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Recruiting 2003
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2003 Class Looks Strong
February 2003 3:30 PM

Tony Gonzalez, Cleveland, Ohio (St. Ignatius) WR/DB.  6-0, 185, 4.4 speed.  3.4 GPA.  Gonzalez comes from a football factory at Cleveland St. Ignatius and excelled in the 2001 Division 1 Ohio State Championship game.  He has excellent pure speed and like most Tressel recruits, is very strong in the classroom.  Gonzalez could play on either side of the ball at the next level, with a potential to play receiver, cornerback or safety.  Gonzalez is considered to be a top 15 prospect in the state of Ohio.

Curt Lukens, Canton, Ohio (Hoover) Safety/OLB.  6-2, 200, 4.5 speed.  2.9 GPA.  Lukens impressed the Ohio State coaches enough at their 2002 June camp to make him a scholarship offer.  Lukens is considered to be a top 20 prospect in the state and could play either safety or linebacker at Ohio State.  Lukens is an extremely gifted athlete.

Devin Jordan, Massillon, Ohio (Washington) WR.  6-3, 190, 4.5 speed.  3.6 GPA.  Jordan has put up monstrous numbers at Massillon Washington the past two years.  He has excellent size and can run very well for a big receiver.  Was still able to put up huge numbers even after star QB Justin Zwick moved on after the 2001 season.  One of the top 3 WR prospects in the state and could be #1.  Yet another Tressel recruit with excellent grades.

Todd Boeckman, St. Henry, Ohio (St. Henry) QB.  6-6, 215, 4.8 speed.  2.9 GPA.  Boeckman was a 4-year starter at St. Henry and also was a star on the basketball court and the baseball field.  He is the son of St. Henry's head football coach.  Very good fundamentals.  Generally considered to be the second best QB prospect in Ohio and a top 10 QB prospect in the midwest.

David Patterson, Warrensville Heights, Ohio (Warrensville Heights) DT.  6-3, 260, 4.85 speed.  2.7 GPA.  One of the best DT prospects in the nation.  Phenomenal pass rusher, who had 18 sacks as a senior.  Could have gone almost anywhere he wanted to go.  Top 5 overall prospect in the state.  Most advanced pass rushing prospect in the state.

Kirk Barton, Massillon, Ohio (Perry) OT.  6-6, 265, 4.9 speed.  3.4 GPA.  The only in-state offensive lineman offered by the Buckeyes as of the beginning of December.  Great mobility and a large frame making Barton a prototypical OT prospect.  High School coach known for developing linemen.  Not highly ranked nationally, but ran a 4.81 40 at OSU's camp.  Another commitment with excellent grades.

Ashton Youbody, Klein, TX (Klein) DB.  6-1, 186, 4.5 speed.  Pursued hard by Oklahoma and Penn State before committing to Ohio State.  Excelled at Ohio State's camp running a 4.36.  Played WR on offense and was also an excellent return man for his high school team.  Could play CB or safety for OSU but says that OSU has recruited him first as a CB.

Donte Whitner, Cleveland (Glenville) CB.  5-10, 170, 4.3  Some consider Whitner to be the #1 CB prospect nationally.  Big-time hitter, especially for his size (a la Antoine Winfield.)  Absolute blazing speed.  Excellent student (3.7 GPA.)  Wants to try to enroll early so he can play in the spring.  

Dareus Hiley, Cleveland (Glenville) CB.  6-1, 175, 4.4  Nicknamed "Superman" because he can do it all.  Hiley has played QB, RB, WR, CB, safety and returned kicks in high school.  His likely position at Ohio State will be CB, but he could get a look at WR.  Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long calls Hiley the best all-around athlete since Charles Woodson.  Still needs to qualify, but this now seems probable as Hiley has picked his grades up.

Brandon Maupin, West Chester (Lakota West) DT/DE.  6-6, 270, 5.0 - Absolute physical specimen who may need a year in the weight room, but has some big upside.  One of the top 25 D-line prospects nationally, but likely will slide down to DT at the next level.  Great frame and good athletic ability for a guy his size.

Reggie Smith, Cleveland (East Cleveland Shaw) LB.  6-2, 235, 4.55 - Considered to be the one of the top 2 LB prospects in the state.  Outstanding senior year, finishing with 20 sacks.  Has drawn comparisons to Buckeye senior linebacker Willie "Cie" Grant.  Waiting on test results.  He has yet to obtain a qualifying score.  One of the faster rising prospects in the state this year.

Sian Cotton, Akron, OH (St. Vincent St. Mary) DT.  6-3, 290, 5.0.  Very agile for a big man, agile enough to play center on the Akron SVSM basketball team.  Could play on the OL or DL at OSU.  Had an outstanding senior year at DT.  One of the top 15 or so DT prospects nationally.

Louis Irizarry, Youngstown, OH (Ursuline) TE.  6-5, 230, 4.7.  One of the very best TE prospects in the nation.  Outstanding receiving threat who can can get down field and stretch a defense.  An excellent student with a GPA in the 3.9 range.  An outstanding all-around athlete.

Ira Guilford, Hoboken, NJ (Hoboken) DB/TB.  5-11, 185, 4.45.  Great size, speed, strength combination.  One of the top overall prospects in New Jersey and a top 10 safety prospect in the nation.  Could play some TB at Ohio State if the numbers continue to run thin.  Vertical leap of 39 inches.  Recruited very hard by the OSU coaches. 

Marcel Frost, Lyndhurst, OH (Brush) DE/TE.  6-5, 235, 4.7.  Could play TE or DE at Ohio State but will likely first be looked at on defense.  Hails from the same H.S. as current Buckeye Roy Hall.  Originally committed to Iowa, but changed his choice to the Buckeyes.  Great frame with some pretty big upside.  Top 15 player in the state of Ohio.

Signing Day Recap
February 2, 2003 8:00 PM

2003 Ohio Prospects (ranked as of 2/2/03)

1) Prescott Burgess S/LB (Warren Harding) - Michigan
2) Donte Whitner CB (Cleveland Glenville) - Ohio State
3) Louis Irizarry TE (Youngstown Ursuline) - Ohio State
4) Brady Quinn QB (Dublin Coffman) - Notre Dame
5) Shawn Crable LB/DE (Massillon Washington) - Michigan
6) David Patterson DT/DE (Warrensville Heights) - Ohio State
7) Dareus Hiley ATH (Cleveland Glenville) - Ohio State
8) Ernie Wheelwright WR (Columbus Walnut Ridge) - Minnesota
9) Brandon Maupin DT/DE (West Chester Lakota West) - Ohio State
10) Sian Cotton DT (Akron SVSM) - Ohio State
11) Ray Edwards DE (Cincinnati Woodward) - Purdue
12) Reggie Smith LB (East Cleveland Shaw) - Ohio State
13) Eric Thatcher CB (Cincinnati Moeller) - Pittsburgh
14) Devin Jordan WR (Massillon Washington) - Ohio State
15) Marcel Frost DE/TE (Lyndhurst Brush) - Ohio State
16) Chinedum Ndukwe WR (Dublin Coffman) - Notre Dame
17) Mike Phillips CB (Warren Harding) - Pittsburgh
18) Tony Gonzalez DB/WR (Cleveland St. Ignatius) - Ohio State
19) Ty Hall OL (Cincinnati Anderson) - Boston College
20) Joe Razzano FB (Milford) - Virginia Tech
21) Justin Valentine RB (Columbus Eastmoore) - Minnesota
22) Chris Norwell OL (Cincinnati Anderson) - Illinois
23) DeJuan Tribble CB (Cincinnati N. College Hill) - Boston College
24) Greg Lowe WR (Shaker Heights) - Eastern Michigan
25) Nick Larkin DE (Cincinnati St. Xavier) - Boston College
26) Todd Boeckman QB (St. Henry) - Ohio State
27) Curt Lukens S/LB (N. Canton Glen Oak) - Ohio State
28) Michael Hearns DT/DE (Cleveland Glenville) - Pittsburgh
29) Keilen Dykes DE (Youngstown Chaney) - West Virginia
30) Andrew Crummey OL (Van Wert) - Maryland
31) Kirk Barton OL (Massillon Perry) - Ohio State
32) Mike DeLuca OL/DL (Chardon NDCL) - Pittsburgh
33) Brandon Kelly LB (Bedford) - Wisconsin
34) Scooter McDougal FB (East Cleveland Shaw) - Toledo
35) Ryan Thompson DE (Akron Hoban) - Boston College
36) Tom Avneski OL (Cincinnati Elder) - Boston College
37) Maurice Smith FB/LB (Warren Howland) - Michigan State
38) Jeff Hughes TB (Lorain Southview) - undecided
39) Zach Slates OL (Massillon Perry) - Pittsburgh
40) Adam Kadela LB (Dublin Coffman) - Northwestern
41) Davanzo Tate CB (Austintown Fitch) - West Virginia
42) Adam Graessle K/P (Dublin Coffman) - Pittsburgh
43) Irvin Spencer LB (Bedford) - Navy
44) Chris Vangas C (Dayton C-J) - Pittsburgh
45) Kevin Tuminello C (Youngstown Boardman) - Ga Tech
46) Derrick Jeffries LB (Cincinnati Withrow) - Cincinnati
47) Ben Mauk QB (Kenton) - Wake Forrest
48) Devin May OL (Columbus Bishop Watterson) - Louisville
49) John Ferguson QB (Reynoldsburg) - Akron
50) Mike McGlynn OL (Austintown Fitch) - Pittsburgh

Signing Day Comments

Yes indeed...looks like a fine looking Ohio high school class for 2004.  Okay, in all seriousness, let's talk about this year's class as a whole, the disappointing finish, and whatever else comes to mind.  I have settled down a little and ran some #'s before I started writing.  I had prepared to be pretty critical of this year's finish, but after rating each prospect on a scale of 1 to 5, coming up with an average per recruit and comparing it to the last 5 classes, I think this class comes in second behind only last year's class.  But, with the smallest class in the last 6 years, you would expect the quality of individual prospects to be a little higher.

Before I get to the each recruit and a ranking, I still must say I'm disappointed.  I don't think I have been one to be overly critical of Ohio State or certain players on this site in the last two year's (save the Bellisari DUI incident) and I don't subscribe to "the sky is falling" theories.  I look back at the 1998 season and remember it as an incredible season.  I don't remember it as the year we choked, like some Ohio State fans recall.  And I understand that recruiting rankings can be way off.  I also understand that one or two players does not make or break a program.  

With that being said, I still have extremely high expectations for Ohio State.  I think that is the way it should be.  I expect outstanding recruiting classes every year.  I admit that I follow recruiting more than I should, but because I do, I have to tell you that it's natural for me to give an opinion...good, bad, middle of the road or whatever, as to how I feel the class filled out.

We got enough talent that it's hard to say that this is a bad class.  But, I can tell you that I expected a better class and I honestly believe if you asked Bill Conley behind closed doors, and he answered you honestly, he'd say he is a bit disappointed.  Now, Conley would also probably say that there is still plenty potential and tell you how he likes everyone they signed, but I think if Conley had to do it all over again, he would.

The big blows were Prescott Burgess and Shawn Crable to Michigan.  I take so much pride in supporting a team and a state that I can call "my own", it just baffles me how some of the top prospects in the state can choose Michigan over what we have here.  Sending a child to play for Jim Tressel the football coach and learn from Jim Tressel the person would be beyond my wildest dreams.  But I know that this is me, and obviously different people have different ways of viewing things along with different criteria to evaluate schools and football programs.

But looking at these two as purely "prospects," I don't think there is any question that these were big losses.  They were big losses had they chosen schools that we would never face, let alone the school up north.  The first goal is get the top prospects in Ohio to come to Ohio State and if that isn't going to happen, you definitely hope they are not headed to another Big Ten school, and the last place in the world you want them, is at TSUN.  Some Buckeye fans may downplay their talents now that they have signed with Michigan, but these guys are two of the top players in the nation.

I guess the next most disappointing thing, is losing Stanley McClover on signing day after he had verbally committed here.  I understand that these kids are 17 and 18 years old, making the biggest decisions in their young lives, but losing a verbal on signing day that you were somewhat confident was signing with you, really hurts.  And when you throw in the fact that the Bucks lost out on Turk McBride, Ohio State really doesn't have a true DE in the class (save possibly Marcel Frost.)  And when Will Smith and Darrion Scott leave after this season, there is not much left at the DE spot.

As far as expectations, I must admit that the 2002 class and the National Championship have spoiled me.  And when you follow recruiting day in and day out, it's hard to accept losing top Ohio kids to Michigan and going 0 for 4 on signing day, when you thought you had a decent shot at getting two of them.  But the sun will still rise tomorrow, and we will still see players from this class that were not thought highly of in the recruiting world outperform our expectations.  I'm done complaining and ready to move on to look at the class and what each recruit brings to the table.

This year's class has two early enrollees, like last year's did.  No one will ever forget the impact Maurice Clarett made, now maybe cornerback Donte Whitner can do similar.  Defensive Coordinator Mark Dantonio was quoted earlier today as saying, "I've recruited Ohio for eight years, and in those eight years he is the best defensive back prospect I've seen coming out of high school. I don't want to slight any of those other guys, but he is the total package."  Whitner has world class speed, being clocked below 4.3 on multiple occasions, and many have compared him to Antoine Winfield, a smaller corner that can flat out hit.  Whitner is probably the jewel of this class.

The other prospect who is already enrolled early is Houston, Texas' Ashton Youboty.  Youboty is also slated for corner at Ohio State although he could get a look at safety.  Youboty put on quite the show for the Buckeye coaches last June at the Buckeye camp.

Since we are talking DB's, let's talk about Donte Whitner's high school teammate Dareus Hiley.  Hiley is nicknamed "Superman" or "Supe" for short because he could play about anywhere on Cleveland Glenville's team.  Hiley has drawn some comparisons to Charles Woodson and could play CB or WR at OSU.  Sources say that Hiley will first get a look at WR.  Before Whitner became a household name in Ohio high school football and recruiting (two years ago), Hiley was considered by some to be the top overall prospect in Ohio.  Hiley may still need to qualify.

Another incoming frosh that could play DB or WR is St Iggy's Tony Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was the first to commit in this class, last spring.  Gonzalez has some serious wheels and has played against some tough competition in high school.

A name that few Buckeye fans had heard of a few months ago, Ira Guilford, could turn out to be the most valuable of the incoming freshmen.  Guilford can hit like a truck at safety and could provide depth at a thin TB position.  The Buckeye coaches pushed hard for this kid, and I have a feeling he could be the next Mike Doss.

Still another DB that OSU landed this year is North Canton Hoover's Curt Lukens.  Lukens was not well known in the recruiting world until he had a great camp at Ohio State last June, received an offer, and then committed to Ohio State shortly thereafter.  Lukens could also get a look at LB at OSU.  He's a pretty big safety at 6-3, 200+ pounds.

The lone LB that Ohio State landed is East Cleveland Shaw's Reggie Smith.  Smith has drawn some comparisons to Cie Grant and saw his stock rise significantly after a huge year.  Smith still needs to qualify academically.

The prize of the D-line recruits appears to be David Patterson, who played DE at Warrensville Heights, but is likely slotted for DT at Ohio State.  Patterson is a beast who may be physically ready to play right away at Ohio State.

Ohio State also landed Brandon Maupin from West Chester Lakota West.  Like Patterson, Maupin played DE in high school, but with his size, he may be better suited for DT at OSU.  Maupin was pursued by many big-time programs across the country.  He may be a bit raw at this point, but has some big upside.

The third D-lineman that OSU landed is DT Sian Cotton 
from Akron St. Vincent St. Mary.  Cotton improved his stock with an outstanding senior year and was courted by Florida before committing to Ohio State.

Another potential D-lineman for Ohio State is Lyndhurst Brush's Marcel Frost.  Frost was originally being recruited as a TE and could still get time there, but committed to Ohio State as a DE.

On offense, the prize recruit is TE Louis Irizarry.  Irizarry is a pass catching machine that some have compared to the Kansas City Chiefs' Tony Gonzales.  Irizarry's athletic skills are truly phenomenal.

At WR, Ohio State added Justin Zwick's #1 target from Massillon Washington, Devin Jordan.  Jordan has great size and good speed for a kid his size.

The Bucks did not see any O-linemen that they liked in Ohio until deciding on TE Kirk Barton in the fall.  Barton is slated for tackle at Ohio State.  Barton is not a big name at all in the recruiting world, but the OSU coaches love his upside, because of his 6-6 frame and excellent footwork.

The lone QB that OSU signed was St. Henry's Todd Boeckman.  Boeckman may actually enroll in January and be part of the 2004 class.  The Buckeye coaches want to get some separation (class wise) between Boeckman and Zwick and Troy Smith.  Boeckman was not a big name in recruiting this year, but is a four-year starter at QB and a coaches' son.

Using the scale below, I came up with a rating for each prospect.  These ratings average out to 3.13 stars per player.  As I mentioned above, that is the 2nd highest average in the last 6 years.

***** Elite prospect, one of the tops in the nation
****  Considered by some to be an elite prospect; 
          received some top 100 recognition
***   Generally a top 300 type of prospect or 
          considered by many locals to be a sleeper  
**     Not much national recognition
*      Not well known at all in the recruiting world and
          recruiting rankings

                    Donte Whitner *****
                    Louis Irizarry****
                    David Patterson****
                    Ira Guilford****
                    Dareus Hiley****
                    Sian Cotton****
                    Brandon Maupin***
                    Ashton Youboty***
                    Tony Gonzalez***
                    Reggie Smith***
                    Marcel Frost***
                    Devin Jordan***
                    Todd Boeckman**
                    Curt Lukens*
                    Kirk Barton*

Finally, it was also reported today that JUCO DL/OL Evans Desir, from Ft. Lauderdale Dillard H.S will attend Ohio State.  Desir actually played his ball this year at West Hills C.C., but hails from Chris Gamble's stomping grounds.  Desir did not sign a letter of intent, but plans to enroll in the spring as a walk-on.  Desir could play O-line or D-line at Ohio State.  

First Look at the Prospects for the Class of 2003
February 9, 2002 3:30 pm EST

The 2002 class again looks set, at least for a while.  Buster Davis is saying that he will choose between Florida State and Nebraska and also says that the Buckeyes are indeed out of the picture.  If Ohio State does not sign anyone else for 2002 and if no other player were to leave, that would give Ohio State a roster with 82 scholarship players out of the 85 maximum.  11 players will have used up their eligibility after the 2002 season, meaning Ohio State should have at least 14 scholarship to give out for 2003.  That's not too many, but chances are that total will be up in the high teens before it is all said and done.

So, who are some of the top prospects for 2003 in Ohio?  Start with Prescott Burgess, a safety from Warren Harding, who played with Maurice Clarett last year.  Prescott will undoubtedly be considered one of the top three prospects in the state next year and the Buckeyes appear to have a very good shot at landing him.  Burgess has a big frame and could play LB at the next level.  Another name to keep an eye on is Darius Hiley, from Cleveland Glenville, who played with Troy Smith last year.  Hiley is an incredible athlete who could play QB, CB or WR at the next level.  He too, will be considered to be one of the top 3 prospect in the state next year and like Burgess, the Buckeyes have an excellent shot with him.

Some of the other names to watch (in no particular order) are QB Todd Boeckman from St. Henry, WR Devon Jordan from Massillon Washington, DT Sian Cotton from Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, CB Eric Thatcher from Cincinnati Moeller, OT Dan Pribula from Strongsville, TE Louise Irizary from Youngstown Ursuline, CB Donte Whitner from Cleveland Glenville and DE Shawn Crable from Massillon Washington.  More on 2003 prospects in the next few weeks.

Buckeyes Land Commitment From Cleveland LB
December 31, 2002 8:15 AM

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that East Cleveland Shaw Linebacker Reggie Smith has verbally committed to Ohio State.  Smith's name rose up the recruiting charts late in the year.  He finished with 26 sacks this year and some have compared Smith to current Buckeye linebacker Cie Grant.  Smith still has to become eligible, but last word was that he was very close to the test score he needed.  Smith becomes the 12th commitment in this class which some are now predicting will be in the 20-22 range on signing day.

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