Originally, as I contemplated this on-going thesis, I envisioned a segment about the defensive line as a two-parter: Defensive ends and defensive tackles. But the Tressel program has done away with such inflexible distinctions. In fact, you don't know what position some of these beasts play until they line up on the field. In fact, some of the down linemen have played as linebackers this year, so you can't even determine their technical position until once the play is over!
Cases in point: 1) When Darrion Scott was terrorizing high school kids in West Virginia, he was recruited as a linebacker. He plays All-World defensive end for the Bucks but slides inside as well. 2) Kenny Peterson was a Top 100 kid at Canton McKinley as a defensive end. It took him four years, but he found his niche as an inside guy and is now reputed to be the strongest Buckeye on the team. 3) Will Smith is a fabulous defensive end. But he drops back into short coverage as a linebacker to confuse the hell out of the opposition.
Since we have established at least that part of my thesis, let's plunge on. I am assuming that Scott and Smith will return next year only because it would break my heart if they did not. Once they are back, that will give us three All-Americans across the front with Smith, Scott, and Tim Anderson. Don't forget: all three of these guys were dinged up a bit in 2002, so they should be even better in 2003.
This line is so good that another Top 100 scholastic player – Simon Fraser – won't have cracked it until his fourth year (2004) but he will still see substantial field time. One thought would be to move Scott inside and have all four of our Eventual-High-Draft-Choices play at once. Hey – why not? And if we bring a new body into the mix, it might be the large presence of Marcus Green in there beside Tim Anderson.
Giddy, already? Well, it gets even better when we look into the near future. The two young up-and-comer studs in the middle are likely to be red shirt freshmen Quinn Pitcock and Joel Penton. One local high school talent scout from Dayton called Pitcock "The only high school football player I've ever seen that I could project into the NFL". And one high school coach (whose team played against both Pitcock and Penton) said, "Pitcock is unbelievably strong, quick and aggressive. But Penton is better". How much better can it get? How's this: Duane Long says that Jay Richardson (red shirt freshman next year) is a younger, faster Will Smith as a defensive end! And Mike Kudla on the other side? He was ready enough that he was the only one of the four not to red shirt this year. Here's a guy who will weigh 260+ pounds and bench presses over 500 while running a 4.4 forty. Pretty neat…
For the technical sake of full disclosure, we also list (as walk-ons on the roster) the following: Sam Williams (Soph), Steve Graef (Soph), and Bryce Culver (Soph). Plus, there are thoughts that Fred Stirrup could eventually become eligible but let's not count on that.
So where are we in examining the pipeline? We know OSU will lose the two seniors (Kenny Peterson and David Thompson) and those two are good ones. However, I'll say it again (because it makes me feel warm all over…), if Smith and Scott don't leave early, we will be even better next year. However (II), after next year – even if they stay – we lose Smith, Scott and Anderson. Fraser will be back for one more year after them and the rest gets turned over to the freshman class.
Sort of. Because there are more names to ponder. I always thought that physical phenom, Redgie Arden, would "end" up back on defense. And he might. And he's only a red shirt frosh, himself. Plus, we have arbitrarily speculated that Tim Schafer will move to the offensive line but he was recruited as a DL guy.
Lastly – or firstly, in the minds of recruit-aholics – David Patterson is coming. Take all those things I said about the other Big P's (Penton and Pitcock) and repeat them one more time for the fabulous David Patterson.
Who else might be coming? I am speculating that we will land both Brandon Maupin and Sian Cotton, who both want to play defense. Maupin might be the large diamond-in-the-rough as he is still developing and learning. Cotton (a running mate of LeBron James) is an exceptional athlete for a man his size and should morph to offense but he says not…Tim Washington is a super prospect on many Top 100 lists and Victor Abiamiri is even better. We have offered both but we have a much better chance of landing Washington. Others on the list of possibilities include Eric Moncur, DeMarcus Tyler, Conrad Bolston and Clifton Dickson.
In another category that could be called "Ohio Hot Shots," we have shots still at Shawn Crable and Raymond Edwards. Both of these players excelled as linebackers this year but both seem to be ready to move to DE at the next level. Since Edwards is from Cincinnati, I downgrade our chances there and since Crable is from Massillon, I like our chances better there.
Dr. Recruitnik sez: We got the best-of-the-bunch in David Patterson and we will get the next best in Brandon Maupin. Sian Cotton might be a Buckeye but he won't be a defensive lineman. And we will take two more out of the group of Tyler, Bolston, Dickson, Edwards, Crable and others-that-we-haven't-named-yet because we don't know whom they are! I am guessing that we will land Crable and Washington, which would be a tremendous DL haul and almost a perfect fit with the personnel we have now.
As to looking ahead to the Class of 2004 (and why not?)… In Ohio, there is one stud superstar and one with the potential to be a superstar at this position. The hottest hot shot is Chad Hoobler from Carrollton, a Top 100 kid at TE, LB or DE. The other up-and-comer is Mike Massey, a familiar name to OSU fans. Mike has St. Ignatius brothers who went to both Michigan and OSU, so it's hard to predict his sentiments at this juncture.
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