Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Recruits see their stocks rise and fall all the time, but what if you invested in them like real stocks? Plus thoughts and opinions on the OSU team depth, special teams and more in this week's Bucket of Bullets.

If all the recruits were public stock issues and all of us were merely investors…

Recruitniks are unassailable experts when it comes to telling the coaches who to bring in and who to pass by in the recruiting world. As our old mutual fund advisor, John Cooper, used to say: " You want to gamble. But you're gambling with my chips". But what if you could gamble with your own chips? What if recruiting went from a fantasy football atmosphere to an investor analysis arena, where you could invest just like you would in the stock market?

Think of the guys Ohio State had coming in last year. Was Ted Ginn overpriced, what with all his pre-IPO hype? I don't think so. Plus, you could have picked up Anthony Gonzalez cheap, but you would still be suffering from over-paying for, say… a Derek Morris, from a few years back.

How do we see the investments that will still be played out for the upcoming years? Some are getting easier to analyze, as the facts become clarified. Louis Irizarry? Huge IPO when he came out, fought over by the titans of the industry. Fizzled with erratic performance until the issue plunged into bankruptcy. It might come back, but not in Columbus. Ira Guilford? See the "Louis Irizarry story"…

How about Louis Holmes, Inc? It has taken three years to get this big guy public. The OSU staff said he wouldn't make it to the market when he was in high school, wouldn't make it after he want to the after-market in Maine, and that he won't make it to the Big Board even after seasoning in Arizona and being named the top JUCO in the country. Fred Davis went to the Pacific Stock Exchange, seduced by that exotic marketplace. He made noises about returning but there will be no return on that investment.

Here are the ones to watch as they are under-priced and could yield big dividends: Javon Ringer, Jeff Cumberland, and Bill Nagy. Here are some issues that started as high-flying IPO's, went to the pink sheets and finally got de-listed as they are hovering near BK: EJ Underwood, Redgie Arden, RJ Coleman and Brandon Maupin. Despite promising yields when they were in their growth fund stages – for one reason or another – those investments just didn't pan out. Another one likely to go up in smoke? Jonathan Skeete.

So, you pays your money and you takes your chances. Some of the biggest and highest priced names (Ginn, Boone, etc.) still look like relative bargains while some of the less expensive issues (Anderson Russell, Kirk Barton, etc.) look to have huge potential returns on a smaller investment. You want my tout as the best-looking deal for the Class of '05? That would be Maurice Wells. He will make us forget the promising Maurice Market of 2002 (a bubble market that burst with a prick…).

Who are your touts for next year? Come on, put your money where your mouth is…

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Deep depth and wide deceivers…The message boards are full of the hue and cry about receivers who should have come to Ohio State, or who are simply messing with us with bad intentions and/or about the ones that got away. Yes, OSU missed on Dwayne Jarrett, Fred Davis, Dajuan Morgan and Miles Williams. Get over it already. I posit that they have the best group of ten receivers in the nation. That's right – anywhere! And they are young. Only Santonio Holmes is likely lost after this year (and Holmes could always re-reconsider…). Roy Hall is the only junior (!); Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Devin Jordan and Devon Lyons are only sophomores (!), and Albert Dukes, Brian Hartline Brian Robiskie, and Andre Amos are merely freshmen, with the latter three probably getting red shirts.

So why are we worried about next year's class? Because we are worriers about our warriors, that's why. Hey – I'm not sure that Fred Davis, Miles Williams or Dajuan Morgan could even crack the two-deep, yet we still obsess over the fact that they aren't here. That's what we do best: we worry.

I say, no worries, mon. OSU already has a big receiver, Josh Chichester (6'8") for next year and they may get a "Small" receiver, as well. That would be Ray Small. Both are in the Top 100 in the country, fer gawds sake. And who else is on the po-tential list? Well, there is one of the nation's best WRs, David Ausberry, who has OSU in his top two. There is the tall wide, Wesley Lyons (6'6") who has OSU sharing the top two with Miami. Now, here's a revelation: Wesley is thinking about going to the Hurricanes because Ohio State has too much depth! Do you remember when…? And then there is the fabulous Jeff Cumberland (keep hitting those books, Jeff). Think of a three wide-out set with Chichester, W. Lyons and the 6'4" Cumberland. It would look like a rapidly moving forest invading the land of the pygmies.

I also say, OSU can just stick with Ohio. They want Ray Small (versatile, great athlete) and they want Cumberland (versatile, great big athlete). And they will always take a David Ausberry/David Boston if he wants to come. And quit worrying already…

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Outside insiders…A few months back, the national network to which we belong, changed its name from "The Insiders" to "Scout". But that hasn't stopped a myriad of self-proclaimed insiders from popping up – and popping off – on the Bucknuts message boards. And while we all enjoy the speculative contributions from the anonymous likes of NevadaBuck, Ytown 11, Helping Hand, wstripes and their brethren, we try to admonish the message board minions that these expressed opinions are just that: opinions and not necessarily facts.

We are in a peculiar era in which unnamed sources are getting sued for malicious "insights". Time Magazine has a reporter going to jail for that and Sports Illustrated is in hot water over a source that (looks like) exaggerated the facts in the Alabama/Mike Price fiasco, which cost Price his job. So why do we think that hobbyists necessarily have better inside poop or that they really have uniquely valuable information? I dunno…

I can't tell you how many times Bucknutters get exercised at Bucknuts because the so-called inside super-info from various sounds-possible sources turned out to be, well…wrong. Hey – we let everyone express their opinion as long as it is not profane, or that it doesn't run counter to the legal and ethical dictates of the football program or if it doesn't promote a product or service (particularly another website). A grain of salt? I think a salt lick applies when reading some of these fascinating glimpses of potential logic.

We all remember posters that we lusted to see their messages. I started back in the days of the BBC board that shut down mysteriously the night of the horrid MSU loss in 1998. I harvested personal recruiting information from "Buckeye Bob" and from Jonathan Cornwell's Top 100 lists. And I held my breath reading posts from The Technician; then held my sides reading reflections from Ramzy.

Some of these contributors have gone to the great Delete File in the Sky. Others post under different nom de plums. And new insiders are on the sidelines ready to spring into action if there is a juicy morsel that demands being outed. We try to let everyone have his say. Those that wouldn't respect our relatively lax conditions, well – they started their own websites. Which is fine. Bucknuts started the same way. But invest in credibility wisely. And remember to bring plenty of salt…

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PT versus JT…In pee-wee football, if a squad is up by three scores or more, the first team has to come out by rule. That lets the other kids get a chance to play and keeps the scores more respectable. All of us recruitniks fantasize about seeing the younger players playing and the thinking goes something like "Well, this year when we are way up in the Big Walnut Tech game, we can see what Billy Bob will look like for next season when he should be our starter". So, the question is: do you remember the games that OSU was "way up"? Do you predict there will be a number of "way up" games this season?

Zwick and Smith got their baptisms by fire because they hardly got any mop-up time in the previous Krenzel/McMullen games. Not only have the Buckeyes eked out numerous affairs over the years, but JT plays so many games close-to-the-sweater-vest that we can't expect to see a bunch of blow-outs. Hey – this isn't Big Twelve or Minnesota scheduling, after all.

Thus, we lose the opportunities – as fans – to see some of the up-and-comers and the coaches don't get to see kids that might be real gamers – like a Joe Germaine, who was much better under fire than he was in practices. We certainly aren't hoping for injuries. Ever. But short of that possibility, how much should we expect to see of Todd Boeckman this year? And how will he be ready when it's his turn? Discuss amongst yourselves…

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Ya gotta love this kid…Right now, the No. 1 player in the 2007 Ohio high school recruitable year is a stud named Devon Torrence from Canton South (remember, as you read this, he is between his sophomore and junior years!). He is a gifted running back, a better cornerback prospect and one helluva baseball player. When our Bill Greene caught up with Devon a few weeks back, he was asked the usual "What do you think of the Buckeyes?" question. And we all expected the usual bland, careful and politically correct answer. Yet, this is what Bill filed:

When asked to name his list of colleges it didn't take long for Torrence to answer. He has been receiving mail from a lot of the top schools in America, but his list is quite short.

"My list is Ohio State, period," said Torrence. "That's all there is for me. I got a note from a Michigan coach asking me to come up for one day to camp, but I'm not going there. I'm all Buckeye and always will be. They showed us the highlight tape at camp and now I want to go there even more."

My eyes still well up when I read that. I also realize that Devon is young enough that he hasn't formed that carefully couched generic and ubiquitous answer. Let's see how soon he responds more like, "Well, sir, there are a number of fine schools and I tend to think that maybe, or perhaps…". It's great to see a kid that has so far avoided the yadayadayada and wears his affections on his coat sleeves. Particularly when those coat sleeves are colored scarlet and gray…

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Miami, Oxford, that is…In my secret mission up to the WHAC for the senior advance camp two weeks ago, I ran into Miami's head coach Shane Montgomery on the field, scouting the high school players. Hey – what are the chances that he takes Miles Schlichter, and that "Roethelisbergers" us all over again? He couldn't have been nicer or friendlier. I remarked on the very obvious fact that he was OSU's first opponent, yet here he was inside the tent checking out the recruits. He seemed to like the whole concept. When I asked if he would be our Bucknuts Radio Hour guest the week before the opener, he laughed and said, "Yes. I would give you my phone number but I just gave it to a Steve Helwagen who asked me the same thing." Now you see why Steve gets the scoops and I write opinion columns…

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Special players make up special teams…Tressel has always been a special teams fiend. And, even more so, he believes that the punters, kickers and other utility players should be good athletes in their own right. Like a Mike Nugent, who was a running quarterback at Centerville or Andy Groom, who played as a position player at Bishop Hartley. Now, the Buckeyes have (perhaps) an even better combination of athlete/special team-ers coming up. If the punter is the holder (as Tressel seems to like…), they will eventually have punter AJ Trapasso holding for kicker Aaron Pettrey. AJ Trapasso? He only gained 1500 yards as a running back his senior year at Pickerington. Pettrey? He is the all-time percentage passing leader in Kentucky high school history (over 70% completions his senior year). If you want some gimmick plays from special teamers, you have two pretty "special" guys to go to…

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Until we meet again…July seems like such a deceitful month. There are promises of football, of recruiting news, of practice information – but it's really hell on the nerves as we all await August and the return of our beloved Buckeyes. As Churchill once intoned, "If you are going through hell, keep going". And so we shall. By August, Bucknuts will have a new recruiting feature that is more encompassing than my old pedantic monthly recruiting update. And more frequent. We also hope to have weekly recruiting chats from around the country. We have a lot of plans to buttress our coverage of Ohio State football. Because this year is "2005 – The Year of the Buckeye".

Check your calendars. Kickoff is but 48 days away. And there is so much between now and then to look forward to! And I am planning to do just that…

If you have something that just can't wait (or inside information that makes Mr. Bucknuts look good…), contact him at

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