Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Jan. 17

Recruiting news has been coming fast and furious over the past week. There's been plenty of moving and shaking, and now Ohio State is down to its last few spots in the recruiting class. Who's on the list and who's off? Check it out in this week's 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 Uncommitted Prospects (w/OSU interest) Out-Of-State Top 10 
Based on Scout.com Rankings
1. Thaddeus Gibson, LB *
2. Ray Small, WR*
3. Derrell Johnson, ATH 
4. Bryant Browning, OL *


Thaddeus Gibson

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

6. Anthony Bowman, WR *
7. Johnnie Troutman, DT *
8. Ashton Henderson, CB *
9. Wes Lyons, WR *
10. Aram Olson, FB *


Anthony Bowman


Ray Small


Ashton Henderson

* - 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 Anthony Bowman, Aaron Gant, Thaddeus Gibson, Damon McDaniel, Connor Smith
Jan. 27 Elijah Fields (tentative), Antonio Henton

 

Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

A week ago, we thought Ohio State might cap its 2006 recruiting class with 20 signees. However, our research shows the Buckeyes could actually go as high as 22 signees if they like under the scholarship limit of 85.

More likely is a 21-man class, though.

The spate of recent commitments by Walter Dublin, Andy Miller, Aaron Gant (provided that gets nailed down – at last word, he had not phoned his new home yet) and Bryant Browning give the Buckeyes 17 players in the 2006 class.

That leaves as many as four spots left if the Buckeyes hope to sign 21 players.

At any rate, here is who appeared to still be in the running for those last few spots:

RB – Kylan Robinson (still a Miami lean?), Aram Olson (fullback may be leaning to Auburn).

WR – Ray Small (could verbal anytime), 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).

DL – Johnnie Troutman.

LB – Thaddeus Gibson (see Derrell Johnson above, although Gibson visited this past weekend), A.J. Jones (seems headed to Florida or Alabama on Wednesday), Larry Grant (JUCO transfer will take a scholarship if his transcript checks out).

DB – Elijah Fields (waiting for his visit), Marcus Udell and Ashton Henderson (will they visit?).

That's 11 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 Small, Lyons, Gibson and Grant.

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

 

Gary Housteau:

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with what I perceived was the low turnout of Ohio's top junior prospects at the All-American combine in San Antonio last week.

Other than Jermale Hines, Jordan Mabin and I'll even throw in Kyle Jefferson, most of the Buckeye state's top seniors-to-be failed to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity for exposure that the combine affords those who attend.

Robert Rose may have secured his spot on the East roster for the All-American Bowl with the lights-out performance he put on in front of the many Scout.com analysts that are omnipresent at the event every year. Rose was about as unblockable in the individual drills at the combine last year as he was during the actual All-American game this year.

If it's exposure you're looking for going into your senior season, then you can't get any bigger bang for your buck at any place other than the All-American combine.

Obviously, some of the younger players from Ohio who attended the combine see the potential value in it. One player in particular that caught my eye was Brandon Beachum of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School.

I've known about Beachum for quite a few years now as his arrival at the high school level in the Youngstown area was much-anticipated, much like one Maurice Clarett. But I saw him for the first time in a football setting at the combine. Beachum starred for Poland as a sophomore this past season but he immediately made the transfer to Mooney in time for the new academic term at the Youngstown parochial school.

If you recall it was Mooney, which won the Division IV state title in 2004, that lost to Coldwater in the Division IV state final this past season. Their quarterback this year, Derrell Johnson was lost for the state championship game when he was injured in a week 14 win against Bellaire. Johnson had transferred this time last year to Mooney from nearby Cambell Memorial and his loss was way too much for Mooney to overcome against Ross Homan and the Coldwater Cavaliers.

At just a little over 6-0 and 210 pounds right now, Beachum is one player that college recruiters will be salivating over during the next two years. He certainly looked every bit the prospect as he drilled with the defensive backs at the combine. His size and speed make for a lethal combination at such a young age.

Beachum's favorite position just might be at running back and it's there where he'll probably make an immediate impact at Mooney. Beachum will be a part of an extremely talented junior class at Mooney next year which will include, among others, Danny McCarthy, Kyle's younger brother who will probably quarterback the team; Michael Zordich, the son of Michael Zordich who starred for Penn State in the 80's and had a 12-year career in the NFL; and Taylor Hill, an extremely talented athlete that should be a two-way star just like the others.

The recruiters will be flocking to Mooney over the next two years and Beachum will certainly be one of the main reasons. If he can keep his speed as he continues to get bigger over the next two years, he could be one of Ohio's finest in the class of 2008 and he'll probably have a spot reserved for him at the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

The ironic thing about Beachum playing for Cardinal Mooney, however, is that his father, Lock Beachum Jr., prepped for Mooney's archrival, Youngstown Ursuline, in his playing days and he'll now be rooting for the same Cardinal emblem on Mooney's helmet that he once despised when he played against them. That's something that I personally can't wait to see!

 

Duane Long:

We are seeing the Buckeye staff make the late charge with a recruiting class that fans have longed for this year.

But they already have an eye toward next year's stellar instate crop. We have seen the second offer go to an Ohio junior. Huber Heights Wayne cornerback Donnie Evege was offered just before Christmas. Lakewood St. Edward safety Nate Oliver was offered last week.

I think it is a good sign we will see a rash of offers right around signing day like we saw last year. It is a sound strategy. It is almost like creating an early signing period that basketball coaches use so successfully. It allows a coach to get an idea what he has, and what he needs.

Since most early offers are players that are solid leans, and since the overwhelming majority of early verbals stick with their commitments, it gives the staff a real advantage to get these offers out early and get a verbal.


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

Quarterback


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 on 1/6. Will apparently decide within the next day or so. Staff at Inside the Auburn Tigers (auburn.scout.com) believe the choice will be Auburn.  
  • 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. Seems focused on Ohio State, South Carolina, and Miami (Fla.). Was still on South Carolina official visit during the writing of this update. Scuttlebutt says the Hurricanes will take three tailbacks this year, and two have already committed. Robinson and Florida blue-chipper C.J. Spiller along with possibly Pa. blue-chipper LaSean McCoy may be Miami's top three remaining targets at RB. 
  • Commentary: Olson and Robinson are the lone two remaining possibilities.

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. 
  • Anthony Bowman, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary *
    Visit - 1/13. A surprise visitor to Ohio State. Previously committed to Iowa, but now says he will decide between the Buckeyes and Iowa this week. 
  • Elijah Fields, Duquesne, Pa.
    Visit - 1/27. our-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. Moved to the wide receiver list after stating that OSU likes him as a WR. Had an unbelievable senior season, scoring 30 TDs and averaging 49 yards per score. Had 704 yards rushing and caught 42 passes for 1,167 yards. Fields visited Pitt on 1/6, PSU on 1/13, and is scheduled to visit WVU on 1/20. Told Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels on Sunday that he had an OSU visit planned for 1/27 but also had the SAT scheduled on 1/28 and may go on the trip after the test. Also told Lichtenfels he will have a press conference on 1/30 after his visit to announce his decision. 
  • 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. 
  • Greg Mathews, Orlando, Fla. Edgewater * 
    Visit - 1/6. Despite visiting OSU and family influence in favor of Ohio State, Mathews has not publicly stated any intentions of switching from his commitment to Michigan. 
  • Damon McDaniel, Virginia Beach, Va. Lordstown *
    Visit - 1/13. Made a surprise official visit to Ohio State despite being committed to Florida. However, sources indicate that it looked likely McDaniel would stick with his commitment.  
  • 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: A couple new names have been added to the list here, making it seem likely Ohio State could add at least two more receivers in this class. Fields, Small, Bowman, and Johnson are very versatile and could play different positions but appear to be getting looked at by OSU as receivers.  

Tight End


Andy Miller

Verbals: 2
Needs: 0

  • 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. Committed to Ohio State on 1/13. Kept his intentions well-hidden, so it was a surprise to some he selected Pitt. Will be coming in as a tight end.  
  • Commentary: Ohio State is likely done at the tight end position.  

Offensive Line


Connor Smith

Verbals: 2
Needs: 1

  • 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. Committed to Ohio State Monday evening. 
  • 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. 
 
  • Commentary: Browning and Smith will probably be it for OSU at OL this year. 

Defensive End


Robert Rose

Verbals: 2
Needs: 0-1

  • Walter Dublin, Sarasota, Fla. *
    Visit - 1/6. Ohio State has been solidly in his top five for some time. Committed to Ohio State on 1/9. Was originally planning to visit Clemson but liked his OSU trip enough to make his choice and cancel the Clemson visit. 
  • 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. 

 

  • 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. Mathews seems focused on other schools. Ohio State does not seem to be in the picture at this point.  
  • Commentary: The Buckeyes are likely done at defensive end this year.  

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.  

 

  • Corey Peters, Louisville, Ky. Central *
    Will apparently take an official visit to Ohio State. Also interested in Auburn, Kentucky, Louisville, and 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. Visited Maryland this past weekend and plans to visit Virginia before deciding. Ohio State and Penn State are still on top. 
  • Commentary: In most likelihood, Larimore will be the lone DT, but Troutman and Peters's situations have yet to play themselves out.    

Linebacker


Mark Johnson

Verbals: 3
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.  
  • 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.
  • (NEW) Larry Grant, CC of San Francisco
    Originally committed to Florida, Grant did not get accepted as a result of not having taken a math course required by the SEC. Grant now is looking elsewhere, and he is zeroing in on Ohio State. If everything is good with Grant's transcript, he will visit this weekend and will likely become a Buckeye soon after.  
  • Thaddeus Gibson, Euclid, Oh. *
    Visit - 1/15. 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. Had a good visit to Ohio State and could decide this week. Most feel Gibson will select the Buckeyes.  
  • A.J. Jones, Tampa, Fla. Middleton *
    Visit - 1/6. Had a very good trip to Ohio State, but has since announced he will choose between Alabama and 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. All has suddenly gone quiet out of McCarthy camp. Ohio State and Miami seem to be the top two choices, but 

 

  • Commentary: Three linebackers are already in, but OSU would love it if Gibson became the fourth, and they appear ready to take Larry Grant as well if things work out there. 

Cornerback


Chimdi Chekwa

Verbals: 2
Needs: 0-1

  • 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. 
  • Ashton Henderson, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln
    OSU and Henderson have seemingly been on again, off again in recent weeks. Would most likely take a visit if OSU wanted to bring him in, but things appear uncertain right now. He will remain one to keep an eye on. Ole Miss and UCLA are likely at the top of his list.  
  • 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. Committed to West Virginia. 
  • Marcus Udell, Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby * 
    Like Henderson, Udell has been on again-off again, but the latest news appears he may be off again. Latest news is that his remaining two official visits will likely be to LSU and South Carolina. 

 

  • Commentary: It's tough to tell if OSU will add another cornerback to this class. There is versatility in this class though, so if another true corner is not added, one might be able to move there.   

Safety


Grant Schwartz

Verbals: 1
Needs: 1

  • 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.  

 

  • 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. 
    Had a strong visit to Ohio State with his teammate Anthony Bowman. Was originally scheduled to visit Michigan this coming weekend but told Bucknuts after his trip that he planned on calling Jim Tressel on Monday to commit. We have not been able to confirm yet that he made the call.  
  • 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. West Virginia and Wisconsin are his favorites.  
  • Commentary: After Donte Whitner's early exit to the NFL, Ohio State may want to grab one more safety.  Gant, if he commits, will likely be the one. 
Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

Nate Oliver

As Duane Long mentioned above, at least two Ohio prospects have been offered for 2007 – Lakewood St. Edward's Nate Oliver and Huber Heights Wayne's Donnie Evege.

There may be others who have already been offered. One poster in NevadaBuck's Chat on Monday asserted that Cincinnati LaSalle's Ben Martin has already been offered. We will check on that in the days and weeks ahead.

There are a number of programs that are trying to get a foothold in Ohio, especially with such a strong class in 2007. Schools like Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Michigan State and West Virginia realize they can get a leg up on Ohio State if they come in and make early offers to Ohio's best junior prospects.

Accordingly, Ohio State's hand may be forced and we may see the Buckeyes start to offer prospects for 2007, although – at least at present – OSU will start with a class of just 15 or 16 spots for next year.

Outside Ohio, the Scout.com database says OSU has already offered at least two offensive linemen, Pennsylvania's Evan Blankenship and Arizona's Kris O'Dowd.

It seems that the Buckeyes may have also already offered Wisconsin OL Josh Oglesby (6-7, 315) and Michigan DB Ronald Johnson. Another name that keeps popping up is Deonte Thompson, a 6-0, 180-pound wide receiver from Belle Glade, Fla. (where have I heard of that hometown before?).



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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