Thursday, February 03, 2000

Ohio State misses in state




The Associated Press

        Ohio State coach John Cooper welcomed 24 recruits into the fold on the first day of the signing period Wednesday, but was troubled by the ones that got away.

        “We were obviously disappointed we didn't get every player in the state we went after,” Cooper said. “We did get most of the players. And even though we didn't get some of the players in-state, we went out of state and regionally to get others.”

        The Buckeyes signed as many out-of-state players (12) as those from Ohio. Even though many recruiting experts said the Buckeyes had a banner year, there were noticeable holes.

        Defensive lineman Sam Ruhe from Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit and 6-foot-5, 240-pound fullback Sean McHugh of Chagrin Falls signed with Penn State. Michigan took three Ohioans, including Garfield Heights wide receiver James Taylor. Minnesota grabbed five players in the Buckeyes' backyard, and Indiana took four.

        But the biggest Ohio State losses were Moeller offensive lineman Mike Munoz (6-7, 285) to Tennessee and Canton McKinley offensive lineman Antonio Hall (6-5, 300) to Kentucky.

        Hall was scheduled to visit Ohio State but first made a trip to Kentucky and committed almost immediately.

        Ohio State went 6-6 last year, missing a bowl game for the first time in 11 years. The offensive line was blamed for the team's woeful offense, and the loss of the state's two biggest names up front was troubling to Cooper.

        “For whatever reason, they chose not to come here,” Cooper said. “We think they made a mistake. If you don't get them in-state, you've got to go out of state.”

        The Buckeyes took players from Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia, three from New York and three more from Florida.

        Cooper said he was particularly wary of getting burned by recruits who couldn't qualify academically. Ohio State lost six of its signees a year ago because of academic deficiencies.

        Seven members of this recruiting class have yet to meet NCAA requirements for freshman eligibility.

        “Hopefully, we did a little bit better with the transcripts and working with academic counselors,” Cooper said.

OHIO STATE
Willie Allen CB Huber Heights, Ohio (Wayne)
Bobby Britton DB Jacksonville, Fla. (Raines)
Jason Caldwell TE Mentor, Ohio (Mentor)
Brandon Childress DB Bedford, Ohio (Chanel)
Marco Cooper LB Detroit (Cass Tech)
John Hollins WR Huber Heights, Ohio (Wayne)
Josh Huston K Findlay, Ohio (Findlay)
Harlan Jacobs DB Atlanta (Douglas)
Michael Jenkins WR Tampa, Fla. (Leto)
Branden Joe RB Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South)
Larry Kinnard OL Alliance, Ohio (Alliance)
Andrew Lee WR Columbus, Ohio (Brookhaven)
Sam Maldonado RB Harrison, N.Y. (Harrison)
Thomas Matthews RB Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dillard)
Rick McFadden QB Struthers, Ohio (Struthers)
Jamal Muhammad LB Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stone Mountain)
Shane Olivea OL Long Beach, N.Y. (Long Beach)
Terry Pogue RB Dayton (Colonel White)
Robert Reynolds LB Bowling Green, Ky. (Bowling Green)
Darrion Scott LB Charleston, W. Va. (Capital)
Will Smith DE Utica, N.Y. (Proctor)
Alex Stepanovich OL Berea, Ohio (Berea)
Alphonso Townsend DL Lima, Ohio (Lima Senior)
Jack Tucker LB Cerritos, Calif. (Cerritos CC)


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