64.2 yards per game and 15.2 yards per catch in 2003 … closed out his career as the school's all-time leader in receiving yardage with 2,898 yards on 165 receptions … the latter total ranks him third in school annals behind David Boston (191) and Cris Carter (168) … caught at least one pass in every game his senior year and wound up his career with receptions in 39 consecutive games … three 100-yard games as a senior, giving him 10 during his career … nine receptions for 132 yards at Michigan were season highs and the former total represents a career high … top yardage figure was 172 yards at Penn State in 2001 … also had 152 yards in the 2002 Outback Bowl.
* Pauline on Jenkins -- "He is possibly the most underrated wide receiver in this draft. As a senior, he dropped a lot more passes than he had before. But he ran some blistering times at his workout. He can stretch the field on occasion. He showed well at the Senior Bowl. He has good size and speed and has shown production. Why he is not talked about as a mid- to late-first round pick is beyond me. They may think he lacks consistency and he doesn't look flashy. He could go late in the first round to Kansas City or Philadelphia, maybe even New England with that last pick."
* Pauline's Projection -- Second round, 35th overall pick to San Diego
* Helwagen on Jenkins -- Jenkins is a solid citizen on and off the field. I would be shocked if he does not enjoy an NFL career of at least seven or eight years, barring injuries. On the field, he pulled Craig Krenzel's bacon out of the fire on more occasions than either of them would care to remember as throws sailed high or wide and Jenkins made tough plays look easy. Mike Williams' sudden ineligibility helps move Jenkins up a notch on the receivers board. I can buy Larry Fitzgerald, Roy Williams and maybe Lee Evans ahead of him. But certainly not Reggie Williams. But, then again, maybe I'm biased. Jenkins has tremendous upside and leadership ability. Again, I'd take him late first and not look back.
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 274 pounds; Hometown -- Charleston, W.Va.
* OSU Highlights -- Three-year starter for the Buckeyes … started 11 games as a senior, missing the Northwestern and Wisconsin games with a sprained ankle …36 tackles as a senior, including 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks … moved from end to tackle as a senior, helping to offset the loss of graduated Kenny Peterson and make room for Simon Fraser at the end spot opposite All-American Will Smith …six tackles at Penn State and five against both Michigan State and Michigan were his top efforts in 2003 … had two tackles for loss and a forced fumble against North Carolina State … 48 career games includes 33 career starts … won first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior.
* Pauline on Scott -- "It's difficult to really rate Darrion Scott because I thought he was obviously out of place at defensive tackle. He is better off at the defensive end position. He's been getting a lot of press the last few weeks and is a nice player. He doesn't have great size, but he will eventually be physically mature. He could play the left defensive end. He has speed and makes a lot of plays up the field. He's just got to get bigger and round out his game. During the season, I thought he was a second-day guy. Now, I have him in my top 50."
* Pauline's Projection -- Second round, 50th overall pick to Minnesota
* Helwagen on Scott -- Scott also passed up a chance to leave a year early and came back for his senior year. His best season may have been his junior year. It just seemed like groin and leg injuries never let up for Scott, but, aside from a game here or there, he hardly missed a snap because of them. I think he only scratched the surface of what he is capable of while he was at OSU. If he can stay healthy, he could become an impact player in the NFL. He brings toughness, for sure. I agree, I'd take him mid-second round if he was there.
* Height, Weight -- 6-1, 202 pounds; Hometown -- Dayton, Ohio
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Allen ran 4.57 and 4.60 in the 40. He had a 36-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-7 long jump, ran 4.25 in the short shuttle and 7.06 in the three-cone drill.
* OSU Highlights -- Saved his best for last winning All-Big Ten and All-America honors as a senior in 2003, his first year as a starter … finished the season with 83 tackles – a personal best and the second highest total on the team …made a number of big plays during the early part of the season, most notably a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the win over San Diego State and a jarring hit just shy of the goal line in the North Carolina State game that enabled the Buckeyes to down visiting North Carolina State 44-38 in three overtimes. The latter hit came on fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line … also had a career high 14 tackles at Michigan … was named to a first-team berth on the Walter Camp, Football Writers and the Associated Press All-America teams … played in a total of 50 games during his career … was the nickel back as a junior and had one start … selected by his teammates as the most inspirational player of 2003.
* Pauline on Allen -- "He‘s got nice size and he‘s very athletic. He did well in his limited starting experience. He could play either strong or free safety. He has good cover skills and is very fierce. He defends the run well and is not afraid to throw his body around. I‘d look for him at the beginning of the third round."
* Pauline's Projection -- Third round
* Helwagen on Allen -- Allen leaves as just a one-year starter, but he played nearly half the plays as the nickel back in 2002. He has a nose for the ball, as all of his game turning picks would indicate. A spiritual leader and just a nice player. He could have a nice seven- or eight-year NFL career as a safety. Safeties usually aren‘t a big commodity in the NFL draft, so I‘d agree that Allen seems like a third-rounder. No disgrace in that -- three-time All-American Mike Doss was a second-round pick last year and made a great impact for Indianapolis as a rook.
DT Tim Anderson
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 307 pounds; Hometown -- Clyde, Ohio
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Anderson worked out very well and turned out to be a pleasant surprise. He ran 5.01 and 5.04 in the 40-yard dash and also clocked 1.79 in the 10. He had a 32½-inch vertical jump, a 9-1 long jump, ran 4.32 in the short shuttle and 7.35 in the cone drill. Anderson ran after a hard workout, which was led by Bills defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. Anderson is one of these "anchor tackles" teams are looking for these days, and his workout catapulted him into the first day of the draft.
* OSU Highlights -- Three-year starter at defensive tackle for the Buckeyes … had his best season in 2003 and won first-team All-Big Ten honors … finished his senior campaign with a career-high 45 tackles … was third on the team in tackles for loss with 11.5 and had 3.5 sacks … also recovered a pair of fumbles … top game in terms of tackles was seven at Wisconsin … had a monster game against North Carolina State, recording three tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks … top career game was eight tackles against Michigan in 2001 … selected as a 2003 co-captain … played in 33 games during his career and had 34 starts, including 20-consecutive starts at the end of his career … his gesture of sportsmanship following Ohio State's win over Miami in the 2002 National Championship game at the Fiesta Bowl earned him national recognition.
* Pauline on Anderson -- "A lot of people like him. He worked out well and is actually more athletic than he looks. He is a hard working guy. He is a solid prospect, but not spectacular. I don‘t know if he would be a consistent starter, but he would be a good guy to rotate in in a four-man set. He is well respected in scouting circles and he plays a priority position. Defensive linemen always seem to go higher than you think. I see him late in the third round."
* Pauline's Projection -- Third round
* Helwagen on Anderson -- You want to just dismiss him as a plugger, but everybody says Anderson was more than that. He came in as a quiet guy, but showed a lot of personality in developing into a leadership role. He seems to eat and live two things -- football and NASCAR. He‘s just a tough, good ole‘ boy. I agree, in the right situation he could become a serviceable NFL defensive lineman.
TE Ben Hartsock
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 263 pounds; Hometown -- Chillicothe, Ohio
* OSU Highlights -- Started all 13 games as a senior and was a rock at tight end … had his best year as a receiver, hauling in 33 receptions for 290 yards and a pair of touchdowns … won first-team All-Big Ten laurels in 2003 … had at least one reception in every game but San Diego State and Kansas State as a senior and was the team's second leading receiver behind talented split end Michael Jenkins … his reception total was the most by an OSU tight end since 1983 … top game was seven catches against North Carolina State … also had 65 yards in receiving yardage against the Wolfpack … longest catch of the year was 20 yards against Michigan State, which equaled his career high … 51 games and and 32 career starts … nominated for Academic All-American and recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship following the 2003 season.
* Pauline on Hartsock -- "He is a nice tight end, probably a solid number tight end wherever he ends up. He showed he is a nice short route pass catcher and an adequate blocker. He worked out better than people expected him to. He is an efficient tight end. I‘m not sure I see him as anything more than anybody‘s second tight end. He probably slides into the third round somewhere."
* Pauline's Projection -- Possibly as high as third round
* Helwagen on Hartsock -- This guy shows what brains and hard work will do for a guy who comes in with a pretty good frame. It helped him immensely that Darnell Sanders turned pro after the 2001 season. Hartsock became the focus at tight end and he delivered big-time for the Buckeyes. He won't make anybody forget Tony Gonzalez (the Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez) any time soon, but I think he'll do a good job wherever he goes and probably hang around the league for six or seven years.
* Height, Weight -- 6-5, 309 pounds; Hometown -- Shaker Heights, Ohio
* OSU Highlights -- Started all 13 games at left guard as a senior, giving him 43 career starts (31 at guard and 12 at tackle) … appeared in a total of 50 games … played tackle as a redshirt sophomore in 2000 and started the last 10 games of the season … started the first two games at tackle the following year, but then moved to guard and basically finished his career at that position … named Offensive Lineman of the Week four times as a senior.
* Pauline on Clarke -- "I think he could be a late third-round pick. Basically, I‘m going off his freshman and sophomore season. I‘m assuming the best for him and that he won‘t balloon up to 380 pounds. He has to keep his weight in check. If he'd done that, he could have been one of the best guards in the draft. It also helps that he can handle the duties at left tackle. That just gives him added value. Basically, he ate himself out of a starting job as a junior."
* Pauline's Projection -- Anywhere from the third to fifth round
* Helwagen on Clarke -- Clarke was injured prior to the 2002 season and the inactivity did lead him to pile on the pounds and reach toward 350 at one point. But he looks lean and mean now and has obviously impressed a few people to be considered a good first-day possibility. He made 43 starts against the best college football has to offer, which speaks for itself. The light seems to have gone on for Clarke, who seems intent on sticking to his knitting and becoming a serviceable NFL offensive lineman.
SECOND DAY POSSIBILITIES (Rounds 4-7)
WR Drew Carter
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 202 pounds; Hometown -- Solon, Ohio
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Carter ran his 40s in 4.39 and 4.41. He also displayed a 10-0 long jump and caught balls in a stationary position.
* OSU Highlights -- Speedy receiver who started the first eight games of the season before injuring a knee at Indiana and missing the rest of the season … was clearly in the midst of his best year before being hurt, hauling in 25 receptions for 410 yards and a touchdown before going down at IU … had 16 career receptions prior to 2003 in a career that was plagued by an assortment of injuries … one of the fastest players on the team … top games were six receptions against North Carolina State and six more against Iowa … had 95 yards in receiving in the latter contest … lone TD grab was against Bowling Green.
* Pauline on Carter -- "He was a track sprinter and was really developing into a quality receiver before he went down with the knee injury at Indiana. It‘s a shame because he was working on developing his overall game. He had good times at his Ohio State workout. He‘s just an underdeveloped receiver and this draft is bursting at the seams with quality receivers. He‘ll probably end up in the fourth round, but he could end up developing into one of the finds of this draft. The timing of his injury was bad."
* Pauline's Projection -- Fourth round
* Helwagen on Carter -- It sounds like Carter is back to full-go and, to come off a serious knee injury and turn a 4.39, is just amazing. What a great story this would be if he comes back and carves out a nice NFL career. Carter‘s OSU career was marred by one injury after another, but he is a good guy who has worked really hard to put himself into this position. Congratulations to him and whoever helped him rehab to this point. Fourth round sounds right.
OT Shane Olivea
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 306 pounds; Hometown -- Cedarhurst, N.Y.
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Olivea ran two 40s in 5.12 and 5.13 seconds and had a 8-foot-9 long jump.
* OSU Highlights -- Started all 13 games as a senior … named to a second-team spot on the All-Big Ten team … selected by the OSU coaching staff as the offensive lineman of the week following the Iowa and Penn State games … played a team leading 368 minutes as a senior … played in a total of 41 games during his career, starting 35 of those contests … also won second-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior … began 2001 as a likely starter at guard, but was moved to tackle prior to the start of the season and became a fixture there during the next three years … is a diehard New York Yankees fan.
* Pauline on Olivea -- "He would be a right tackle at the next level. Because of his height (6-3), he may also be a guard. He was efficient but not overaly athletic and not dominant. He is a hard working guy who knows the position. He's probably a fourth- or fifth-round pick. I think he will do a good job at least as a backup at several positions in the NFL."
* Pauline's Projection -- Fourth or fifth round
* Helwagen on Olivea -- Olivea also had injury issues during his time OSU, but was a three-year starter. When healthy, he always seemed to be on top of his assignments. He plays with an attitude and is just a good football player. I think he can be a serviceable NFL lineman, no question.
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 300 pounds; Hometown -- Berea, Ohio
* OSU Highlights -- Began the 2003 season as one of college football's most highly regarded centers and wound up the year as one of the best guards in the Big Ten … started the first three games at center, but suffered a high ankle sprain on the last play of the first half of the North Carolina State game … missed the next two games (Bowling Green and Northwestern) and then saw limited action the following week at Wisconsin before returning to the starting lineup at guard against Iowa, a move made possible by the emergence of sophomore Nick Mangold at center … was the regular right guard from that point on, starting the final seven games and winning first-team All-Big Ten honors … wound up his career with 26 career starts – 16 at center and 10 at guard.
* Pauline on Stepanovich -- "He is a big, tough, slug-it-out guy. He may be better off at center. He played center as a junior and moved to guard at the middle of last year. He was not as effective in space. He‘s just a tough hard-nosed guy. He‘s done well in confined quarters. I think he could be a good backup center who could eventually develop into a starter. I see him as a late fifth-round pick."
* Pauline's Projection -- Fifth round
* Helwagen on Stepanovich -- I think fifth round is too low for Stepanovich. His versatility and ability to play center and guard -- very effectively, I might add -- would make him at least a third- or fourth-round pick. But, again, I‘m not up to date on everybody who is out there. Stepanovich just brings that toughness and intensity you need to succeed. He did a fine job at Ohio State and I see him, also, as a pretty good pro prospect.
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 212 pounds; Hometown -- Cincinnati, Ohio
* OSU Highlights -- Enjoyed a brilliant senior year … stepped in for graduated All-American Andy Groom and responded by winning the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top collegiate punter, becoming the first Ohio State punter to win that award …also a first-team All-Big Ten pick … wound up the year averaging 43.3 yards per punt on 82 punts … led the nation in punts downed inside the 20 with 39 … also had 16 punts that were fair caught …led the Big Ten and was fourth nationally in net punting … set an Ohio State single-season record for punting yardage in 2003 with 3,553 yards … averaged 49.1 yards per punt on nine punts at Michigan .. also had a tremendous game against Purdue, downing seven of his 10 punts inside the 20, with five of those coming to rest inside the 5-yard line … was the Big Ten Player of the Week following the Purdue and Penn State games … also the holder on placements … long punt of the year was 68 yards against San Diego State.
* Pauline on Sander -- "I think he will be the second punter drafted after Kyle Larson of Nebraska. That probably puts him in the sixth or seventh round. He doesn‘t have much starting experience, but he has a big leg and gets the ball off quick. He was also a good directional kicker."
* Pauline's Projection -- Sixth or seventh round
* Helwagen on Sander -- Sander had to sit behind Andy Groom for two years before he finally got his chance. He made the most of it. His booming kicks probably make him a better pro prospect than Groom, who excelled at driving the ball. Those high balls are harder to field and much easier to cover. He lacks game experience and NFL teams do prefer guys with experience (see Tupa, Tom and Landetta, Sean). But punting is such an individual skill he just has to keep working hard and somebody should give him a look.
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 251 pounds; Hometown -- Bowling Green, Ky.
* OSU Highlights -- Started 12 of the Buckeyes' 13 games as a senior … easily had his best year, finishing the 2003 campaign with 81 total tackles, the third highest total on the team … was the Buckeyes' leading tackler in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl with 10 total stops, including seven solo hits … closed out his career with 162 total tackles, 102 of which were solos … had 9 tackles for loss as a senior, giving him 15.5 career TFL … 12 tackles at Wisconsin was his top effort as a senior … 50 career games and 27 career starts … was the starting long snapper as a freshman and by the end of the season had worked his way into the two deep at linebacker … a key reserve behind Courtland Bullard in 2001, he started all 14 games as a junior in 2002 on the Buckeyes' national championship team.
* Pauline on Reynolds -- "He is a tough, nasty guy. He‘s not real fast. He might be able to play the strong-side linebacker over the tight end. Because of his strength, some project him as an inside ‘backer. I see him as a late-round pick. He will probably be a backup at the next level and will have to make his mark on special teams."
* Pauline's Projection -- A sixth- or seventh-round pick or a free agent
* Helwagen on Reynolds -- Reynolds had a pretty good senior year and, despite the Jim Sorgi incident, really seems to be a good guy. I agree, though, that Reynolds‘ meal ticket as a pro will be, for at least the first couple of years, as a special teams player.
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 228 pounds; Hometown -- Sterling Heights, Mich.
* OSU Highlights -- Led the Buckeyes to a 24-3 record, a Big Ten title, a pair of victories in BCS games and a national championship during his two years as a starter … heady player who somehow willed the team to win, often in the face of incredible odds … was the offensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl in both 2003 and 2004 (the 2002 and 2003 seasons) …led both teams in rushing in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl … team co-captain as a senior …had nine 200-yard passing games during his career, including seven as a senior … top game in 2003 was 273 yards and four touchdowns against North Carolina State … in that game, he threw for touchdowns in each of the three overtime sessions despite playing with what was later determined to be a hyper-extended elbow … also ran for a touchdown in the win over N.C. State … a standout student, he was selected to a first-team spot on the Academic All-America team and then named Academic All-America of the Year … He also received a National Football Foundation Scholarship and was the 2003 Draddy Award winner, which goes to the best of the best at the NFF awards banquet … also an NCAA Top VIII Scholar-Athlete … a pre-med major.
* Pauline on Krenzel -- "He was a good college quarterback. He doesn‘t have a big arm and he sprays his throws all over the place. His accuracy was not good. I‘m not sure he gets drafted, but he may make a practice squad somewhere."
* Pauline's Projection -- Late-round pick or free agent
* Helwagen on Krenzel -- Krenzel has so much going for him that you do wonder if pro football is his true calling. But then you think about the fact that there is nothing this guy can‘t do, seemingly. His throws may have been erratic, but few have ever been better when the game was on the line. Where that puts him as a pro prospect, I‘m not sure. He seems like a Dick Vermeil kind of guy. Maybe he latches on with the Chiefs or somewhere else that is interested in a pretty heady backup QB that would certainly get their defense ready to play.
OL Bryce Bishop
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 312 pounds; Hometown -- Miami, Fla.
* OSU Highlights -- Three-year letterman for the Buckeyes … played in 38 games and had 32 career starts … played in all 13 games in 2003, starting the first six at right guard and then becoming the backup on both sides … logged a total of 222 minutes his senior year … started all 14 games as a junior in 2002 when the Buckeyes posted an unbeaten record and captured the national championship … also started all 12 games in 2001.
* Pauline on Bishop -- "I like Bishop. A lot of people don‘t talk about him and he was a little bit inconsistent. But he is very athletic and shows good power. He does a lot of different things well. I think he‘s worth a late-round pick. He has an outside shot of making it if he puts his mind to it."
* Pauline's Projection -- Late-round pick or free agent
* Helwagen on Bishop -- Obviously, it isn‘t good to lose your starting job midway though your senior year after 2-½ years in the lineup. But Bishop didn‘t complain. He still did what he could to help the team. He has a lot of ability, but just never seemed to maximize it. If he has shown something in workouts, somebody may take a flyer on him late.
NOT IN THE DRAFT (at least for now)
* Height, Weight -- 6-0, 230 pounds; Hometown -- Youngstown, Ohio
* Pro Day Details (from NFL.com) -- Clarett ran three 40s for times of 4.58, 4.62 and 4.63. He also ran the 10 three times for 1.61, 1.64 and 1.65. He added 19 reps, a 36½-inch vertical, a 9-5 long jump, a 4.30 short shuttle and a 7.17 three-cone drill.
* OSU Highlights -- Played and started in 2002 as a true freshman, but was ruled ineligible for the 2003 season because of NCAA rules violations … sat out the entire 2003 campaign and declared for the NFL draft following the season … set an Ohio State freshman rushing record with 1,237 yards on 222 carries, an average of 5.6 yards per carry … started the season opener against Texas Tech and responded with 175 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in his collegiate debut … had a career-best 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 31 carries in a win over Washington … also topped the 100-yard mark against Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan … missed three full games with injuries … also had 12 receptions for 104 yards and two scores … scored a pair of touchdowns in the national championship game, including the game winner in the second overtime.
* Pauline on Clarett -- (Note: These comments were from before the court ruling was made.) "I would be shocked if he‘s drafted in the first three rounds. He‘s a risk anywhere before the fourth round. He played well in college for eight games. He‘s had injury problems dating back to high school. People point to Willis McGahee and he blew his knee out and was still a first-round pick. But you knew he had played all 13 games before that. Clarett has made some bad decisions and gotten some stupid advice. The NFL has a way of making those who challenge it pay and pay dearly."
* Pauline's Projection -- Would have been a third- or fourth-round pick if he was eligible.
* Helwagen on Clarett -- It seems highly unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene on Reecie‘s behalf, but I also thought an 11th hour stay by the appeals court seemed unlikely as well. I could write for days on how I think the NFL rule is, at best, unjust and, at worst, unconstitutional. The NCAA piled on with its "friend of the court" brief favoring the NFL, all the while still refusing to give Clarett the safety net he needed back at OSU -- as if the Buckeyes would want him back after all the water that has gone under the Lane Avenue bridge. Regarding Clarett as a pro prospect, I note the injury problems (he has played one full season in the last six years). But I also note how he was the favorite to win the Heisman and probably would have won it if he‘d played. You don‘t go from being the best to being chopped liver overnight. Randy Moss smoked dope and beat people up and was still a first-round pick. Reecie hasn‘t done anything close to that. He just hasn‘t played the game.
* Since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in 1994, OSU has twice had as many as eight players chosen. That happened in 1999 and 2002.
In the Super Bowl era of the NFL (since 1967), the most OSU players taken in the first round was four in 1971. OSU had three first-round picks in 1995, 1996 and 1999.
Here is a year-by-year breakdown of draft picks from OSU since 1994:
1994 -- Five drafted, one in the first round (top pick DT Dan Wilkinson)
1995 -- Seven drafted, three in first round (WR Joey Galloway, OT Korey Stringer, LB Craig Powell)
1998 -- None drafted, believed to be a first in program history
2000 -- Six drafted, one first round (CB Ahmed Plummer)
2002 -- Eight drafted, none in first round
2003 -- Five drafted, none in first round
* Gamble becomes the 17th OSU underclassman to declare for the draft since 1991 (and, of course, Clarett would be No. 18 this year or even next year). The others have been: DE Alonzo Spellman, 1992; RB Robert Smith, 1993; Roger Harper, 1993; Wilkinson, 1994; Stringer, Powell and Lorenzo Styles, 1995; Glenn, 1996; Pace and Springs, 1997; Boston and Katzenmoyer, 1999; LB Na'il Diggs, 2000; Clements and Pickett, 2001; CB Derek Ross, 2002.
* OSU has had three overall No. 1 picks in Wilkinson, Pace and 1979 top pick LB Tom Cousineau.