Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

OSU (and other colleges) are in the middle of spring ball, but it won't be long before they enter the May evaluation period for recruiting. That's still a month away, but the Buckeyes have already extended several scholarship offers. Mr. Bucknuts breaks it all down in his latest recruiting review.

That ancient line coach George Burns once remarked that, "The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible".

In the doldrums of off-season recruiting (re: now), I think that same advice holds true. So, let's look briefly at Possibilities, we will reflect some on Updates of current candidates and finally talk about New Offers.

A bold approach, eh?

Possibilities and a reflection

The Ohio State recruiting initiative this year is in the enviable position of filling spots and looking for the best of the best. The team is still relatively young and most of the search will be for depth this year. Look at quarterback: two juniors, a freshman and an incoming freshman. Even at wide receiver (where we might have one of the best groups in the country), they have a junior, three sophomores, underclass back-ups, two incoming freshmen and Roy Hall (wide receiver? tight end?). On the other side, they brought in three defensive ends and the middle defense is young.

Where are they looking, specifically? Well, they lose the best brace of linebackers in OSU history when Hawk, Carpenter, Schlegel and (possibly) D'Andrea go on to the next level. They need linebackers. And safety/cornerback combinations will be affected as the Salley/Mitchell/Everett/Whitner group gets some age on them. The Underwoods? That seems to be a story unto itself…

Another story is the offensive line, which is finally coming around both in terms of talent and depth. It's been a long pull. And since I like to take a position on things, let's look specifically at that position.


A Modest Look At Offensive Line Recruiting

Our offensive line play in recent years (you can go back almost a decade now) has been, well…modest. Either the unit didn't mesh or injuries got in the way or – gosh – there were a whole host of problems. To wit:

1) Great recruits that didn't work out: From Jefferson Kelly to Adam Olds through Derek Morris. One to two more great O-linemen per year change the face of the program. By a lot…

2) Recruiting years that didn't work out: There's the much vilified example from six years ago when they lost all three of Munoz, Hall and Christopfel. But there is also the example from just three years ago when they got just one guy (Barton). One guy does not a line make…

3) Head cases: Tyson Walter springs to mind. Other players went wacko as well and – yes – I include Adrien Clarke being too big for a cattle scale.

4) The bigger-is-better mentality: See Adrien Clarke once again (there was a lot to see). See Matt Zahn reporting at 404 pounds and exhibiting virtually no athletic ability.

Now, this trend took a while to establish so it takes a few seasons to "right" itself. I posit that they are on the right track now and that the future is bright, indeed for our beleaguered offensive line. Hey – if you don't think that "the trend is our friend", go back and look at your tapes of the Michigan and Oklahoma State games. Dominant!

Four years ago, they brought in Mangold, Sims, Downing, Datish and Morris. That was the beginning of the uptick. Sims and Mangold will have started for the better parts of the four seasons since then. Datish got much of the ink and has yet to kick in but both he and Downing are trading spots as 1's and 2's. That's not a bad recruiting year, then (and I won't go into the Derek Morris problems here…).

Three years ago, they got Kirk Barton. And although they were 1-2 bodies short in that haul, Barton's body was a good one: tough and athletic. And Kirk will probably be your starting right tackle this season.

Two years ago, they hit the jackpot (I think). OSU got four tough athletic kids who will all be seeing the field at some point this year. Ben Person and Kyle Mitchum are probably the leaders but Skinner is not far behind. And the "project"? Steve Rehring continues to work hard; he got here early and had surprising amounts of PT last season. These are four good ones that can man most of the positions that will be needed coming up.

Last year, OSU had it whipped. Two Top 100 kids and one that should have been (Cordle). Alex Boone will be one of the great tackles to play in Columbus. Jim Cordle will be one of the better guards. And Kevin Bemoll will be missed, but at least it was a year that OSU didn't need big numbers.

I think that this year's crop is a year the Buckeyes need big numbers. Four, at least. And five, if they are Players.

So who are the Buckeyes looking at?

Aaron Brown: Probably Duane's top O-lineman from Ohio and a Top 100 kid nationwide. Aaron now has offers from dozens of schools and has visited 7-8 already unofficially. Duane also feels strongly that Brown will commit before the summer is over and that he will eventually be wearing scarlet and gray.

Justin Boren: His father played at Michigan, Michigan was his boyhood fave, and the kid says OSU leads! (Well, he told the Michigan press that it was 50-50, but you know how that goes with a classy kid…). You gotta like that. He is another Top 100 player and another that should commit sooner rather than later.

Conner Smith: The third of the early-elite kids, Smith is a huge talent from talent-rich Colerain and could be a big Buckeye lean.

I would be surprised if at least two of the three elite linemen aren't Buckeyes. And I wouldn't be very surprised if all three were! Offensive linemen like to hunt in packs, like most wild animals, and this is that rare opportunity that they can play together on a great line for 3-5 years.

The embarrassment of riches doesn't stop with the Big Three, however. There have been recruiting years in Ohio that didn't yield even one good O-line name. This year, the Buckeyes have at least seven! On the next tier (a tier that is very close to the top tier) we have:

Lee Tilley: A huge kid with the big wingspan. Lee is collecting offers as fast as the mailman can bring them.

Bryant Browning: Coach Ted Ginn says he is the best offensive lineman in the state. Kirk Ferentz from Iowa came to Glenville to offer Browning in person. That says a lot. We shall see…

Jake Ballard: A great offensive tackle that probably wants to be a tight end. And he's a pretty good tight end, too. This physical talent from Springboro could figure into either position before it's all through.

Ryan Palmer: A road grader from Buckeye territory at Canton GlenOak. The camps might tell the tale for Palmer.

By the way, it is certainly enlightening to view the origin of our current offensive line miasma with the historical offensive line problems. We can go back to the Pre-Tressel times of 2000 and 2001 and see the talent that Coach Cooper brought in. That tells the tale of how we got to where we are now. For example:

2000: OSU got commitments from Larry Kinnard, Alphonso Townsend, Alex Stepanovich and Shane Olivea. On the negative side, Kinnard never played and ended up at D-III powerhouse Mt. Union; Townsend didn't qualify, went the prep school route and then enrolled at MSU. On the positive side, Stepanovich and Olivea had good careers and are now playing in the NFL.

Not so bad…

2001: OSU received commitments from Adam Olds and Ryan Cook. Olds would have been a good one but repeated injuries made him a non-contributor. Cook disappeared quickly from the three-deep then disappeared completely.

Very bad year…

So in two years of recruiting, the Buckeyes had two useful linemen to fill in at five spots. Those are not good numbers to plug into your formula. And, ultimately, the problems showed up.

But as my great uncle used to say, "The past is a good place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there". Now that we have examined the one position and it's inelegant evolution, let's take a look at the other positions, new offers and new happenings with the previously offered guys.

New Offers

Kurt Coleman: A Northmont (near Dayton) player from a school that has been turning out a ton of talent recently. Coleman has a number of offers and some startling stats.

Akeem Hebron: A linebacker in HS that may play safety at the next level, Hebron's offer list looks like a "Who's Who" of Midwestern and eastern football powers.

Javarris James: The younger cousin of Edgerrin James, he is an extreme long-shot running back that is strongly leaning to Miami, another Florida school or (yechh), Southern Cal.

Stephan Welsh: A tall Virginia receiver with a number of SEC and ACC offers already.

Sam Young: Could be the top offensive lineman from Florida this year, comes from the same high school as Nate Salley.

Rumored Offers

Marcus Ball: From Stone Mountain Georgia, where OSU once had two commits (Jamal Muhammad and Corey Adams), neither of whom panned out. Marcus is a smallish outside LB who also lists all the big southern schools plus Oklahoma amongst his favorites.

Dorin Dickerson: A tall PA receiver who is also listed as an "Athlete". Dickerson has a number of Big Ten and national offers.

Antonio Logan-El: A big Maryland lineman that has global offers and has been reported as a Maryland commit.

Devin Parrish: A Florida kid that plays both receiver and cornerback, Devin also is rumored to have an offer from Tennessee here in the early going.

CJ Spiller: Florida State is the only confirmed offer for this smallish tailback but Ohio State is sniffing around.

Brandon Warren: An athlete that projects as a rush DE, Brandon has offers from a cavalcade of prestigious southern schools (well, prestigious for football, at least…)


Updates of Current Candidates

March is a slow month for gossip, rumors and innuendo on the recruiting trail. Most of the early offers are out and commits are few and far between. Some players are racking up offers like UC Bearcat coaches rack up DUI citations. There's always something going on, of course, just not much worth reporting!

But we will report anyway…Lee Tilley seems to be getting an offer a day; just none from the Buckeyes. The biggest offers so far? Probably Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nebraska and Syracuse. The Indiana flashy tailback, James Aldridge, says he might decide by mid-summer. He asserts that Oklahoma State leads over Ohio State with another gaggle of schools at the next tier. Jeremiha Hunter is a super linebacker (and pretty good running back) that was offered by the Buckeyes. He has offers from more than 30 schools now and lists a Top Five of Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, Purdue and Ohio State. One of the best players in the country is Jamar Hornsby – and a teammate of OSU-bound Maurice Wells. Jamar has limitless opportunities and is currently making the southern tour of schools, listing Georgia Tech and Florida as his leaders. The only O-lineman that I know of offered by the Bucks outside Ohio is Maryland's JB Walton. He has logged an additional twenty offers and says he grew up a Nebraska fan. Tim Tebow probably leads the national offer derby for a quarterback (including one from our Buckeyes). He has unofficially visited Ohio State amongst eight schools on his list. And – one final quarterback mention – Ohio's own Mike Hartline is still waiting for that OSU offer. Mr. Bucknuts suggests he leads the Ohio Kids in the Buckeye quarterback recruitment contest.

Next month. There will be more. There will always be more!


The Official Bucknuts Offer Sheet

Here is your updated Offer Sheet through Friday April 1. We compile what we think the status of the offers are without being able to confirm them (other than with some of the players). The fact that the coaches can't comment makes this all something of a crapshoot.

New additions or changes to the chart since the last time are marked in red.

OSU is amongst the leaders:

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty Time

Boren, Justin

OL

Pickerington North, Pickerington OH

6'4"

295

5.00

Brown, Aaron

OL

Princeton HS, Cincinnati OH

6'6"

285

5.10

Jeff Cumberland

TE/DE

Brookhaven HS, Columbus OH

6'6''

225

4.55

Rose, Robert

DL

Glenville HS, Cleveland OH

6'4"

240

4.70

Small, Ray

DB

Glenville HS, Cleveland OH

6'0"

190

4.40

Smith, Connor

OL

Colerain HS, Cincinnati OH

6'6"

300

5.10

OSU is just one of many

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty

Aldridge, James

RB

Merrillville HS, Merrillville IN

6'1"

215

4.45

Allen, Asher

DB

Tucker HS, Tucker GA

5'10"

185

4.40

Coleman, Kurt

DB

Northmont HS, Clayton OH

5'11"

180

4.40

James, Javarris

RB

Immokalee HS, Immokalee FL

6'1"

205

4.40

Gibson, Thaddeus

LB

Euclid HS, Euclid OH

6'3"

210

4.50

Hebron, Akeem

LB

Good Counsel HS, Gaithersburg MD

6'2"

195

4.45

Hornsby, Jamar

WR

Sandalwood HS, Jacksonville FL

6'4"

195

4.45

Hunter, Jeremiha

LB

Mannheim Central HS, Mannheim PA

6'2"

215

4.55

Johnson, Micah

DL

Fort Campbell HS, Fort Campbell KY

6'2"

260

4.70

Johnson, Stafon

RB

Dorsey HS, Los Angeles CA

6'0"

190

4.40

Perez, Antwine

DB

Woodrow Wilson HS, Camden NJ

6'2"

200

4.50

Rolle, Myron

DB

The Hun HS, Princeton NJ

6'2

210

4.50

Spiller, CJ

RB

Union County HS, Lake Butler FL

5'11"

185

4.40

Walls, Darrin

DB

Woodland Hills HS, Pittsburgh PA

6'1"

175

4.40

Walton, JB

OL

Lackey HS, Indian Head MD

6'3"

270

5.10

Welsh, Stefan

WR

Woodside HS, Newport News VA

6'3"

180

4.60

Young, Sam OL St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 6'7'' 280 5.0

OSU is rumored to have offered

Name

POS

School/State

Height

Weight

Forty

Ball, Marcus

LB

Stephenson HS, Stone Mountain GA

6'0"

200

4.50

Dickerson, Dorin

WR

West Allegheny HS, Imperial PA

6'3"

205

4.60

Hakes, Sean

QB

Nolan HS, Fort Worth, TX

6'4"

195

4.65

Lighty, David

WR/BB

Villa Angela-St. Joe, Cleveland OH

6'5"

180

4.50

Parrish, Devin

DB

Hollywood Christian HS, Miami FL

6'0"

170

4.45

Tebow, Tim

QB

Nease HS, St. Augustine FL

6'3"

220

4.60

Warren, Brandon

 DE

Alcoa HS, Alcoa TN

6'3"

230

4.60

Committed Somewhere

Name

POS

School/State

Committed School

Homan, Ross

LB

Coldwater HS, Coldwater OH

Ohio State

Logan-El, Antonio

OL

Forestville HS, Forestville MD

Maryland

Wells, Chris

RB

Akron Garfield HS, Akron OH

Ohio State

 

Finally, "The Chart"

Each month, we take all of the information we can gather and synthesize it into a compiled speculative mess we call "The Chart". Whereas the "Offer Sheet" should drive any decision-making, we also like to project some players on "The Chart" that haven't been offered but have a likelihood to become a Buckeye (Lee Tilley is an example). Take a look and take your shots…

PLAYER POSITION

NUMBER NEEDED

COMMITMENTS

NUMBER STILL NEEDED

PLAYERS I WANT

GRADES SO FAR (BASED ON NEED)

TAILBACK

2

Chris Wells

1

Stafon Johnson, James Aldridge

A-

FULLBACK

1

 

1

   

QUARTERBACK

1

 

1

Mike Hartline, Miles Schlichter, Nate Davis, Tim Tebow, Sean Hakes

 

TIGHT END

2

 

2

Jeff Cumberland, Jake Ballard, Konrad Rueland

 

WIDE RECEIVER

2

 

2

Jamar Hornsby, Stefan Welsh

 

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

4

 

4

Aaron Brown, Justin Boren, JB Walton, Conner Smith, Lee Tilley, Ryan Palmer, Bryant Browning

 

DEFENSIVE END

1

 

1

Robert Rose

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

2

 

2

Micah Johnson

 

LINEBACKER

3

Ross Homan

2

Thaddeus Gibson, Jeremiha Hunter

B

SAFETY

1

 

1

Myron Rolle

 

CORNERBACK

2

 

2

Ray Small, Darrin Walls, Antwine Perez, Asher Allen, Kurt Coleman

 

KICKER/PUNTER

0

 

0

 

 

TOTAL

21

2

19

   

 

LEGEND

Red Player: He has already committed

Gray Player: Gray shirt from 2004 that will be part of the 2005 class

Blue Player: I absolutely want this kid!

Green Player: Great potential; I might take him

If you have information Mr. Bucknuts can use, or you simply want to abuse or amuse him, feel free to get in touch at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com


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