There is no exact science to recruiting, no 'sure-thing' prospect. Here is a chance to take a look back at what Buckeye 50 was reporting on classes from the past. Sometimes things worked out very well, other times we were way off. But that is what makes for good reading! And now you can read the notes with 20/20 hindsight view. Enjoy!
Maurice Clarett, Warren, Ohio - TB. 6-0, 220, 4.47 speed. 3.3 GPA. Clarett was Coach Tressel's first verbal commitment. Sometimes compared to Jerome Bettis, Clarett is a tank with extremely quick feet. He battled injuries in 2000 but still put up very impressive numbers against some of the top competition in the state. Maurice plans to enroll early in January 2002 and get a jump start on the rest of the freshman by enabling himself to play in the spring.
Joel Penton, Van Wert, Ohio - DE. 6-5, 250, 4.8 speed. 3.8 GPA. Lima defensive player of the year last year over highly touted Lima LB Brian Andrews. Could play DE, DT, or O-line at Ohio State. Outstanding character. Not rated highly in early rankings but started to become a hot item in the late spring. Tool third in the state in wrestling at 15 pounds.
Justin Zwick, Massillon, Ohio - QB. 6-5, 215, 4.75 speed. Zwick is one of the top three QB prospects nationally and is currently ranked by Max Emfinger as the #1 drop-back prospect in the nation. He has already set the career passing yardage mark in the state and hasn't even played his senior year yet. 3.83 GPA. The best Ohio QB prospect since Joe Pickens and possibly since Art Schlichter.
R.J. Coleman, Charleston, West Virginia - TE. 6-3, 265, 4.8 speed. Coleman is one of the top five or so TE prospects nationally and immediately got on board after Zwick's commitment. 3.4 GPA. Could play TE or O-line at Ohio State. Has grown considerably the past few years. Probably the top overall prospect in the state of West Virginia. Thought to have tremendous upside. Coleman's high school offensive coordinator is Matt Wilhelm's uncle, Fred Wilhelm.
T.J. Downing, Canton, Ohio - OL. 6-4, 265, 4.9 speed. His father was an All-Big Ten offensive lineman for Michigan and played for the 49ers in the NFL. Not rated highly in the early publications but really impressed OSU coaches at their senior camp. Excellent frame with room to grow. Could play guard or tackle at the next level. Good strength.
E.J. Underwood, Hamilton, Ohio - CB. 6-1, 175, 4.48 speed. The top CB prospect in Ohio lit up the Purdue Nike camp in April and impressed the OSU coaches enough at their camp in June to warrant a scholarship offer. Excellent coverages skills and a big hitter for a man of his weight. Has the frame to add plenty of muscle weight. Unquestioned character. Son of a preacher.
Doug Datish, Warren - OL. 6-5, 285, 5.1 speed. The top O-line prospect in Ohio and one of the top 10 to top 15 O-line prospects nationally. Very polished at a young age and has the talent to come in and possibly play right away. Probably slated for offensive tackle at Ohio State. His dad was the back-up center on Woody's '75 team.
A.J. Hawk, Centerville - LB. 6-1 1/2, 230, 4.6 speed. One of the many outstanding LB's in Ohio this year. The guy bleeds scarlet and gray and has outstanding character. Everything you could want in a MLB at Centerville. Huge tackle numbers as a junior. Could also play FB at the next level. Duane Long calls him the best FB prospect in the state but OSU has recruited as an OLB.
Jay Richardson, Dublin - DE. 6-4, 245, 4.8 speed. Fast riser that was offered a scholarship after the coaches saw him up close at the OSU senior camp. Will probably play DT at the next level. Duane Long of Ohio Future Stars compares him to a current up and coming Buckeye, David Thompson. Great frame.
Rob Sims, Macedonia - OL. 6-4, 287, 5.1 speed. Sims comes from great bloodlines, with his father Robert Sr. being an ex-Cleveland Brown. The younger Sims was the most impressive offensive lineman at the Ohio State camp. It was once thought that Sims could be somewhat of a project, but after his showing at OSU's senior camp, Sims could be quite a catch.
Nick Mangold, Kettering - OL. 6-4, 267, 5.1 speed. Another O-lineman that impressed OSU coaches at their senior camp. Could play guard or center (his high school position) at the next level. Top five O-lineman prospect in the state. Is said to be quite a leader. Good mobility. Also a very solid nose guard but his future is definitely on the offensive side of the ball at Ohio State.
Tyler Everett, Canton - DB. 5-11, 187, 4.47 speed. Everett has excelled at both TB and DB at Canton McKinley but projects as a DB (most likely a safety) at Ohio State. Everett has excellent athletic ability and showed it off at the Ohio State June camp. He was offered a scholarship by the Cooper staff and was re-offered by Tressel an company after his outstanding showing at the camp.
Mike Kudla, Medina - LB/DE. 6-4, 245, 4.5 speed. Absolute freak. 485 pound bench and a 37 inch vertical to go along with his 4.5 speed. Huge tackle numbers last year. Slated to play "rush-end" in a new look Buckeye defense. Could also play LB. Very confident and a great leader. 3.86 GPA. Rated as the second best MLB prospect in the country by Max Emfinger.
Michael Roberts, Toronto - CB. 5-11, 175, 4.35 speed. Impressed OSU coaches at camp and received an over. Ran a sub-4.4 at the camp. Plays for a "club" team in Canada because his high school does not have a football team. Some say he is the top overall prospect in Canada. Said to have the great hips you want in a CB. Also a great hitter.
Tim Schafer, Upper Arlington, OH - DE. 6-5, 245, 4.9. Played opposite Simon Fraser on state championship 2000 Upper Arlington team. According to Duane Long of OFS, made monsterous strides as the season wore on. Could play DE, DT, or O-line at Ohio State. Potential top 10 prospect in the state who had offers from other big-time programs such as Michigan and Notre Dame.
Roy Hall, Lyndurst, OH - WR. 6-3, 200, 4.5. Considered to be the top WR prospect in Ohio and one of the top 10 to top 15 WR's nationally. Has drawn comparisons to former Buckeye star receiver David Boston. Excellent size and good speed for a big receiver. Outstanding student carrying a 3.8 GPA.
Stan White Jr., Baltimore, MD - OLB. 6-3, 230, 4.6. One of the top outside linebacker prospects in the country. Also a very good high school tight end that could get a look at that postion at OSU. Dad played LB for Woody Hayes from 1969-1971. 3.88 GPA. Played against strong H.S. competition.
Mike D'Andrea, Avon Lake, OH - MLB. 6-3, 235, 4.5. Arguably the top MLB prospect in the nation. D'Andrea's athletic abilities are off the charts, likely topping those of former Buckeye MLB Andy Katzenmoyer. D'Andrea also carries a 3.5 GPA. Pursued very hard by several top-notch programs including Michigan, Nebraska, and Notre Dame.
Brandon Mitchell, Atlanta - WR/DB. 6-3, 185, 4.5. Not rated very high by the guru's but the Buckeye coaches obviously saw something they like in him. Will probably play safety at Ohio State. 3.8 GPA. Picked off 9 passes this past season and scored 9 TD's on the offensive side of the ball.
Quinn Pitcock, Piqua, OH - DT. 6-4, 307, 4.7. Definitely one of the top 10 DT prospects nationally and probably top 5, but that could still be selling big Quinn short. Excellent speed for a man of his size. Top 5 prospect in the state of Ohio which is absolutely loaded with talent this year. Pitcock fills a big need for DT's at Ohio State and could find himself in the mix early. Pitcock, like many other commitments in this OSU class has a very high GPA in the high 3's.
Nate Salley, Ft. Lauderdale - safety. 6-3, 180, 4.5. Probably one of the top 10 safety prospects nationally. Great size and extremely athletic. Salley is an excellent basketball player as well. Ohio State has said that he can play both sports at OSU. And yet another Ohio State commitment with excellent grades. Salley carries a 3.4 GPA.
Santonio Holmes, Belle Glade, FL - WR. 5-11, 175. Not rated very high by the gurus but saw his stock rise in December and January. Was very impressive at the California Bowl. Has drawn comparisons to Andre Rison. Could be a really sleeper like the Florida WR Ohio State landed last year, Chris Gamble.
Bobby Carpenter, Lancaster, OH - LB. 6-3, 230. One of the top 10 to top 15 LB prospects nationally. Will probably play on the strongside at Ohio State. Excellent feet work makes him very good in coverage. His father is Rob Carpenter who played RB for the Houston Oilers and NY Giants in the NFL. 3.9 GPA.
Troy Smith, Cleveland - QB/ATH. 6-1, 200, 4.5. Fared extremely well at the Elite 11 quarterback camp that featured 11 of the top 11 QB prospects nationally. Very strong arm and throws well on the run. Has great athleticism. Will get a shot at QB and if that does not work out, Smith could end up at WR or safety. Probably a top 30 QB prospect nationally. Academics are a question mark; Smith still needs to qualify.
Derek Morris, Huntersville, NC - OL. 6-6, 350, 5.1. One of the top 5 O-line prospects nationally and one who probably has more upside than any other O-lineman. Physical freak of nature. Carries his weight well. Very strong and very athletic. Orlando Pace is Morris' idle. Is probably a little more raw than Orlando Pace was when Pace arrived at Ohio State.
February 10, 2001
How does this class rate nationally and in the Big Ten?
Rivals100.com, probably the biggest name in Internet recruiting, has updated its' recruiting rankings and Ohio State is coming in at #17. Ohio State was previously not ranked in their top 25, but their strong finish has pushed them into the rankings. It's worthy to note that a component of Rivals ranking is based on the number of recruits signed. Every school ranked in the top 8 signed 20 or more recruits but Ohio State signed just 17. Obviously Tressel got in the game late and Ohio State was fortunate to get that many. Also, Ohio State is banking some of these scholarships for next year's outstanding Ohio class. In terms of quality, Ohio State's class is excellent, as always. If you look at Rivals rating per recruit, Ohio State actually ranks 12th and isn't that far from the top 7.
Midwest recruiting guru Bill Kurelic stated on 1460 tonight that he feels this is the 3rd best class in the Big Ten behind scUM and Penn State. Now keep in mind that just a month ago, there was some talk that Ohio State might not add anyone else to this class and would maybe just lose some of their current verbals. As we saw, this definitely was not the case.
Who is the best prospect in this class?
Very tough question. Kurelic said tonight that he feels that Arden is the best prospect in Ohio. Depending on whom you talk to, it's a tough call as to who the best Ohio prospect is. If Arden is indeed the best, Fox, Fraser, and Hall aren't far behind him. And neither is Chattams for that matter. From the out of state guys, Lydell Ross' name almost has to be thrown in with the top Ohio guys, although I still like Hall a little bit better. I don't get to see much high school football outside of TV highlights and Internet scouting videos, so it's even harder for me to make a call on the best prospect in the class. On a gut feeling, I'm going to say Dustin Fox. He excelled in the national all-star game, has great bloodlines, is a great athlete and looks like he could be the next outstanding safety at Ohio State. I have heard he is a little arrogant, but sometimes you need that in a player.
Who is the sleeper of this year's class?
Another tough question. I have to go with Chris Gamble based on what I've read. Gamble is ranked a meager 89th by Rivals. There apparently is a reason for that. At one point, Gamble was an academic question mark, which drive down one's rating in many services. Well, Gamble is no longer an academic question mark. Also, when some of the early Florida statewide rankings came out, apparently the gurus couldn't get a hold of Gamble and/or his coach, so he was not ranked in an early top 100 list of Florida prospects. This early snubbing ended up hurting his Rivals rating, which is a compilation of different guru's rankings. Since then Gamble has been rated as the top WR in the state by three major newspapers in Florida and was ranked as the 14th best WR prospect in the nation by SuperPrep.
Which players will have a good opportunity to play as true freshman and which won't?
Simon Fraser - Fraser probably needs to add some muscle weight before he can make an impact for the Buckeyes, but the word is he has a motor that won't quit, so you never know. Kenny Peterson, Will Smith, and Darrion Scott are the only returning players at the DE spot, so Fraser might walk right into a 2nd team role.
Reggie Arden - Arden played MLB in high school but may not have the speed to play LB at the next level. Sources say he will probably play DE at Ohio State. If that's the case, he could battle for a second team job right away, just like Fraser.
Quinton Thomas - Looks like a project that definitely needs to add some weight to his frame before he sees time at DE. Probably a redshirt.
Andree Tyree - The word about a month ago was that Tyree was slated for DE or maybe DT at Ohio State. Tyree was originally thought to be recruited as a TE. With the lack of numbers on the O-line, I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the O-line. If he ends up at TE (doubtful), almost no way he plays as a frosh. If he ends up on the D-line, he's probably a redshirt. If he ends up on the O-line, he could earn a letter as a true frosh.
Marcus Green - Green is going to have to watch his weight. If he is in good shape in late August he could get some PT at DT. There aren't a lot of bodies at DT, so Green could get a chance.
Dustin Fox - I really think he gets immediate PT and may get a shot at nickel. I fully expect Fox in the two-deep for the opener.
Mike Nugent - He'll battle incumbent Josh Huston for place kicking and field goal duties. Based on comments I've heard about Huston, Nugent could have a good chance of winning all of the kicking duties.
Ja Ja Riley - Caught in a numbers game at TB. I don't see him staying at TB with all of the talent there now and with a top caliber back already in the fold for next year. With his frame, Riley could play WR or a variety of positions on the defensive side of the ball. Hard to see him getting a whole lot of PT next year, if any.
Maurice Hall - Hard to call this one. One would think that Wells is your #1 TB and Maldonado is your #2. #3 is out there for the taking and Hall could take the #3 spot and push for more if he all he's cracked up to be.
Tyrell Ross - See notes for Hall.
Brandon Schnittker - 4 FB's will start the month of August ahead of him. Hard to see him earning a letter as a true frosh. Chance that he could end up on defense.
Brent Hamby - Finally a pass catching TE, but will probably get caught in the numbers game with too many TE's in front of him this year. Probably a redshirt.
Antonio Chattams - Gets immediate chance at PT and maybe a starting spot, with the inexperience currently at the WR spot. Great athlete that could be very good very quickly if someone can get him the ball. I feel he has a good chance at being two deep on opening day.
Chris Gamble - Again, there is not much experience at WR spot, so Gamble will get his chances. I think he plays as a frosh.
Chris Vance - Another potential sleeper at WR. Gets his shot just like Chattams and Gamble. Good chance of getting PT next year.
Adam Olds - Good chance that he walks right into the two-deep with the lack of numbers on the O-line.
Ryan Cook - See Olds notes.
February 4, 2001
Maurice Hall will announce his decision at 1:00 on signing day (this Wednesday.) I like our chances here.
Dustin Fox will announce his decision at 10:00 a.m. on signing day. I like our chances here as well.
Angelo Chattams will announce his decision sometime tomorrow. I like our chances here as well.
Lydell Ross will announce his decision at some time on signing day. Ohio State got into the game late in trying to land Ross who is one of the top TB prospects in the country. Despite the fact that Ross is now calling Ohio State his leader, I still question whether or not Ohio State will be able pry him away from Florida. Ross change his mind quite a bit.
Ralph Paulk from the Akron Beacon Journal has said that TE/WR Kellen Winslow Jr. was leaning OSU's way earlier in the week, but I'm not buying it. Paulk isn''t the most reliable source and other rumors say Winslow is a Washington lean. I don't see us pulling him away from the left coast. Winslow's dad, the Hall of Fame TE from the Chargers, has put an end to interviews with Kellen Jr., so we'll have to wait and see.
It looks like Ohio State has fallen behind in the request for the services of DE Marcus Hudson. Hudson will probably decide between Michigan State and NC State.
Alphonso "Bigee" Townsend will be signing with Ohio State on Wednesday.
It's up in the air as to whether or not Quinton Thomas will sign with Ohio State on Wednesday. If his academics are in order, he will sign with the Buckeyes.
Finally, it's doubtful that Rodney Carter will receive an LOI (letter of intent) on signing day due to his poor academic standing.
February 2, 2001
Let's try to play the numbers game which is difficult with this team.
With this year's senior class moving on, that leaves Ohio State with 55 players that appear to be fully eligible heading into the 2001 season. This DOES NOT INCLUDE the following players that may or may not be eligible: Terry Pogue, Jim Massey, David Thompson, Maurice Lee
This number also DOES NOT INCLUDE Tyson Walter who may or may not be back with the team.
If all of these players are back, then Ohio State has 60 guys on scholarship before this recruiting class.
Now, JUCO Chris Vance has already enrolled at Ohio State which brings the scholarship total to 61 (again, if you count Pogue, Massey, Thompson, Lee, and Walter.)
Now, Ohio State has 9 guys in the bag that should sign next Wednesday. They are: Ja Ja Riley, Brandon Schnittker, Chris Gamble, Brent Hamby, Ryan Cook, Adam Olds, Simon Fraser, Andree Tyree, Reggie Arden
Add these newcomers and you now have 70 potential players filling scholarships.
Now, you have three players that have made verbal commitments to Ohio State that may not be offered scholarships due to their questionable academic standing. They are: Alphonso "Bigee" Townsend, Rodney Carter, Quinton Thomas
When you throw these guys into the mix, the total is now up to 73 players potentially filling scholarships.
Now, I'm going to throw the last 5 guys into a group and just say that there appears to be a 50/50 chance (or better) that each of these comes aboard: Dustin Fox, Angelo Chattams, Maurice Hall, Mike Nugent, Marcus Green
Add these guys in and you now have 78 players that could potentially be filling scholarships. Forgot to mention that I have excluded Jason Ott (career ending injury), Richard Hall (strongly rumored to be gone), and Andrew Lee (transfered to Cincinnati.) This leaves 7 unfilled scholarships that could be "banked" for next year.
Ohio State will have 11 guys that will use up their eligibility by a the end of the 2001 campaign. So if you are wondering how many potential scholarships that Ohio State will have available for next year's stellar senior H.S. class, this calculation gives us a minimum of 18. Keep in mind that it is possible that OSU could land even more players that I have not listed, but it's much more likely that OSU will have at least 22 scholarships available next year. Right now, I wouldn't be surprised if Townsend, Quinton Thomas, and Angelo Chattams do not end up being part of the 2001 team. Others will either transfer or fall short on the academic end as well. On the other hand, it's possible that players like Jason Bond and/or Mike Jacobs Jr. could earn scholarships. Bottom line - Ohio State will have plenty scholarship left for next year - no need to worry.