Gotta case of the gotta gets

Mr. Bucknuts checks in today with a look at who he feels are the must-gets in this year's recruiting class.

Every year, the recruiting class is judged on the number of highly ranked high school seniors we have seduced along with some other subjective measures like 1) Are they good kids? or 2)Do they fill a need or 3) Are they better than the kids that Michigan got?

I say there is another important subjective matter that any fanatic recruitnik takes a hard look at: the "Gotta Get" category.

To me, Gotta-Gets include positions for which we are desperately in need. Losing Munoz and Antonio Hall  two years ago underscores a couple of Gotta Gets that just simply Got Away. And as important in the judging criteria as "fills a need" and "good kids" and "better than Michigan" is this overriding Super Criteria:

Did we get the kids we had to get from Ohio?

We didn't get Hall or Munoz. That hurt. And we are still suffering the repercussions. Last year, who did we lose on the Ohio list that could have been considered a Gotta Get? I would suggest just a couple: 1) Ashton Watson, the DB from Dayton 2) Brian Andrews, the LB/DE from Lima and DeShaun Wynn, the RB from Cincinnati.

But we got ten out of the top twelve kids in Ohio and I will argue (right here, in fact) that we got everything we wanted.

What about the three I just listed? Well…1) Ashton Watson was a loss because we offered early and we needed cornerbacks. No way around it. 2) Brian Andrews would have been a Buckeye if the Buckeyes really wanted him. There were other issues with him. You can't lose the ones you don't really offer…And 3) The recruiting of Wynn was half-hearted. He didn't handle the process very well and we didn't really need another RB (hey – Coach Spencer said we have the most talented quartet of tailbacks in OSU history and the oldest one next year will be a sophomore!)

So I posit that we only lost one Gotta Get from last year's class: Ashton Watson. That's a pretty damn good percentage no matter how subjective the criteria!

Let's face it, there's something special about getting the Ohio kids. You want them to stay home and you want to send a message to the Spartans and Irish and Wolverweenies that "don't you be comin' into our house and takin' our stuff". The message last year was a loud one. The front door has been closed. You can sneak a kid out the back, but you're going to have to work hard to get it done...

With that long over-justification preface in mind, you might ask: Who are the Gotta Gets for this year's recruiting class? (I though you'd never ask…

After thousands of hours of research and some painful analysis, I present the following for the Gotta Get list for the Class of 2003:

  1. Prescott Burgess

The whole world wants him. We need him. He's the top overall prospect in Ohio. He's a Gotta Get. Big time.

  1. Shawn Crable

Almost the same criteria as Burgess. A position of need and an athlete of limitless potential. Plus – hey – he's from Massillon, fergod's sake!

  1. Donte Whitner

Maybe the best pure CB (and the fastest) in Ohio or the Midwest. We need cornerbacks and we need to protect Cleveland.

  1. Louis Irizarry

Duane Long calls him the best tight end he's ever seen in Ohio. And we need tight ends. Case closed.

  1. Dareus Hiley

When you're nicknamed "Superman", that says it all. And when you are a DB from the same school as another Gotta Get (Whitner), that says even more. 

  1. Sian Cotton

A large talented kid that is just too good to let get away. A 300-pound basketball player.

And that's it. Yeah, you might think about Thatcher and Patterson and Boeckman and Frost and Maupin and Jordan and…how about no offensive linemen on the Gotta Get list? Here's my thinking:

We need Frost but he's not a Gotta Get if Irizarry is on board. We would like Boeckman but we are loaded with QB's and Brady Quinn might be a better choice in the end, anyway. Thatcher and Patterson are guys who could play but are not necessarily in positions of need if we get the six I mentioned. Jordan? Good get – but we are long on great young receivers. And offensive linemen? Unless an Ohio kid steps up Big Time this year, we have a lot of good ones but none I see in the same category as Derek Morris or Doug Datish. Or Rob Sims.

One thing that stands out to differentiate last year's prospects from this year's is that there were 11 Gotta Gets last year and only six this year. That tells you a bunch right there. But remember, part of the Gotta Get standard is that it should be based on positions of need. And the Bucks did so well in last year's recruiting haul that those positions of need are substantially diminished compared to a year ago.

So how are our chances with the six Gotta Get guys as of May 20, 2002? Here's how I see it:

Low hanging fruit: Burgess and Irizarry

Both these guys want to be Buckeyes and both should be, short of a cataclysm.

Gotta finish the harvest: Whitner, Hiley and Cotton

We spoke to Troy Smith last year as he was being recruited and he was high on these two guys (same high school…) and high on the likelihood of them becoming Buckeyes. Sian Cotton (good harvest metaphor here…) seems to be similarly motivated although Miami (FL) could make some noise.

Some work to be done: Crable

This guy is just too good to let get away. I would put his recruiting in the same class as Zwick or D'Andrea last year. And there is another comparison: he is a teammate of Zwick (as well as likely OSU-commit Devon Jordan). He is from Massillon, strong Buckeye geography. And he will be in the middle of the tracks for the Tressel train going that way.

Yes, I predict that Tressel, Conley and the boys will get all six of the Gotta Gets! Will that SATISFY YOU SKEPTICAL TYPES?

Who else has a good shot: Patterson and Frost are high on the list. Devon Jordan should be coming. Thatcher could be a Buckeye if we don't fill up the secondary before we get to him. For O-linemen, look for Pribula and Maupin. And for QB's, it might come down to either Boeckman or Brady Quinn.

And speaking of Quinn, we will have him live on the Bucknuts Radio Hour a week from Wednesday. A gotta get? Well, you Gotta Listen. Let's see what this year's version of the Mighty Quinn has to say…

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