It seems that Ohio State may be close to adding another player to its Class of 2004. Gahanna Lincoln kicker/punter Jonathan Skeete, listed on the South team for Saturday night's game at Columbus Crew Stadium (7 p.m., Ohio News Network), told reporters he will likely sign scholarship papers for Ohio State sometime in the days ahead.
"We're making plans to sign this week at Ohio State," Skeete said. "They've been interested in me since the season was over, I guess. They told me I should walk on back in January. But I made plans to go to Northwestern and walk on because I thought that would be a better deal.
"I had an academic scholarship (to NU). I had $20,000, which would have been more than enough. They wanted me to play. But I got called by the coaches at OSU. They said they wanted me to sign."
Skeete (5-10, 170) was 13 of 18 on field goals with a long kick of 48 yards. He also averaged over 38 yards per punt. Skeete was a soccer player at Gahanna and joined the varsity as a kicker as a senior.
When asked if he is coming in as a kicker or punter, Skeete replied, "Since (Mike) Nugent is there, if I stay with kicking I would probably redshirt. But I'm thinking I may also challenge Josh Huston for the punting job. That could happen this year, too."
Skeete said OSU assistant Mel Tucker has been working with him.
"I could have signed with Toledo," Skeete said. "They sent me a letter-of-intent, but I didn't do it because I knew other things would come up. I was just excited when I got a call from Ohio State."
Skeete graduated with a 3.7 GPA and had test scores of 30 on the ACT and 1320 on the SAT.
"I took a whole bunch of honors courses and AP courses, so I worked pretty hard for it," he said.
The Buckeyes will have somewhat of a crowded house at the kicking positions. Nugent will be a senior at kicker, while Huston will be a senior at punter. Walk-on Kyle Turano and incoming freshman A.J. Trapasso also battled Huston at punter in the spring.
OSU had verbally agreed to accept Kentucky's Aaron Pettrey as a grayshirt. Pettrey, primarily a kicker, was to enroll and go on scholarship in January 2005. Also, OSU was due to enroll walk-on kicker John Barker of Massachusetts this fall.
"They want to continue like they have with special teams," Skeete said. "They had a great punter last year. They told me they want to bring in a whole bunch of kickers so they can find somebody to replace Nugent. I'm just going to go in and work for a job."
Skeete admitted that Ohio State has not always been his first choice.
"Well, I was born in Michigan," he said. "Whenever Ohio State didn't play Michigan, I was happy. I supported Ohio State most of the time. I think Ohio State is probably the best football school in the nation. I just want to go there and see what I can do."
Skeete will be among nine future Buckeyes on display during Saturday's Ohio All-Star Classic, sponsored by Grange Insurance.
Also playing for the South team will be Alex Barrow (Dublin Coffman), Erik Haw (Columbus Independence), Chad Hoobler (Carrollton), Ben Person (Xenia) and SirJoseph Welch (Columbus Beechcroft). The South squad will be coached by Steve Channell of Trenton Edgewood.
OSU signees on the North squad include Brandon Smith (Euclid), Shaun Lane (Hubbard) and Curtis Terry (Cleveland Glenville), who was a late addition to the game. The North will be coached by Mentor‘s Steve Trivisonno.
The Ohio All-Star Classic was played in Columbus Crew Stadium for the first time in 2001 after being held in Massillon or Canton from 1977-2000. The Ohio All-Star Classic was also held in Columbus in 1975 and 1976 when the game was contested in Ohio Stadium.
The players have a full week of activities planned. They will visit Children's Hospital, Columbus City Council, a Clippers baseball game and have a swimming night at a Columbus area pool. Plus, the annual Ohio All-Star Classic banquet is scheduled for Friday night.
Tickets are available for $10 at the Crew Stadium box office. Call (614) 447-CREW for more details.