I have been fiddling with making a "Baker's Dozen" list of who I would take if I were making the decisions for the Buckeyes. There are 12 spots plus Marco Cooper's scholarship, which I have a really hard time believing will be renewed. I found that list to be very frustrating and was on the verge of scrapping it when I came upon the idea of doing a "What if….?" list. What if the Buckeyes had the full 25? The project became fun again.
This Ohio class does not have as many stars as last year, but it has its share and I think it has more depth when you get down to the All-Region type players. There are also several very intriguing raw projects with tremendous upside potential like Romeo Travis. If last year had not been so over-the-top we would be raving about this class.
This is not an All-Star list, or should I say, a want list which would make up the top 25 players in the country by my estimation. This is a list based on who I like talent-wise, but more importantly who is interested in the Buckeyes. You may miss a few names that you would expect to be on here. Dan Pribula is the most prominent. I have heard nothing that makes me think he is overly interested in Ohio State, and I have heard nothing that makes me think the Buckeyes had targeted Pribula as a must get.
For players that I think most of you have not heard about before, I note height, weight, forty time and school. Here's the list:
Prescott Burgess, LB, Warren
Harding. I have said it before and I will say it
again here. He was the best LB prospect in Ohio last year. He is now up to 6-4
and 226. The idea of playing safety is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Louis Irizarry, TE, Youngstown
Ursuline. Our Insiders network has him the # 3 TE in
the country. I would love to get film of the other 2. If you have the
opportunity, go out and see this special athlete. Seeing a big man move like
this is something you have to see for yourself. He is just as special of a
Donte Whitner, CB, Cleveland
Glenville. The nations # 1 CB. Punishing hitter. 3.8
gpa. 4.26 forty and I am trying to confirm a 4.19. What's not to like?
David Patterson, DT,
Warrensville Heights. A top 5 DT from Insiders.
David is up to 275 now and he will be camping. That says something about him.
The players with an offer list as long as their arm don't camp. David
Patterson does. He is that focused on being a great player. We think about
camp as a place for coaches to evaluate talent, and it is that, but what gets
missed is that there is an opportunity to get a bunch of reps at these camps.
We talked about work ethic with last year's class, and Patterson is bringing
that attitude to this year's class. Besides, if there is somebody playing
football somewhere, David is going to be there. He really loves the game.
Wesley Jefferson, LB, 6-3,
224, 4.55 Brandywine, Maryland. A perfect complement
to Burgess, Jefferson is athletic enough to play outside but was born to play
inside. He is a Nike camp 1st team All-American and the Buckeyes
have a real shot at him. I doubt he stays in the region. He wants to play
where football is king. Great kid too.
Sian Cotton, OL, Akron St.
Vincent-St. Mary. Yes, I said OL. As time has gone
on, I have become more convinced that Cotton will make his name as an OL. The
fact that a player of this size has been projected as a DT says everything
about what kind of feet he has. I think he can be a DT (and a good one) but I
suspect he ends up at LT. His father and I talked about it and I don't think
it would surprise him. He knows athletes. He is an assistant basketball coach.
Dareus Hiley, CB/WR, Cleveland
Glenville. He has all the tools to be the best
player in this class. He is over 6-0 and consistently runs in the low 4.4s. At
the Texas national junior combine, he finished no lower than 3rd in
any drill. If he picks up his intensity level, he is an early entry NFL
player. A really unique talent.
Marcel Frost, TE/DE, Lyndhurst
Brush. The only thing bad about Frost is he came
along in the same year as Irizarry. This is a special talent and special
athlete. He had never played DE in his life until last year and managed 12
sacks. That is why I list him as a TE/DE. He should not have been that good
Brandon Maupin, DT, West
Chester Lakota West. 4 years from now this could be
the best player in this class. He has all the tools and the frame that coaches
look for. The comparison to Tennessee Outland Trophy winner John Henderson is
accurate. What a specimen this kid is. His offer list is a who's who of
college football. He is just scratching the surface of what he can be.
Michael Bush, S/LB/WR, 6-4,
225, 4.5. Louisville, Kentucky. I had the
opportunity to see Bush play as a sophomore in the Kentucky state championship
game. There were several D-1 prospects on the field that day, all seniors, but
Bush was the best player. He is a bigger version of Dareus Hiley and it will
not surprise me to see the Buckeyes land him. Former teammate Marcus Green is
Tyrone Moss, 5-10, 210, 4.4,
Pompano Beach Ely, Fla. He followed a 2500 yard
rushing year with a 2100 yard rushing year in class 5A ball in the state of
Florida. 'Nuff said. The Buckeyes have a genuine shot.
Brady Quinn, QB, Dublin
Coffman. Quinn is going to camps and earning offers.
Michigan is the latest. That tells me he is continuing the progress that he
showed last year. Arguably the state's top QB now.
Todd Boeckman, QB, St. Henry.
Yes, with 25 to offer I don't think twice about taking both. It is the most
important position on the football field, and too often, Ohio State's cupboard
has been inadequate. Last year, the Buckeyes took two, and it was a infusion
of talent that was much needed, but I think we need to see more. Boeckman has
impressed me by choosing to come to camp even though already offered. Quinn
will be there too. It says something about the competitor in both these young
DeJuan Tribble, CB, Cincinnati
North College Hill. Tribble is an outstanding little
athlete and a quality kid. His offer list has become very impressive. I think
the Buckeyes still need to add more talent at CB.
Raymond Edwards, 6-5, 230,
4.6. Cincinnati Woodward. A really hot commodity
right now. Edwards is a high school LB that projects as a DE. Raw potential is
enormous. Prototyp size and speed for a DE. I have heard he has unofficially
runa 4.55. Great basketball player too. That gives a good idea of his
Eric Thatcher, CB, Cincinnati
Moeller. The biggest mystery of this recruiting year
so far has been the lack of offers to this outstanding athlete and quality
young man. I have pulled his tape out and reviewed it from his sophomore year
when he played safety. Any coach who wants it is welcome to it. He can play
corner. No question in my mind. I see it as a Buckeye need and the in-state
talent level is too great to pass up this embarrassment of riches.
Bryan Williamson, WR, Thomas
Worthington. The best player that nobody is talking
about. He left the Michigan State Nike camp rated the # 2 WR in the Midwest.
He's got great size and is slippery as well as strong after the catch. I like
big receivers and so does coach Tressel. Williamson will be at camp.
Steve Smith, WR, 6-2, 185,
4.45.Woodland Hills, CA. I have no contact with
Smith yet like I have the other players on this list, but he has always
mentioned the Buckeyes. He is a top 10 WR in the country.
Stanley McClover, DE,
Dilliard, Fla. A Nike camp 2nd team
All-American. I spoke to him recently and the Buckeyes are high on his list.
He has several former teammates wearing scarlet and gray.
Andrew Bain, OL, Pompano Beach
Ely, 6-3, 340, 5.15. That forty time was run at the
Nike camp. He was given 1st team Nike camp All-American status
after his dominating performance. He told me he will probably visit Ohio
State. His teammate Tyrone Moss, a consensus top 5 back, was even more sure he
would visit when I spoke to him.
Ty Hall, OL, Cincinnati
Anderson. Hall has the most impressive offer list of
any OL in Ohio. I suspect he will be offered when he camps at Ohio State and I
would be shocked if he didn't accept. We talk about line play as being
trench warfare. That is exactly what it is, and Hall excels when it gets nasty
down in there. I think toughness and intelligence are the most underrated
aspects of football. You have to whup a tough guy, and Hall has not taken many
Mike McGlynn, OL, 6-5, 310,
5.15, Austintown Fitch. This is the one everybody is
watching. He made such an impression moving around at 1st base for
the Fitch baseball team. He looked like a man 100 lbs lighter. He missed last
year, so camps will tell the tale. Like Hall, he has a dose of nasty about him
that I like.
Matt Maizel, OL, Youngstown
Ursuline. Only one year of big-time football seems
to be the knock on Maizel. I like him. I like his tenacity and I think his
feet are underrated.
Nick Larkin, DL, Cincinnati
St. X. Last year we talked about Jay Richardson,
Joel Penton and Tim Schafer at the same time so much that their names almost
became one word run together. Why? We didn't know what position they would
play but they all had something in common. They were big-framed kids who could
run. This is a strategy that we see all over the south where most of the great
linemen come from. If I was making a list of players in the state who were
big-framed kids who could run, that list would start with Nick Larkin. He is
being underutilized in the St. X 3-4. He is a 4-3 player at either DL position,
but I would say at DT. Let him play the one gap instead of two that the 3-4
class for. One good thing to come out of playing in that formation is Larkin
is an outstanding run stopper.
Ashton Youboti, DB, 6-1, 185,
4.38, Klein, TX. You may think taking another DB in
this class is going too far but this kids stock is really rising and he can
play both safety and corner. Most project him as a corner but at his size he
can play safety too. He played safety last year. He has played at a high level
of competition and he confirmed to me late last night that he will be in
Columbus for camp. In fact, he is here as I write this.
I narrowed the list down to 30 players or so and made a final cut. I thought you might be curious as to who made the next to last cut. Here are the other players who I considered in order:
26. Shawn Crable, DE/LB, Massillon
27. Tony Gonzalez, WR/CB, Cleveland St. Ignatius
28. Chinedum Ndukwe, WR, Dublin Coffman
29. Ryan Mundy, S, Pittsburgh Woodland Hills
30. Devin Jordan, WR, Massillon
31. Ambrose Wooden, CB/Ath, Baltimore Gilman, MD
32. Terrence Graves, RB/S, Youngstown Ursuline
33. Tavares Gooden, LB, Ft. Lauderdale Aquinas
34. DeMario Pleasant, LB, Lewisville, Tx
35. Victor Abiamiri, DE, Baltimore Gilman, MD
36. Romeo Travis, DE, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary