Monday, January 31, 2011

BUCKEYES HAVE A FEW TARGETS STILL REMAINING FOR SIGNING DAY

Hermitage (Va.) linebacker Curtis Grant, top, is one of five players Ohio State is still targeting on signing day. (Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch)
(Updated 2-1 11:08 P.M.) COLUMBUS — National Signing Day is on Wednesday and Ohio State still has some big-time targets who have yet to announce their intentions.

Although a young recruit's mind can change as often as a high school girl picking out a prom dress, I have listed below the Buckeyes final five targets — in alphabetical order — and predict whether or not they will be donning a Scarlet & Gray lid come Wednesday ...

Curtis Grant
CURTIS GRANT (MLB Hermitage/Richmond, Va.) — Grant is perhaps the best middle linebacker in the nation. Grant is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and plays the game like a young Ray Lewis, using his great speed and quickness, combined with an extremely high motor, to dominate the opposition.

Grant is considered a five-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout. In fact, he's listed by Rivals as the second-best player — regardless of position — in the country. The U.S. Army All-American is considering OSU, Florida and North Carolina, among others.

HIS LID? ... Ohio State

Darius Jennings
DARIUS JENNINGS (WR Gilman/Baltimore, Md.) — Jennings is an incredible athlete who played mostly quarterback in high school, but is projected to be a wide receiver or possibly a defensive back at the collegiate level. The Under Armour All-American's running style is more quick than fast — although he does possess great speed — and at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Jennings has the physical makings of a Ryan Broyles or Titus Young at receiver.

However, the Buckeyes most likely are looking at making Jennings a cornerback. He does remind one of Ohio State sophomore-to-be cornerback, Christian Bryant, an athlete who could be more of an asset on defense. Jennings is considering OSU, Virginia and Wake Forest. I think this decision will ultimately come down to whether Jennings wants to play on offense or defense.

HIS LID? ... Virginia

Cardale Jones
CARDALE JONES (QB Glenville/Cleveland) — Jones at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds is a physical specimen at quarterback. He has a great arm, very good mobility and has played in some very big games as a high school football player at Glenville — the same school which brought the Buckeyes Troy Smith. However, his passing mechanics are raw and lacking, so if he's set on playing quarterback at the collegiate level, he may be in for quite a wait.

It has been no secret that Jones has been hoping to receive an offer from the Buckeyes, and over the weekend, he finally got it. But with star quarterback Braxton Miller (Wayne/Huber Heights, Oh.) already on board — and on campus — for the class of 2011, Jones may have been asked by the Buckeyes to change his position to receiver or safety, in order for him to bag the coveted offer.

Jones is also considering Toledo, LSU, Iowa and West Virginia. Just like Jennings, Jones must decide whether he wants to make a position change or not. Or, he could grayshirt and become the Buckeyes top quarterback for the class of 2012.

HIS LID? ... Ohio State.

JaJuan Story
JAJUAN STORY (WR Nature Coast/Brooksville, Fla.) — Story, like Jones, certainly passes the eye test. The native of Florida is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and reminds one of Alabama's Julio Jones, an imposing receiver who gives smaller cornerbacks trouble. The Under Armour All-American possesses great speed and running ability after the catch, and could give the Buckeyes an ideal red-zone target, something they are lacking at the moment.

Story was originally a University of Florida commit, but after the resignation of Urban Meyer at the end of last season, Story opened his recruiting back up and Ohio State emerged as one of leaders for his services. Now, Story must decide between the Buckeyes and Gators. It's no secret that he's having a difficult time deciding on the two, so his decision will definitely come down to the wire.

My gut is, he stays home.

HIS LID? ... Florida.

Aundrey Walker
AUNDREY WALKER (OL Glenville/Cleveland) — Walker is 6-foot-6, 355 pounds. No, that is not a misprint. The U.S. Army All-American is an absolute beast up front and a major target for the Buckeyes, who lost two starting offensive linemen this season (in Justin Boren and Bryant Browning), and will be losing three more at the end of next year (in Mike Brewster, Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts).

Walker will need to develop better blocking techniques before he gets on the field in college, but with his size and physical attributes, it is definitely worth the wait. At a school like Ohio State, he'll have a year or two to get those skills sharpened up.

Walker is also considering USC, Michigan State and Florida State, among others.

HIS LID? ... USC.

Again, National Signing Day is this Wednesday. The Buckeye Times will update all of the day's happenings, and will be on hand in Columbus with videos and statements from the Ohio State coaching staff.