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Recruiting 2004
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2004 Recruiting Recap
February, 2004 12:15 am EST

Overall, I think it is a very solid class.  Sounds like many fans think this is a weak finish, but I actually feel it was a fairly strong finish.  No Jarrett or Anderson, but there were several big commitments in the last three weeks or so.

So many people want to evaluate this class by where they are ranked nationally.  I don't think that paints the best picture.  These are things I feel help paint a better picture:

1) How did OSU fare in state?

OSU landed basically everyone they wanted in state that was qualified except for Mike Massey and Fred Davis.  That is 15 out of 17.  Davis would have been nice, but OSU did a great job in state as a whole.

2) Did OSU address their needs?

Yes.  It would have been nice to land a top-10 type of tailback, but OSU landed three TB's total and Haw has some huge upside.  They got their punter in Trapasso and got a kicker to gray-shirt.  Another O-lineman would have helped, but OSU got a solid foursome.  The rest of the commitments are spread across the board pretty nicely and many of these kids can play multiple positions.

3) Who did OSU offer that got away?

The biggest name was Fred Davis.  The other in-state kid that got away was Mike Massey.  As mentioned above, that is a very good success rate in state.  You can't count on many out-of-state kids as guys that OSU "should have landed".  You are almost always the underdog when recruiting out-of-state.  Last year OSU lost arguably three of the top six prospects in the state with Shawn Crable and Prescott Burgess heading north and Brady Quinn committing to ND.  OSU probably got at least seven of the top eight in-state guys they wanted and landed a significant number of key OOS guys they offered.

4) Did OSU keep Ohio kids away from TSUN?

Again, Mike Massey is the only one from Ohio that OSU wanted and lost to Michigan.  Much better than losing Crable and Burgess last year.  And, Ohio State actually stole one that Michigan offered, LB/DE Vernon Gholston.

5) Did OSU have success landing some big names from out of state?

Absolutely.  While some fans will want to dwell on OSU not pulling in Dwayne Jarrett or Rhyan Anderson late in the game, OSU landed 4 of the top 15 prospects from Pennsylvania.  If you have been following Ohio State recruiting for awhile now, you know that this is unheard of.  OSU craps out in PA almost every year.  Now, add Nick Patterson from MO, Albert Dukes from FL, Vernon Gholston from MI and Nader Abdallah from LA...now that's a very nice job with OOS recruiting.

Comments on the each of the incoming recruits:

TB Erik Haw: Some people will want to compare him to Maurice Hall because like Hall, Haw shredded weak competition in the Columbus City League.  The similarities end there.  Haw is bigger and seems to have better football speed.  Haw may be a bit raw at this point and it is possible that he is not even a true tailback, but this a kid that appears to have a huge amount of upside.  Ohio State may need him this year.

TB Antonio Pittman: Not many people can say much about him because he played through injuries for much of his senior year.  What we do know is that the kid has wheels (sub-4.4) and isn't exactly small at 205 pounds.  Pittman will enroll in March and be able to play spring ball, which is key.  We will know a lot more when we see how he matches up against Mark Snyder's defense this spring.  Ohio State saw enough of him to offer him last spring, so the OSU coaches think a lot of Pittman's potential.

TB Dennis Kennedy: A mystery man.  Many fans didn't like the offer because Kennedy was nowhere to be found on the recruiting charts.  But as many know, there are always diamonds in the rough and OSU has had good success finding many of them.  So-so numbers for a TB recruit coming to Ohio State but runs track, participates in the triple-jump, averaged 20 ppg on the hardwood, and is a solid DB.  OSU obviously saw potential in him and he definitely helps the numbers situation at TB.

FB Dionte Johnson: Son of a man they called Pepper.  OSU has missed Jamar Martin for two years now and needs someone to pave the way for the tailback.  Playing with no fullback and two tights has limited what a Clarett-less offense can do.  Johnson has great athleticism for a fullback and could get some quality playing time immediately.

WR Albert Dukes: May be the sleeper of the class, but his rise up the recruiting charts tell you that he may not be a sleeper anymore.  Those in the know say that he is electric, another Santonio Holmes (his schoolmate) with better size.  Florida tried to get in on Dukes late, but OSU had already pulled him far enough north that it was too late.  And Miami (FL) offered, which certainly should tell you something.

WR/S Devon Lyons: Another WR that had a Miami (FL) offer.  Lyons is a big kid that has been growing like a weed.  Word is that he is almost 6'4", up from 6'2" last year.  And the kid is just 16 years old.  He has it all, with good speed, great strength, a 30+ inch vertical.  If he keeps growing, he could end up at another position, but as of now, he is going to be a matchup problem for many DB's.

TE Rory Nicol: Somewhat of a Hartsock clone with better athleticism.  Great steal out of Pennsylvania.  Nicol could possibly play tackle down the road, but for now he looks like a keeper at tight end.  Great pair of hands to go with his outstanding blocking ability.  Nicol should be good enough to allow Chad Hobbler a chance to play defense.

TE/ATH Chad Hoobler: Forgotten kid in this class because he committed so early.  Outstanding athlete that just needs to gain a few pounds.  Most have called him a DE, but Hoobler will likely be more valuable as a LB or a DE.  The kid was a tackle machine on defense and was always around the ball.  But, if they want to keep him on offense, he has the whole package you want in your tight end.  Great blocker with a good pair of hands.

OL Kyle Mitchum: Much needed help on the O-line.  Originally recruited as a DT by the Buckeyes until he expressed how much he wanted to play on the O-line.  No problem Kyle.  Throw his 40 time and other Nike camp numbers out the window.  By almost all accounts, this kid can flat out play the game and his quick feet make up for his slow 40 time.  He seems to have bought into the family atmosphere at Ohio State.  Undersized somewhat, but has the frame to fill out.

OL Ben Person: Another forgotten kid because of how early he committed.  May not be too far behind Mitchum if at all in terms of advancement.  Likely an interior guy, Person could battle for a starting job early.  Some say Person is your next great center at Ohio State.  Person appears to be in great shape for a big guy and can move for a 290 pounder.

OL Steve Rehring: A bit of a project, but a kid that will work his rear end off.  A year ago, Rehring was nowhere near a top D1-A prospect, but the kid was not to be denied.  He lost at least a couple dozen pounds and looked like a different kid at the OSU camp.  Now, the kid is still a monster, but is now looking like a kid with loads of potential.  He gets a jump start on the other incoming linemen which will help his development.

OL Jon Skinner: Possibly a steal coming off an injury.  Like Rehring, Skinner is a big kid (to say the least).  The thing you keep hearing about Skinner is that he is as tough as they come.  That is music to your ears if you are an O-line coach.  Playing with a torn ACL as a junior?  That is insane.  May still be recovering a bit from the ACL, but is technically sound already.

P AJ Trapasso: A Jim Tressel kind of punter - an athlete.  The kid was a great running back in high school and had solid punting numbers.  It's hard to judge how a punter is going adjust making the jump from high school to college, but Trapasso is a tough kid who should adjust fine.  Like Rehring, Pittman and Marcus Freeman, enrolling in time to play spring ball is certainly a plus.

DE/LB Vernon Gholston: Upside, upside and more upside.  And stolen from Michigan's back yard.  Gholston actually had pretty average numbers his senior year, but this kid is a freak.  Should make the move from LB to DE and probably needs a redshirt year.  The speed he has for a 245-pound man is absolutely sick.  This is a name that might be a household one three years from now.

DE/DT Alex Barrow: Went from potential as a junior to stardom as a senior.  Can play end or inside but will eventually probably settle in at DT.  Excellent speed for a kid his size.  Barrow put up sub-par numbers as a junior for someone with his ability, but dominated good competition as a senior.  Likely needs a year in the weight room.

DT Nader Abdallah: Daa TermaNADER.  A Louisiana kid that loves Ohio State.  6'3", almost 300 pounds and not a lot of fat.  The kid can run and is powerful.  Has not played much football (didn't start playing football until his junior year), so his best ball is probably ahead of him.  The kid seems to have his priorities in order and should have a great career ahead of him.

LB Marcus Freeman: The entire package.  Outstanding speed and overall athleticism.  He's a 230-pound kid that competes in the 4 X 100.  That should tell you something about his speed.  A four-year starter in high school, Freeman should be able to hit the ground running at Ohio State.  Played in the middle at Huber Heights Wayne, but could be an outstanding outside linebacker at OSU. 

LB Curtis Terry: This somewhat unknown has some freakish skills.  Has played DE most of his career, but is undersized at 205.  Has the frame to add possibly another 40 pounds.  Vertical inch in the 40" range?  That is an athlete.  Tressel has shown that he is willing to take a risk on the pure athletes.  Terry probably needs to redshirt, but is a kid with quite a bit of upside.  LB is probably his first destination.

LB Brandon Smith: Many that follow Buckeye recruiting are scratching their heads over the offer to Smith.  Not rated by many of the gurus, but who knows more, the gurus or the OSU coaches?  Great frame at 6'3", 240.  Can really run.  Smith did have a lot of tackles as a senior, recording 125.  Diamond in the rough?  We shall see.  Smith is another example of the speed recruiting that is becoming a staple of Tressel recruiting.

CB Ted Ginn Jr.: It may not get any better than this.  Some say he is the best corner prospect since Dion Sanders.  Not sure that is true, but Ginn is as electric as they come.  It will be almost impossible to keep this kid off the field when the Buckeyes are on offense.  He is a threat to go all the way every time he catches the ball.  If he lives up to the billing, he will play as much or more than Chris Gamble did at Ohio State.

CB Brandon Underwood: EJ's younger brother may have more upside than his brother.  Great size (6'2") for a cornerback.  May end up at safety before his career at OSU is over.  Needs to add a few pounds, weighing around 170 pounds right now.  Very good speed and a good hitter.  Probably needs to redshirt to gain some muscle weight.

CB Shawn Lane: Garcia's son is a bit undersized but would be the best return man in the state if it wasn't for a kid named Ted Ginn.  Great one-on-one cover man.  Was a star TB in high school, but is too small to play tailback at this level.  Could play safety, but likely gets his first look at corner.  Only 5'1"0, so likely can't add much weight to the 180 pounds he weighs right now.

S/CB Sirjo Welch: A speed demon who loves to hit.  Welch came out of nowhere in the recruiting world when he sent a recruiting video out.  Great all around athlete who also plays basketball.  Could get a look at corner, safety and maybe even wide receiver. Has the hips of a corner, but hits like a safety.  This could be a kid who challenges for playing time right away.

S/WR Nick Patterson: Scholar student is quite an athlete.  Free safety is his likely position, if he doesn't get a look at WR.  Patterson could also get a look at corner as well.  Great size at 6'2", 210.  With his size, Patterson should have a chance to play early, but there are a lot of talented DB's and WR's at OSU that will challenge for playing time.

Verbal Commitments for the 2004 Class
February, 2004 8:30 pm EST

Shaun Lane, Hubbard, Ohio (Hubbard) DB/TB.  5-10, 170, 4.45 speed.  Son of former Ohio State defensive back Garcia Lane.  Extremely athletic player who will likely play corner at Ohio State.  Ran for over 2,000 yards at tailback as a junior, picked off 5 passes on defense and scored a total of 27 touchdowns.  Electric punt returner who could very well get his chance returning punts at the next level. 

Ben Person, Xenia, Ohio (Xenia) OL.  6-4, 290, 5.2 speed.  One of the top two O-line prospects in Ohio and may be the best.  Some consider him to be an overall top 10 prospect in Ohio this year.  Has played left tackle for Xenia the past two years, but is likely slated for an interior position on the line at Ohio State, possibly center.  Excellent student with a GPA in the mid 3's. 

Antonio Pittman, Akron, Ohio (Buchtel) TB. 5-11, 195, 4.4 speed.  One of the top four RB's in a top Ohio RB class, who may be the best of the bunch.  Extremely fast and has great vision.  Ran for over 2,300 yards and scored 25 TD's as a junior.  Great quickness and all-round athletic ability.  Has run a 4.3.  Shows good power for a speed back.  No issue with qualifying.   

Chad Hoobler, Carrollton, Ohio (Carrollton) TE/LB.  6-4, 220, 4.7 speed.  Great athlete that is technically sound and an extremely versatile football player.  Plays LB and TE in high school,.  OSU first wants to look at Hoobler at TE.  Good instincts and quickness and a very good hitter on defense.  Had an unbelievable 217 tackles as a junior.  Great blocker at tight end. 

Sirjo Welch, Columbus, Ohio (Beechcroft) DB. 5-11, 180, 4.45 speed.  Relatively unknown in the recruiting world at the time of his commitment.  Athletic DB that could play corner or safety at the next level.  Also a solid basketball prospect and would like to get a shot on the hardwood as well.  Recent video tape opened many Big Ten coaches' eyes.  Had offers from many Big Ten and regional D1-A schools including Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Boston College.  Picked off 6 passes as a junior, returning two for TD's.

Steve Rehring, West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West) OL.  6-7, 315, 5.3 speed.  Huge frame and somewhat lean for his legit 6'7" height.  Big upside.  Considered by some to be a top 20 O-line prospect nationally.  Could play guard or tackle at the next level.  Extremely hard worker.  Die-hard Buckeye.  Had an impressive offer list, including Michigan, that was growing quickly at time of commitment to Ohio State. 

Jon Skinner, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania (Mount Carmel) OL.  6-5, 275, 5.1 speed.  Will be a four-year starter when he takes the field in August.  Played with a torn ACL for some of the 2002 season and did not have surgery until the season ended.  Part of two state championship teams.  4.0 student and scored a 1230 on his SAT.  Likely would have been rated as one of the top prospects in the state of PA had it not been for the knee injury.  Had surgery in January of this year, but has recovered very quickly.  385 pound bench press.  Will play LT as a senior.  Chose Ohio State over Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Purdue and Duke, who had all offered. 

Erik Haw, Columbus, Ohio (Independence) ATH.  6-0, 210, 4.3 speed.  Phenomenal athlete who could play RB, WR, LB or DB at the next level.  Played safety, FB and TB as a junior.  Cousin of Minnesota '03 recruit Justin Valentine.  Blazing speed.  Has the body/size/speed of an ideal Big Ten TB.  3.0 GPA.  Not much national recognition until he posted 40 times of 4.28 and 4.21 at Ohio State's camp.  Upside is off the charts.

Brandon Underwood, Hamilton, Ohio (Hamilton) DB.  6-0 1/2, 166, 4.49 speed.  Younger brother of Buckeye sophomore cornerback E.J. Underwood.  Could play corner or safety at Ohio State.  Has the frame to add a good amount of muscle weight.  Hard hitter with excellent technique at corner.  Chose Ohio State over Iowa, Purdue, Penn State, Arizona State and Notre Dame, all of which had offered. 

Marcus Freeman, Huber Heights, Ohio (Wayne) LB.  6-2, 240, 4.6 speed.  One of the absolute best linebacker prospects in the country.  Freeman has the total package with size and speed.  Could play inside or outside at Ohio State.  3.8 GPA.  Voted best linebacker at underclassmen All-Star camp in San Antonio last January.  One of the top three or four prospects in the state of Ohio.

Dionte Johnson, Columbus, Ohio (Eastmoor Academy) FB.  5-11, 225, 4.5 speed.  Son of former Buckeye great Thomas "Pepper" Johnson.  3.6 GPA.  Good speed for a big man and great strength.  Leading tackler on team on the defensive side of the ball, but likely slotted for FB at Ohio State.

Brandon Smith, Euclid, OH (Euclid), LB/DE.  6-3, 230, 4.6.  Athletic middle linebacker that could slide down to defensive end at the next level.  Good student with a 3.4 GPA.  125 tackles as a senior.  Chose Ohio State over West Virginia.  One of the top LB prospects in Ohio for 2004.

Rory Nicol, Beaver, PA (Beaver Area), TE.  6-5, 245, 4.8.  Phenomenal athlete and a great blocker.  One of the top few TE prospects in the nation.  Runs track and plays basketball at Beaver Area High School.  Had scholarship offers from top programs all over the country.  Could be an offensive lineman one day, yet has great ball catching skills.  Played DE on the other side of the ball.

AJ Trapasso, Pickerington, OH (Central), P.  6-2, 220, 4.6.  Versatile athlete who ran for over 1,400 yards as a senior and averaged almost 42 yards per punt.  Should be OSU's #1 punter next season.  Will enroll early and participate in spring practice.  Big leg.  Cousin of former Buckeye defensive lineman Joe Brown. 

Ted Ginn Jr., Cleveland, OH (Glenville), CB/ATH. 5-11.5, 169, 4.43.  Simply the best recruit in the '04 class, and one can make an argument that he is the best recruit in the nation.  Unreal athleticism.  Could play CB or WR at the next level.  Explosive kick returner.  Rated as the #1 CB in the nation by virtually every service.  MVP of 2004 Army National All Star game.  Could qualify for the next Olympics in the 110 meter hurdles.  Son of Cleveland Glenville Head (football) Coach Ted Ginn Sr.  3.3 GPA.

Vernon GholstonDetroit, MI (Cass Technical), DE/LB.  6-3, 238, 4.45. Athetiscm almost puts him in the freak category but raw at this stage.  Finished senior season with 103 tackles, 7 sacks, and 16 tackles for losses.  Played offensive guard as a junior, but likely has a future at LB or on the D-line.  Had a great camp at OSU this past June.  Rare Michigan product that decided on the state below him.

Alex Barrow, Dublin, OH (Coffman) DL.  6-3, 250, 4.9.  Fast rising prospect that OSU has kept at least one eye on since last winter's junior day.  92 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 16 sacks his senior year.  Not rated on any national lists, but OSU held an offer open even with several other D-line possibilities.  Could play DE or DT at the next level.

Nick Patterson, Hazelwood, MO (Cental) S/ATH.  6-2, 200, 4.5.  Great all-around athlete with good size.  Could play safety or corner at the next level or possibly even WR, but will likely start out as a safety.  GPA over 4.0 while taking honors classes.  25 on his ACT.  Good route runner as a WR and a guy who makes plays.  Loves to hit on defense.

Kyle Mitchum, Erie, PA (McDowell), OL/DL,  6-5, 265, 5.1.  Outstanding prospect on both sides of the ball.  Most colleges like Mitchum as an OT but some prefer him as a DT.  Very lean.   Excellent feet with good strength.  2.8 GPA.  

Nader Abdallah, Metairie, LA (Rummel), DT, 6-4, 295, 4.9.  Very strong with outstanding athletic ability.  3.0 GPA.  One of the best DT prospects in the nation.  Selected to play in 2004 Army High School All-American game.

Albert Dukes, Belle Glades, FL (Glades Central), WR, 6-1, 185, 4.51.  Measurements are from Nike Camp.  Hails from same school that produced Reidel Anthony and Ohio State's Santonio Holmes.  Fell under the radar somewhat as a junior, but shot up the recruiting lists after an outstanding senior year.

Dennis Kennedy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Stranahan), RB/CB, 5-11, 180, 4.4.  Describes himself as an Emmitt Smith type runner.  Good all-around athlete who runs track and plays basketball.  Good Student.  A Florida kid that absolutely loves Ohio State. 

Curtis Terry, Cleveland, OH (Glenville), LB/DE, 6-1, 200, 4.5.  Phenomenal athlete who originally was not expected to qualify.  Now said to be fully qualified.  Undersized, but great quickness and very strong.  Vertical jump near 40".  Would have shown up on recruiting ranking lists were it not for early academic struggles. 

Devon Lyons, S/WR, Pittsburgh, PA (Woodland Hills), 6-2.5, 204, 4.47. Great size for a 16 year-old.  Could also play WR or S at the next level but likely gets his first shot at WR.  Top 15 safety prospect nationally.  Touchdown machine his senior year, scoring 14 times on 23 catches.  Very strong, bench pressing 340 pounds.  3.4 GPA.

VerbJunel Commitments for the 2004 Class
June 23, 2003 7:00 pm EST

Ratings done 6/28/03; most recent updates  (in red)  

1) Ted Ginn Jr., CB, Cleveland Glenville, 6-1, 165, 4.4.  Possibly the best cornerback prospect in the nation.  He ran the fastest 40 at the U.S. Army national elite junior combine in January.  Has the total package.  Son of Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr.  His stats as a junior were simply amazing.  Ginn played all over the field, finishing with 42 tackles, 10 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries, 300 passing yards, 5 touchdown passes, 408 yards rushing, 10 rushing TD's, 10.0 per carry average at tailback, 15 receptions, 502 receiving yards and 4 TD catches.  Ginn was also #1 in the state in the 110-meter hurdles and finished 10th nationally in this category.  Signed with Ohio State
2) Fred Davis, WR, Toledo Rogers, 6-4, 215, 4.5.  Another Ohio prospect that lit up the U.S. Army national elite junior combine in January.  He was voted top WR at the combine.  Great combination of size and athletic ability.  The upside for Davis is off the charts.  Has played a number of positions but will be a WR at the next level.  Will be considered one of the elite WR prospects in the nation this year.  Presents major match-up problems for average sized corners.  Upside is huge.  Verbally committed to USC.
3) Marcus Freeman, LB, Huber Heights Wayne, 6-2, 230, 4.6.  One of the very best LB's in the country and the clear cut #1 LB prospect in the state of Ohio this year.  Great combination of size, speed, strength and attitude.  Bench pressed 185 pounds 28 times at the U.S. Army national elite junior combine.  Can bench press 430 pounds.  Excellent student with a GPA in the 3.7 range. May be the best Ohio LB prospect since Andy Katzenmoyer.  Could play inside or outside at the next level.  Signed with Ohio State
4) Brandon Braxton, OL, Youngstown Ursuline, 6-7, 295, 5.2.  A prototypical tackle prospect with excellent mobility for a big guy.  May be a little bit raw at this stage but the sky is the limit for Braxton.  Very tall with long arms and carries his weight extremely well.  Has played some DE but OT is his future.  Also plays basketball, averaging double digits in rebounds and points.  Recently started focusing more on football after focusing more on basketball as a youngster.  Big fan of Orlando Pace (no surprise.)  Verbally committed to Oklahoma
5) Ben Person, OL, Xenia, 6-4, 290, 5.4.  One of the top offensive interior line prospects in the nation.  Excellent run blocker.  More suited for an interior line spot, possibly center, but likely guard at the next level.  Very good mobility for a big guy.  Is now faster than the 5.4 reported 40 time. Signed with Ohio State
6) Chad Hoobler, DE/TE, Carrollton, 6-4, 220, 4.7.  Great athlete that is technically sound and an all-around great football player.  Plays LB and TE in high school, but many think he could be a DE at the next level.  Good instincts and quickness and a very good hitter.  Had an unbelievable 217 tackles as a junior.  Great blocker at tight end.  Excellent all-around athlete.  Verbally Committed to Ohio State
7) Antonio Pittman, RB, Akron Buchtel, 5-11, 195, 4.4.  Fastest D-1A TB prospect in Ohio, one who has run in the 4.3 range before.  Excellent vision and a great all-around athlete.  Has the frame to be 210 pounds at the next level.  Very, very quick.  Ran for over 2,000 yards and had 25 TD's as a junior.  Signed with Ohio State
8) Miles Williams, WR/S, Austintown-Fitch, 6-2, 205.  Outstanding size/speed combo.  Very polished at this stage in his career, who runs good routes and has good hands, quickness, strength and leaping ability.  A "do-everything" guy for Austintown-Fitch, playing all over the place on offense and also playing defense and special teams.  May be a bit smaller than the 6-3, 210 that he is often listed as.  Verbally committed to Michigan State (commitment now solid)
9) Erik Haw, ATH, Columbus Independence, 6-0, 210, 4.3.  Phenomenal athlete who could play RB, WR, LB or DB at the next level.  Played safety, FB and TB as a junior.  Cousin of Minnesota '03 recruit Justin Valentine.  Blazing speed.  Has the body/size/speed of an ideal Big Ten TB.  3.0 GPA.  Signed with Ohio State
10) Sirjo Welch, DB, Columbus Beechcroft, 5-11, 180, 4.45.  Like Haw, Welch is a Columbus city school athlete who has come out of nowhere.  Had college coaches drooling after they received his highlight tape.  Could get a look at multiple positions at the next level. Solid basketball player as well.  Signed with Ohio State.
11) Brock Bolen, RB, Germantown Valley View, 6-0, 230.  Bolen has been compared to former Purdue FB Mike Alstott.  He's a big back that can play TB or FB and does everything well.  Bolen probably works out as much as any prospect in the state of Ohio and is very strong.  Ran for 2200 yards last year and 43 TD's.  Bolen also has an excellent pair of hands.  Verbally committed to Illinois
12) Brandon Underwood, DB, Hamilton, 6-1, 170, 4.5.  Younger brother of current Buckeye corner E.J. Underwood.  Big hitter that could play cornerback or safety at the next level.  A little thin right now, but is tall with a good frame and is very physical.  Vertical of 32".  Signed with Ohio State
13) Steve Rehring, OL, West Chester Lakota West, 6-8, 315, 5.3.  Gigantic frame and a whole lot of upside.  Extremely hard worker who pushes himself extremely hard.  Decent mobility for a big guy.  Considered by some to be one of the top 20 O-line prospects nationally.  Signed with Ohio State
14) Michael Massey, DE, Cleveland St. Ignatius, 6-6, 225, 4.7.  Younger brother of Jim and Pat Massey.  Great frame, excellent athletic ability with huge upside.  Great quickness, the kind you want in a rush end.  Also plays TE but is destined to be a DE at the next level.  9 sacks and 81 tackles as a junior.  Grades are so-so, but Massey should be okay here.  Verbally committed to Michigan
15) Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland St. Ignatius, 6-4, 190, 4.75.  Excellent physical tools, including great arm strength, good mechanics, good size, a quick release and good mobility.  Has not lit up high school competition through his senior year, but all signs are that he will his senior year.  Could stand to add a few pounds to his stature but has the frame to do it.  Verbally committed to Michigan State
16) Anthony Turner, QB, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, 6-3, 195, 4.6.  Great leader with a good arm, good mobility and good technique.  Does not get rattled.  Very polished for a high school junior quarterback.  A very good high school basketball player as well.  May get stereotyped as an athletic QB, who many see as erratic passers, but Turner has more of a pro-style QB than an athlete and has good accuracy.  Verbally committed to Bowling Green
17) Chauncey Incarnato, OL/DL, Dover, 6-7, 280, 5.0.  Good frame - tall with long arms.  Plays tackle on offense and defense, but his future appears to be on offense.  Very good strength/athleticism combo.  Playing at small school has kept publicity down.  Also wrestles.  Verbally committed to Notre Dame
18) Nii Anjei Oninku, DE, Clayton Northmonth, 6-2, 225, 4.8.  One of the top couple D-line prospects in Ohio and could play DE or DT at the next level.  Has the wingspan to play DE, which Oninku prefers.  Very strong against the run.  Played basketball at his 225 weight, but played football in the 240 range.  3.3 GPA and wants to major in engineering.  Verbally committed to Kentucky  
19) Tony Howard, CB/RB, Garfield Heights, 6-0, 190, 4.5.  Excellent athlete with extremely quick feet.  Runs track and is a good basketball player, averaging 20 points per game.  Seems destined for CB at the next level, but is a solid TB also. Verbally committed to Michigan State
20) Gerald Catogen, OL, Portsmouth, 6-7, 305, 5.0  Another extremely tall offensive tackle prospect from Ohio.  Has extremely long arms.  Outstanding athleticism for a player his size.  Also very strong, especially at this stage.  Has fared very well against top competition at his left tackle position.  Verbally committed to Penn State
21) Ray Jones, RB/DB, Columbus Academy, 6-0, 195, 4.5.  Good feet and a good all-around athlete.  Very strong.  Respected as a high character kid and an excellent student with a 3.6 GPA.  Could play defense at the next level, although TB looks like it will be Jones' first position.  Verbally committed to Stanford
22) Jason Chapman, DE/TE, Bedford, 6-4, 240.  Very good athlete with versatility.  Exceptional pass rusher.  Verbally committed to Wisconsin
23) Raymond Williams, TB, Cleveland Benedictine, 5-11, 180.  Absolutely incredible stats as a junior, rushing for over 3,250 yards and 39 touchdowns.  Could be slightly undersized to play TB at the next level, but if he adds another 15 pounds without losing much speed, he can do it.  Also could play CB at the next level.  Extremely quick and is fearless.  Grades/test scores are a major concern as he finishes up his junior year.  Recruiting Update 1/25: It has been said that a conditional offer is on the table for Williams.  Williams still appears to be a longer shot to qualify.  If he does not qualify, the talk is that he will head the prep school route and likely head to OSU next year if he gets his academics in order.  Top 5 prospect in the state if he were 100% eligible.  Earning the Ohio Mr. Football award for 2003 was not an accident. 
24) Nick Smith, TE/DL, Canton GlenOak, 6-6, 265, 4.85.  Played mainly TE last year and some DE.  He will play DE this year.  Quite the physical specimen.  Moves very well for a big guy.  Verbally committed to Michigan State. 
25) Shaun Lane, DB, TB, Hubbard, 5-10, 175.  Dynamite athlete who excelled on offense, defense and special teams last year.  Ran for over 2,000 yards and is considered to be one of the most dangerous returnmen in the state.  Likely slated for CB at the next level.  Very tough for his size.  Son of former Buckeye DB Garcia Lane.   Signed with Ohio State 
26) Steve Walker, CB/QB, Akron Buchtel, 5-9, 175, 4.5.  Big-time athlete, who excels on both side of the ball.  Very, very quick.  Will almost certainly play corner at the next level.  Verbally Committed to Pittsburgh
27) Michael Bell, WR/DB, Shaker Heights, 6-0, 170, 4.45.  Has some big-time skills and some big upside, but has not caught a lot of balls in high school.  Will likely play WR at the next level, but could get a hard look at DB.  Explosive athlete who could shoot up lists with a quick start to the 2003 season. Verbally committed to Michigan State
28) Daryl Clark, QB, Youngstown Ursuline, 6-2, 190, 4.7.  Mobile QB with a lively arm.  Good pocket presence and good vision.  Is a leader.  If accuracy improves, he could shoot up charts.  Verbally committed to Penn State
29) Delbert Ferguson, TB, Warren Harding, 6-3, 215, 4.5.  In previous years, Ferguson has been considered by some to be the #1 overall prospect in the state.  The freakish abilities that Ted Ginn, Marcus Freeman and Fred Davis have shown have probably pushed Ferguson a few notches down most Ohio lists, but Ferguson still looks like the #1 TB prospect in the state.  Very powerful runner.  Pure speed is somewhat of a question, but if he can improve his speed and prove that he can hang onto the football, he will be considered one of the top backs in the land.  Transferring from Youngstown Ursuline to Warren Harding.  Recruiting Update 2/4: Washington State or Cincinnati decision expected today.
30) Alex Engram, Warren Harding, QB, 5-10 1/2, 210, 4.7.  Good mobility with a strong arm.  Can throw on the run.  Can throw the ball a good distance.  Willing to play CB in college.  Verbally committed to Western Michigan
31) Chase Clowser, OL, LaGrange Keystone, 6-8, 325.  Huge lineman with a lot of upside, but raw at this point.  Plays RT on his team and is a better pass blocker than a run blocker at this point.  Also plays DT, but Clowser's future is as a bookend offensive tackle.  Also plays basketball.  Verbally committed to Pittsburgh
32) Mike Maciejowski, QB, Upper Arlington 6-3 1/2, 210, 4.65.  Son of former Ohio State QB Ron Maciejowski who played on the 1968 National Championship team. Good arm, with decent mobility.  Can really throw the deep ball.  Cool under pressure.  Verbally committed to Minnesota
33) Trumaine Smith, WR, Warrensville Heights, 6-3, 185, 4.45.  Excellent athlete with a great size/speed combination.  Only downside at WR is that he has not had a chance to showcase himself with the type of offense Warrensville Heights runs.  Has run a sub 4.4 before and a 10.7 100 meters.  35 inch vertical.  Solid grades.  Good performances at camps could help his stock shoot up very quickly.  Verbally committed to Toledo
34) Tony Johnson, FB/DT, Liberty Township Lakota East, 5-11, 250, 4.7.  Throwback FB, the kind that punish LB's and pave the way for the I-backs.  Extremely physical on both sides of the ball.  Blocking is his game, but has been effective running the ball as well.  Would like to wrestle at the next level.  Recruiting Update 1/25: Nothing since this 1/3 report: May have dropped off the face of the earth.  No news to be found on Johnson.
35) Alex Barrow, DE/DT, Dublin Coffman, 6-4, 250.  DE/DT prospect with some good upside.  Separated his shoulder in the middle of the season this past year and missed the remainder of the season.  Good frame with good athleticism.  Could play DT at the next level if he gets bigger, but is a good pass rusher and has the athleticism to play DE.  Signed with Ohio State
36) Gary Russell, TB, Walnut Ridge, 5-11, 195.  Powerful back who ran for 1,800 yards and scored 28 times last year.  Hard to get a clean shot on him.  Plays DT on occasion.  Lost weight in the off-season wrestling.  Verbally committed to Minnesota
37) Justin Kucek, K/P, Canfield, 6-1, 185.  Top kicking prospect in Ohio.  Averaged 44 yards per punt his junior and senior season.  Verbally committed to Minnesota

Other Ohio Prospects:

Justin Kershaw, DE/TE, Reynoldsburg, 6-5, 230, 4.6.  Fast rising prospect as of December 2003.  State champ in the discus.  Great frame.  Played both sides of the ball virtually every play his senior season.  Likely a DE at the next level.  Verbally committed to Michigan State

Alfred Martin, DL, Lyndhurst Brush, 6-5, 253, 5.0.  Fast rising prospect as of December 2003.  Extremely hard worker.  Great frame with some big-time upside. Could play inside or at end at the next level.  Played both OL and DL this past year.  Verbally committed to Toledo

Brandon Smith, LB, Euclid. 6-3, 230, 4.6.  Signed with Ohio State. See the 2004 commitments page for more on Smith.

AJ Trapasso, P, Pickerington Central.  6-2, 220, 4.6.  Signed with Ohio State. See the 2004 commitments page for more on Trapasso.

Out-of-State targets for Ohio State

Dennis Kennedy, RB/CB, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Stranahan), 5-11, 180, 4.4.  Describes himself as an Emmitt Smith type runner.  Good all-around athlete who runs track and plays basketball.  Good Student.  Signed with Ohio State

Gartrell Shavers, RB, Miami Springs, FL (Miami Springs), 6-0, 210, 4.5.  Leading rusher in the county as a senior, which is quite a feat in Dade county.  Runs track.  Jan 25 Recruiting Update: Nothing new since this late Dec update: Does not have an offer from OSU, but could still get one.  Grades/test scores are a concern.  Shavers could be a diamond in the rough.  May visit OSU in January.  Favors OSU.

Albert Dukes, WR, Belle Glades, FL (Glades Central), 6-1, 185, 4.51.  Measurements are from Nike Camp.  Hails from same school that produced Reidel Anthony and Ohio State's Santonio Holmes.    Signed with Ohio State

Dwayne Jarrett, WR, New Brunswick, NJ (New Brunswick), 6-5, 195, 4.5.  One of the top 5 to 10 WR prospects in the nation.  Performed very well at Army National All Star game in January 2004.  Great athleticism for a 6'5" receiver.  Verbally committed to Southern Cal

DuJuan Morgan, WR/ATH, Riviera Beach (Suncoast), 6-1, 190, 4.3.  Would have been one of the top recruits in Florida for the class of 2004, but a car accident ended his season before it started.  Suffered a broken hip in the accident.  Electric performer that could play offense or defense at the next level.  Verbally committed to NC State

Devon Lyons, S/WR, Pittsburgh, PA (Woodland Hills), 6-2.5, 204, 4.47.  Good size for a DB.  Could also play WR at the next level.  Top 20 safety prospect nationally.  Signed with Ohio State

Jacky Claude, OL, Miami, FL (Miami Edison Senior), 6-3 1/2, 300, 5.4.  One of the top O-line prospects in the nation.  Could play inside or outside at the next level.  Very strong with good athleticism for a big man.  Strong work ethic.  Verbally committed to Florida State.

Kyle Mitchum, OL/DL, Erie, PA (Mcdowell), 6-5, 265, 5.1.  Outstanding prospect on both sides of the ball.  Most colleges like Mitchum as an OT but some prefer him as a DT.  Very lean.   Excellent feet with good strength.  2.8 GPA.  Signed with Ohio State

Nader Abdallah, DT, Metairie, LA (Rummel), 6-4, 295, 4.9.  Very strong with outstanding athletic ability.  3.0 GPA.  One of the best DT prospects in the nation.  Selected to play in 2004 Army High School All-American game.   Signed with Ohio State

Rhyan Anderson, DE, Oak Creek, WI (Oak Creek), 6-6, 265, 4.6.  Outstanding pass rusher.  21 sacks as a junior and 24 as a senior.  Very good TE as well.  Top 10 DE prospect nationally.  Signed with Miami

Vernon Gholston, DE, Detroit, MI (Class Tech), 6-3, 238, 4.48.  Physically gifted who could play inside or outside on the D-line.  Upside is off-the charts with his freakish abilities, but somewhat of a raw prospect.  Very versatile, playing on the offensive side of the ball as a junior. Signed with Ohio State

Olu Hall, DE, Fairfax, VA (Robinson), 6-5, 220, 4.8.  May be the top overall prospect in Virginia and a top 15 DE prospect nationally.  Tall and rangy with great quickness.  Verbally committed to Virginia

Willie Young, DE, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (Palm Beach Gardens), 6-4, 205, 4.65.  One of the best DE prospects in the nation.  Some reports have him as tall as 6-6 now.  Can move for a man of his height.  84-inch wingspan.  Signed with NC State

James Bryant, LB/FB, Ready, PA (Ready), 6-3, 235, 4.6.  Extremely strong, bench pressing 400 pounds and squatting over 600 pounds.  Brother plays DB at Pitt.  Great size and quickness with good speed.  Big hitter with good instincts on defense.  Great blocker and a good runner on offense.  One of the best MLB prospects in the nation.  Signed with Miami

Javier Estopinan, LB, Miami, FL (South Miami Senior), 6-3, 230, 4.65.  Great leader who is also a state wrestling champ.  Hard hitter with a good size/speed combo.  Signed with Florida

Nick Patterson, DB/ATH, Florissant, MO (Hazelwood Central), 6-1, 200, 4.5.  GPA over 4.0 while taking honors classes.  25 on his ACT.  Could play WR or DB at the next level.  Good route runner as a WR and a guy who makes plays.  Loves to hit and does a nice job of it.   Signed with Ohio State

Anthony Reddick, DB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St Thomas Aquinas), 6-1, 190, 4.6.  A top national DB prospect.  Could play corner or safety at the next level.  Good speed, athleticism and instincts.  Plays the run well.  Verbally committed to Miami