The Big Board: Final Analysis

In the fifth and final installment of The Big Board, we go inside the numbers and provide breakdowns by position and class for OSU's scholarship status. We also look ahead at what could be in the Class of 2006, already anchored by RB Chris Wells.

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

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

Wednesday, we looked inside the huddle on the defensive line and at linebacker. On Thursday, 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 September. These include:

* OSU coach Jim Tressel announcing that cornerback E.J. Underwood and defensive lineman Brandon Maupin had been suspended from team activities for unspecified violations of team rules.

* Also, freshman wide receiver Albert Dukes was not in school during winter quarter as he dealt with an allegation of sexual assault in his hometown of Belle Glade, Fla.

* Kicker Josh Huston was still awaiting word on whether he would receive a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, although indications were strong that would happen. Huston's status left a scholarship for grayshirting kicker Aaron Pettrey in limbo. Pettrey seemed likely to walk on at OSU in the fall.

* Linebacker John Kerr, a transfer from Indiana who is a junior in 2005. Because he is a transfer from within the Big Ten, he is not scholarship player. Kerr is reportedly back in the program's good graces after sitting out last season at OSU due to unspecified team rules violations.

Now, let's go inside the numbers:

Position Analysis

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

* TB -- OSU has two returning scholarship tailbacks, as well as one signee for 2005 (Maurice Wells). OSU also has one verbal for 2006 (Chris Wells).

* FB -- OSU has three scholarship fullbacks, including one senior (Brandon Schnittker).

* WR -- OSU has seven scholarship wide receivers, although one (Dukes) is in limbo. The Buckeyes have three signees for 2005 (Andre Amos, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie).

* TE -- OSU has four returning scholarship tight ends, including one senior (Ryan Hamby).

* OL -- OSU has 11 returning scholarship linemen, including three seniors (Nick Mangold, Rob Sims and Andree Tyree). The Buckeyes also have two signees for 2005 in Alex Boone and Jim Cordle.

* DL -- OSU has 12 returning scholarship linemen, including one in limbo (Maupin) and three seniors (Mike Kudla, Redgie Arden and Marcus Green) OSU has four signees for 2005 (Ryan Williams, Doug Worthington, Lawrence Wilson and Todd Denlinger).

* LB -- OSU has nine returning scholarship linebackers (not including Kerr), including three seniors (A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel). OSU also has three signees for 2005 in Freddie Lenix, Austin Spitler and James Laurinaitis. They also have a verbal for 2006 (Ross Homan).

* CB -- OSU has five returning scholarship corners, although one (E.J. Underwood) is in limbo. He is also a senior. The Buckeyes have two signees for 2005 in Jamario O‘Neal and Malcolm Jenkins.

* S -- OSU has six returning scholarship safeties, including two seniors (Tyler Everett and Nate Salley). OSU signed two safeties in 2005 in Anderson Russell and Donald Washington.

* K-P -- OSU has three returning specialists on scholarship, including one senior (Huston).

* Summing Up -- That gives OSU 83 players on scholarship at the present time (including Huston, Underwood, Maupin and Dukes) with two verbals for 2006.

Class Analysis

For a class breakdown of scholarship players, OSU has 15 seniors (including Huston), 18 juniors, 18 sophomores, 14 redshirt freshmen and 18 true freshmen.

With 83 scholarship players and 15 seniors, OSU can sign up to 17 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.

It was also possible that junior Drew Norman, the heir apparent at long snapper, could go on scholarship. A pair of walk-on kick specialists (Jon Thoma and Aaron Pettrey) were also hoping to earn scholarships in the fall.

As we have noted, OSU already has two verbals as a start on that 2006 class. So, as of today, there would only be 15 open spots left. Obviously, that figure could fluctuate over the next year before signing day in February 2006.

Looking at position needs, I think, as a minimum, OSU needs one quarterback, two tailbacks (they already have Chris Wells), one wide receiver, one tight end, four offensive linemen, one defensive end, one defensive tackle, two linebackers (they already have Homan), one safety and two cornerbacks to fill out this class. That adds up to 16, leaving one (or more) open spots for the best available player(s).

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 post signing day 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 Kick Specialists

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