Preseason Big Board: Summing Up

In the fifth and final installment of the preseason edition of The Big Board, we tie all of the numbers from the different position groups and classes together. That gives us a snapshot of the available scholarships and position needs for OSU football as it fills the 2006 recruiting class. That total could be impacted if LB Mike D'Andrea pursues a medical redshirt for last year.

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

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

Next, we looked inside the huddle on the defensive line and at linebacker. Then, 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 February. These include:

* Kicker Jonathan Skeete's arrest on drug trafficking charges. Skeete is currently suspended from the team and his status is in doubt. OSU coach Jim Tressel said he wanted to see how Skeete's criminal case proceeded before making a decision on his status.

* Tressel has also revealed that several other players will not be on the team this year, including defensive lineman Brandon Maupin, cornerback E.J. Underwood, defensive end Redgie Arden and tight end R.J. Coleman. It is unclear why Maupin, a sophomore, and Arden, a senior, will not be back.

It is assumed that Underwood's status hinged on academics. He would have been a senior this year and was, instead, pursuing a transfer to a lower division school. Coleman, who would have been a junior, is apparently done and will receive a medical waiver due to shoulder problems. The waiver will allow Coleman to complete his education on scholarship, but OSU can "re-issue" it under the NCAA limit of 85.

* Also, redshirt freshman wide receiver Albert Dukes returned to the team after charges of sexual assault in his hometown of Belle Glade, Fla., were dropped.

* Kicker Josh Huston received word he would have a sixth year of eligibility in 2005.

* With Skeete out, OSU has reportedly decided to bring Aaron Pettrey in on scholarship this fall.

* In terms of position changes, some of the notables include: Tim Schafer moves from offensive line to defensive line, Curt Lukens is back at safety after working at linebacker, and Tyler Everett and Sirjo Welch have moved from safety to corner.

Now, let's go inside the numbers:

Position Analysis

* QB -- OSU has three returning scholarship QBs, as well as one incoming freshman for 2005 (Rob Schoenhoft) and one verbal for 2006 (Antonio Henton).

* TB -- OSU has two returning scholarship tailbacks, as well as one incoming freshman 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 returning scholarship wide receivers. That Buckeyes also have three incoming freshmen for 2005 (Andre Amos, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie) and one verbal for 2006 (Josh Chichester).

* TE -- OSU has three returning scholarship tight ends, including one senior (Ryan Hamby). As noted, Coleman's career appears to be done. OSU has one verbal for 2006 (Jake Ballard)

* OL -- OSU has 10 returning scholarship linemen, including three seniors (Nick Mangold, Rob Sims and Andree Tyree). The Buckeyes also have incoming freshmen for 2005 in Alex Boone and Jim Cordle.

* DL -- OSU has 11 returning scholarship linemen (not including Maupin) and two seniors (Mike Kudla and Marcus Green). As noted, Arden's career appears to be over. OSU has four incoming freshmen for 2005 (Ryan Williams, Doug Worthington, Lawrence Wilson and Todd Denlinger).

* LB -- OSU has eight returning scholarship linebackers (not including Indiana transfer John Kerr, who must walk on). That total includes four seniors (A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Mike D'Andrea and Anthony Schlegel). However, D'Andrea may seek a medical redshirt for 2004 and could be back next year. OSU also has two incoming freshmen for 2005 in Austin Spitler and James Laurinaitis. Freddie Lenix signed in February, but will grayshirt until January. They also have a verbal for 2006 (Ross Homan).

* CB -- OSU has six returning scholarship corners, including one senior (Everett). That total does not include E.J. Underwood. The Buckeyes have two incoming freshmen for 2005 in Jamario O‘Neal and Malcolm Jenkins. OSU also has a verbal for 2006 in Kurt Coleman.

* S -- OSU has five returning scholarship safeties, including one senior (Nate Salley). OSU has two incoming freshman safeties in Anderson Russell and Donald Washington.

* K-P -- OSU has two returning specialists on scholarship, including one senior (Huston). Skeete's career is in limbo. Pettrey is an incoming freshman this fall.

* Summing Up -- That gives OSU 78 players on scholarship at the present time (not including Coleman, E.J. Underwood, Arden, Maupin and Skeete) with six verbals and one grayshirt for 2006.

Class Analysis

For a class breakdown of scholarship players, OSU has 14 seniors, 16 juniors (not including Coleman), 17 sophomores (not including Maupin), 13 redshirt freshmen (not including Skeete) and 18 true freshmen.

With 78 scholarship players and 14 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.

That figure could also go down if D'Andrea is able to get a medical redshirt or if Skeete or Maupin are cleared to return to the squad.

It was also possible that junior Drew Norman, the heir apparent at long snapper, could go on scholarship. A walk-on kick specialist (Jon Thoma) was also hoping to earn a scholarship in the fall.

As we have noted, OSU already has six verbals and Lenix grayshirting as a start on that 2006 class. So, as of today, there would only be 14 open spots left. Obviously, that figure could fluctuate – both up and down -- over the next year before signing day in February 2006.

Looking at position needs, I think OSU could end up signing one quarterback (they are set with Henton), two tailbacks (they already have Chris Wells), one fullback, two wide receivers (they have Chichester), two tight ends (they have Ballard), three offensive linemen, one defensive end, one defensive tackle, three linebackers (they already have Homan and, technically, Lenix), one safety and two cornerbacks (they have Coleman already) to fill out this class. That adds up to 19, leaving two (or more) open spots for the best available player(s).

And, looking ahead to the Class of 2007, if OSU maxes out the 2006 class, the staff would start with 16 scholarships to give in 2007. That number will obviously fluctuate as time goes on.

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 preseason 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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