Ohio All-Star Classic Notebook

In less than two months, the OSU-bound players in this weekend's Ohio All-Star Classic will be on the practice field for the Buckeyes. We had a chance to talk to several of them at the recent media event, and today we have some thoughts from Andre Amos and Jamario O'Neal, who will be Buckeyes this fall, and Freddie Lenix, who will be enrolling in the winter.

Wide receiver Andre Amos could be one of the sleepers in Ohio State's 2005 recruiting class.

As a senior at Middletown, Amos hauled in 32 receptions for 502 yards. He could also play defensive back in college, but will likely stay at wideout.

Amos is not sure if he will redshirt this year at OSU. There seems to be plenty of depth at receiver on the Buckeyes' roster, but you never know how things are going to work out in terms of injuries and other factors.

"Actually, whatever the team needs, I'll do it," Amos said. "If they need me, I'll play wherever they want me to play. And if not, then I'll redshirt, learn the game a little bit and try and contribute to the team."

Amos is happy to be playing in the Ohio North-South Classic this Saturday.

"Yeah, I feel like all the hard work I've been putting in during my high school seasons is paying off," he said. "Just to be here with all these high-caliber athletes is really an honor. Hopefully we'll come out on top."

Amos says he's a little taller than he was during his senior season, but he's also thinner.

"Actually, I've grown an inch," he said. "I'm about 6-2. Actually lost some pounds during track season. I'm about 170. I want to play at about 185."

Amos will also play in the Big 33 game next month.

"Yes, I'm looking forward to that," he said. "I'm excited about it because I've heard a lot of good things about that game and that week. My last high school game."

Amos was asked to reveal his strengths and weaknesses as a receiver.

"I've been working really hard, so I don't feel as though I have any weaknesses," he said. "Any player – even great players – can always get better. So, I'm sure the coaches will have me where I need to be.

"For strengths… I catch the ball and make plays happen real well."

* Defensive back Jamario O'Neal committed to OSU all the way back in early 2003. He's been waiting patiently for his college career to begin, and it's finally less than two months away.

"It's crazy," O'Neal said. "I've been working for it for a while and it's almost finally here. Basically, it's just time. I want to come down here and show the state of Ohio why I'm here. I can't wait. It's exciting."

O'Neal says he is fully qualified academically and is eligible to play as a true freshman this fall.

"I've made sure everything was in order before I came, as far as grades, test scores, all that stuff" he said. "Everything is good, so I'll be back down here soon. I start school Monday."

It's no secret that OSU needs all the talented cornerbacks it can get. Ashton Youboty has one starting spot locked down, but with the uncertainty surrounding the Underwood brothers (EJ and Brandon) there could be an opportunity for O'Neal to get meaningful playing time this season.

"I'm just looking to come in and play my role," O'Neal said. "Wherever they need me to play at, that's what I'm going to do. Whether it be special teams, offense, defense, it doesn't matter. I'm just going to try and come in and contribute to the team."

O'Neal lost about 10 pounds during Glenville's track season.

"Yeah, I lost weight," he said. "During the football season I was at 205. Then after track, now I'm down to about 195."

O'Neal will get his weight back to at least 205 pounds this fall.

"Yeah, it just depends," he said. "I'll play 205 at corner. But if I play safety, I'll try and get a little bigger, but just maintain my speed. That's going to be the biggest part."

O'Neal was asked what he will need to work on the most as a freshman.

"Basically everything," he said. "Film study, breaking down film and stuff like that. I think that's going to be the biggest part of my game is film study. And technique, you can always get better. So, that's what I'll be working on"

He was also asked what he does exceptionally well as a DB. He's known as a hard-hitter, but he gave a deeper answer.

"Knowing my assignment – that's probably my biggest thing," O'Neal said. "Because knowing that, knowing where to be, that puts me in position to make the big plays."

The North-South game will serve as O'Neal's final high school game and he's excited about it.

"I'm not going to play in the Big 33 because I'm enrolling in college," he said. "So, playing in the North-South game, this is going to be great. Great competition, great coaches from around the state. We're just going to come in and compete. And that's the biggest thing.

"There's some guys going to O-State with me from the South team, but once we step on the field, they are on the other team. We came down to knock their heads off."

Any prediction from O'Neal on which team is going to prevail?

"North hands down," he said.

* Freddie Lenix of Glenville received bad news in May when he discovered that he was not accepted by OSU's admissions. Therefore, he will grayshirt this fall and join the team in January.

"I'm just going to have to try and stay focused and fight this one out," Lenix said. "I found out about a month ago. They told me after track practice. They didn't actually tell me up front when they found out, because they were trying to find out the things they could do. But, the university wouldn't accept me, so they did the next best thing."

Lenix was asked if the problem was more to do with grades, or test scores.

"I really don't know, because the clearinghouse thought I was clear," he said. "I passed everything and my scores were good. It was just the university wouldn't accept me."

Lenix is trying to keep his head up, but the disappointment is still evident.

"It hurt me real bad, because I've been working so hard trying to get everything right to go to school," he said. "Then to hear that the university wouldn't accept me, it made me start thinking a lot.

"But, once (head coach Jim) Tressel came down to talk to me and told me the situation I'll be in, I started thinking about it. It sounds like a good idea. I told him I would be willing to go through with it, but it was real disappointing. I don't know what would not make them want to accept me, when the NCAA and everything already accepted me."

Lenix was on the verge of considering his other options, but Tressel did a good job of explaining the situation and how it could actually turn into a positive for Lenix.

"He said it could be a good thing for me, because they were telling me the situation with the linebackers," Lenix said. "I can come in next year (2006) and possibly… I'm not going to say a starting spot, but a good spot, because they've got a lot of seniors this year. So, coming in next year, if I work hard, there's a good chance I'll be on the field."

Unlike Prop 48 casualties, Lenix will not lose a year of eligibility.

"No, I'll be considered a freshman in '06."

Lenix will take classes at a junior college this fall, prior to enrolling at OSU.

"I'm going to be taking some classes until January and then those classes will transfer to O-State in January," he said.

Lenix dropped a few pounds during track season.

"I was at 207 in football season, and I dropped down to 198, 196," he said.

Yes, Lenix is undersized for a linebacker, but he makes up for it with his speed and hard-hitting style. He has already drawn comparisons to former OSU standout Cie Grant.

"I've got my nose set for that outside linebacker spot," Lenix said. "But if not, there's been some talk about me playing tail, or I could even move back to the secondary."

Lenix is looking forward to playing in the North-South Classic Saturday.

"It's real fun because it gives us a chance to show off how many athletic people we have in Ohio, just going at it," he said. "Then, it gives you one last chance to play with some of the guys you're going to school with, or guys you never played with. So, it's going to be real fun just to go to competition with them, then when we go to school we'll talk about what we did to each other."


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