Bucknuts Quick Read: Oct. 17 Edition

Introducing the Bucknuts Quick Read -- a new recruiting feature where you can catch up quickly and easily on the Ohio State football recruiting scene. We'll have rankings, staff opinions and commentary, capsules on recruits, and even a look at the latest news concerning underclassmen. We'll be running this feature on a regular basis throughout the remainder of the recruiting season. Check out our first installment today!

Welcome to the first Bucknuts OSU football recruiting Quick Read. This is a one-stop reference where you can come to get the latest summary on Ohio State football recruiting and where the Buckeyes stand with various in- and out-of-state prospects. In this feature, we will list the top ten remaining uncommitted prospects from both inside and outside of the state of Ohio, as well as a summary of each position and the latest on the players who currently stand as recruiting possibilities for the Buckeyes. Also included will be staff commentary from Steve Helwagen, Gary Housteau and Duane Long as they give their current thoughts on the state of OSU football recruiting. 

This feature will be updated every two weeks and more as needed as the recruiting season starts to heat up. Read on for a look at our first edition. 


The following is a compilation of the opinions of the Bucknuts staff and does not represent the Ohio State football program.

Ohio Top 10 Uncommitted Prospects  Out-Of-State Top 10 
Based on Scout.com Rankings
1. Thaddeus Gibson, LB *
2. Ray Small, WR*
3. Robert Rose, DL*
4. Jeff Cumberland, WR
5. Bryant Browning, OL *
6. Mark Jackson, OL, Col. Brookhaven
7. Royce Adams, DB
8. Derrell Johnson, ATH 
9. Bill Nagy, OL
10. Robert Williams, CB

Thaddeus Gibson

1. Konrad Reuland, TE * 
2. Ryan Hill, CB *
3. A.J. Wallace, CB*
4. David Ausberry, WR*
5. Mark Johnson, LB*
6. Elijah Fields, S
7. Bryan Thomas, WR*
8. Navorro Bowman, LB*
9. Brian Whitmore, DE*
10. McKenzie Mathews, DE *

Ryan Hill

Rob Rose

A.J. Wallace

* - denotes a reported OSU offer

Ohio State Official Visit Weekends

Sept. 9-11 (Texas): Aaron Brown, A.J. Wallace, Steven Wesley
Sept. 23-25 (Iowa): David Ausberry, Colin McCarthy
Oct. 14 (MSU): McKenzie Matthews, Navorro Bowman, Wes Lyons
Dec. 9 Jamil Paris


Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

Ohio State has eight commitments in the 2006 class and can still take roughly 10 or 11 more prospects in this class. Five of their current verbals are national top-100 players (Chris Wells, Connor Smith, Josh Chichester, Ross Homan and Jake Ballard). Kurt Coleman was a top-100 player on a previous list. Five top-100 players is probably enough to guarantee a top-10 class, for whatever that is worth. 

I question where the remaining star power will come from. Only one top-50 player (LB Thaddeus Gibson) seems to be listing OSU and it's unclear whether he'll pass muster academically. Six more top-100 players are looking at OSU and could visit or have visited. They are CB Ryan Hill, WR David Ausberry, LB Mark Johnson, WR Ray Small, CB A.J. Wallace and DE Jason Adjepong. As far as position needs, I think OSU probably needs linemen on both sides of the ball in this class. Another tailback and a fullback would probably help as well. I guess I'd like to see some December visits lined up. So far things look fairly sparse.

Gary Housteau:

If you are concerned with size at the linebacker position, you might not be very happy with the two guys Ohio State has brought into the fold so far this year. Both Ross Homan and Tyler Moeller barely hit the 6-0 mark, but both guys possess a lethal nose for the football and are relentless in their pursuit of the ball carrier. After seeing both of these guys operate this year, I, for one, will be very happy to see them play any position on the defense for Ohio State in the future – sooner rather than later. They're football players and I think you're going to love watching both of these guys at Ohio State.

Duane Long:

What has my attention is offensive line recruiting. Since before John Cooper left, I have been concerned about the low numbers. The talent was not up to Ohio State standards when Jim Tressel arrived. That has been addressed. The current offensive line is not a dominating one, but it is a good one.

We are still looking at low numbers. It came to a head last week. Steve Rehring is out, then Kirk Barton goes down. Alex Boone is the only current scholarship lineman the staff has any faith in on the bench. A number of things went wrong last week, but the offensive line not having the depth to overcome a couple of injuries played a part.

I bring all this up because it is the best year we are likely to ever see in Ohio for offensive linemen. The staff did all they could to get Aaron Brown and Justin Boren, but it didn't happen. What is bothering me is not enough scholarships on the table for some of the other top kids. Why did they wait to offer Cleveland Glenville's Bryant Browning and Lakewood St. Edward's Joe Thomas?

Offensive linemen have such a low projection rate that keeping the numbers up is crucial. Anything more than 50 percent contributing to the program during their careers is a good job by the recruiting coordinator. I am not convinced that Thomas changes his mind. I don't understand the lack of an offer to Hudson's Bill Nagy. I would have had an offer to him already. It looks like the staff will wait on an answer from Thomas before making any more offers, although he seems solid on Pitt. I am not seeing any reason to get excited about any of the few out of state offensive lineman there are offers to, so the lack of instate offers is baffling.


Position-by-Position Rundown
(Commitments and Possibilities, listed in alphabetical order)


Antonio Henton

Verbals: 1
Needs: 0

  • Antonio Henton, Peach County, Ga. *
    Verbal to OSU -- 6/28/05. Will likely be lone QB in this recruiting class. 
  • Arvell Nelson, Cleveland Glenville
    Ohio's top QB prospect. Has stated OSU would be at the top if they offered. 
  • Isiah Williams, Chicago, Ill. *
    Soft verbal to Illinois. Has said he would like to visit Ohio State. Also interested in visiting Tennessee, North Carolina, and Penn State. Scout.com's No. 5 QB prospect.
  • Commentary: With Henton's commitment, Ohio State is likely done with recruiting the quarterback position this year. 

Running Back

Chris Wells

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1

  • Chris Wells, Akron, Oh. *
    Verbal to OSU -- 2//6/05. Scout.com No. 1 RB prospect. Will likely visit other schools, including USC and Michigan, but is expected to stick with his OSU commitment.
  • Jahmal Brown, Cleveland Benedictine
    May be Ohio's top remaining uncommitted running back but OSU interest does not seem high. Lone offer is from Toledo. 
  • Travis McBride, McKeesport, Pa.
    Running back has had consistent interest in Ohio State throughout the recruiting process. Will likely visit. 
  • Norman Whitley, Rockingham, N.C. Richmond Senior
    Three-star RB/DB showing consistent interest in OSU. 
  • Commentary: Some felt the Buckeyes might try to land two running backs this season, but Wells will likely be the only one.

Wide Receiver

Josh Chichester

Verbals: 1
Needs: 2

  • Josh Chichester, West Chester, Oh. *
    Verbal to OSU -- 7/1/05.  Big receiver is having a solid season. 
  • David Ausberry, Lemoore, Calif. *
    OSU Visit -- 9/23/05 (Iowa game). Top 100 receiver. Has also visited Nebraska; Huskers and Buckeyes are in his top four along with USC and Georgia.  
  • Jeff Cumberland, Columbus, Oh. Brookhaven
    Big, athletic receiver/ATH reportedly needs a boost academically for OSU. Has shown heavy interest in Miami, Minnesota and others.  
  • Derrell Johnson, Youngstown, Oh. Mooney
    Excellent athlete who is listed here as a receiver but could play several positions. Injury will have him out at least until the start of the playoffs. Prime in-state candidate for a Buckeye offer.  Offers from Penn State, Iowa, North Carolina, others. 
  • Wes Lyons, Pittsburgh, Pa. Woodland Hills*
    Visit - 10/14. Brother of OSU WR Devon Lyons. Also considering Miami (Fla.), West Virginia, Louisville, and Boston College. Visited Ohio State this past weekend and had positive things to say about the trip. 
  • Damon McDaniel, Virginia Beach, Va. Landstown *
    Most recent update has Ohio State in his final five, along with LSU, Florida State, Florida, and Virginia Tech. 
  • Greg Mathews, Orlando, Fla. Edgewater
    Miami leads. Also wants to visit Ohio State and Michigan. Will be in attendance at OSU-UM game in Ann Arbor.
  • Bryan Thomas, Zephyrhills, Fla. *
    Last update listed Ohio State right behind Florida at the top of his list. Has also shown interest in and received offers from Tennessee, South Carolina and West Virginia. 
  • Commentary: A solid group of wide receivers showing strong interest in Ohio State. Ausberry and Lyons have already visited, and it would not be a surprise to see each of these receivers take an official visit to Ohio State. 

Tight End

Jake Ballard

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1

  • Jake Ballard, Springboro, Oh. *
    Verbal to OSU --6/2/05. Scout.com No. 4 TE prospect. Picked OSU over Michigan, several others. Team is having excellent season, one of the top teams in Division II. 
  • Konrad Reuland, Mission Viejo, Calif. *
    Blue-chip TE prospect has Ohio roots, but may be a long shot to wind up at OSU. Also very interested in Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame.
  • Commentary: Ballard will likely be the only tight end in this class. 

Offensive Line

Connor Smith

Verbals: 1
Needs: 2

  • Connor Smith, Cincinnati, Oh. Colerain *
    Verbal to OSU -- 7/31/05. Scout.com No. 5 OL prospect. Five-star prospect, rated by Scout.com as tops in the Midwest. 
  • Bryant Browning, Cleveland, Oh. Glenville *
    Was recently offered by Ohio State, making the Buckeyes the favorites to land his signature. Also interested in Indiana, Northwestern, others.  
  • Jake Miller, Zoarville, Oh. Tuscarawas Valley
    Sleeper, diamond-in-the-rough OL prospect that the Buckeyes are interested in. 
  • Bill Nagy, Hudson, Oh.
    Two-way lineman is a candidate for a Buckeye offer in the coming weeks.  
  • Joe Thomas, OL, Lakewood, Oh. St. Edward*
    High school teammate of OSU lineman Alex Boone. Committed to Pittsburgh in the summer but was offered by Ohio State after his commitment. Has checked out an OSU football game but told Bucknuts reporter Gary Housteau Saturday evening that he was 100 percent committed to Pittsburgh. 
  • Commentary: Buckeyes would like to take more than one OL this year, but lack of interest from out-of-state prospects does not help. Two of top three in-state prospects, Aaron Brown and Justin Boren, have committed elsewhere. 

Defensive End

Robert Rose

Verbals: 0
Needs: 1-2

  • Jason Adjepong, Cartaret, N.J. *
    Most recent update mentioned Ohio State in his list of schools under consideration. Says he is trying to keep away from recruiting interviews, so information may be hard to come by.  
  • Walter Dublin, Sarasota, Fla. *
    Ohio State is solidly in his top five with Nebraska, Minnesota, Clemson, and West Virginia. Will likely visit. 
  • McKenzie Mathews, Syracuse, N.Y. Christian Brothers Academy *
    Lists Ohio State, Michigan, others. Visited Ohio State 10/14-10/16 and enjoyed the trip. Has said he will wait until signing day to decide. 
  • Jamil Paris, Sebastian, Fla.  Sebastian River
    Visit - 12/9. Tall (6-7, 225) DE prospect did not play much football as a junior due to hurricanes and injuries. Has solid interest in OSU but Florida seems to have a good lead.  
  • Robert Rose, Cleveland, Oh. Glenville *
    One of Ohio's top line prospects and a U.S. Army All-American selection. Has officially visited USC and will visit Ohio State. Other schools of interest include LSU, Florida and North Carolina. 
  • Steven Wesley, Bartow, Fla. *
    Visit - 9/9/05 (Texas). Ohio State is among his top three. Also visiting Mississippi, Maryland, Alabama, and Florida. 
  • Brian Whitmore, Chesapeake, Va.  Oscar K. Smith
    Scout.com No. 22 DE. Has shown solid interest in Ohio State, but the Buckeyes could be facing an uphill battle behind Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech. 
  • Commentary: Several talented ends are interested in the Buckeyes. Many expect Rose to eventually pick Ohio State, and the Buckeyes should be able to get at least one more out of the above group.

Defensive Tackle

Dexter Larimore

Verbals: 0
Needs: 1-2

  • Dexter Larimore, Merrillville, Ind. *
    Offered by Ohio State in September and a Michigan offer came quickly after. Has been to games at OSU and UM and will likely officially visit both. Also likes Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan State, but it could be a battle between the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Rated as the nation's top heavyweight wrestler. 
  • Alex Dekle, Statesboro, Ga. *
    Lists offer from OSU and consistently mentions the Buckeyes among his favorites. Also likes Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State.
  • Byron Isom, Lovejoy, Ga.
    No. 48 DT prospect. Has shown interest in OSU. Reported offers from Auburn, NC State, Florida, South Carolina.
  • Johnnie Troutman, Browns Mills, N.J. Pemberton Township *
    Talented DE /DT who is out for the season due to an ACL injury. Ohio State is among many who have offered. Is expected to take an official visit.    
  • Commentary: Buckeyes could use some defensive tackles in this class but the list is short, especially with a very thin year for DTs in Ohio. 


Tyler Moeller

Verbals: 2
Needs: 1

  • Ross Homan, Coldwater, Oh. *
    Verbal to OSU -- 2//7/05. Scout.com No. 9 LB prospect. Solid commitment to Ohio State. Is having a strong senior season and is a Mr. Football candidate. 
  • Tyler Moeller, Cincinnati (Oh.) Colerain *
    Verbal to OSU -- 9/14/05. Scout.com No. 20 LB. Having a fine year as Colerain is in position to defend its Division I state title. Had several big plays in nationally televised win over Tyler (Texas) Lee.
  • Tommy Becker, Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata
    High school teammate of current Buckeye linebacker James Laurinaitis. Interested in OSU along with Iowa State, Minnesota, and others. 
  • Navorro Bowman, Forestville (Md.) Suitland *
    Visit - 10/14. No. 17 linebacker has OSU in his top four. Visited 10/14. Has also visited Penn State and will visit Virginia Tech and Tennessee. 
  • Thaddeus Gibson, Euclid, Oh. *
    Top remaining uncommitted recruit in Ohio. One of the best defensive prospects in the Midwest. Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn State are among his schools of interest. Academic situation could be a concern. 
  • Mark Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.  Dorsey*
    West Coast standout who has consistently shown interest in OSU. Would like to visit. Buckeyes are high on his list with LSU, USC, Florida, and Miami (Fla.) 
  • Colin McCarthy, Clearwater, Fla. Central Catholic *
    Visit - 9/24. Outstanding athlete who visited for Iowa weekend. Also likes Penn State, Miami, and Nebraska. Has roots in Pa. 
  • Commentary: With a need for linebacker, Ohio State has several possibilities to go with their current commitments, but they will be in a fight for each. 


Kurt Coleman *

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1 or more

  • Kurt Coleman, Clayton, Oh. Northmont
    Verbal to OSU -- 6/26/05. Scout.com No. 12 CB prospect. Outstanding athlete; listed over 40 offers. Plays WR and CB exceptionally well. 
  • Royce Adams, Cleveland Glenville
    Solid all-around athlete who has been high on OSU's list since a fine camp performance. Is a candidate for an offer.  
  • Ryan Hill, Tallahassee, Fla. Rickards *
    Outstanding prospect who has recently added the Buckeyes to his list. Will be very tough for OSU to get him out of Florida.
  • Taylor Price, Hilliard, Oh. Darby
    Super-fast prospect who emerged out of nowhere by running blistering 40 times during camps. OSU is said to be keeping an eye on him this season. 
  • Ray Small, Cleveland Glenville *
    The latest in a long line of electric Glenville football players. Can play WR or CB in college. Plans to announce in January. Could be between OSU and USC. 
  • A.J. Wallace, Pomfret, Md. McDonough *
    Visit - 9/9. OSU is near the top of his list with Florida State, whom he has visited. Will also visit Nebraska and is considering several others for his final two visits.
  • Robert Williams, Cincinnati, Oh. Withrow
    An underrated prospect who should see his offer list increase with qualifying academic scores. Has always liked OSU and would be a strong candidate to commit if offered. Notre Dame is also in the picture. 
  • Commentary: With Coleman already on board and most of the above prospects very interested, there's a very strong chance that the Buckeyes could come away with the talent they are looking for at CB this year. 


Grant Schwartz

Verbals: 0
Needs: 1 or more

  • Elijah Fields, Duquesne, Pa.
    Four-star prospect who has been consistently listing Ohio State. Also showing interest in Penn State and West Virginia.
  • Armand Robinson, Reynoldsburg, Oh.
    Prospect who has received interest from Ohio State throughout the recruiting process. Offers from North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  
  • Grant Schwartz, Dana Point, Calif.  Dana Hills *
    Fine athlete and the son of ex-Buckeye Brian Schwartz. Is waiting for an offer from Ohio State and is expected to commit if it comes.  
  • Commentary: A commitment from Schwartz may give the Buckeyes all they are looking for here, although they have reportedly shown heavy interest in Fields.
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

The Buckeyes have welcomed a host of underclassmen to their five home games to date. Some of the players who have been regulars include juniors Clayton Northmont QB Clay Belton (big game with Huber Heights Wayne this week), Cleveland Glenville S-LB Jermale Hines, Lakewood St. Edward DB Nate Oliver, Bedford Chanel C-DT Cameron Wade, Macedonia Nordonia RB-DB Jordan Mabin, Canton South RB Devon Torrence and sophomore Nathan Williams, already a 6-4, 235-pound LB from Washington C.H. Miami Trace. It seems likely that the Buckeyes will hone in on some of these players once the calendar turns to 2006.

Check back soon for the next Bucknuts recruiting Quick Read!


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