One of the things we want to do in the Bucknuts Fan Club is if you have something you would like to see and it is in our power to do it for you, we would like to bring it to life. Today, we are going to take a user suggestion sent to us and make it into a feature. That suggestion is to break the state up by regions and list the top prospects in each region. We are also going to try to incorporate another suggestion that was sent, and that is to list the coaches who recruit certain areas (that info can change though, so we might not have the latest on that or know exactly who is on what region this year).
Here is the very unscientific method used to break up the regions -- Basically, we are going to roughly divide Ohio in northern and southern halves by using I-70. Then we are going to draw an imaginary line running from Sandusky up north to Portsmouth down south. Here are some of the bigger cities in our regions:
Northeast: Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Massillon, Youngstown, Warren, Mansfield
Northwest: Toledo, Marion, Findlay, Piqua
Southeast: Columbus and close suburbs (like Dublin, Worthington, etc.), Chillicothe, Portsmouth
Southwest: Cincinnati, Dayton
Here is a look at each region with the players (rankings based on OFS' top 100... click on names in blue for a picture):
Always the strongest region in the state, it would almost be fair to break this region down into three separate regions -- one for the Cleveland area, one for Youngstown/Warren (the #1 senior player in the state is from this area two years running, and next year, Youngstown Ursuline RB Delbert Ferguson could make it three) and one for Canton/Akron/Massillon. But for now, we are going to lump it all into one group. This year is no exception as this Northeast region is without a doubt the state's best. Some recruiting assignments here include Coach Bollman for the Youngstown area and Coach Mel Tucker in the Cleveland area.
You can see by the list below that they've got a lot of work to do this year. It is a whopping list of talent; OSU has offered a scholarship to at least nine of the players you see below, and the one I am not sure about - Marcel Frost - could have one by now for all I know.
1. LB/DB Prescott Burgess, Warren Harding - The consensus top prospect in Ohio and maybe the Midwest.
2. DE Shawn Crable, Massillon Washington - Everyone is after this guy. He's had big-time offers for almost a year.
3. TE Louis Irizarry, Youngstown Ursuline - A Bucknuts Fan Club favorite! It seems like Louis' name is really starting to circulate around the country as one of the best players at his position.
4. DB Donte Whitner, Cleveland Glenville - A must get... he'll most likely be able to go anywhere he wants.
5. DT Sian Cotton, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary - Offers from national programs are coming a bit slower, but the Buckeyes are already on the bandwagon.
6. DB Dareus Hiley, Cleveland Glenville - If his grades improve, he's a must get. When I think of OSU's chances with Dareus, I think of the remark Troy Smith made in his Bucknuts Radio Hour interview when he said he and Dareus were trying to get Donte Whitner down to Ohio State... I like the sound of that.
7. TE/DL Marcel Frost, Lyndhurst Brush - Most people would say OSU should take him regardless of what Louis Irizarry does.
8. DT David Patterson, Warrensville Heights - It seems to be only a matter of time before he's a commitment.
9. CB/WR Tony Gonzalez, Cleveland St. Ignatius - OSU's first member of the 2003 signing class is a real good one!
10. WR Devon Jordan, Massillon Washington - Another player who most think will wind up at OSU.
There are others in this region who are candidates for an OSU offer, and those are OL Dan Pribula (Strongsville... Ohio's top OL?), DB Mike Phillips (Warren Harding... you'll hear more of his name in the coming months), OL Matt Maizel (Youngstown Ursuline... has told Chris Pool he's OSU-bound if offered), and DB Brian Jones (Avon Lake... will he join fellow Avon Lake Buckeye Mike D'Andrea?).
Now, just for fun, if we were to break it up into three regions, which would consist of Cleveland and surrounding cities, Youngstown/Warren and surrounding cities, and Canton/Akron/Massillon and surrounding cities, what would we have?
Cleveland: 1. Donte Whitner 2. Dareus Hiley 3. Marcel Frost 4. David Patterson 5. Tony Gonzalez 6. Dan Pribula 7. Brian Jones 8. DL Michael Hearn, Cleveland Glenville 9. OL Mike DeLuca, Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 10. ATH Harvey McDougle, E. Cleveland Shaw
Youngstown/Warren: 1. Prescott Burgess 2. Louis Irizarry 3. Mike Phillips 4. Matt Maizel 5. RB Terrence Graves, Youngstown Ursuline 6. DT/TE Keilen Dykes, Youngstown Chaney 7. QB Sean Clayton, Poland Seminary 8. QB Mike Kokal, Warren Harding
Akron/Canton/Massillon: 1. Shawn Crable 2. Sian Cotton 3. Devon Jordan 4. ATH Ronnie Borquin, Canton South 5. DB Virgil Robinson, Akron Buchtel 6. DE/TE Romeo Travis, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 7. OL Zach Slates, Massillon Perry 8. OL Kirk Barton, Massillon Perry 9. OL Bryson Bush, Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 10. ATH Curt Lukens, N. Canton Hoover
Most of the players above are rated in the top 50. All the players in the Cleveland list are higher than the top 30. That's sorta impressive, and it's really indicative of how this year's talent is concentrated so strongly in Northeast Ohio.
There aren't many big towns in this region, but don't underestimate it because there is a lot of good football. The small-town football in this region is the best in the state. Last year, OSU was able to get Quinn Pitcock and Joel Penton from this area. This year, there aren't a whole lot of big school prospects though. We cut the list short after six. But don't let that fool you... three out of the six state champs last year (Toledo St. Francis, Kenton, Maria Stein Marion L