Top 10 Football Recruit Classes: No. 7 Ohio State
For the next two months, SchoolSports.com will rank the Top 10 recruiting classes for the Class of 2004, spotlighting a different college each week. To recap, we ranked USC at No. 1, Miami at No. 2, LSU at No. 3 , Oklahoma at No. 4, Michigan at No. 5 and Florida State at No. 6. Now it's on to No. 7.
No. 7 Ohio State
The Ohio State football program has experienced a rebirth under head coach Jim Tressel. In just three seasons, Tressel has led the Buckeyes to a 32-7 record and two BCS bowl victories, including the BCS national title after the Buckeyes beat Miami, 31-24, in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, 2003 to finish unbeaten at 14-0. Tressel also holds a 2-1 advantage against archrival Michigan.
Tressel was able to reap the benefits of his team's success with a strong recruiting class this season that includes five Top 100 recruits as rated by SchoolSports.com.
Headlining this year's class is Glenville High (Ohio) DB Ted Ginn Jr., who's rated the top defensive back and No. 4 overall recruit in the Class of 2004 by SchoolSports.com.
The 6-foot-1, 174-pounder was named the National Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today and was a Parade All-American selection after picking off eight passes, returning five for touchdowns this past season. He also had 54 total tackles and seven pass breakups. On offense, Ginn completed 62-of-92 passes for 931 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 845 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Ginn was named the MVP of the All-American Bowl in January after his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter helped propel the East to a 45-28 win. He has so much talent that he could step into the starting cornerback spot, which was left open when Chris Gamble left early for the NFL.
The Buckeyes picked up another top defensive recruit in Wayne High (Ohio) LB Marcus Freeman. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder had 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries his senior season to earn a spot on the Parade All-American team and USA Today's All-USA second team. As a junior, he recorded 152 total tackles. 29 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Freeman is rated the No. 21 overall recruit in the country by SchoolSports.com.
Adding to the Buckeyes' list of All-American recruits in McDowell High (Pa.) OL Kyle Mitchum, the nation's No. 62 recruit. Mitchum was named a Parade All-American and to the All-USA first team his senior season after not allowing a sack on 172 pass attempts.
Rounding out Ohio State's Top 100 recruits are No. 82 Antonio Pittman, a running back from Buchtel High (Ohio) and No. 97 Chad Hoobler, a tight end from Carrollton High (Ohio). Both were named All-Ohio selections this past season. Pittman rushed for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior despite missing three games due to injury while Hoobler earned All-Ohio honors for the third time.
Other top recruits who signed with the Buckeyes included: Beaver Area High (Pa.) TE Rory Nicol, who caught 18 passes for 234 yards and five touchdowns as a senior; Xenia High (Ohio) OL Ben Person; Archbishop Rummel High (La.) DL Nader Abdallah, who had 76 tackles, 11 sacks and two interceptions in eight games this past fall; and Hubbard High (Ohio) RB/DB Shaun Lane, who rushed for 1,700 yards on offense while racking up 30 tackles and four interceptions his senior season.
Check back in next week as SchoolSports.com unveils the No. 8 football recruiting class in the Class of 2004.