Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Jan. 9

After a hiatus for the holidays, we are back with the latest Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read. Ohio State recruiting is heading down the homestretch as there are only a few players left on the board. Check out the latest developments and commentary in this week's version.

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 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. Derrell Johnson, ATH 
5. Bryant Browning, OL *

Thaddeus Gibson

1. Elijah Fields, S
2. A.J. Jones, LB*
3. Kylan Robinson, RB *
4. Colin McCarthy, LB *
5. McKenzie Mathews, DE *

6. Johnnie Troutman, DT *
7. Andy Miller, TE *
8. Walter Dublin, DE *
9. Wes Lyons, WR *
10. Aram Olson, FB *

Kylan Robinson

Ray Small

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 Walter Dublin, Mark Johnson, A.J. Jones, Greg Mathews, Kylan Robinson, Johnnie Troutman, Aram Olson
Jan. 13 Aaron Gant, Thaddeus Gibson, Connor Smith


Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

This past weekend was kind of like the Saturday of a PGA Tour event – it was Moving Day.

There were so many developments regarding Ohio State football and recruiting it was hard to sort through them all.

You had Ashton Youboty and Donte Whitner declaring (sort of) for the NFL draft. You had Chris Wells tearing up the competition at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. You had Robert Rose and Mark Johnson verbaling. There were also rampant but unconfirmed rumors that Walter Dublin, Colin McCarthy and maybe even Ray Small had committed. And, for good measure, you had a handful of players making official visits.

OK, after all of the comings and goings, let me see if I can get a handle on where things stand. The defections leave OSU with as many as 22 scholarships they can award, according to my unofficial count.

The Rose and Johnson verbals bring the class size to 13. It is widely believed, though, that OSU will cap this class at 19 or, at the most, 20 so it can hand out scholarships to deserving senior walk-ons and also hedge against next year, when there will only be 14 seniors on the roster.

So you're down to six spots. Who else gets in?

Well, using the old where there's smoke there's fire technique, that probably means that Dublin, McCarthy and Small will be in this class as well. That leaves just three or four spots in this class. That is hard to comprehend that OSU could be done so soon on 2006 recruiting. I can't remember a scenario quite like this in recent years. Of course, the good thing is they can get a strong jump on 2007.

At any rate, here is who appeared to still be in the running for those last few spots (if you consider Dublin, McCarthy and Small as nearly done deals):

RB – Kylan Robinson, Aram Olson (FB).

WR – Wes Lyons, Greg Mathews (will he make the switch?), Derrell Johnson (could be a draft-and-follow, to borrow a baseball term, due to academics).

TE – Andy Miller.

OL – Bryant Browning.

DL – Johnnie Troutman, Bryant Miller, McKenzie Matthews.

LB – Thaddeus Gibson (see Derrell Johnson above, although Gibson is at least due for a visit), A.J. Jones.

DB – Wondy Pierre-Louis, Culmer St. Jean (Floridians waiting for an offer, visit date), Elijah Fields, Aaron Gant (Michigander could get heavy late look), Marcus Udell (DB defections make him more of a priority).

That's 17 names for three or maybe four spots.

This is strictly a guessing game, but some of the stronger possibilities, at least to me, would be Olson (definite need there), Miller, Browning and maybe Gibson if everything checks out. Maybe Gant or Udell as well.

Again, just an educated guess. We'll see how it goes.


Gary Housteau:

Rhetorically speaking, who wouldn't want to play for a head coach who actively helps sends his kids to college, a head coach that just presided over a victory in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and a head coach who is the father of Ted Ginn Jr., the multi dynamic member of the Ohio State Buckeyes?

Just when you thought the cupboard was close to being empty, it seems that kids in the Cleveland area are already lining up to play football for Ted Ginn Sr. at Glenville next season.

The U.S. Army All-American Combine was the first indication that the football Tarblooders at Glenville will likely be as good as any team before them, if not the best.

I watched in amazement at the potential of the players from Glenville who were at the combine.

I could envision a starting defensive line that could consist of junior Dewawn Whitner (6-2, 235, pictured left), who looks to be in great shape after dropping close to 20 pounds since football season, at one defensive tackle and the mammoth junior Shawntel Rowell (6-4, 340), a transfer from Warrensville Heights who came to Glenville after his head coach there left the school for another job, at the other. I watched both of these two in pass rushing drills and neither could be blocked. Rowell has a bull rush that is out of this world. At defensive end, a rugged LeBron Daniel (6-2, 225), who came along with Rowell, will likely occupy one end spot while sophomore-to-be Marcus Hall (6-4, 285) could potentially play the other. Daniels was testing with the linebackers at the combine but he can easily slide to defensive end and Hall could play in the interior but the quickness he displayed for his size in the pass rushing drill as a youngster was unbelievable.

The linebacking corps is set with Jermale Hines, my No. 2 player in Ohio next year, at one spot and Gino Sturdivant (did not attend the combine this year) at another. The surprise of the group in the 4-3 front, and a very pleasant one I might add, is Bruce Davis who is coming over to Glenville from Benedictine. Davis was a tackling machine for the Bengals and he was in the same group at the combine with Hines and Daniel, and they all were giving people fits everywhere in drills.

In the secondary, Eddie Mason is the diminutive play maker with track speed who can possibly play safety along with Kyle Jefferson, who was making plays at the combine on both sides of the ball in the 3-on-3 drills. Jefferson is also athletic enough at 6-4 and 180 pounds to play cornerback. He flashed those skills. The cornerbacks going into the season will likely be David ‘The Rat' Garritt and Eric Haislah, but Ken Watley and Tory Gibson add quality depth. Gibson, who had eight interceptions between varsity and junior varsity, could likely end up as the starter as some point.

But, mark it down now, it is Hall  (pictured right) who is the one who has as much potential star power as any that have played before him at Glenville. He can run very well for a big guy who has played only one season of football prior to this year. He can play end or tackle on defense and tackle or guard on offense. He can even play tight end because he can catch the ball well also. I would seriously consider extending this kid a scholarship offer right now if I were on the staff at Ohio State. Call it premature but I'm certain he'll prove his worthiness sooner rather than later. To use the term "can't miss" on a freshman or sophomore is not something to throw around loosely and I think he easily fits the part.

That's just a quick glimpse into the future of Glenville football after watching the talent on display at the combine yesterday. The future of Glenville football, with Ginn at the helm, is certainly alive and well.


Duane Long:

There has been a nagging perception about Ohio State recruiting under Jim Tressel. Out early and fade late. There has been some merit to it. Why this happens is up for debate.

The fact is, it has happened in recent years. The weekend shows that this year is going to be different. Robert Rose was one of the two best defensive players in the Army All-Star game. He committed to the Buckeyes in the second half of the game.

That was followed by landing a major national recruit in California linebacker Mark Johnson. There is reason to believe Florida linebacker Colin McCarthy will pledge for the Buckeyes before the week is out. Florida DE Walter Dublin has the Buckeyes as his leader after leaving Ohio State. New Jersey defensive tackle Johnnie Troutman left with a good impression of the program.

With Pennsylvania's Andy Miller and Cleveland Glenville products Bryant Browning and Ray Small likely to pledge for the Buckeyes sometime in the near future, Thaddeus Gibson and Derrell Johnson as definite Buckeye leans, Tressel and staff are about to end any conversation about not being closers. This is a sprint to the finish that we did not see in the John Cooper years.

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: 1

  • 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. 
  • 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. Won MVP of this year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, rushing for 67 yards and 3 touchdowns on 13 carries.  

  • Aram Olson, Irmo, S.C. * (Fullback)
    Visit - 1/6. Came up to OSU for the Illinois game on an unofficial visit. Took official visit to Ohio State this past weekend. 
  • Kylan Robinson, Tampa, Fla. Chamberlain *
    Visit - 1/6. Enjoyed his trip to Ohio State, but most feel the Miami Hurricanes will eventually win out. Has risen to become one of the nation's best RB prospects since his senior year video has surfaced. 
  • Commentary: Olson and Robinson are the lone two remaining possibilities. The guess is that Wells will likely be the lone tailback in the class. 

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. Will decide from USC, Georgia and Ohio State. Did not take scheduled visit to USC. Committed to USC at US Army All-American Bowl. 
  • 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. Recent update from Dave Biddle makes it seem like Ohio State is out of the picture. 
  • 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. There is strong mutual interest. Academics are all that is standing the way of a Buckeye offer. Johnson seems determined enough to go to Ohio State that he seems willing  
  • 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. Ohio State has risen on Lyons's list in recent weeks. Could be between the Buckeyes and West Virginia. Brother Devon's move from WR to S may have helped. 
  • 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. Small is expected to announce soon, and most expect the choice to be Ohio State. 


  • Commentary: Only Johnson, Lyons and Small remain as possibilities, but it's not out of the question that all of them will someday wind up Buckeyes.  

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. Is expected to decide this week after paying a visit to Pittsburgh over the weekend. Liked his Ohio State visit very much and the decision could come down to OSU and Pitt. 
  • Commentary: Miller is the lone remaining possibility at tight end. Both Miller and Ballard could play multiple positions.  

Offensive Line

Connor Smith

Verbals: 1
Needs: 3

  • 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. Recently played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 
  • 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. 
  • Commentary: With Bryant Browning the lone remaining uncommitted OL recruit on the board, the Buckeyes may wind up taking just two linemen this year unless a player moves to the OL. Most feel Browning will eventually select Ohio State after he completes his visits.  

Defensive End

Robert Rose

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1-2

  • Robert Rose, Cleveland, Oh. Glenville *
    Verbal to OSU - 1/7/06. 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.  Selected Ohio State at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and played very well in the game. 


  • Jason Adjepong, Cartaret, N.J. *
    Visit - 12/2.  Committed to Virginia Tech. 
  • Walter Dublin, Sarasota, Fla. *
    Visit - 1/6. Ohio State has been solidly in his top five for some time. Seemed to thoroughly enjoy his visit to Ohio State on 1/6. Buckeyes are huge favorites but he still may take an official visit to Clemson.  
  • 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. There has been very little word to come out regarding McKenzie Mathews, so it's tough to say how much of a player OSU is here. 
  • Commentary: Most expect Dublin to select the Buckeyes, which would give OSU two commitments at this position and would likely be all they take unless Mathews is still in the picture. 

Defensive Tackle

Dexter Larimore

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1-2

  • Dexter Larimore, Merrillville, Ind. *
    Verbal to OSU - 12/18. 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. Committed to Ohio State in December. Selected the Buckeyes over Michigan.  


  • Johnnie Troutman, Browns Mills, N.J. Pemberton Township *
    Visit - 1/6. Talented DE /DT ended season early 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. Enjoyed his trip to Ohio State and listed the Buckeyes and Penn State as co-leaders after his visit. Plans on taking two more visits before deciding. 
  • Commentary: Ohio State has a shot at Troutman, but with two visits left, it might be too early to make a call as to where he'll wind up. 


Mark Johnson

Verbals: 3
Needs: 3

  • 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.  
  • Mark Johnson, Los Angeles, Calif.  Dorsey*
    Verbal to OSU - 1/8/06. Visit - 1/6. Committed to Ohio State over LSU, Cal, others. Big-time prospect.  
  • 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.
  • Thaddeus Gibson, Euclid, Oh. *
    Visit - 1/13. 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. Ohio State is among his top two, which according to various reports is either OSU and Tennessee or OSU and Michigan. Buckeyes would love to have him if things work out academically. 
  • A.J. Jones, Tampa, Fla. Middleton *
    Visit - 1/6. Had a very good trip to Ohio State, but most people still assume he will wind up at Florida.  
  • 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. There is plenty of scuttlebutt floating around that McCarthy has decided on Ohio State, but we have no confirmation yet. Stay tuned, though, as it would not be a surprise.


  • 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. 


Chimdi Chekwa

Verbals: 2
Needs: 2

  • Chimdi Chekwa, Clermont, Fla. East Ridge * - Verbal to OSU - 12/21. Visit - 12/14. Not many had heard of Chekwa before December as he was looking at other schools besides OSU, but the Buckeyes came on quickly and strongly, getting a verbal commitment a short time after his visit. 
  • 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. Committed to Miami. 
  • Wondy Pierre-Louis, Naples (Fla.) Lely - A new name on the OSU recruiting scene as the Buckeyes were just recently given a tape and liked what they saw. Pierre-Louis and his teammate Culmer St. Jean were expecting contact soon from OSU coaches regarding possible offers. 
  • A.J. Wallace, Pomfret, Md. McDonough *
    Visit - 9/9. Focused on Ohio State, Florida State, Nebraska, USC, Penn State, and Miami.  Committed to Penn State at U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  


  • Commentary: The departure of Ashton Youboty may cause OSU to keep going after one more cornerback, plus there is growing talk that Kurt Coleman may get looks at wide receiver.  


Grant Schwartz

Verbals: 1
Needs: 2

  • Grant Schwartz, Dana Point, Calif.  Dana Hills *
    Verbal to OSU - 10/27. 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.  


  • Elijah Fields, Duquesne, Pa.
    Four-star prospect who has been consistently listing Ohio State. Also showing interest in Penn State and West Virginia. Fields said OSU will likely get a visit. Academics are an issue. Recent update after weekend Pitt visit still has Fields listing OSU, but Buckeyes do not have a visit scheduled. 
  • Aaron Gant, Orchard Lake, Mich. St. Mary's *
    Visit - 1/13. 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.
  • Culmer St. Jean, Naples, Fla. Lely - He and teammate Wondy Pierre-Louis joined the list of possibilities after getting the attention of OSU coaches on his senior tape, but no offer has been made or visit has been scheduled as of yet. Could play several positions although safety is most likely.  
  • Commentary: After Donte Whitner's early exit to the NFL, Ohio State may want to grab one more safety.  
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

Jermale Hines

In his comments above, Gary Housteau discussed a number of the key Glenville underclassmen he saw at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine in San Antonio. It certainly sounds like Glenville will be loaded again next year.

Details are slowly trickling out of the combine and Housteau promises a ton of photos and updates from that event.

The Scout.com staff voted a pair of Ohio players among the very best juniors at the combine, which attracted over 500 players from across the country.

They were Macedonia Nordonia RB-DB Jordan Mabin and Mentor Lake Catholic OL Dan Berry. We have been discussing Mabin for some time. He is a big play maker on both sides of the football at Nordonia and will have a ton of schools vying for his services. Ohio State and Pittsburgh (his cousin Dorin Dickerson will sign there in February) are just two of the schools that will be after him.

Less is known about the 6-3, 285-pound Berry. Lake Catholic QB Rick Stanzi, a senior, just committed to Iowa, however. So it is a certainty that plenty of college coaches know all about what Berry can do. We will work to get more information on him in the weeks ahead.

Housteau mentioned LB Jermale Hines from Glenville. He is consistently considered one of Ohio's top five juniors. More notables who were in San Antonio included Clayton Northmont QB Clay Belton and Cincinnati Anderson OL Mark Wetterer.

One more name to file away is Chicago Hubbard RB Robert Hughes, who was listed at 5-11, 227 pounds at the combine. He had over 1,700 yards as a junior and received early offers from Illinois and Virginia. He also likes Miami (Fla.), but his recruitment could come down to a classic Big Ten battle between Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. OSU assistant (and running backs coach) Dick Tressel, who has had some success taking OSU into the Upper Midwest of late, could be the point man in OSU's efforts to outlast its two key Big Ten rivals on this one.

One more Ohio underclassman was in the news recently, although he was not in San Antonio. It seems that junior DB Nate Oliver of Lakewood St. Edward has received an offer from the Buckeyes. The 6-1, 190-pound Oliver helped lead St. Ed to the Division I state semifinals this past year. He joins Huber Heights Wayne CB Donnie Evege as early 2007 offers for the Buckeyes.

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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