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Class of 2000 had its hits and misses

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by ohiobuck94, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. ohiobuck94

    ohiobuck94 Buckeye Beach Bum

    OSU class of 2000 had its share of hits, misses
    Some players — and the coach — didn’t last long

    Sunday, January 30, 2005
    Tim May
    THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

    If a recruiting class can be considered a family, then label the 2000 Ohio State football class dysfunctional.

    As it turned out, the group of 25, which signed on five years ago this week, had some good kids and some great players; some bad kids and some average players; and some so-so kids and several who either ran away or were run off. One wound up in jail and another is in prison serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.

    For sure, it was not the Brady Bunch. Heck, the players’ surrogate father, coach John Cooper, was fired after their first year together.

    "I don’t know what all of the reasons were," linebacker Robert Reynolds said, "but a lot of the guys I came in with, I didn’t go out with."

    Of the 25 players, including juniorcollege transfer linebacker Jack Tucker, nine were gone within two years. But those who stayed were national champions in 2002 under Jim Tressel.

    "To some extent, it was almost a hitor-miss class," OSU recruiting observer Bill Kurelic said.

    The backbone of the 2002 national champions came from the 2000 class: on defense, Reynolds, linemen Will Smith and Darrion Scott and nickel back Will Allen; on offense, linemen Alex Stepanovich and Shane Olivea, and receiver Michael Jenkins.

    "If you can get six to eight kids from a class that end up being starters or big-time contributors, then you’re doing pretty well," said Bill Conley, who was Ohio State’s recruiting coordinator at the time.

    "When you multiply eight times four, meaning over four years, which is your core group in a recruiting period, that’s 32 players. That’s 32 guys who are going to win you a lot of football games."

    Which is how Ohio State should try to size up the class it is poised to sign Wednesday, Conley said. Judge the players in three years or so, not now. Give them a chance to grow together — or not.

    For example, on signing day in 2000, the class was ranked seventh in the nation by SuperPrep and ninth by recruiting guru Tom Lemming.

    It was loaded at linebacker with six, including Marco Cooper, Reynolds and Scott. There were talented running backs, too — Sam Maldonado, Terry Pogue and Branden Joe.

    But of those linebackers, only Reynolds ever played the position for Ohio State. And Joe was the only one of the running backs who stuck it out.

    The class started shedding members before it even got together. Linemen Alphonso Townsend and Larry Kinnard failed to qualify academically, and Pogue was accepted as a Prop 48 but later left school.

    "I truly believe he would have been a first- to third-round pick in the NFL; he was that kind of talent," said Michael McCray, Pogue’s coach at Dayton Colonel White. "But I think he lost the confidence in himself, and that’s really hard to regain sometimes."

    Maldonado had confidence he should be playing, so he transferred to Maryland. Same with linebacker Jamal Muhammad, who left for Bethune-Cookman.

    "There is that part that goes with it when you recruit great athletes," Conley said. "Normally, some of them are high-maintenance guys. A large portion were superstars in high school, but when they get to college they have to learn how to fit in among guys of near-equal talent. Those that can handle it end up being stars at this level."

    Marco Cooper had star written all over him. He was OSU’s highest-rated prospect according to Lemming, 44 th in the nation. But just when things started going right for him on the field, in the spring of 2002, he was arrested for having a pistol and Ecstasy pills in his vehicle and was kicked out of school. Later, he was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and served a jail term.

    He has worked to shore up his life and said last fall that he was back in school.

    Receiver Andrew Lee came out of Brookhaven tabbed as the next Terry Glenn. But Lee was booted from school after beating up a pizza deliveryman outside a dorm in the fall of his freshman year. Three years later, he was convicted of the rape and murder of a female video-games store clerk in Columbus and was given a life sentence without possibility of parole.

    Back on signing day 2000, obviously, no one saw that coming.

    "There were a lot of talented players in that class, and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of it," said Reynolds, who just completed his first year with the Tennessee Titans. "I knew there was enough talent there in that core group for us to compete for a championship, which is what we did."

    tmay@dispatch.com
     
  2. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    Here's another post that folks need to bookmark, so the next time some pro-Cooper fuck comes around, just show him this.
     
  3. BucksinFL

    BucksinFL Buckeye fan for life.....

    Or else just the people that say Tressel finds delinquents for recruits. JT has been a Godsend of a man/coach IMO. I hope he coaches the bucks for another 20 years.
     
  4. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    The other interesting point from that article - which should have been more emphasized - was Maldonado.

    According to many Sammy was the #1 RB prospect in the nation that year. A can't miss - NC in the making. This was before we followed recruiting on boards like this but if we had the excitement would have been the rough equivalent of our landing Adrian Peterson.

    Well, we got our NC - but with zero contribution from Sammy.

    Recruiting is about bringing in 20 or so quality kids every year and coaching them and developing them. You never know for sure who will contribute and who wont - but there is never any one player who makes or breaks a class.
     
  5. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member Tech Admin Bookie

    Duane Long published a similar review of the 2000 recruiting class in the Bucknuts Magazine.

    Below is a complete list of the 2000 class; I have listed the players in order from the most to least productive (based on my observations), with a "star" rating for each player (Please note that the ratings and comments are mine, NOT Duane Long's):

    5* - superstar
    4* - star
    3* - productive
    2* - disappointing
    1* - bust
    0* - bust and left the team

    DE Will Smith (5*) - a highly-rated player coming out of high school, Smith may be the best DE ever to play for the Bucks. An indispensible cog in OSU's national championship run in 2002.

    WR Michael Jenkins (5*) - the only other superstar from this class, Jenkins was considered to be an above-average prospect coming out of high school. Without his game-saving receptions against Purdue and Miami, the Bucks don't win it all in 2002.

    DB Will Allen (4*) - not highly-rated coming out of high school, Allen was the nickel back on the 2002 team, and his interceptions against Cincinnati and Michigan saved those games. Will became an All-American as a senior in 2003.

    DL Darrion Scott (4*) - the best high school player in West Virginia, Darrion played well for the Bucks at both DE and DT. A somewhat unheralded player who made many key plays throughout his career.

    OL Alex Stepanovich (4*) - Step, along with Shane Olivea, anchored the Bucks O-line for three seasons.

    OL Shane Olivea (4*) - see above.

    LB Robert Reynolds (3*) - the number one high school player in Kentucky, Reynolds may be most often remember for his ill-advised choking incident. However, Reynolds started a number of games for the Bucks and was a valuable contributor.

    RB Brandon Joe (3*) - although Brandon didn't contribute much during the NC season, he shone in some big games thereafter (2004 Fiesta Bowl, 2004 Michigan). Injuries curtailed what could have been a much better career.

    DB Bobby Britton (2*) - Played sparingly at Ohio State, but did start at least one game. Injuries hampered him throughout his career.

    LB Thomas Matthews (2*) - Thomas gets his two stars not for his play on the field (which he rarely saw), but rather for his leadership in the locker room. Many of his teammates have cited his emotional pre-game speeches as inspiration.

    WR Bam Childress (2*) - Mr. Football in high school, Mr. Invisible in college. Bam had plenty of talent, but it seemed that he could only display it during the Spring Game. A near-bust who made an occasional exciting play.

    DB Harlen Jacobs (2*) - played mostly as a nickel or dime back, and on special teams.

    LB Jack Tucker (1*) - Tucker was a rare JUCO player who transferred to OSU. He saw limited action at LB, TE, and special teams.

    WR John Hollins (1*) - John rarely saw the field as a receiver, but did contribute on special teams. Give the kid credit, though, as he stuck with the program.

    TE Jason Caldwell (1*) - has anyone seen the field less than this guy? However, he did remain in school, and that says something about his character.

    K Josh Huston (1*) - although his career might not yet be done (he is applying for a 6th year), he has been an unqualified bust to date. Again, props for sticking with the program, despite limited success on the field.

    RB Sam Maldonado (0*) - this kid was the number one high school player in New York, where he rushed for over 7,000 yards during his career, and a five-star recruit. He got a few carries at OSU, looked rather bad in his limited role, and then trasferred (he is now at Maryland).

    LB Jamaal Muhammad (0*) - came in as an LB, then was switched to FB. He didn't like the move, and transferred to Bethune-Cookman.

    OL Larry Kinnard (0*) - enrolled at OSU, then almost immediately transferred to Mount Union to be closer to his ailing father. Had a good career at the D-III school.

    QB Rick McFadden (0*) - quit football and transferred to Akron, where he is on the basketball team.

    RB Terry Pogue (0*) - an academic casualty, one of the many during the Cooper regime.

    DB B.J. Barré (0*) - another academic casualty.

    LB Marco Cooper (0*) - the top high school player in Michigan and a consensus five-star recruit, Cooper made the police blotter more often than the stat sheet.

    WR Andrew Lee (0*) - a very bad egg, who will now be a lifelong resident of the Gray Bar Hotel after committing rape and murder.

    DT Alfonzo Townsend (0*) - Townsend did not qualify, went to Fork Union, then signed with Michigan State the following year.

    So, in sum, Ohio State got only 8 valuable players from this rather large (25 players) recruiting class. Over half (13) were busts, which (needless to say) is not a good "hit" ratio.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2005
  6. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    The goobers over on bustnuts oughta have a look see at that. A class isn't made by the number of stars some recruitnick gives them out of highschool, it's made by production on the field.

    Every year we lose a recruit that we all think woulda been the difference.... Greg Jones? Peeless Price? Every year we snag a guy no one thinks will see anything but the pine, who ends up being a stud.... Mike Jenkins, AJ Hawk.... People need to keep that in mind - and by people I mean the folks on Bustnuts, of course. And of course, then there are the can't misses... Marco Cooper.. Ken Yon Rambo...

    Won't change the fact that meltdown day fast approaches.... I might just pop some popcorn and watch it all happen.
     
  7. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    My only quibble with Long's ratings is that John Hollins should have gotten 2. He got a TD on the blocked punt in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl.
     
  8. CleveBucks

    CleveBucks Serenity now Staff Member

    I thought that was Harlen Jacobs?
     
  9. gold_pants

    gold_pants Sophmore

    This is one that I missed. I think he could made a huge impact at FB or even LB at OSU. I think there was another GA boy we were in on that year (academics) Corey Adams - big 6"2 or 6"3 WR that would have looked great at OSU...
     
  10. jlb1705

    jlb1705 hipster doofus Staff Member Bookie

    How do you make more key interceptions than anyone I've ever seen, become an All-American, and only get four stars? Duane's an idiot if he didn't give Will Allen five stars because he was stuck behind Mike Doss.
     
  11. gold_pants

    gold_pants Sophmore

    4 - Transfers
    3 - Academics
    1 - Various Legal Troubles
    1 - Rapist & Murder


    Not going to make a father and mother feel confident sending their son to play at this school...
     
  12. TheStoicPaisano

    TheStoicPaisano But I didn't, so it doesn't

    Jacobs blocked it, Hollins recovered.

    And the 2000 class wasn't as bad at the 1997 or 1999 classes, each of which ended with 13 players left from classes starting with 23 and 25 players.
     
  13. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member Tech Admin Bookie

    The ratings were mine, not Duane's - I merely made reference to Duane's article because it was timely. It looks like I'm the idiot.... :(
     
  14. HabaneroBuck

    HabaneroBuck Non-Nike Design

    No, LBJ, you are no idiot. Thanks for the comments and list.

    jlb is just being a Huber Heights homer...:). Four stars for Will is right. I would actually say that most of our championship team was made of "four star" players. Almost every position manned by a "very good, but not great" performer.

    Actually, O8CH, I have followed recruiting on the internet since Bellisari was a Junior in High School. It's always been out there...only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Maldonado was quite hyped up when we landed him, but it was tempered by the fact that he wasn't being offered by ALL of the Biggies and he was not a consensus #1 by any means. Quite a few "gurus" had him out of the top 5 running backs.
     
  15. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    I wasn't calling you an idiot, LJB, only quibbling. :wink2:

    Apparently I'm the idiot for thinking the ratings were Duane's.
     

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