If you didn't like my line about OSU being Linebacker U., you gotta like our attempts to corner the cornerbacks.
We have enjoyed an unbelievable string of cornerbacks in the past generation including Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer, Nate Clements and Derek Ross. The latest two corners that are currently plying their wars in the Sunday League, in fact, would have made a huge difference in the Buckeye fates had they chosen, instead, to finish their OSU careers. Think of the difference in 2001 if Nate Clements had been playing corner instead of Cie Grant. I posit that our 7-5 season would have been 10-2! Honest! And think how this season might have started off with Derek Ross on one side instead of McNutt/Underwood. Well, that would have probably meant the non-event of the Gamble emergence so maybe we were better off, after all…
Which brings us current. We are starting a safety and a wide receiver at cornerback, right now. If you have been following Dr. Recruitnik's bouncing ball, you know that I am asserting that the safety (Dustin Fox) will actually move to safety next year. The wide receiver? I can't imagine a better cornerback than Chris Gamble so I can't imagine that they will move him.
Thus, we are looking at replacing Fox and having capable back-ups to Gamble to spell him for his offensive forays. Here's what the inventory of cornerbacks look like as of this date and their class year as of next year:
The walk-ons are:
And, in a special category:
- Richard McNutt, senior
There is another special category this year: two players for the class of 2003 have already enrolled in school this quarter and they are both cornerbacks: Ashton (Sheik) Youboty and Donte (Lights Out) Whitner. Like MC-13 before them, they hope to get into the mix at spring practice to become potentially available in the fall.
Is there a "Maurice Clarett of cornerbacks"? If there is, it might be Whitner. He is fast, fearless, covers like a foot of snow and hits like a freight train. There is some speculation that he and Underwood will duel for the spot opposite Gamble.
Last year's recruiting class will be remembered for the rich linebacker haul. This year will be remembered for the great cornerbacks. Aside from Whitner and Youboty, don't discount Dareus (Superman) Hiley and Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez got less ink than he should have because he committed so early but he was a one-man-gang for St. Ignatius, often taking over the game on both offense and defense. And he has sub 4.4 speed. Hiley? His coach, Ted Ginn, says he is the best athlete he has ever seen. Remember, this is the same coach who brought you Troy Smith, Pierre Woods and Donte Whitner.
Dr. Recruitnik sez: We will try to land one more all-world DB recruit in Ira Guilford, although he will probably move to safety. Some people compare Guilford to Michael Doss because of his athletic and running back prowess. But we are locked and loaded at cornerback.
Next year? You will hear from Coach Ginn again, in the person of his son, Ted Ginn, Jr. Most early reports have TG Jr. rated as one of the top three corners in the country and a Top 100 kid overall. The other name to look out for in Ohio is familiar as well – Brandon Underwood, EJ's younger-but-bigger brother.
But this year, look out for Lights Out at cornerback!
E-mail "Dr. Recruitnik" at firstname.lastname@example.org