Bucknuts Recruiting Quick Read: Nov. 13

It's a big recruiting weekend for Ohio State. Some of the nation's top recruits are coming to town for official visits. Who's coming, and what does the Bucknuts staff think of the latest recruiting vibes? Check it out in the latest recruiting Quick Read.

We are back with a second year of the Bucknuts recruiting quick read. This is a free, one-stop feature 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 Remaining 
Based on Scout.com Rankings
1. Ben Martin, DE*
2. Antonio Jeremiah, DT
3. C.J. Peake, DB
4. Jermale Hines, DB
5. Kyle Hubbard, WR/TE
6. Solomon Thomas, DE*
7. Morgan Williams, RB
8. Charlie Hatcher, DE
9. Brian Gamble, RB
10. Clay Belton, QB 

Ben Martin

1. Anthony Davis, OL*
2. Eric Berry, CB*
3. Ronald Johnson, CB*
4. John Clay, RB*
5. Martez Wilson, DE*
6. James Wilson, OL*
7. Deonte Thompson, WR*
8. Kristofer O'Dowd, C*
9. Donovan Warren, CB*
10. Rob Gronkowski, TE*

Eric Berry

Antonio Jeremiah

Martez Wilson

* - denotes a reported OSU offer

Ohio State Official Visit Weekends

Sept. 22 (Penn St.): ATH Greg Little, DE Derrick Morgan, DB James Scott, DL Devon Still
Nov. 17 (Mich.): DT Joseph Barksdale, WR Leonard Hankerson, LB Brandon Lindsey, LB Brian Rolle, WR Deonte Thompson, ATH Demarcus Van Dyke, OL James Wilson, DB Major Wright
Dec. 1: RB John Clay, RB Robert Hughes, DB Donovan Warren
Dec. 8: DT Josh Brent, DE Martez Wilson
Bucknuts Staff Commentary

Steve Helwagen:

You can not understate the importance of Saturday's game between Ohio State and Michigan. Anybody with a passing interest in college football – let alone nearly all of the nation's key football prospects for the next three or four years.

The Buckeyes will have a ton of key prospects at the game, including a number of them on official visits. Some plans remained in flux due to playoff schedules, but some of the key prospects who could be in attendance this weekend included Michigan DT Joseph Barksdale, Florida WR Deonte Thompson, Arizona OL Kris O'Dowd and Florida DB Major Wright.

These recruits will be impressed with the magnitude and intensity of this rivalry, certainly. But the winner of the game will have some major bragging rights it can use against the loser for years to come. And they may also have a national championship to sell as well.

In the Quick Read, we will provide our top five players on the board in each edition. Here is my list:

My Top 5 On The Board: 1. Ben Martin (top uncommitted Ohio player is a must get); 2. Joseph Barksdale (the interior defensive line is a key need for OSU); 3. Kris O'Dowd (Arizona prospect considered nation's top center); 4. Devon Still (nice two-way lineman could help at several spots); 5. Anthony Davis (maybe Malcolm Jenkins can persuade his former teammate, although Rutgers is now suddenly a real factor).

Gary Housteau:

Reportedly, there have been four offensive linemen in the class of 2008 that have been offered a football scholarship by Ohio State since schools were allowed to do so back on Sept. 1.

Along with Mike Adams of Dublin Coffman, Mike Brewster, J.B. Shugarts and Kyle Long have all received an offer.

If indeed that short list is accurate, it would be leaving one of Ohio's best offensive line prospects on the outside looking in.

At 6-6 and 261 pounds, Zebrie Sanders of Northmont High School is an intriguing prospect to say the least. Sanders, who attended Ohio State's senior camp last year, has a long frame with long arms and he moves rather well for a big man. He was timed at 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash at OSU's camp.

Sanders, who has been in contact with OSU recruiting coordinator John Peterson, said that Ohio State has been showing "high interest" in him and that they like his pass protection skills a lot.

The interest is obviously mutual. Sanders was invited to Minnesota game and he's still waiting to hear whether or not he'll have an invite to the Michigan game.

"I like Ohio State," Sanders said. "It's the school where I'd like to go but I have to keep my options open."

He's been told that Miami (Fla.) is set to offer him and the Georgia offensive line coach has invited him to the Georgia-Georgia Tech game the week after the OSU game. Some other schools on his favorite list right now include USC, Lousiville and Notre Dame.

His parents are from South Carolina and the family moved to the Dayton area about six years ago when his mother was transferred there with the company she worked for. His mom is a University of Georgia alum.

Sanders has no time frame in front of him but he thinks he might wait until the end of his senior year before he chooses a school.

My Top 5 On The Board: 1. Ben Martin; 2. Jermale Hines; 3. Dionte Allen; 4. Ron Johnson; 5. Joseph Barksdale.


Duane Long:

The general consensus is this is going to be a great finish. The big question is with who? There are so many top players that the Buckeyes still have a great shot, not a good shot, of landing. It could be a situation where there will be someone all of a sudden saying the Buckeyes are no longer on their list, and it will be because the staff feels like they have a shot at someone better. There is a very good chance that national top-15 defensive tackle Antonio Jeremiah could get left out.

My Top 5 On The Board: 1. Joseph Barksdale (Another Big Daddy in the making at a need position); 2. Devon Still (Can be a great DE or a great DT); 3. Anthony Davis (One of the two or three best tackles in the country. There are only three natural tackles on the roster.); 4. Ben Martin (Pass rushers like this only come around once in awhile.); 5. Major Wright (Would be the perfect complement to Eugene Clifford).

Click here for the latest recruiting features from Bucknuts and Scout.com network

Position-by-Position Rundown
(Commitments and Possibilities, listed in alphabetical order)
Updates in Red Text


LaTravis Washington

Verbals: 0
Needed: 0-1

  • Latravis Washington, Bradenton, Fla. Bayshore *
    Has been showing interest in Ohio State for some time. Visit scheduled for OSU-Michigan weekend. Is also high on Nebraska.
  • Commentary: With three underclassman quarterbacks on the roster, it would not be a surprise to see Ohio State not include one in this class. Washington seems to be the only possibility at this time.

Running Back

Dan Herron

Verbals: 2
Needed: 0-1

  • Daniel "Boom" Herron, Warren (Oh.) Harding*
    Verbal to OSU -- 7/10. Was offered after a fine performance at Ohio State's Senior Advanced Camp. No. 24 rated running back by Scout.com.  Fifth commitment in recruiting class.
  • Brandon Saine, Piqua (Oh.) *
    Verbal to OSU - 5/3. Committed to Ohio State before the end of his junior year, surprising some by selecting the Buckeyes instead of Michigan. No. 13 rated player by Scout.com. Had 1483 yards on 182 carries and 25 touchdowns with 10 catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns through nine games. 


  • John Clay,  Racine (Wis.) Park*
    Visit - 12/1. Camped at Ohio State and has shown consistent interest. Also showing interest in Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, and Nebraska. U.S. Army All-American selection. Scout.com No. 5 running back.
  • Broderick Green, Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy *
    USC verbal has decided to take some official visits and has been moved to soft verbal status. Will visit Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, and USC.
  • Robert Hughes, Chicago (Ill.) Hubbard * Visit: Dec. 1. Scout.com No. 11 running back. U.S. Army All-American selection. No leader between Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.
  • Commentary: The Buckeyes appear prepared to add a third back to this class if Hughes or Clay wanted to accept their offer. All three Ohio State running backs are underclassmen, but the time is now for OSU to restock. 

Wide Receiver

Taurian Washington

Verbals: 2
Needed: 1

  • Dane Sanzenbacher, Toledo (Oh.) Central Cathlolic *
    Verbal to OSU -- 7/9. Earned an OSU offer with a fine summer camp performance. Has led his team to a 9-1 regular season and has been needed to help some at quarterback as a senior.
  • Taurian Washington, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary *
    Verbal to OSU -- 8/14.  Scout.com No. 34 receiver. Second player to commit to OSU from Orchard Lake St. Mary in two seasons.


  • Leonard Hankerson, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas *
    Visit - 11/17. Rated as Scout.com's No. 22 receiver. Offers from Miami (Fla.), Michigan, and NC State in addition to Ohio State, and has recently listed Miami and Ohio State as his two favorites. Scheduled to visit OSU for UM weekend.  
  • Kyle Jefferson, Cleveland (Oh.) Glenville
    Has not been offered by Ohio State but is a regular visitor at OSU home games. Offers include Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
  • Aaron Johnson, Baton Rouge (La.) Southern University Lab School
    Was thought to be off the recruiting radar after a series of confusing summer reports that had conflicting info regarding his offer status, but he appeared at OSU's home game against Minnesota. Is talking about the possibility of setting up an official visit to OSU for UM weekend.
  • Deonte Thompson, Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central *
    Visit - 11/17. Blue-chip receiver from the same high school as Albert Dukes and Santonio Holmes has been a well-known prospect for some time but has shown varying degrees of interest in Ohio State. Has already officially visited LSU and also has a visit set up to USC. Is considering OSU for one of his other visits. Has been slowed this season by a broken foot. Also considering Miami, Florida, and South Carolina.


  • Commentary: There's been some speculation/uncertainty surrounding Hankerson and whether or not he will visit this weekend. Thompson reportedly scheduled a visit to OSU but it might be a surprise if the Buckeyes were able to land him.

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski

Verbals: 0
Needed: 1

  • Rob Gronkowski, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills *
    Rated as a top 100 national prospect and the No. 3 tight end by Scout.com. Has narrowed his choices to Arizona, Clemson, Ohio State, and Syracuse. Has already taken an official to Syracuse. Has had OSU on his interest list for some time. Had six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns through his first eight games.


  • Commentary: Ohio State could use a tight end in this class, and right now it seems like Gronkowski is the only possibility on the board.   

Offensive Line

Evan Blankenship

Verbals: 1
Needed: 1-2

  • Evan Blankenship, Monaca (Pa.) Center Area *
    Verbal to OSU - 7/18/06. Interior line prospect has carried an OSU offer for quite some time and finally picked the Buckeyes over Pittsburgh in the summertime. Rated as Scout.com's No. 57 guard.


  • Anthony Davis, Piscataway, N.J. *
    Blue-chip prospect. Five-star lineman rated as Scout.com No. 2 tackle and top 50 nationally. U.S. Army All-American selection. Offers from all over the country but considering Florida, Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, Rutgers, and USC. Same high school as current Buckeye Malcolm Jenkins. Numerous reports have had Ohio State at the top of Davis's list along with Rutgers. The Buckeyes seem to be doing well but Rutgers seems to be making up a lot of ground.
  • Mark Jackson, Cincinnati (Oh.) Harmony Prep
    A name to keep an eye on. Was in attendance for recent OSU-Minnesota home game. Was a senior at Columbus Brookhaven last year but did not sign and is playing this year at Harmony. Will enroll in college in January. Is also interested in Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma. 
  • Kris O'Dowd, Tuscon (Az.) Salpointe Catholic *
    Has been on the recruiting scene since last winter. Rated as Scout.com's No. 1 center prospect and a five-star and top 50 overall prospect. Has visited Tennessee and will also visit USC and UCLA. Also considering Arizona and Miami (Fla.) with offers from all listed schools. Lists no leader.  According to NevadaBuck, a previously scheduled visit for this weekend has been cancelled. We will attempt to follow up to find out his status.
  • James Wilson, Ponte Verda (Fla.) Nease *
    Visit -- 11/17. Blue-chip prospect. US Army All-American. Committed to USC, but is taking some official visits, including one to Ohio State this weekend.  

  • Commentary: The OL position is where the most news has been coming lately. Anthony Davis continues to mention OSU high on his list, but the surprise was the developments with O'Dowd and Wilson. These are the four names on the list right now and the Buckeyes seem to be in decent shape to be able to pluck one from the group before signing day.

Defensive End

Solomon Thomas

Verbals: 0
Needed: 2

  • Antoine Carter, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard *
    Reported offer. Also offered by Auburn and Minnesota and is showing interest in Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame. Same high school as ex-Buckeyes Chris Gamble and Thomas Matthews.
  • Ben Martin, Cincinnati (Oh.) La Salle *
    Rated by Ohio High Magazine as Ohio's top overall prospect. Five-star prospect rated as the No. 7 DE in America by Scout.com. Top 50 overall prospect nationally. Martin's recruitment has been closely scrutinized for months by Ohio State fans. He has been primarily focused on Ohio State and Notre Dame for some time. Has not declared a leader and is also interested in Florida and Tennessee. Took an official visit to Florida on 11/10 and reportedly liked what he saw. He claims no leader and says the trip will make his decision harder.
  • Derrick Morgan, Coatesville (Pa.) Area *
    Visit -- 9/23. No. 13 DE prospect at Scout.com. Unlike most recruits, Morgan is almost done with his official visits. He has taken officials to Ohio State, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), and Georgia Tech, with his last one being to Boston College this weekend. No word on a leader. Committed to Georgia Tech since the last update.
  • Eric Thomas, Cleveland Glenville
    Frequent visitor at Ohio State games. Is receiving interest from several solid programs.
  • Solomon Thomas, West Chester (Oh.) Lakota West *
    No. 36 DE prospect. Said early in the season that Ohio State was a big leader and that a decision could come soon, but no news as of late. Expected by many to eventually select OSU. 
  • Martez Wilson, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon Vocational *
    Visit -- 12/8. Extremely gifted prospect. Five-stars, No. 2 DE nationally. U.S. Army All-American selection. Will visit Illinois, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC. Plays both receiver and DE. Plenty of speculation that Wilson would follow top WR Arrelious Benn to Illinois but most recent update lists no leader; still plans to visit Ohio State.


  • Commentary: Expect the Buckeyes to land at least a couple defensive ends this year. Many feel as if both Thomas and Martin will eventually join the fold.  

Defensive Tackle

Joseph Barksdale

Verbals: 0
Needed: 2

  • Joseph Barksdale, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech*
    Visit -- 11/17. A much-talked about recruit who has been interested in Ohio State for some time. Has visited Notre Dame and also has visits set up to LSU and USC. Also considering Florida State, Miami and Tennessee.
  • Josh Brent, Bloomington (Ill.) Central Catholic *
    Visit -- 12/8. The Buckeyes currently seem to hold a solid lead for Brent. Visited Michigan unofficially recently and came away saying OSU still leads. Has visit to UM set up for 12/1. Will not wait until signing day to announce. Also considering Wisconsin and Arizona State. Is interested in both track and football. There has been some speculation that Brent might be part of an Illinois recruiting windfall, but no quotes have been made from Brent to back that up.  
  • Cameron Heyward, Atlanta (Ga.) Whitefield Academy *
    Visit -- 11/17? Massive DT has offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. Is showing interest in all three but has not given much insight as to a leader. Most recent update from LSU site TigerRag.com states Heyward will be in Columbus this weekend.
  • Antonio Jeremiah, Hilliard (Oh.) Darby
    No. 13 DT prospect. Academic scores may be all that is holding back OSU from offering. Very talented prospect is very interested in OSU and also has offers from several colleges, including Boston College, Syracuse, and West Virginia.
  • Devon Still, Wilmington (Del.) Howard *
    Visit -- 9/22. No. 11 DT, four star prospect. Came away from OSU visit saying the Buckeyes were the leader. Buckeyes are current favorites to land Still although he plans on visiting Michigan, Miami and Penn State.
  • Commentary: DT is a position of need for Ohio State this year. They have three candidates -- Barksdale, Brent and Still -- heavily interested, with Jeremiah also very interested if an offer comes. It appears as if OSU has a good chance of filling their need at DT with some talented possibilities.


Brandon Lindsey

Verbals: 0
Needs: 0-1

  • Lebron Daniel, Cleveland (Oh.) Glenville
    Glenville product has been frequent visitor at OSU games.
  • Jermale Hines, Cleveland (Oh.) Glenville
    Rated highly among Ohio players and has been a regular visitor at OSU games but has not received an offer. Also very interested in Michigan, Purdue and West Virginia (all reported offers).
  • Pat Lazear, Bethesda (Md.) Walt Whitman
    Previously listed OSU as a leader with an offer, but status is in doubt due to pending criminal charges.
  • Brandon Lindsey, Alquippa (Pa.) *
    Visit -- 11/17. Lists offer from OSU but recently said he will be waiting until after the season to focus on recruiting. Also holds offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and UConn. Scout.com No. 10 SLB. Most recent update from Allen Wallace states Lindsey will visit on 11/17 but Pittsburgh holds a slight lead.
  • Brian Rolle, Immokalee (Fla.) *
    Visit -- 11/17. Versatile player could play DB, LB or RB. Has already visited Wisconsin. Also holds offers from Clemson, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, and Nebraska.
  • Commentary: With several fine young linebackers on the team, this position is not a pressing need but the Buckeyes may still take one.


Donnie Evege

Verbals: 2
Needs: 0-1

  • Donnie Evege, Huber Heights (Oh.) Wayne *
    Verbal -- 6/13. Speedy corner prospect rated as a top 20 player in Ohio.  Scout.com No. 50 cornerback.
  • Devon Torrence, Canton (Oh.) South *
    Verbal -- 9/1. Offered in the summertime and accepted shortly after the start of the season. Outstanding athlete; listed here at corner but ranked by Scout.com as the No. 7 safety nationally. Also an exceptional baseball player.  
  • Eric Berry, Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside *
    Nation's top CB prospect. U.S. Army All-American selection. Has already visited Auburn. Also has talked about visiting Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, and USC before making a decision.  Most recent update after a trip to Auburn adds no changes to Berry's status; he is giving no hint of a leader.
  • Ronald Johnson, Muskegon (Mich.) *
    Five-star prospect, rated No. 2 corner nationally. Likely the top prospect in Michigan. Brother committed to Michigan State, but Ronald plans on visiting Michigan, Florida, Texas, USC, and Ohio State.
  • James Scott, Daytona Beach (Fla.) Seabreeze*
    Visit -- 9/22. Enjoyed trip to Ohio State and is still considering the Buckeyes. Also has scheduled visits to Alabama, Florida and LSU.
  • Donovan Warren, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly *
    Visit -- 11/17. Nation's No. 4 CB. Has visited Michigan, Arizona and Cal. Most recent visit was Cal and came away impressed. Still plans on visiting Ohio State and Oregon. Recently selected to U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
  • Jamire Williams, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast *
    Reported OSU offer. Plans on visiting Ohio State. Also interested in South Carolina, NC State and South Florida. Recently committed to South Carolina.
  • Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami (Fla.) Pace *
    Visit -- 11/17. Commitment to Miami has decided to consider opening things up a bit as he has scheduled visits to Florida and Ohio State. Also plans on visiting Miami but said he could change his mind if convinced while on a visit.
  • Commentary: Evege and Torrence are already in the fold and an extremely impressive list of cornerback prospects are looking at Ohio State, but the Buckeyes may face an uphill battle for many of them.


Nate Oliver

Verbals: 2
Needs: 0-1

  • Eugene Clifford, Cincinnati (Oh.) Colerain *
    Verbal -- 9/21. Elite safety prospect. Five-star player and top 50 overall prospect by Scout.com. Chose Ohio State over Michigan and several others. Third Colerain player to select OSU in two years (Tyler Moeller, Connor Smith). 
  • Nate Oliver, Lakewood (Oh.) St. Edward *
    Verbal to OSU - 2/1. Committed to Ohio State on signing day 2006, making him the first commitment to this class. Rated as the No. 6 safety nationally by Scout.com. Stock fell somewhat during camps but has risen again due to strong performance.


  • Michael McNeil, Mobile (Ala.) Davidson *
    No. 9 rated safety prospect. Offers and interest from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, and OSU. Has said he will definitely visit OSU.
  • Major Wright, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas *
    Visit -- 11/17. No. 13 safety prospect. U.S. Army All-American selection. Final five schools are Florida, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, and USC. Will visit with teammate Leonard Hankerson.


  • Commentary: The Buckeyes have two outstanding safety commitments in Clifford and Oliver, and Torrence could play safety as well. McNeil and Wright are the caliber of player that OSU might find room for regardless, but other than that the Buckeyes may be done at safety.  


Underclassmen Watch

By Steve Helwagen

Mike Adams

It will certainly be interesting to see which key juniors and sophomores will be in attendance for Saturday's game against Michigan.

As we noted last time, there have been several key juniors who have attended several games at Ohio State this year.

This could be a landmark game setting OSU's recruiting up for the next couple of years based on good experiences at this game. Everybody has made a lot of the offensive line group of Mike Adams, J.B. Shugarts and Mike Brewster, who could all be in attendance again. They could be the cornerstone of OSU's 2008 class. Another member of that group, Virginia's Kyle Long, may not make it if he attends his brother's game against Miami (Fla.).

We will keep tabs on the top underclassmen in attendance and will pass on details as warranted.

Full List Of Ohio Recruits


Check back soon for the next Bucknuts recruiting Quick Read!


Buckeye Sports Top Stories