Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Dec. 12

The month of December always carries plenty of recruiting news. The Buckeye staff has been out on the recruiting trail looking to add to the team's nine verbal commitments. Check out our Quick Read feature for news on the candidates to fill the rest of OSU's class.

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. Jeff Cumberland, WR
4. Robert Rose, DL*
5. Arvell Nelson, QB
6. Derrell Johnson, ATH 
7. Bryant Browning, OL *

Thaddeus Gibson

1. Ryan Hill, CB *
2. Jason Adjepong, DE *
3. David Ausberry, WR*
4. A.J. Wallace, CB*
5. Mark Johnson, LB*
6. Elijah Fields, S
7. A.J. Jones, LB*
8. Bryant Miller, DE*
9. Colin McCarthy, LB *
10. McKenzie Mathews, DE * 

Jason Adjepong

Bryant Browning

Colin McCarthy

* - 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): Navorro Bowman, Wes Lyons, McKenzie Matthews
Dec. 2 Jason Adjepong, Jake Ballard, Bryant Browning, Kurt Coleman, Ryan Hill, Dexter Larimore, Tyler Moeller, Robert Rose, Ray Small, Joe Thomas, Chris Wells
Dec.  9 Ross Homan, Grant Schwartz
Dec. 16 Andy Miller
Jan. 6 Mark Johnson, A.J. Jones, Kylan Robinson, Johnnie Troutman, Marcus Udell
Jan. 13 Connor Smith


Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

It looks like Ohio State will pin a lot of its hopes in recruiting this year on the weekend of Jan. 6-7. I have to admit it was weird seeing OSU host just a couple of recruits for a prime December weekend like this past weekend. In years past, the Buckeyes have had 8-10 players in for visits in each of the first two weekends.

Some of the key players due in that first weekend in January include California LB Mark Johnson, Florida LB A.J. Jones, Florida RB Kylan Robinson, New Jersey DL Johnnie Troutman and Florida DB Marcus Udell. More names could be added to the list, certainly, between now and then.

Johnson is a highly coveted LB prospect. Robinson would provide OSU with some much-needed depth at running back. The Buckeyes have Chris Wells in this class already, but would do well to add another back to the mix this year.

Of course, OSU is set to host Pennsylvania TE/OL Andy Miller this coming weekend on a rare mid-December visit. But, with the way the exams and OSU's practice schedule fell this year, bowl preparations will be in full swing when he comes to campus this Friday.

Miller is a versatile player that could probably play guard, tackle or tight end at the college level. Plus, his GPA is just shy of the golden 4.0 mark, so this is a guy who gets it done on and off the field. The main competition here is West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Indiana. He may not make a decision, though, until after he sees Pitt on Jan. 6.

One more note this time involves Indiana DL Dexter Larimore. It has long been believed that OSU holds the inside track for Larimore over Michigan and Indiana. Larimore has said he would like to make a decision by Christmas, so we shall see what happens in the next week to 10 days.


Gary Housteau:

Sometimes you can really find a gem in the lower divisions while you're watching the Ohio high school state finals and I think Marc Krauss of Hamler Patrick Henry fits into this category.

I first met Krauss at the "Tremendous 26" photo shoot in May of this past year at Ohio Stadium where he was recognized, going into the season, as being one of the best players in the state.

Playing in Division V, Krauss wasn't one of the players that I focused on throughout the season but it was good to get to see him in uniform when the Hamler Patrick Henry Patriots made it to the state finals. They had some "unfinished business" to take care of after they came up just short of the title game last year and Krauss was a big part of their success both seasons.

Krauss didn't disappoint in the state final game. In the 42-30 victory over Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Krauss, listed at 6-3 and 210 pounds, set a Division V state record with 207 yards on eight catches. And he had two 40-yard touchdown catches in the game. And after each of the six touchdowns in the game by the Patriots, Krauss had to make a shoe change in order to successfully convert each of the point-after-touchdown attempts, straight-on style.

One has to wonder what a 6-3, 210-pound receiver would look like on a Division I or II team that liked to throw the football around. I was thinking that very thought while I was watching him perform in the state championship game.

Krauss is a three-sport star at PHHS and some say that baseball is his best sport. On Sunday, Krauss returned home from his official visit to Bowling Green and went right to basketball practice. Bowling Green and Toledo seem to be the extent of his football offers at this time and Akron seems to be sniffing around now as well. It has been reported that Ohio State may have been interested in him for baseball but the family hasn't really heard from them in a while.

Krauss seems like a really good catch to me. He was pretty much a man playing with some boys in the D-V title game but his body control and his obvious savvy, along with his size, at the position are things that would serve him well in any division.

Bowling Green is known to throw the ball all over the field and Krauss may have a chance to really excel in an offense like that if he should indeed become a Falcon. The same with Toledo. Good for Krauss. He's a player that a lot of the bigger D-I schools might wonder why they didn't go after him some day.


Duane Long:

John Peterson admitted publicly in The Columbus Dispatch recently something that has been speculated on for most of the season. The Buckeyes are looking to bring less players in for visits and concentrate on landing a higher percentage of players.

There are a couple of big advantages to this strategy. One is the coach getting to know players better. No program has felt the sting of bad publicity due to bad behavior by players than the Ohio State program. I think it is ridiculous how little time the NCAA allows the coaching staffs to spend with players.

This way of recruiting maximizes the amount of time a coach can spend with recruits. The black eyes from negative headlines are going to have an impact on recruiting. Spending time with a potential recruit cuts the chances of bringing in the wrong element.

The other positive is it gives coaches more time to coach current players.

The downside is having to land such a high percentage of the players on the board. The small number of targeted recruits also leaves the staff with less attractive options should they not land that high percentage. With a large pool of players, missing on a top-100 player means there is still a top-250 or top-300 player who might say yes, especially now that he receives the attention reserved for a top-100 player.

With this strategy the staff is left looking at trying to fight their way back onto the lists of players who they have no relationship with, go after players that likely would not have any better options, or bank too many scholarships. As you can see by the downside of this strategy, not a lot of schools are trying it. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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. Helped lead his team to a Class AAA state championship this weekend. Was 8-of-18 for 223 yards passing with one TD and rushed six times for 38 yards with two TDs in the title game. 
  • Arvell Nelson, Cleveland Glenville
    Ohio's top QB prospect. Has stated OSU would be at the top if they offered. 
  • 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. Visit - 12/2. 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. Was recently named Scout.com's top overall prospect in America. Will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January before enrolling early at Ohio State. 

  • 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. 
  • 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.   
  • (NEW) Kylan Robinson, Tampa, Fla. Chamberlain
    Reported offer, visit date of 1/9 and interest in Ohio State. Bucknuts is working on a follow-up.
  • Commentary: Some felt the Buckeyes might try to land two running backs this season, but Wells will likely be the only one. We are working on trying to find out more about Kylan Robinson. 

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. Most recent scout.com update states Ausberry will most likely decide from USC, Georgia and Ohio State. Did not take scheduled visit to USC. 
  • 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. 
  • Terrence Jeffers, Lilburn, Ga. Berkmar
    Is high on UConn after taking a visit there. Says OSU is making contact and will be stopping by for a visit soon.  
  • 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. 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. Boston College and West Virginia may be the teams to beat, but Ohio State is still in the picture.  
  • Joe Morgan, Canton (Oh.) McKinley
    Was an under the radar player before the season but is seeing his stock rise after a strong senior year. Ohio State is showing some interest. 
  • Ray Small, Cleveland Glenville *
    Visit - 12/2. The latest in a long line of electric Glenville football players. Can play WR or CB in college. Plans to announce in January.


  • Commentary: A solid group of wide receivers showing strong interest in Ohio State. The Buckeyes will likely try to add at least one more receiver.  

Tight End

Jake Ballard

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1

  • Jake Ballard, Springboro, Oh. *
    Verbal to OSU --6/2/05. Visit - 12/2. Scout.com No. 5 TE prospect. Picked OSU over Michigan, several others. Team is having excellent season, one of the top teams in Division II. 
  • Andy Miller, Washington, Pa. Trinity*
    Visit - 12/16. Moved his visit date from a Sunday-Monday to a weekend visit. Visited West Virginia this past weekend but is not listing a leader, saying he wants to remain open to what his favorites have to offer.  
  • 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: An offer extended to Miller makes it a third player in this category that could play on the line somewhere. If more than one of these players were to sign with Ohio State, it is likely that at least one would be looked at in another position. 

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 *
    Visit - 12/2. Was recently offered by Ohio State, making the Buckeyes the favorites to land his signature. Also interested in Indiana, Northwestern, others. Had good visit to OSU but plans on taking more trips before deciding. 
  • Bill Nagy, Hudson, Oh.
    Committed to Wisconsin.  
  • Joe Thomas, OL, Lakewood, Oh. St. Edward*
    Visit - 12/2. High school teammate of OSU lineman Alex Boone. Committed to Pittsburgh in the summer but was offered by Ohio State after his commitment. Took visit to Ohio State on 12/2 and Pittsburgh on 12/9 but reaffirmed his commitment to Pittsburgh once again on Sunday. 
  • 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. *
    Visit - 12/2. Recently began speaking with reporters again after shutting down interviews during the season. Had positive things to say about his visit to Ohio State. Has visited Ohio State, Michigan, and Virginia Tech, with Rutgers coming on 12/16. Has not specified a final visit yet and has not let on much regarding a leader. 
  • Walter Dublin, Sarasota, Fla. *
    Ohio State has been solidly in his top five for some time. Will likely visit. Reportedly plans to visit in January. Recently visited Minnesota. Recent update states Clemson and Virginia Tech are coming in hard too.
  • 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. Visited Pittsburgh over the weekend of 12/2; no word yet on his trip. 
  • 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. OSU was not listed in his top five in the most recent Scout.com update. 
  • 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. Enjoyed his trip to OSU. Said he may or may not take trips to Tennessee and Michigan State. Will decide at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 
  • 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 has officially visited both. Rated as the nation's top heavyweight wrestler. Ohio State coaches scheduled to do an in-home visit on 12/12. Expected to decide before Christmas.  
  • Alex Dekle, Statesboro, Ga. *
    Lists offer from OSU and consistently mentions the Buckeyes among his favorites. Also likes Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State. Dekle recently told Bucknuts reporter Dave Biddle that OSU is no longer in the picture.  
  • Johnnie Troutman, Browns Mills, N.J. Pemberton Township *
    Visit - 1/6. Talented DE /DT who is out for the season due to an ACL injury. Ohio State is among many who have offered. Took an official visit to Penn State on 12/2 and had a good visit. Came away saying Penn State and Ohio State were his co-leaders, per FightOnState.com. 
  • 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. Visit - 12/9. Solid commitment to Ohio State. Wrapped up his outstanding high school career with a state championship ring as Coldwater defeated Youngstown Mooney this past weekend. Was named Ohio High/ONN state player of the year. Will be enrolling at OSU in January.  
  • Tyler Moeller, Cincinnati (Oh.) Colerain *
    Verbal to OSU -- 9/14/05. Visit - 12/2. 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.
  • Navorro Bowman, Forestville (Md.) Suitland *
    Visited 10/14. Has also visited Penn State and is very high on the Nittany Lions. Committed to Penn State. 
  • (NEW) Freddie Lenix, LB, Cleveland Glenville *
    Lenix signed with Ohio State in February but has been attending community college to improve his academic status. Originally planned on grayshirting at OSU, but it appears as if he may be headed to the University of Cincinnati instead.
  • Thaddeus Gibson, Euclid, Oh. *
    Top remaining uncommitted recruit in Ohio. One of the best defensive prospects in the Midwest. Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan, and Penn State are among his schools of interest. Academic situation could be a concern. Will likely officially visit Ohio State. Has visited Michigan and was slated to visit Tennessee 12/2. 
  • Mark Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.  Dorsey*
    West Coast standout who has consistently shown interest in OSU. A couple sources have reported a 1/6 visit to Ohio State, but Johnson's father Daryl told Bucknuts last week that a visit had yet to be set up. Solid interest in OSU remains, along with LSU, Cal, Fresno State, and UCLA. 
  • A.J. Jones, Tampa, Fla. Middleton *
    Visit - 1/6. Ohio State has been on his list of schools for a while but is likely on the outside looking in. Florida is a favorite and has visited them and Alabama. Also plans to visit USC and LSU. 
  • Colin McCarthy, Clearwater, Fla. Central Catholic *
    Visit - 9/24. Outstanding athlete who visited for Iowa weekend. Has roots in Pa. Plans to take all visits before deciding. Told Bucknuts.com that his decision is down to Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, and Ohio State and that he plans on checking out OSU one more time unofficially before deciding. Talked about deciding around Christmas.  


  • 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. Visit - 12/2. Outstanding athlete; listed over 40 offers. Plays WR and CB exceptionally well. 
  • Ryan Hill, Tallahassee, Fla. Rickards *
    Visit - 12/2. Has said Ohio State and Miami lead the way and Alabama is also in consideration. Plans to visit Alabama on 1/13. 
  • (NEW) Marcus Udell, Tallahassee, Fla. Godby *
    Visit - 1/6. New name to the list. OSU is among Clemson, Maryland, Florida, and NC State. Most recent scout.com update states no leader. 
  • A.J. Wallace, Pomfret, Md. McDonough *
    Visit - 9/9. Focused on Ohio State, Florida State, Nebraska, USC, Penn State, and Miami.  Has recently stated on multiple occasions that Ohio State and Penn State are his two leaders.  


  • Commentary: The list of cornerback possibilities is starting to narrow a bit, but OSU already has a potential impact commitment in Coleman. 


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
    Big  (6-3, 188) safety prospect, rated No. 39 at his position by Scout.com. Told Bucknuts  that Ohio State informed his coach that an offer was on the way. Ohio State and Florida State remain two schools he likes quite a bit. 
  • 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) Aaron Gant, Orchard Lake, Mich. St. Mary's *
    Under-the-radar prospect who has emerged with several quality offers, including reported offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.  Could be tough to get out of Michigan. 
  • 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. Was recently offered by Clemson, his biggest offer to date. Some of the bigger programs are taking notice. 
  • Commentary: What Donte Whitner decides to do regarding the NFL may play a role in how many safeties Ohio State would like to take. 
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

Kyle Lamb from our staff had an update this past week on McAllen, Texas, junior RB Bradley Stephens. Stephens came up to Columbus in September to see the OSU-Texas game. He is one of the most prolific running back prospects in the country. As a junior, he carried the ball 244 times for 2,638 yards and scored 39 touchdowns.

Stephens figures to be a national top-50 prospect next year. He is listed at 5-10 and has upped his weight from 175 to the 185-pound range. He boasts a 35-inch vertical leap, a 505-pound squat and nearly a 300-pound bench press.

Iowa State and Texas A&M have already made scholarship offers to Stephens and it is likely that many college football powerhouses will follow suit in the months ahead.

OSU already has a stud RB in this year's class with Chris Wells. Plus, Ohio is loaded with fine backs next year like Cincinnati Winton Woods' Hosea Simpson, Massillon Washington's Brian Gamble, Canton McKinley's Morgan Williams and others. But OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel is already reportedly sending handwritten letters to Stephens.

Keep an eye on developments out of south Texas on this superstar in the making.

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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