The Big Board: The Final Analysis

This is the fifth and final installment of The Big Board, our semi-annual series looking at the personnel and recruiting possibilities for Ohio State football. We look at the Class of 2005, led by Lakewood St. Edward offensive lineman Alex Boone (pictured).

We are back with the fifth and final installment of the midseason edition of The Big Board, my position-by-position look at the Ohio State football team.

We opened this five-part series Wednesday with a look at the offensive backs and receivers. We continued Thursday with the tight ends and offensive line.

Friday, we looked inside the huddle on the defensive line and at linebacker. On Saturday, we examined the secondary and specialists.

Today, we will tie all of this data together.

Before we get into the breakdown, we have to note several developments since we last published The Big Board in May. These include:

* Offensive lineman Adam Olds will receive a medical waiver because of a hip injury. Olds will retain his scholarship, but OSU would be able to re-issue it to another player beginning with the next recruiting class.

* OSU coach Jim Tressel awarded scholarships to four senior walk-ons: Running backs Roshawn Parker and Michael DeMaria, offensive lineman John McLaughlin and punter Kyle Turano. Obviously, those scholarships will expire after this season, so it has no net effect on the number of scholarships can offer in its 2005 class.

* Running back Ira Guilford remains in limbo after his arrest on felony robbery charges. It seems unlikely he or tight end Louis Irizarry, who was also arrested, will return. Irizarry has reportedly enrolled at Youngstown State in his hometown.

* Defensive end Redgie Arden was seriously injured in a brawl outside a Huntington, W.Va., bar in late August. Arden was already expected to miss this season due to injury. It remains unclear whether he might return in 2005.

There are several other notables to keep in mind as well:

* Linebacker John Kerr, a transfer from Indiana who is a sophomore in 2004. Because he is a transfer from within the Big Ten, he is not scholarship player. Kerr is reportedly back with the team after not being invited to preseason camp due to unspecified violations of university policy.

* Kicker Aaron Pettrey, who still figures to enroll next winter as a "grayshirt."

Now, let's go inside the numbers:

Position Analysis

* QB -- OSU has three scholarship QBs, as well as one verbal for 2005 (Rob Schoenhoft).

* TB -- OSU has six scholarship tailbacks, including four seniors (DeMaria, Parker, Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross).

* FB -- OSU has four scholarship fullbacks, including one senior (Branden Joe).

* WR -- OSU has nine scholarship wide receivers, including two seniors (Bam Childress and John Hollins). The Buckeyes have two verbals (Andre Amos and Brian Hartline).

* TE -- OSU has three scholarship tight ends.

* OL -- Not counting Olds, OSU has 15 scholarship linemen, including three seniors (McLaughlin, Mike Kne and Kyle Andrews). The Buckeyes also have three verbals for 2005 in Kevin Bemoll, Alex Boone and Jim Cordle.

* DL -- OSU has 14 scholarship linemen, including two seniors (Simon Fraser and Jason Caldwell) OSU has three verbals (Ryan Williams, Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger).

* LB -- OSU has 10 scholarship linebackers (not including Kerr), including one senior (Thomas Matthews).

* CB -- OSU has seven scholarship corners with two seniors (Dustin Fox and Harlen Jacobs). The Buckeyes have two verbals for 2005 in Jamario O‘Neal and Malcolm Jenkins.

* S -- OSU has six scholarship safeties, including no seniors.

* K-P -- OSU has five specialists on scholarship, including three seniors (Turano, Josh Huston and Mike Nugent). Plus, the Buckeyes have Pettrey lined up as a grayshirt.

* Summing Up -- That gives OSU 82 players on scholarship at the present time (not including Olds) with 11 verbals and one grayshirt for 2005.

Class Analysis

For a class breakdown of scholarship players, OSU has 18 seniors, 15 juniors (not including Olds), 17 sophomores (not including Kerr, who is a soph this year), seven redshirt freshmen and 25 true freshmen.

With 82 scholarship players and 18 seniors, OSU can sign up to 21 players in the 2005 class at the present time. But that number could fluctuate due to the usual attrition factors (injuries, academics, transfers, etc.) as well as when or if any underclassmen decide to leave for the NFL after the coming season.

As we have noted, OSU already has 11 verbals and one grayshirt as a start on that 2005 class. So, as of today, there would only be nine open spots left. Obviously, that figure could increase over the next four-plus months before signing day in February 2005.

Looking at position needs, I think OSU needs two tailbacks, one wide receiver, one tight end, probably one more offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, one linebacker and one more defensive backs and one more player at any position to fill the 2005 class.

As of today, some of the logical choices to fill this class would be: Tailbacks Maurice Wells and Javon Ringer, wide receiver Selwyn Lymon, offensive lineman Ronnie Wilson, defensive linemen Walker Ashley and Lawrence Wilson, linebacker Alex Daniels and defensive back Adam Myers-White.

Beyond that group of eight, some more key prospects appear to be defensive back Shawn Oatis, defensive end Ronald Henderson, quarterback Carlton Jackson, linebackers Andre Mathis or Rico McCoy, wide receiver Derrick Williams and athlete prospect Eric Sledge. Certainly, more names will surface in the weeks and months ahead.

Obviously, OSU's scholarship situation is constantly changing. But we offer The Big Board at least three times throughout the year to get a snapshot of where things stand at that time.

Here are the archives from the previous installments of the midseason edition of The Big Board:

Part 1: QBs, RBs and Receivers

Part 2: Tight Ends and Offensive Line

Part 3: D-Line and Linebackers

Part 4: DBs and Specialists

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