Chat Transcript - Mike Bakas

We had a club chat with recruiting reporter Mike Bakas of today, and we have a transcript posted. Mike talked about how OSU is doing with some Florida recruits as well as some other recruits, talked about Miami and Florida football in general, and even brought up a name to keep an eye on for next year.

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 3:06:02 PM)
Hi Mike

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:06:07 PM)
Hey guys

IcemanW26 (Dec 6, 2002 3:06:26 PM)
hi mike, thanks for coming

OTC (Dec 6, 2002 3:09:17 PM)
Hey Mike, what do you think of Tavares Gooden and is he a Miami lock?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:10:54 PM)
The thing you have to realize when watching Gooden is that he's playing a rush linebacker position in H.S. with his hand on the ground. That's not what he'll do in college. He'll have to adjust to playing linebacker in space, playing 3 yards off the ball, dropping into coverage, etc. From that aspect, it might take him two years to adjust. But what you love is the natural athletic upside. He has excellent speed, change of direction, and overall athletic ability to be a real good one in college. He's favoring UM but he's not a lock by any means.

Hubbard (Dec 6, 2002 3:11:12 PM)
How many scholarships does Miami have this year and how many commitments do they have?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:12:07 PM)
I suspect they'll sign around 20-22 kids in February in addition to getting up to 7 players in January, including QB Kyle Wright.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:12:11 PM)
Mike, does OSU have any chance with Wimbs or Bain?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:13:09 PM)
zeek: A slight chance, yes. The problem for them is they're going to have to beat out Miami. Whenever local kids grow up rooting for UM and live just 45 minutes away, it's tough to take them away from having the chance to play for a program like that where friends and family can attend every home game.

JaxBuck (Dec 6, 2002 3:13:18 PM)
Mike, from down here in FL it sure feels like UM is getting first pick of the FL kids, do you see a bigger gap opening between UF/FSU and UM?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:14:31 PM)
Jax: Actually, no I don't. A lot of it has to do with the areas being recruited. Miami stuck to its plan, while FSU and Florida started to recruit outside the state more and more the last few years. Look at this year, for example. Several of the state's best prospects - Earl Everett, Joe Cohen, Andre Caldwell, Ernie Sims, those kids are all torn between the in-state schools.

bobcat84 (Dec 6, 2002 3:14:45 PM)
Mike, it seems like anyone that is a blue-chipper is listing Miami, are they very close to the limit of on campus visits?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:15:43 PM)
bobcat: Amazingly, UM hasn't even visited their maximum in recent years. Schools are permitted to bring in 56 kids a year. I can't remember the last time they actually brought in more than 50. It was probably in 1993.

bobcat84 (Dec 6, 2002 3:16:05 PM)
Mike, is Jorrie Adams visiting Miami?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:16:50 PM)
Jorrie is tough to read. He obviously does not enjoy talking to reporters and that makes you wonder if what he's saying is legit. He's a talented prospect though.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:17:26 PM)
BTW, I love Chris Gamble. I thought he was a top 10 kid in the state a couple years ago and I'm glad he's doing so well right now. I think he'll be a first rounder after his junior year.

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 3:17:43 PM)
Hopefully it's after his senior year! :)

Mike68 (Dec 6, 2002 3:16:55 PM)
Which of the South FL kids do you see as SERIOUSLY considering OSU?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:19:23 PM)
I think it starts with the defensive linemen. Clifton Dickson and Donell Livingston are both strongly considering the Buckeyes. LB Ali Highsmith is very high on Ohio State, as is Stanley McClover.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:21:05 PM)
Also, there's a TE/DE named Jamesley Jean from Tampa Jefferson that is very interested in Ohio State. He's a terrific athlete and he's built like he's a already for the NFL. He's a playmaker and I think he might have even more upside on defense. He gets overshadowed a bit because he plays on a team that features players like Andre Caldwell.

riverwatchbucknut (Dec 6, 2002 3:19:31 PM)
Do you think Bain and Wymbs will go to the same school?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:19:45 PM)

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:19:50 PM)
Mike, are Coker and staff concerned about Tressel's recruiting prowess? It seems like Tressel is going head-to-head with them for far more recruits than Cooper ever did.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:21:55 PM)
zeek: I think whenever you go nationally to recruit, the best coaching staffs are going to compete against one another every year. UM loves several of those kids in Ohio and I think they'll all end up at Ohio State. The same works in reverse with Ohio State looking at south Florida kids.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:22:04 PM)
Mike, how do Florida kids react when they get a call from an OSU coach? Is it along the lines of, "Ohio? Where's that?" Or do they think, "Wow! Ohio State! I'd better listen!"

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:23:34 PM)
zeek: It's gotten better. Coach Conley is a familiar face in Florida and he makes a strong effort to recruit well here. This year is different because every kid in America knows Ohio State's one of the 2 best teams in America right now.

OTC (Dec 6, 2002 3:23:41 PM)
Mike, which one of the OSU receivers did you have ranked the highest in high school Vance, Gamble, Holmes, or Gamble?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:25:17 PM)
I liked Jenkins because of the size/speed combo. I liked Vance because he has great instincts when the ball's in the air. I liked Holmes because he's a playmaker. But it's definitely Gamble. He's a baller. Not the biggest or fastest kid, but he's a pure playmaker in every sense. Every time he touched it, you never knew what would happen. He's just a natural football player who has fun out there and is really on another level and he knows it.

Guest (Dec 6, 2002 3:25:28 PM)
Mike, do we have a real chance to get Moe Dampeer from Illinois???????????????

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:30:49 PM)
It's a little early to tell on Dampeer. He told me that he wanted to attend the NIKE Camp in Miami so he could see the school since that's where he'd go if he left Illinois, so that's why I assume those are the top 2 schools. However, he will likely visit OSU and anything can happen.

JaxBuck (Dec 6, 2002 3:29:33 PM)
Mike what do you think of Santonio Holmes?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:31:38 PM)
I like Holmes a lot. He's a playmaker. He plays faster than his speed and bigger than his size. Here's a kid that averaged 31 a catch as a junior and 28 a catch as a senior. He's got real good instincts and he's easy to coach. I think he'll be a difference maker the way some of the current kids are.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:31:42 PM)
Mike, how highly did UM rank David Patterson among the D-linemen they've been recruiting?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:32:42 PM)
zeek: High enough to bring him in for an early visit.

Mike68 (Dec 6, 2002 3:33:24 PM)
What other out-of-state powerhouses are currently VERY active in S. FL

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:35:51 PM)
Georgia is becoming more and more active, primarily because of the recruiting efforts of former Hurricane Willie Martinez, who is now a DB coach at UGA. They landed a top 5 player in Florida last year right from Miami's back yard (Max Jean Gilles) and now they think he'll leave as one of the best OL to ever play there. They're having success again this year. Iowa also fills its roster with kids from down here and that's why they're 11-1 right now. Auburn does the same.

OTC (Dec 6, 2002 3:35:58 PM)
Where do you think Wesley Jefferson will end up?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:40:44 PM)
Little early to tell on Jefferson. He likes Maryland a lot and I think that'll be tough considering the success they're having now and being able to develop into a top program.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:37:46 PM)
Mike, how much interest do the Canes have in Crable? And were they ever interested in Sian Cotton?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:41:37 PM)
They are recruiting Crable and he'll likely take a trip here. They liked Cotton early on, but then stopped recruiting him after he came to UM's summer camp.

Texasbuckeye (Dec 6, 2002 3:46:54 PM)
Mike, Everyone sees the top 100 lists and so forth regarding the top prep players. There are usually "sleepers" who don't get as much publicity sometimes. Who are some of the sleepers this year?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:50:42 PM)
Some of the kids that I've seen that I think are much better prospects than their ranking indicates include Rashaun Grant (who I think is the best RB prospect in Florida), DL Victor Abiamiri (DL from Maryland. If there's a better DE prospect, show me), and there's a kid from Wash DC named Vernon Davis who is 6-4 and 220 and ran a 4.42 at the TN Camp and jumped 42 inches. There's also a kid in south Florida that Ohio State is already recruiting named Willie Williams. He's a senior on the field and a junior in the classroom, so he'll likely have to spend a year in prep school. He might be the state's top player right now.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:48:54 PM)
Mike, what are the Buck's chances with Holler, Wesley Jefferson, Abiamiri and McBride?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:51:27 PM)
I think Holler will stay close to home and pick PSU or Pittsburgh. Wes Jefferson, it's a bit early. He hasn't given it much thought. Abiamiri is wide open but likes OH State among his favorites. I think Turk McBride is going to end up at Miami.

Hubbard (Dec 6, 2002 3:51:56 PM)
Mike, Do you expect McGahee to leave after this year?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:53:54 PM)
Yes, I suspect McGahee will leave because I'm pretty certain he would be the No. 1 RB taken. They bring back another real good one named Frank Gore.

Buckeye2002 (Dec 6, 2002 3:55:33 PM)
what position is that Willie Williams kid?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:57:10 PM)
Willie Williams is a MLB. He's 6-2 1/2 and 220, rock solid. he ran a 4.39 at Auburn's camp on high grass last June. The kid had a troubled past and has turned his life around. He now gives speeches to young kids and is very involved in the community. Unfortunately, he's a year behind in school, although his grades and test scores will be fine. He made 180 tackles in 13 games. He's a legitimate big time kid.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 3:57:22 PM)
Mike, you mentioned Clifton Dickson being interested in OSU. I was under the impression he had set his 5 visits and we weren't getting one? Also, what are our chances with Tolbert, Scott and the LB Martin?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:58:30 PM)
Dickson told me last night he's going to Ohio State on Jan. 24. He might take his trip with teammate, LB Leo Waiters, who is one of the state's top LB prospects. 6-1, 230, runs very well laterally and is a big, physical MLB with foot speed and athletic ability.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 3:59:58 PM)
Also, Tolbert said he's visiting. He wants to play at Miami or FSU but won't get offered till they see him in person. If he doesnt get offered, I think he will end up at Ohio State or Alabama. Miguel Scott is a possibility, but Florida is the team to beat. Hes at Rutgers right now. Martin is another strong possibility. He's at NC State right now and is very high on UNC as well. Martin has the best motor of anyone I've seen this year. He goes 110 MPH every snap, it's incredible.

Mike68 (Dec 6, 2002 4:01:20 PM)
Coming signing day which S. FL kids do you see actually signing w/ OSU?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:02:12 PM)
68: That's a real tough question because most of the kids that will sign with OH State will realize how much they like it there after their visit and most haven't visited yet.

OTC (Dec 6, 2002 3:59:45 PM)
Who would you rank as the top recruit in the nation?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:01:28 PM)
The most complete prospect I've seen this year and I've said it since May is Kyle Wright. I think QB is the most important position on the field and he has all the physical tools you could possibly want. His 3 and 5 step drops are incredibly quick, big arm, athletic ability, the whole package. But what pushes him over the top is he has a mind and the intangibles like a Ken Dorsey or Josh Heupel or Drew Brees. I think it's the total package.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 4:01:38 PM)
Mike, in regard to Cotton, should we be concerned that the Bucks are recruiting a player the Canes dropped after they saw him in person?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:03:06 PM)
zeek: I have no idea. All I know is he wasn't in the same league as the other DL at that camp and UM realized that right away. But it was just a camp. He may fit your needs better. I'll tell you this, and I hope it's not different than what Duane L. thinks, but I think Patterson's much more of a sure thing.

Nutz4Bucks (Dec 6, 2002 4:02:02 PM)
Mike, since Ohio State is known as a running team, why are we having so much trouble attracting blue-chip O-linemen to come play for us this year. You'd think with a back like Clarett, they'd feel like they could be part of something special?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:04:01 PM)
Bucks: I wish I knew that. I thought Miami had a tough time attracting OL! UM hasn't out-recruited a Big 10 school for an OL in years, despite the recent success and they're likely going to lose out on 2 more this year - Mike Jones and Ryan Harris.

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:04:07 PM)
(Also, one thing to remember about Cotton -- Duane said he was struggling with injury during the camp season)

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:05:34 PM)
It's 4 pm, so I'd like to thank Mike for joining us today! Mike, talk to you soon. I will turn the moderated chat off and chat for a few more minutes if everyone would like to stick around a bit.

OTC (Dec 6, 2002 4:06:01 PM)
great chat

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:06:02 PM)
Kirk, Thanks for having me. I hope you learned some new things out some Florida kids today. I'll stick around for a few minutes.

JaxBuck (Dec 6, 2002 4:06:26 PM)
sure threw out some names I was unaware of fwiw

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:06:35 PM)
Mike, if you're going to stick around, I have to ask if Willie Williams (who sounds destined to take on a mythical quality) is better than Ernie Sims.

Hubbard (Dec 6, 2002 4:07:21 PM)
Willie Williams sounds like a player

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:07:49 PM)
Kirk: As a prospect, I think so. I'm in the extreme minority here, but I think Sims is the 3rd best LB PROSPECT in Florida behind Williams and a kid named Earl Everett. Ernie is physically at his peak. He peaked early and a lot of times that limits upside. I'm not sure how much better he's going to get between now and 4 years from now like the other kids, but he's still a great player.

JaxBuck (Dec 6, 2002 4:08:58 PM)
oh man I can see the Willie Williams thread posted at the top now Kirk!!

youngstown (Dec 6, 2002 4:07:25 PM)
A general question- to what do you attribute the overwhelming dominance of football talent in Fla relative to even Ohio, California and Texas, who most consider to be the best "other" states

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:09:41 PM)
youngstown: It's an attitude most of all. These kids eat, breath, and sleep football in this state. If you don't, you're not going to make it big around here. Competition is incredible. Two is how active the kids stay 12 months a year. After football, it's right into basketball or wrestling, then right into track or baseball, then right into the summer months where kids play BB and run all summer. The weather allows these kids to maintain great shape and be the types of athletes they are. But most of all, it's an attitude, especially with the inner city kids, that make them a little different.

HangOnSloopy (Dec 6, 2002 4:07:31 PM)
I missed the beginning of the chat, what was the word on Gooden?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:10:43 PM)
Gooden likes Ohio State and Coach Conley and will take a visit. However, I think he'll end up at Miami because that's where he's always wanted to go and will have a chance to. OSU landing him would be like UM landed Patterson. Yeah, he considered it, but in the end, it's very doubtful.

Texasbuckeye (Dec 6, 2002 4:07:48 PM)
Kirk, OSU is pursuing at least 13 of the Top 101 recruits. They have landed 3 verbals so far. How many do you think they will end up with?

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:09:07 PM)
Texasbuckeye, I think the Glenville guys and Maupin will wind up at OSU, and I'll take Duane's word for it with Burgess. That's seven.

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:09:36 PM)
If there's a blockbuster out-of-state prospect who OSU might have the best shot at, I'm guessing it's Mike Bush, but I could be wrong.

Buckeye2002 (Dec 6, 2002 4:09:27 PM)
Hey Kirk, I am somewhat concerned about OSU's OL recruiting, how do you see it shaping out?

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:00 PM)
Buckeye 2002, I like the pickup of Barton first off. But it's still a bit early... names could surface late we don't know much about. Kyle Thornton from TX is one that we haven't brought up much, and he could come on the scene.

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:10:09 PM)
Attitude is something I hear about CA. They have all sorts of prospects, but are they really as much into football as a kid from FL, OH, or PA?

youngstown (Dec 6, 2002 4:10:49 PM)
Ohio (and certainly Youngstown) has the attitude. We don't get the 365 day a year good weather. And bullet dodging takes up time...

youngstown (Dec 6, 2002 4:11:16 PM)
I say no on Cali Kirk. Soft...

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:11:33 PM)
Kirk: Not in Cali. I took a trip out to watch Kyle Wright's final regular season game last month and I quickly found that out.

HangOnSloopy (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:03 PM)
I like in the bay area and no one even talks about football here. It's an after thought

Buckeye2002 (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:26 PM)
i like Barton too, Kirk

Seabus (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:15 PM)
Mike, what about Bain and Wymbs? Miami bound too?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:32 PM)
seabus: Yes, I think so.

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:40 PM)
Mike, what did you mean about the attitude in CA?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:12:59 PM)
zeek: I mean that the kids see football differently out there. It's a game to them, not life.

youngstown (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:20 PM)

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:22 PM)
I'd like to see De La Salle go unbeaten on St. Ignatius' schedule.

Buckeye2002 (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:36 PM)
is Willie Williams an OSU lean, Mike?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:14:04 PM)
2002: No. He's not into the recruiting stuff yet

BigBuckFan (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:23 PM)
kirk, how do you like the bucks' chances with DE Tim Washington?

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:48 PM)
Mike, have you talked to Tim?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:14:18 PM)
Kirk: Yes, I spoke to Tim last week actually. I think it'll come down to OKL and Ohio State

zeek (Dec 6, 2002 4:13:54 PM)
Mike, how well does Michigan recruit Florida?

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:14:37 PM)
zeek: Yes. They recruit here from time to time, but not often.

Seabus (Dec 6, 2002 4:14:28 PM)
Mike, one more Jamesley Jean. He could fit in up here at DE or TE.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:14:59 PM)
seabus: I think OSU is in the top 2 with OKL for Jean right now. Very exciting prospect

Kirk (Dec 6, 2002 4:15:10 PM)
OSU is talking about putting Jean on defense too.

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:17:10 PM)
Hey guys, I just got another phone call. It's been fun and lets do it again in January!

MikeBakas (Dec 6, 2002 4:17:19 PM)
Take care everyone and hopefully I'll see you on Jan 3!

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