All four of these classes have different aspects to them, but the 2005 class may have hurt the most as two top ten picks in this year's draft did not end up coming to Columbus and a few players in the class hurt the Buckeyes on the field in the last couple of years. A few diamonds in the rough such as James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins did prevail, but was it enough to compensate for what could have been if the top targets of 2005 were landed? You be the judge and take a look at the class, once again broken down into the three categories:"The Ones That Got Away", "Wish You Were Mine", and Glad We Passed".
The Full List Of Culprits
Quarterback- Mark Sanchez (USC)
Runningback- Jason Gwaltney (WVU), Curtis Brinkley (Syracuse), Rashawn Jackson (Virginia), Conredge Collins (Pitt)
Wide Receiver- Selwyn Lymon (Purdue), Mario Manningham (Michigan), Eric Sledge (Florida)
Tight End- Stephen Gowland (Auburn), Charlie Graham (FSU), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin)
Offensive Line- Charles Jackson (Illinois), Ronnie Wilson (Florida), Eugene Monroe (Virginia), Craig Roark (Nebraska), Kevin Bemoll (California)
Defensive Line- Melvin Alaeze (Prison), James McKinney (Michigan-Louisville), Walker Ashley (USC-Minnesota)
Linebacker- Luthur Brown (USC), Rico McCoy (Tennessee), Anthony Felder (California), Elijah Hodge (Wisconsin), Andre Mathis (Tennessee), Gerald Williams (Tennessee-JuCo), LaMont Robinson (Oklahoma), Tavares Kearney (UGA), Taalib Tucker (Georgia Tech), Avery Vogt (NC State)
Defensive Back- Shawn Oatis (UCLA), Alex Daniels (Minn.-Cincinnati), Randy Phillips (Miami-Fl), Chris Rowell (Iowa), Demetrice Morley (Tennessee), Justin King (Penn State), Carlos Thomas (S. Carolina), Kyle McCarthy (Notre Dame)
The Ones That Got Away
There were only four players in this class that got away, as Jim Tressel and his staff did an excellent job keeping the "top talent" inside the state of Ohio in 2005. Mario Manningham was the lone player from the Buckeye State that would land on the "wish you were mine" category as the current New York Football Giant would have been a nice addition playing with Teddy Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez with Troy Smith under center. Manningham had a stellar career for Lloyd Carr at Michigan, but decided to leave college a year early after Rich Rodriguez came to town. If he had stayed in college for his senior season he would have been one of the top receivers in the draft this year.
Kyle McCarthy will play his final season for the Golden Domers this year, but his most important service to Charlie Weis may have been getting his brother Dan to pick the Irish over the Buckeyes on National Signing Day in 2008. Kyle has been a solid contributor both on and off the field for the Irish and would certainly have been a nice addition to the Ohio State football team. Think of a white version of Shaun Lane.
Alex Daniels and Chris Rowell both decided to attend other Big Ten school in Minnesota and Iowa respectively. Daniels decided the Twin Cities weren't for him and has transferred to Cincinnati where he will play his final season this year. Rowell has not broken into the Iowa depth chart and it seems he would be a strong candidate for the "glad we passed" category.
Wish You Were Mine
Mark Sanchez leads this group and the #5 overall pick by the Jets in this year's draft certainly would have looked good in Scarlet and Gray. Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns in his lone year under center for the Trojans and his 17-28-174-4 performance against the Buckeyes was certainly a show of what could have been for OSU if Sanchez was under center in 2008.
Eugene Monroe, the #8 pick of the Jaguars in the 2009 draft, was the top ranked offensive tackle in the class of 2005 and is certainly another player the Bucks could have used last season. After watching Alex Boone and Bryant Browning try to hold down the posts of the OSU front unit I now have gone through 11 remote controls in the last year. Monroe definitely would have brought that number down to around 5 (OSU basketball accounts for about 4 of these) and would have still been a beast in Columbus.
Travis Beckum always killed the Buckeyes and if he wasn't dealing with lingering injuries in this past season's game, Ohio State may not have come out of Camp Randall alive. Beckum, a third round pick of the Giants, totaled 159 receptions for 2,149 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career in Madison. Although those numbers would have probably been cut in half or worse in The Vest's offense, Beckum was still worth having around if we could have got him.
Justin King was the #2 rated corner back in the class of 2005 and did some big things at Penn State before leaving for the NFL after his junior season. King tallied 90 tackles and 3 interceptions during his three years in Happy Valley before being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately King missed his entire rookie season with an injury, but looks to bounce back in 2009. King would have started across from Malcolm Jenkins this year, giving the Buckeyes the best corner back tandem in the nation and preserving another year of Donald Washington in the OSU secondary.
Glad We Passed
Stephen Gowland, a tight end from Georgia, leads off the list of players the Buckeyes are glad they passed on. Gowland chose to attend Auburn where he was converted to full back and flamed out after a few years on the Tigers roster. It seems he would have never cut it at a big time college program and for that we thank Mr. Gowland for keeping his game in SEC country.
Charles Jackson was another talented athlete from Georgia who spent his entire career at Illinois flip flopping between football and basketball. Jackson too flamed out and wasted all his athleticism by not picking one sport to concentrate on.
Jason Gwaltney was a fan favorite in Buckeye Country during the recruiting of this class and his choice came down to OSU and West Virginia. Gwaltney chose the country roads and it's a good thing he did as he ran into some trouble in the classroom upon his arrival at WVU and had to leave the team to transfer to C.W. Post near his home in Long Island. Gwaltney was arrested in Morgantown shortly after leaving the school and was dismissed from the minds of college football fans before making his return to the Mountaineers last season. Gwaltney had to red-shirt last year and will have his final year of eligibility in 2009. Thank you Jason for saving us a gigantic headache-the only question I have is would I rather deal with this or Mo Wells for four years?
Melvin Alaeze is another standout prospect that just couldn't stay out of trouble off the field. Alaeze committed to Maryland out of high school, but couldn't qualify for the Terps so he spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy. Upon leaving Hargrave, Alaeze committed to Ron Zook at Illinois, but was cut short of starting his career in Champaign after getting convicted of attempted murder among other charges and being sentenced to 8 years in prison. Alaeze would have been a stand out player at any school he would have gone to, but nobody had a chance to see what he could do at the next level.
Rounding out this list are two Tennessee Volunteers in Gerald Williams and Demetrice Morley. Williams was a highly recruited linebacker from Florida that just couldn't cut it for Phillip Fulmer and transferred to Larry Grant's Alma Mater, City College of San Francisco. Morley on the other hand, was the #1 rated corner back in the nation, but was unable to stay out of trouble in Knoxville. Fullmer gave Morley way too many strikes, but when Lane Kiffin was came into town, Morley was quickly dismissed from the team. Neither of these players lived up to the bill coming out of high school for many reason and I am happy to see both turned down the Buckeyes.