Scouting the Big 10: Ohio St

Jim Tressel did an admirable job his first year in Columbus and accomplished what former Buckeye coach John Cooper did so infrequently; he beat Michigan. You must give Cooper credit for his recruiting as he was one of the best and the NFL Draft will again be the beneficiaries of his efforts in '03.

Ohio State Buckeyes

On offense the Buckeyes do not have the number of prospects from the senior class as they've offered in the past, nor do they have the single outstanding underclassmen that can make a move into the top twenty, (sans for a single true sophomore) but quality players are still available. Chris Vance is a nice sized receiver that plays to his numbers; big and slow (on film, not paper). Vance easily out-positions opponents to make the difficult catch and even displays decent route running skills but is not the burner that breaks it deep. All things being equal he is a late frame selection in '03. The same cannot be said for Michael Jenkins, a junior that could move into the first sixty choices if he has a big season and enters the draft. Jenkins has the speed to stretch defenses and consistently makes the difficult catch down the field or play into the opponents secondary. He seems to have that second gear and has consistently improved his game, which lends one to believe he has a very bright future. On the line we were a bit disappointed with the play of Adrien Clarke last year after being awed by him during his red-shirt freshman season of 2000. Clarke now moves to his natural position at guard after playing left tackle and still has good upside as a power blocking lineman. Another pair of underclassmen linemen to watch are tackle Shane Olivea and guard Bryce Bishop, both of whom have solid potential for the next level. The true sophomore we mentioned at the top… keep an eye on Lydel Ross, quite possibly the next great running back to come out of Columbus.

Like the offense, the other side of the ball does not have the traditional top ten pick, (or as the case usually is, a top five choice) nor does it possesses the outstanding junior that'll make a monster climb up charts. The top prospect on the defense and entire team for that matter is safety Mike Doss. Solid against the run and terrific covering the pass, he is a complete safety that plays a total game. His range, athleticism and smarts are impressive. While he's not a defensive back that blows coverage Doss was a little hesitant at times last season but his decision to return for another year of college football was the best choice he made all year. Doss is a late first round prospect right now that could move into the middle part of the initial frame with a big senior campaign. Teammate Donnie Nickey is super-smart safety that displays a terrific feel for the game/position but lacks the great speed and suddenness. He is very much like former Buckeye Rob Kelly. At one time we thought middle linebacker Matt Wilhelm would meet the expectations Andy Katzenmoyer did not in college and while Wilhelm is a fierce run stuffer, his play against the pass is inadequate, making him a two down defender and late round pick at best. Junior Darion Scott is a versatile and athletic lineman that can play tackle or end and has some upside potential while senior Cie Grant will move from corner to outside linebacker, a position which he's better suited for and one where he may have potential at the next level on the weak-side.




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