Mr. Bucknuts Bucket Of Bullets

Since being revealed earlier in the month, there's been plenty of discussion surrounding the Scout.com recruiting rankings. Mr. Bucknuts has been in the middle of quite a bit of it, and he starts off this version of his Bucket of Bullets opinion column with a sample of comments from fans and media regarding the Scout.com rankings. Read on for more.

For those of you that don't follow this sort of thing, our own network (Scout.com) recently released their first "Top 100" recruiting list. The e-mail bag was full to overflowing just 24 hours later. Some of my favorite stolen lines:

  • "When they open their mouths, it is only to change feet".
  • "They typically set very low standards but consistently fail to achieve even those"
  • "Looks like they have been working with glue too much again this year"
  • "They donated their brains to science before they were done using them"
  • "If they were any stupider, they would have to be watered twice a week"
  • "Some drink from the fountain of wisdom; Scout only gargled once"

The rest of the comments were nastier. Scout, it seems, tends to only "scout" the west and the southeast before they publish their popular lampoon list (or "Top 100"), as they call it. In my last Bucket of Bullets, I apologized to all Buckeye fans (and to those true recruiting nuts that seem to follow this sort of thing more than Scout does…) for what seemed to be a farcical first attempt at collecting a true national list. Forget the "fairness" of representing each state. We just want to focus on the fairness –and accuracy – of representing each athlete.

Since I only represent but one critic in a chorus debunking this mess, I thought I would present a sampling, a smattering of what messages went back and forth after the list was debuted:

The first day from the Bucknuts Message board:

The top 100 is out. The fans are killing it, and it is deserved. Ben Martin is #76. No Eugene Clifford. These guys are a joke. The southern and western bias is as plain as the nose on my face. The fact that Chris Pool is on the board saying he is only getting lip service in the rankings is not helping. They deserve it. I have corns bigger than Noel Devine but he is # 2 in the country overall.

After Scout said that they "downgraded" Barksdale because he would end up being an O-lineman (!?), we interviewed him to see what he thought:

Detroit lineman Joseph Barksdale (6-5.5, 315, 4.9), from Cass Technical High School, said he has roughly 60 offers, from schools such as LSU, Florida State, Miami, Texas, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee and Colorado. "Every school is recruiting me as defensive tackle. That is my position! I'm a defensive tackle! Scout.com thinks I'm an offensive lineman, according to their list"

Chris Pool is the Scout rep in the Midwest; I think they just basically ignored him and told him to shut the hell up and go away. Regardless, he didn't do either. He joined our board discussion thusly:

I love Dailey but lost that battle. I'm a big fan of Saine but the final call on where he belonged was Jamie and Allen's. Loved Eugene Clifford as well. Before the 100 was released, I e-mailed Jamie and Allen and told them that I was surprised that only 13-14 kids from the Midwest were selected. Guess it's a down year in the Midwest in the eyes of the guys who do the national rankings.

Barksdale - I believe he'll be an offensive lineman in college and not a DT like he's being told or wants to play. I felt this from the first moment I saw him in San Antonio. Molk, Sawtelle, Gunn and Oglesby are all better prospects.
 

Then Chris again:

Clifford certainly didn't get missed. Like I said, I love him but I don't get the final say. You guys can draw your own conclusions about why the Midwest got slighted. I e-mailed Allen and Jamie and told them both that I was shocked the Midwest had such little representation. I felt Clifford, Robert Hughes, Logan Gray, Josh Brent, Antonio Jeremiah, Ryan Van Bergen, Christian Ballard and Andrew Dailey all should've made the cut. I hate the combines thing. Did he come? Didn't he come? It's not about a combine. Clay is a freak and deserving of No. 1 in the Midwest.

The fact that we only got 14 from the Midwest is still baffling to me. I though at least 20-25 should make it...but hey, you win some and you lose some. Again I though Hughes deserved to be in with VanBergen, Brent, Jeremiah, Andrew Dailey, Clifford and Dionte Allen but hey, I don't make the final call. You may be right on Barksdale. We'll see what happens in the future.

And finally from a fan on another board:

The fact that Barksdale and Clifford didn't make this list, let alone the top 50 is crazy. The state of Florida had four defensive tackles make the top 100 list. Now I understand that Florida football is highly respected, but I find it hard to believe that Barksdale isn't better than a couple of these Florida guys.

As for Clifford, he should be ranked no worse than the 2nd best free safety in the country. His tape speaks for itself. I guess what I've been told is true, if you don't attend the Scout.com Combines your ranking will suffer. That's BS man!

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There's more BA than BS to Troy Smith this year…Ohio State will have a graduate at quarterback this fall, as Troy Smith received his diploma already.

Smith graduated as a communications major, and graduated in four years. That's saying something for those of us who remember Troy as an "academic hardship" some years back and one who barely made it through the admissions process. Perhaps his achievement speaks louder than all the editorializing that Ohio high school students deserve a chance to prove themselves at their state university.

It was Smith's aim to finish in four years, he said earlier this spring. "That's huge. It's such a relief and such a weight off anyone's shoulders," he said. "I think just hard work (made it possible), man, just staying the course and knowing that you have to finish school. That's always a plus."

 

Smith mentioned that he hoped to get another degree before he is gone on to the NFL next season. He has already established himself as a valuable role model for those kids that want to put in the time and the work. Hey Ray Small, come on down!

 

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TS II: Troy Smith versus Brady Quinn for Heisman…While we are on the Troy Smith subject, lets ponder the possibilities of him beating out a good Columbus boy for football's loftiest award this year. (Is Troy a "Fighting Buckeye"? Hmmm…)

Here was one summary that paraded out Quinn's bona fides:

Brady is coming off a record-breaking season that saw him throw for 3,919 yards and 32 touchdowns, and he welcomes back most of his starting offensive line, top receiver Jeff Samardzija and top running back Darius Walker. Most Ohio State fans remember how the Buckeyes throttled Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, but they also forget that Quinn had a pretty good game, completing 29 of 45 passes for 286 yards. Only two other guys – Drew Stanton of Michigan State and Bryan Cupito of Minnesota – threw for more against the Buckeyes last year.
Three other things that make Quinn the early favorite. First, Notre Dame has a less-than-stellar schedule that will allow him to pad his stats against the likes of Army, Navy and the Air Force. Secondly, against the stronger teams on the schedule such as Penn State, Michigan and USC, the Irish defense is still shaky enough that Quinn will need to wing it around to keep his team in the game. Finally, when Heisman voters have a tough time making up their minds, they usually go with the guy from the Golden Dome. Notre Dame has a record seven winners although none since Tim Brown in 1987.

As for Troy? Well, he passed for 2282 yards at a 63% completion clip and 16 TD's and a 162.6 efficiency rating in but parts of 11 games. What sets Troy apart is that he also rushed for 722 yards ((611 net…) and 11 TD's. He also won all his big games other than his rusty performance in Happy Valley. (I am discounting his part-time exposure in the Texas mess)

Right now, Brady has the Superman stamp with everything but a leprechaun cape. But here's something to ponder: back in the recruiting days of yore, we tried to woo Quinn to Ohio State (about 10 miles from his home). Had he accepted, would he be starting over Troy Smith? And would we be a better team for it? I don't think so, either. And that should answer your question as to voting for the better player…

*     *     *     *

Speaking of the Fighting Irish…From South Dakota comes word that the University there filed a suit against the NCAA to keep the name "Fighting Sioux". Sue to keep Sioux? That's right. Anyway, I was awaiting word (sarcasm font on…) for someone to bring up my point again about the "Fighting Irish". Don't the Irish in America have a lobby? Are the Sioux more sensitive to their peaceful image than Irishmen? I am calling for another investigation…

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Getting defensive about recruiting…So, I say this to you about recruiting players for defense for the Class of 2007:

Cornerbacks: Donnie Evege and Eugene Clifford

Safeties: Nate Oliver and David Arnold

Linebackers: C.J. Peake, Dewey Elliot and Andrew Dailey/Jermale Hines

Defensive Ends: Ben Martin and Solomon Thomas

Defensive Tackles: Joseph Barksdale and Antonio Jeremiah

Add in Devon Torrence as your nickel back and you have a complete defense (yeah, Peake could grow into that third linebacker…). You also have at least six Top 100 in the nation kids (by any legitimate observer) and have about everyone you want from Ohio. So, are we really off to such a slow start?

Oh, yeah, you caught that I have Barksdale in there, right? I know he's from Michigan but he's so good and, well…we own Michigan, don't we?

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Fullbacks and full houses…And a ram comes to the "house". Not since Jamar Martin came to Columbus, proud that he was there to block for the other running backs, have we had a kid like Aram Olson come to town with that kind of dedicated perspective. And not since those other halcyon days (described herein as Nicky Sualua blocking for Eddie George) has there been such a potentially deadly duo as Olson and Wells...

We continue this week with examining the Buckeyes, position-by-position and looking ahead to what recruiting needs might be upon us for the class of 2007. Today, we are taking a quick look at the fullbacks.

In addition to the highly anticipated debut of Aram Olsen, we have the, well…guys who are going to actually play! That would be probable starter Stan White and probable starter (1-a) in Dionte Johnson. White is not your classic fullback but more of an H-back, kinda a combo tight end, blocking back and occasional running threat. This will be his last year.  Is much more of the traditional fullback and can tote the leather but will be a blocker. It is his junior season.

So, when Aram debuts (let's assume a red shirt year simply because they don't need him in 2006), there will only be two FB's on the roster and one will be gone the following season. Probably enough evidence there, then, to look this year for the right kind of kid to fill in after Olson. There is a good walk-on named Ryan Franzinger but it's hard to depend on that venue for support.

The Buckeyes are looking at Henry Hynoski out of Pennsylvania, as well as (maybe) J'Keem Waters out of Canton. If the staff decides one of the guys is Aram-esque, we will have us another fullback prospect in the 2007 class.

*     *     *     *     *

There are football camps and then there are FOOTBALL CAMPS…Ohio State runs a pretty darn good series of football camps in June. More than 3000 kids attend and now there are two senior select (read: recruiting) camps. One could argue – and this one would – that it's the best organized, operated and attended camp of its kind in the nation.

But when it comes to high school camps, you would have to go a ways to top the Cardinal Mooney "Football Camp of Champions" held for third to eighth graders June 26th and 27th. Looking beyond the flashy brochures and t-shirts, let's take a look at their list of special guests and speakers, including:

·        Coach Jim Tressel – Ohio State Head Coach

·        Coach John Heacock – Youngstown State Head Coach

·        Mark Dantonio – Cincinnati Head Coach

·        Mark Stoops – Arizona Defensive Coordinator

·        Bo Pellini – LSU Defensive Coordinator

And then there is the "second tier" including Michael Zordich (12 year NFL vet), Pete Reksis (Kent State D-coordinator), Tim Pichette (New England Patriots), DJ Durkin (Bowling Green coach), Derrek Slesh (Case University coach) and Frank Colaprete (Johns Hopkins coach).

Remember, this is a high school camp for a Division IV team! Of course, this particular D-IV team has won five state championships. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that the DeBartolos sponsor the whole affair. I think that some of the participating coaches can do more recruiting at this camp than at their own!


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Tarblooder pipeline…Yes, it's great to have a Buckeye feeder system at Glenville High School, but do we appreciate just how well the Buckeyes have feasted on that system? Currently, the Glenville alumni group paying football at Ohio State includes Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, Curtis Terry and Jamario O'Neal. Three of those four have a shot at being first round draft choices when they're done here. But wait – incoming freshmen include ‘Blooders like Ray Small, Rob Rose and Bryant Browning. That would make 7 of the 85 scholarship players hailing from one school. Now how about if Dareus Hiley would have made the grades and Donte Whitner didn't go for the NFL green, then…that's right, for the 2006 squad, 9 of the 85 were Glenville guys. I defy you to find any other Top Twenty program blessed with that much talent form one high school. Thanks again from Coach Tressel to Coach Ginn…

  

And thanks to all you red, white and blue blooders out there that write Mr. Bucknuts on a regular basis. Contact him at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com


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