Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Nov. 14

Ohio State's football season has just one regular season game remaining, but after the clock hits zero against Michigan, the Buckeye coaching staff will get right back to work with recruiting. With recruiting developments starting to pick up, let's take a look at this week's edition of the Bucknuts Quick Read.

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. Read on for the latest summaries and developments concerning OSU football recruiting.   

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/DB*
7. Navorro Bowman, LB*
8. Brian Whitmore, DE*
9. Mister Alexander, S
10. McKenzie Mathews, DE *

Bryan Thomas

Derrell Johnson

David Ausberry

* - 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. 2 Dexter Larimore
Dec. 9 Jamil Paris


Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

Bellaire quarterback Nate Davis was a guy we were tracking prior to the season. Well, he has gone out as a senior and not disappointed anybody. Davis rushed for a touchdown and threw for 140 yards and three scores as Bellaire defeated Columbus Bishop Hartley 37-14 this past weekend to advance to a Division IV regional final.

That match-up with tradition-laden Ironton should draw a packed house this Saturday night at Peden Stadium at Ohio U.

For the year, Davis has completed 158 of 278 passes for 2,397 yards and 34 TDs against just eight interceptions.

It may be too late for Ohio State to come in and offer the multi-talented Davis a scholarship - particularly with run/pass threat Antonio Henton already in the fold. But Davis figures to make a college program somewhere very happy.

Speaking of the playoffs, there are only two OSU verbals still alive in the Ohio playoffs. Springboro with TE Jake Ballard advanced with a win over Miami Trace in D-II, while Coldwater and LB Ross Homan also moved on to a D-IV regional final.

Get a load of this: Those of you going to Michigan on Saturday can catch Homan in action on your way home. His Coldwater team meets Huron at 7 p.m. Saturday at Findlay's Donnell Stadium. (I assume you just look for the lights off I-75.) I would bet more than a few carloads of deliriously happy OSU fans will stop off on the way back home to check out Homan.


Gary Housteau:

I couldn't have been any happier for any football player than I was while I was watching Derrell Johnson of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School in action this weekend.

Here's a young person that was on the brink of becoming a statistic that's not football related and now he's at the top of his game and on top of the world.

Last year he was the most talented player on a 1-9 team and barely got any recognition for it in the Youngstown area. I had heard of him but was told by more than one person that Johnson would never come close to meeting any academic standards that would allow him to continue playing football on the next level. So I never even went to see him practice and his previous school is not even five miles from my home.

But fortunately for Johnson, he received divine intervention at the 11th hour which led to him being adopted by a family that had a son at the same school, which led to him transferring to Mooney, which has led him to success on the gridiron and even in the classroom now. He just had his best report card ever this past grading period.

Johnson is listed at 6-3 and 202 pounds, which may be generous measurements on both dimensions. But he plays really big at quarterback for the Cardinals. He's becoming more of dual threat at quarterback in the Mooney offense and has the legitimate ability to beat you with his arm as well as his legs.

He alone, with the help of running back Nate Burney of course, is talented enough on the D-IV level to take his team back to the state title game and win it this year.

Against Akron Manchester, Johnson ran for 2 TDs (1 and 39 yards) and threw for another (35 yards) after a quiet first half. He ran for 102 yards in all on the night.

This summer Johnson worked with the wide receivers at OSU's advanced camp and Darrell Hazell is calling on him from the staff at this time.

It looks like this story has the potential to end happily ever after for Johnson. If he gets all of the academic issues solved, there's a good chance he could become a member of the OSU's 2006 recruiting class. Only time will tell.

Duane Long:

It looks like the Ohio State staff has re-evaluated recruiting for this year. I could not be happier about that. I think every school re-examines the recruiting landscape at some point. It is usually too late. That is why schools end up filling out their rosters with players that they might not offer if they got in the mix with other players early. I think far too often staffs wait too long on that can't-miss player and end up with the would-have-passed player.

The other news of the week -- or should I say two weeks -- is the lack of quality prospects at the last two home games of the year. I did not expect to see many recruits in the stadium against Illinois but Northwestern is a good team. With no home dates with Michigan or Penn State, Texas and Iowa were the other most appealing home dates. But both were early. Northwestern was easily the most appealing home date late in the schedule. It would have been nice to see this re-evaluation start early enough to take advantage of what turned out to be a perfect senior day.

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. Once said he would like to visit Ohio State, but a recent update did not include OSU on the list of schools he will be taking visits to.
  • 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.  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. Visited USC on 11/4 and seemed to love the trip, but stated his desire to play at Ohio State. Originally was scheduled to visit Michigan on 11/18 but reports are conflicting as to whether or not he'll take the trip. 
  • 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. Latest update from PackPride.com has Ohio State in his top five along with Iowa, NC State, West Virginia, and Penn State. Has been talking about a visit to OSU. 
  • (NEW)  Aram Olsen, Irmo, S.C.
    Came up to OSU for the Illinois game on an unofficial visit. Could be one to watch if the Buckeyes decide to take a fullback.  
  • 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.  Rated his 11/11 Georgia visit a 10. Is not giving any favorites and states that talk about him favoring USC are "rumors".  
  • 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. Prime in-state candidate for a Buckeye offer.  Offers from Penn State, Iowa, North Carolina, others. Johnson is back on the field after missing time due to injury. Buckeyes remain solidly interested but academic issues could play a role. 
  • 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 *
    Recent update has Ohio State in his final five, along with LSU, Florida State, Florida, and Virginia Tech. 
  • Greg Mathews, Orlando, Fla. Edgewater
    Has flip-flopped leaders between Miami and Michigan. Says Michigan is his leader and is also interested in OSU, Florida State, NC State and others according to PackPride.com. Also wants to visit Ohio State. 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. 


  • 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. 
  • (NEW) Kyle Sheehan, Grayson, Ga. *
    Recent report from Chris Pool states this Purdue commit may take one last look at Ohio State. Hopes to enroll early; visit to OSU may come before then. Can play DE or  OL but listed here as a TE because Sheehan told Pool OSU is recruiting him as a TE. 
  • Commentary: Based on Pool report, Ohio State seems ready to take Sheehan if he wants to come. Both Ballard and Sheehan are versatile players that OSU has talked about bringing in at TE but could play multiple positions.  

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

Steven Wesley

Verbals: 0
Needs: 1-2

  • Jason Adjepong, Cartaret, N.J. *
    Previously 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 has been solidly in his top five for some time. Will likely visit. Most recent update from RutgersInsider.com has OSU in the top five with Ole Miss, Florida, Minnesota, and Iowa.  
  • 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 might be tough to beat.  
  • 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).  Still mentioned Ohio State in most recent update along with Miami (Fla.), Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama. Still has yet to visit UF and Miami. Liked visit to OSU but could be tough to get out of the south. 
  • 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. *
    Visit 12/2. 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. Larimore told GoBlueWolverine.com after his visit that he will be playing football in college. He will apparently decide between Ohio State and Michigan, with his official to Ohio State coming in December. Liked his Michigan visit this past weekend. 
  • 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!) Most recent update from autigers.com quotes Isom as saying Auburn and South Carolina are the only schools of interest. 
  • 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.  Did not mention Ohio State in most recent scout.com update. Interest is in ND, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Minnesota. 
  • 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. Will visit Michigan for the OSU game. 
  • A.J. Jones, Tampa, Fla. Middleton * Four-star linebacker lists offer from Ohio State and has shown interest. Visited USC recently and says the Trojans lead. 
  • 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. Plans to take all visits before deciding. 
  • Eric Schwartz, Clyde, Oh.
    Linebacker who is high on Ohio State; Buckeyes are remaining in contact. Seems to be on a short list of Ohio players still under consideration by OSU. 


  • 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. 
  • Ryan Hill, Tallahassee, Fla. Rickards *
    Outstanding prospect who has recently added the Buckeyes to his list and seems to want to visit. Latest update from CanesTime.com makes it sound like Miami will be very tough 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. Listed Ohio State, Florida State and Nebraska as his top three in most recent update. Has taken official visits to each and will likely take two more visits before deciding. 
  • 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. 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 a while back 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. Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels reports Ohio State is among the list of schools still interested. Fields said OSU will likely get a visit. Academics are an issue. 
  • (NEW)  Nick Prochak, Spartanburg, S.C.
    Under-the-radar QB/DB prospect who is just starting to get his name out more. Took unofficial to Ohio State for the Illinois game. Grew up in Ohio and was an Ohio State fan. 
  • Armand Robinson, Reynoldsburg, Oh.
    Prospect who has received interest from Ohio State throughout the recruiting process. Offers from North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 
  • Bryan Thomas, Zephyrhills, Fla. *
    Moved on our list from WR to DB as he says Ohio State is recruiting him as a DB. Latest update has Ohio State in the top three along with Florida and Tennessee, and he still plans on visiting. No leader listed. 
  • Commentary: Thomas is listed here as a safety but he could play several positions. The safety recruiting situation may change if Donte Whitner happened to decide to leave early.  
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

There have been more than a few recurring names of Ohio underclassmen attending OSU home games this season.

One name that consistently has popped up is Warrensville Heights junior DE-LB Lebron Daniels (6-1, 223). Daniels was one of the fastest and strongest defensive ends at the Nike Camp in Ann Arbor last summer.

Another name that has been at several games is Westerville South quarterback/defensive back Rocco Pentello (6-0, 190). He is the son of South head coach Rocky Pentello, who has run the middle school aged football camp for Ohio State for a number of years.

More key names include quarterbacks Clay Belton of Clayton Northmont and Chris Smith of South Point. Those two may be the top two quarterbacks in the junior class.

And OSU has gone out of its way to welcome Washington C.H. Miami Trace sophomore LB Nathan Williams (6-4, 235) at several games this season.

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!


Buckeye Sports Top Stories