Look for several new names to pop up on the radar screen as the Buckeye coaches hit the road over the next few weeks. Finding top prospects late in the game has been a staple of the Jim Tressel-led Buckeye recruiting efforts over the years, and I see it continuing for the 2010 class.
Skyler Schofner quoted Buckeye assistant Jim Bollman as telling him Ohio State wants to sign three offensive linemen in 2010. With only Andrew Norwell in the fold, it appears the Buckeyes need to go two for two on their remaining targets, or watch for new names to appear.
Seantrelle Henderson: Ohio State remains at, or near, the top of every list Henderson puts out, and I think the Buckeyes have as good a chance as anyone to land this road grader. The possibility of Notre Dame firing their entire staff only aids the Buckeye effort. RATING: Remains very hopeful.
Matt James: At this point a battle once thought to be a three-way tug of war between Ohio State, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, now seems like a decision between the Buckeyes or Brian Kelley. Kelley will likely be coaching the Bearcats or heading to South Bend next year, and either way, he is the Buckeyes main competition for James. I do not see Florida taking James, should he decide to commit to the Gators, because their numbers are too tight. RATING: Remains hopeful.
Erick Howard: Howard might have made the Buckeye's decision on him by not achieving the academic requirements Ohio State asked for. How long will the Buckeyes wait on Howard, if at all? The addition of Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith, plus Jaamal Berry sitting out 2009, could make adding another tailback unnecessary. There is a possibility Howard takes the Hyde route to prep school and tries to gain admittance in 2011. RATING: Changed to highly doubtful.
Carlos Hyde: Hyde told me via text message that he will be enrolled at Ohio State on January 2nd. If true, this probably ends the running back recruiting. By all accounts, Hyde has done everything Ohio State asked of him, a direct contrast to Howard. RATING: Remains solid. Buckeye.
Defensive tackle is the highest priority at this point for Ohio State, closely followed by the defensive backs. The Buckeye will take two defensive tackles if they're the right two. They are still looking at taking four defensive backs, and a new name has emerged to replace Shaw and Christian as options. Another defensive end prospect is hearing from Ohio State as well.
Sharrif Floyd: Every indication from opposing coaching staffs points toward Floyd being a done deal for Ohio State. His visit to Columbus was a ten, and his high school coach has all but confirmed that Floyd will commit to Ohio State in January. Floyd might be the the highest rated remaining recruit in the eyes of Jim Tressel. RATING: Upgraded to probable Buckeye.
Johnathon Hankins: Another prospect needing to do work academically, and everything seems to be heading in the right direction. Will be visiting Ohio State again in a few weeks. If the visit is an official one, count this one in the win column for the Buckeyes. Has expressed his desire to commit to Ohio State, and was waiting on qualifying academically. RATING: Staying with Buckeye[still with fingers crossed].
Rashad Frazier: Frazier is a defensive end prospect out of Middletown and the Buckeyes have requested film. Not sure of the need to add another defensive end, but there is always a need to add great players, regardless of position. Frazier reportedly is quite raw, but has long arms and is very quick off the ball. Let's see if he's brought in on an official visit, as that is a tell-tale sign of true interest. RATING: Question mark.
Jordan Hicks: Is this one slipping away? Tough question to answer because Hicks is playing this close to the vest, no pun intended. Hicks has said many times he has no problem leaving the state to attend college, and I have always believed him. Three-team race between Texas, Florida and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes possibly sitting in the third position. RATING: Downgraded to questionable.
Christian Bryant: Bryant is a game-changer to the highest degree. He would get my vote for Mr. Football, if I had such a vote. Bryant is advanced enough to play as a freshman at Ohio State, and that is where he will sign on National Signing Day. RATING: Buckeye.
Latwan Anderson: Another prospect with possible academic work needing to be done. Anderson is good enough for the Buckeyes to wait until next summer to see the work completed, like they did with Ray Small four years ago. It's just hard to envision Anderson signing anywhere but with Ohio State. RATING: Remains Buckeye [fingers still crossed].
Lamarcus Joyner: Joyner visited Florida State last weekend, and they reportedly answered a lot of questions about the future of the program. Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews took an active role in trying to woo Joyner to the Seminoles, and they definitely made an impact, but is there too much to overcome? Ohio State has been there since the beginning, and assistant coach Luke Fickell will be at St. Thomas Aquinas next Monday to continue the Buckeye recruiting effort. RATING: Remains very hopeful.
Verlon Reed: A newcomer on the scene in the past month, Reed is being looked at as an athlete, preferably a defensive back. Reed has offers to play quarterback from Syracuse and several MAC schools. The usual indicator applies to Reed's situation with the Buckeyes. Watch to see if an official visit is extended, because if one is extended, I see Reed being offered and accepting. RATING: Still a Plan-B recruit.
Jerry Gates: Another Middletown player to hit the Buckeye recruiting radar late in the process. The Buckeyes have requested film. Gates seems more likely to receive a Buckeye offer than Frazier because of talent and playing a position of need. Gates has speed, could play a number of defensive back spots, and would be an effective special team player. Once again, wait and see if he gets extended an official visit to judge the Buckeye interest. RATING: Stay tuned.
There are now only thirteen prospects on the Ohio State radar to complete to 2010 recruiting class. It's just not realistic to think there won't be more names showing up in the coming weeks.
It has been a Buckeye tradition to discover new prospects in December, and I see that practice continuing this year. Stay tuned to see who the Buckeyes decide to pursue to fill out the 2010 recruiting class.