Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Oct. 31

The football season is often a slow time for recruiting, but Ohio State did get some good news last week as they picked up a new commitment. In the second edition of our new recruiting feature, the Quick Read, we discuss that commitment, along with the latest recruiting developments and much more.

Welcome to the 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. This week, we talk some about OSU's new commitment, the end of the high school career of a great running back, plus much more.  


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 (w/OSU interest) 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. Derrell Johnson, ATH 
8. Bill Nagy, OL
9. Robert Williams, CB
10. Jahmal Brown, RB

Bryant Browning

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

Navorro Bowman

Derrell Johnson

Mister Alexander

* - 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:

There was some good news this past week as Dana Point, Calif., defensive back Grant Schwartz committed to the Buckeyes. He is the son of former Buckeye Brian Schwartz.

Grant Schwartz became OSU's ninth commitment in a class that could number as high as 17 or 18 players by signing day. His worth could come in any number of areas. Schwartz is a two-way player for his high school squad. He played mostly at quarterback as a junior, but got a chance this season to shine on both sides of the ball.

There are some who believe Schwartz is one of the best kept secrets in southern California. And, from OSU's perspective, they are getting a bright kid who understands and truly appreciates the tradition of the Ohio State football program. He will join a number of legacies on the OSU team, including Shaun Lane, Stan White Jr. and Dionte Johnson.

Gary Housteau:

I was proud and privileged to witness the end of an era of greatness this past Friday.

Chris Wells played his last high football game at Akron Garfield High School and he went out with a bang. The OSU verbal definitely may have saved his best game for last against the playoff bound Buchtel Griffins.

Wells needed 220 yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark on the season and he easily smashed the milestone by picking up 370 yards on 37 carries, according to my unofficial count.

I thought it would be quite a while before I saw another high school running back the likes of Maurice Clarett, but it didn't take very long at all actually.

He's the best ever in my book and I think a lot of Ohio State fans who have yet to catch a glimpse of this amazing physical specimen might feel the same way in just a couple of years. And as a testament to his character, Wells stayed all four years at Garfield High School even though he could have easily transferred to any open enrollment power and be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs in his senior season.

Wells will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2006, before enrolling at Ohio State in time to play spring football for the Buckeyes.

I can't wait till you all get to enjoy watching him.

Duane Long:

The NCAA's new APR rules are really having an impact on recruiting this year. The recruitment of two of the top 100 players in the country are clear evidence that Jim Tressel is not going to put himself in a situation where he risks losing scholarships down the line when these rules reach full implementation. The recruitment of both Thaddeus Gibson and Jeff Cumberland are in neutral right now. Neither has an official visit with the Buckeyes scheduled, and it does not look like that will happen in the near future. Both are difference makers, they are at need positions, and both like the Buckeyes -- in particular Gibson.

The Buckeyes have no immediate need of defensive tackles but with a senior and four juniors on the roster you don't want to wait until next year to restock. It is not a strong year in state or nationally but the Buckeyes have not talked to one of the better defensive tackles in the country, Alex Dekle, for a couple of months. He is said to favor Ohio State. Greg Mathews would be rated one of the top receivers in the country if he were qualified. I think he will be but for now he is not. He was coming in for a visit. It was pushed back until he puts up a qualifying score.

A lot of fans are upset at the decision not to offer the not-yet-qualified a visit. Wait a year or two when other schools are losing scholarships, along with the other penalties the NCAA has mandated. You will not be happier that Tressel and OSU's athletic officials had the foresight to institute the changes now.

Click here for the latest recruiting features from Bucknuts and Scout.com network

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

Red text indicates updated info since last quick read


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.  Garfield*
    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. Had a dynamite final game on 10/28, logging (unofficially) 370 yards on 37 carries to finish the season with over 2,000 yards. Garfield missed the playoffs so Wells's high school career is done. 
  • 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, Leemore, 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.  Ausberry has been a tough player to get a hold of, per Scout.com reporter Allen Wallace, so updates may be hard to come by. 
  • 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.  Updated academic info makes it look like Cumberland might be a long shot for Ohio State. 
  • Jamere Holland, Woodland Hills, Calif. Taft *
    Scout.com No. 12 receiver nationally. Recently told DawgsBite.com that Ohio State was in his top ten but not in his top four. Buckeyes have reportedly offered. 
  • 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 for MSU game 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.
  • Tamarcus Porter, Pahokee, Fla.
    WR/DB prospect to keep an eye on. Considering Ohio State and says the Buckeyes may be in his top five. Will probably visit. Also likes BC, Iowa, Maryland, Pitt, and Florida. Has officially visited BC and Pitt already. 
  • Devin Parrish, Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep
    Has consistently listed Ohio State near the top of his list. Conflicting reports as to whether or not the Buckeyes have offered. Cousin of NFL player and ex-Miami Hurricane Roscoe Parrish. 
  • 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. Most recent update states Reuland has cut his list to six and OSU was not included. 
  • 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  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

Bryant Miller

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. Will likely visit. Looks like he will be heading north to play football. Recent update from HawkeyeNation.com lists Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State as three schools of focus along with West Virginia, Northwestern and Louisville.
  • 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. 
  • Bryant Miller, Miami (Fla.) Central *
    Lists Buckeyes as one of his favorites along with Miami, Florida State, Ole Miss, and Auburn. Interested in visiting OSU but may be tough to get out of the south. 
  • 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 interested in Mississippi, Maryland, Alabama, and Florida. Wesley was recently offered by Miami (Fla.), which will make it much more difficult to get him out of the Sunshine State. Still mentions OSU near the top of his list with more visits to come. Has also visited Ole Miss. 
  • 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

Byron Isom

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. Rated as the nation's top heavyweight wrestler. Most recent update states Larimore has not decided between football and wrestling. Is focused on OSU, UM and Indiana for football.
  • 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. Good academics (1250 SAT and wants to retake!)
  • 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 *
    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. Still consistently listing Ohio State in recent updates. Will visit Michigan for the OSU game. 
  • Hunter Haynes, St. Augustine, Fla. Nease
    Linebacker who is under the radar; missed last season due to injury. Recent scout.com report quotes Haynes as having OSU interest. Reports 17 offers.  
  • Mark Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.  Dorsey*
    West Coast standout who has consistently shown interest in OSU.  Has already visited LSU and has one set up to Cal. Florida and Ohio State are also remaining on his list of schools he'd like to visit. 
  • Colin McCarthy, Clearwater, Fla. Central Catholic *
    Visit - 9/24. Outstanding athlete who visited for Iowa weekend. Has roots in Pa. Recently narrowed his field to seven: Ohio State, Miami, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Indiana, and South Florida. 
  • 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.  Committed to Purdue per Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/21.
  • Ryan Hill, Tallahassee, Fla. Rickards *
    Outstanding prospect who has recently added the Buckeyes to his list and seems to want to visit. Will be very tough for OSU to get him out of Florida. Miami could be the team to beat.
  • 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, but recent information suggests that the Buckeyes may be looking elsewhere. 
  • 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: 1
Needs: 1 or more

  • 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. Committed to Ohio State on 10/27, not long after receiving an offer. Chose the Buckeyes over Oregon and others.  
  • Mister Alexander, Houston, Tex. Eisenhower
    A report last week said OSU has offered and that he lists the Buckeyes in his top three, but he is very high on Florida State. Big  (6-3, 188) safety prospect, rated No. 21 at his position by Scout.com.  
  • 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.  
  • Commentary: Schwartz becomes the most likely player to join the class as a safety. News of Alexander's interest surfaced recently although Ohio State does not appear to have offered. 
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

There is no evidence to show where Ohio State has already offered any of Ohio's top juniors. But as the regular season wraps up, we have a chance to take a look at some of the key names there. The No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2007 may be Cincinnati LaSalle defensive end Ben Martin (6-5, 225). However, there are reports that say Notre Dame may be the team to beat there.

Some of the other key names around the state include Canton South RB-DB Devon Torrence, South Point QB Chris Smith, Cincinnati Colerain DB Eugene Clifford, Clayton Northmont QB Clay Belton, Canton McKinley RB Morgan Williams and the Massillon Washington duo of RB Brian Gamble and LB Andrew Dailey. Williams had 40 carries for 234 yards and four touchdowns in McKinley's 38-8 win over rival Massillon on Saturday.

Although many of the top players will be in playoff action over the next five weeks, it will be interesting to see which underclassmen rate invitations to OSU's last two home games against Illinois and Northwestern.

Full List Of Ohio Recruits

Big Ten Recruiting Classes
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin

Check back soon for the next Bucknuts recruiting Quick Read!

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