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Feb. 4, 2004

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National Signing Day Extras

Coach Tressel’s opening statement
Statement from Director of Athletics Andy Geiger
Coach Tressel’s press conference audio
Coach Tressel’s press conference video

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Twenty-three prospective student athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their football careers at The Ohio State University, head football coach Jim Tressel announced Wednesday.

“This is another extraordinary group of young men who love football and have a passion to get their degrees,” said Tressel, who is 32-7 after three years as coach of the Buckeyes. “It is a group that is thrilled by the opportunity to come to Ohio State.”

The 2004 class includes 14 players from Ohio, four from Pennsylvania, two from Florida and one each from Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri.

“I think the strength of the class is its diversity,” Tressel said. “We have 12 on offense and 11 on defense or 11 on offense or 12 on defense depending on where we play (tight end/linebacker) Chad Hoobler.”

Breaking the class down by position, there are five defensive backs, four defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, two wide receivers, two linebackers, two running backs, two tight ends, one fullback and one quarterback.

Three signees were named both Parade All-Americans and USA Today All-Americans, including Ted Ginn Jr., who was named the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year. The other two are Marcus Freeman and Kyle Mitchum.

“It is a class with an incredible range of talent,” Tressel said. “It’s a very good class academically, so we are confident they will be able to compete with the increasing excellence of the OSU student body.”

Two of the signees continue a family legacy of playing football at Ohio State. The fathers of Dionte Johnson and Shaun Lane played at Ohio State in the early 1980s and played for Tressel when he was an assistant coach for the Buckeyes. Dionte Johnson is the son of former linebacker Thomas “Pepper” Johnson and Shaun Lane is the son of former defensive back Garcia Lane.

“You know that deep down, it will be much more special as they follow in the footsteps of their fathers.”

Three players are already enrolled in classes at Ohio State. Quarterback Todd Boeckman of St. Henry High School enrolled as a part-time student in Autumn Quarter before going fulltime in the winter, while linebacker Marcus Freeman and offensive lineman Steve Rehring enrolled in classes for Winter Quarter.

2004 Ohio State Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School or J.C. Birthdate H.S. Coach
Nader Abdallah DL 6-3 295 Metairie, La./Archbishop Rummel 10/25/85 Jay Roth
Alex Barrow DE 6-4 245 Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman 3/19/86 Mark Crabtree
Todd Boeckman QB 6-5 235 St. Henry, Ohio/St. Henry 6/8/84 Tim Boeckman
Albert Dukes WR 6-1 180 Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central 10/5/85 Larry Coffeey
Marcus Freeman LB 6-3 240 Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne 1/10/86 Jay Minton
Vernon Gholston DE 6-4 245 Detroit, Mich./Cass Technical 6/5/86 Thomas Wilcher
Ted Ginn Jr. DB 6-0 177 Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville 4/12/85 Ted Ginn Sr.
Erik Haw RB 6-1 218 Columbus, Ohio/Independence 7/30/86 Alan Jones
Chad Hoobler TE/LB 6-3 225 Carrollton, Ohio/Carrollton 1/13/86 Barry Goettemoeller
Dionte Johnson FB 6-0 230 Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy 6/28/86 Jim Miranda
Dennis Kennedy RB 5-11 190 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Stranahan 9/3/85 Keith Skinner
Shaun Lane DB 5-10 180 Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard 1/20/86 Jeff Bayuk
Devon Lyons WR 6-4 214 North Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills 9/7/86 George Novak
Kyle Mitchum OL 6-6 275 Erie, Pa./McDowell 4/26/86 Jon Cacchione
Rory Nicol TE 6-5 245 Beaver, Pa./Beaver Area 3/27/86 Jeff Beltz
Nick Patterson DB 6-2 210 St. Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central 8/11/86 John Pukala
Ben Person OL 6-4 300 Xenia, Ohio/Xenia 4/14/86 Paul Jenne
Steve Rehring OL 6-8 315 West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West 8/6/85 Larry Cox
Jon Skinner OL 6-5 280 Mount Carmel, Pa./Mount Carmel Area 8/3/85 Mike Brennan
Brandon Smith LB 6-3 240 Euclid, Ohio/Euclid Senior 7/13/86 Mike Rezzolla
Curtis Terry DE/LB 6-2 205 Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville 11/20/84 Ted Ginn Sr.
Brandon Underwood DB 6-2 170 Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton 6/24/86 Mark Kalugyer
Sirjo Welch DB 6-0 185 Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft 3/26/86 Tom Dunlap

Nader Abdallah
Defensive Lineman
6-3, 295
Metairie, La./Archbishop Rummel

Archbishop Rummel High School:
One of the top interior defensive line prospects in the nation … has the size and strength to stop the run and the agility to rush the quarterback … rated as the eighth-best defensive tackle in the country by Prep Football Report … Rivals.com rated him as the 30th-best defensive tackle in the nation … as a senior, collected 11 quarterback backs, 76 tackles, two interceptions and five knockdowns in just eight games … ranked as the nation’s 44th-best defensive tackle by TheInsiders.com … has shown great closing speed and the ability to split double-teams … played in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio … led Archbishop Rummel to the state playoffs last fall and recorded four sacks, two batted passes, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in a hard-fought 7-5 second round loss to Shreveport Evangel … coached by Jay Roth.

Personal:
Born 10/25/85 … son of Younes and Ivzieh Abdallah … is the first student-athlete from Louisiana to sign with Ohio State since Jonathan Wells in 1998.

Alex Barrow
Defensive End
6-4, 245
Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman

Dublin Coffman High School:
A top defensive line prospect from Central Ohio … rated as the nation’s 31st-best defensive tackle by Rivals.com … Rivals.com also rated him as the 24th-best overall prospect in Ohio … as a senior, totaled 95 tackles, including 27 for loss and 14 sacks, in leading Coffman to the regional finals … earned second team All-Ohio honors … as a junior, totaled 44 tackles and four sacks in six and a half games … great speed for a defensive tackle (4.75 40-yard dash time) … coached by Mark Crabtree.

Personal:
Born 3/19/86 … son of Robert and Patrice Barrow … was a freshman at Coffman when current Buckeyes Adam Olds and Steve Winner were seniors.

Todd Boeckman
Quarterback
6-5, 235
St. Henry, Ohio/St. Henry

St. Henry High School:
Graduated from St. Henry in 2003 and then enrolled at Ohio State on a part-time basis until becoming full-time in Winter Quarter 2004 … earned All-Midwest Athletic Conference honors and All-Ohio honors as a senior … four-year starter for the Redskins and led St. Henry to the Division V state title game as a freshman … threw for 7,021 yards and 64 touchdowns in his varsity career, including his freshman season when he threw for 2,520 yards and 23 touchdowns … suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament as a senior, but completed 95 of 177 passes for 1,415 yards and 15 TDs … out of high school was ranked as the state’s 13th-best prospect in 2003 by The Ohio Football Recruiting News … ranked as the 19th-best quarterback nationally in 2003 by Rivals.com … ranked as the 33rd-best prospect in the Midwest by SuperPrep and as the 51st-best prospect in the region by ESPN.com’s Tom Lemming … coached by father, Tim Boeckman, who is now the athletic director at St. Henry … also earned all-state honors in basketball and baseball … was a four-year letterman in basketball and a three-year letterman in baseball … averaged 18.6 points per game on the hardcourt as a junior … attended same high school that sent Bobby Hoying and Jim Lachey, among others, to Ohio State.

Personal:
Born 6/8/84 … son of Tim and Denise Boeckman.

Albert Dukes
Wide Receiver
6-1, 180
Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central

Glades Central High School:
One of Florida’s top prep wide receiver prospects after earning first team all-state honors … totaled 58 catches for 1,031 yards and a state-best 17 touchdowns as a senior … caught 18 passes for 440 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior … rated as the 24th-best wide receiver in the country by TheInsiders.com … rated as the 39th-best overall prospect in Florida by SuperPrep … has excellent hands … coached by Larry Coffeey … was football teammates and a member of the state champion 4×400-meter relay team as a sophomore with current Buckeye Santonio Holmes.

Personal:
born 10/5/85 … son of Ned and Sophia Baldwin.

Marcus Freeman
Linebacker
6-3, 240
Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne

Wayne High School:
One of the top linebacker prospects in the country and one of Ohio’s top three overall recruits … earned USA Today First Team All-USA honors … 2004 Parade All-American … is already taking classes at Ohio State … rated as the third best inside linebacker in the country by Prep Football Report … Rivals.com rated him as the 31st-best overall prospect in the country and the fourth best inside linebacker … rated as the 11th-best overall linebacker prospect in the nation by TheInsiders.com, which also listed him among their Top 100 overall prospects … SuperPrep rated him as the 26th-best overall prospect in the nation, the fourth best overall prospect in the Midwest (five state region) and the fifth best overall linebacker in the nation … named second team All-America by USA Today … as a senior, collected 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and recovered three fumbles … totaled 152 tackles, including 29 behind the line of scrimmage, and eight sacks as a junior … twice named first team All-Ohio … possesses great speed, strength and instincts … was a starter as a freshman at Wayne High School, one year after former Buckeye All-American Will Allen graduated … coached by Jay Minton … also ran track at Wayne, competing in the 4×100-meter relay and throwing the shot put and disk.

Personal:
Born 1/10/86 … son of Michael and Chong Cha Freeman … was teammates at Wayne with current Buckeye John Hollins.

Vernon Gholston
Defensive End
6-4, 245
Detroit, Mich./Cass Technical

Cass Technical High School:
One of the state of Michigan’s top prep defensive prospects … a dominant linebacker at Cass Tech but may move to the defensive line at Ohio State … rated as the 18th-best outside linebacker in the nation by Prep Football Report … rated as the 38th-best overall linebacker in the nation by TheInsiders.com … Rivals.com rated him as the 11th-best weak-side defensive end in the nation … totaled 75 tackles and six sacks as a senior from his outside linebacker and defensive end positions … runs a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash … very athletic and could play any of the defensive line positions … coached by Thomas Wilcher.

Personal:
Born 6/5/86 … son of Cheryl Gholston.

Ted Ginn Jr.
Defensive Back
6-0, 177
Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Glenville High School:
Perhaps the most sought-after defensive prospect not just in the Midwest, but in the country … earned USA Today First Team All-USA honors in addition to being named the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year … 2004 Parade All-American … SuperPrep named his as its 2004 National Defensive Player of the Year … Prep Football Report rated him as the third best overall prospect in the nation and the top defensive prospect … Rivals.com rated him as the top overall prospect in Ohio and the second best player in the country … rated as the best cornerback prospect in the nation by TheInsiders.com … was named the Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Army All-America game … multi-talented gamebreaker with blazing speed … also played quarterback, wide receiver and running back for Glenville and returned punts and kickoffs … as a senior, picked off eight passes and returned five of them for touchdowns … one of his interception returns went for a state-record 102-yard touchdown, while another went for a 97-yard score … also passed for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 845 yards and 17 touchdowns … named one of Ohio’s three 2003 Division I Offensive Players of the Year … also returned four punts and one kickoff for touchdowns … is the reigning national champion in the 110-meter high hurdles and has been timed at 10.5 seconds in the 100 meter dash … coached by father, Ted Ginn Sr.

Personal:
Born 4/12/85 … son of Ted Sr. and Jeanette Ginn … was a teammate at Glenville with current Buckeyes Dareus Hiley, Donte Whitner and Troy Smith and fellow signee Curtis Terry.

Erik Haw
Running Back
6-1, 218
Columbus, Ohio/Independence

Independence High School:
Columbus product with blazing speed … was clocked at 4.21 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Ohio State summer camp prior to his senior season at Independence … rated as the top running back in the Midwest (five state region) by SuperPrep, which rated him as the 11th best running back in the nation … rated as the 18th-best running back in the nation by Prep Football Report … rated as the 58th-best overall prospect in the country by TheInsiders.com … Rivals.com rated him as the 24th-best running back in the nation … rushed for 3,038 yards – sixth best in Ohio history – and scored 30 touchdowns as a senior, averaging over eight yards per carry … shared Ohio Division II Offensive Player of the Year honors … named Dispatch-Agonis co-Offensive Back of the Year … rushed for 1,271 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior … coached by Alan Jones … also a track standout at Independence, running the 100- and 200-meter dashes and participating with the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400-meter relay teams.

Personal:
Born 7/30/86 … son of Anthony Sharp and Cornelia Haw.

Chad Hoobler
Tight End/Linebacker
6-3, 225
Carrollton, Ohio/Carrollton

Carrollton High School:
One of Ohio’s top prep standouts on both offense and defense … rated as the 19th best tight end in the country by Prep Football Report … Rivals.com rated him as the third-best tight end in the country and the 30th-best overall prospect in the Midwest (five state area) … rated as the fourth- best tight end in the nation by TheInsiders.com … is as tough as he is talented (played senior season with broken fibula) … was selected All-Ohio three times … is a great blocking tight end but is also a pass-catching weapon … owned Carrollton’s career tackles record by the end of his junior season … as a junior, caught 13 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns and totaled 101 tackles, three sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss … as a sophomore, caught 27 passes for close to 500 yards … was coached at Carrollton by Ohio State graduates Barry Goettemoeller and Kirk Lowdermilk … ran the 200-meter dash in track and also threw the shot put and discus … also played basketball.

Personal:
Born 1/13/86 … son of Michele Hoobler.

Dionte Johnson
Fullback
6-0, 230
Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy

Eastmoor Academy:
A highly recruited Columbus prospect … rated the 22nd-best fullback in the nation by Prep Football Report … SuperPrep rated him as one of the top 70 overall prospects in the Midwest (five state area) … earned first team All-Ohio honors in Division III … great speed for a fullback … played center on offense prior to his senior season, when he switched to fullback and was very impressive … coached by Jim Miranda … won the Columbus city wrestling championship as a junior at the 215-pound weight class.

Personal:
Born 6/28/86 … son of former Buckeye first-team All-American Thomas “Pepper” Johnson and Monica Hawkins … father starred at linebacker for Ohio State and the New York Giants.

Dennis Kennedy
Running Back
5-11, 190
Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Stranahan

Stranahan High School:
Offensive and defensive standout … runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds … rushed for 967 yards and scored seven touchdowns as a senior … also returned punts … coached by Keith Skinner … also ran track, going 10.8 in the 100 meters, 22.6 in the 200 meters and 45-feet-6-inches in the triple jump … member of the basketball team and averaged 20 points per game.

Personal:
Born 9/3/85 … son of David and Helen Kennedy.

Shaun Lane
Defensive Back
5-10, 180
Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard

Hubbard High School:
Outstanding on offense as a prep star but will likely play cornerback for Ohio State … exceptional man-to-man coverage ability … outstanding closing speed and excellent at changing direction … ran for 2,044 yards and scored 27 touchdowns as a junior and then as a senior earned first-team All-Ohio honors at running back … ran for 1,700 yards rushing, had 30 tackles and four interceptions as a senior … averaged an amazing 12.6 yards on every touch … picked off five passes as a cornerback his junior season … runs the 40 in 4.45 seconds … also returned punts … was the first commitment in the 2004 class … Rivals.com lists him as the 14th-best cornerback prospect in the nation and as one of the Top 10 overall prospects in the state of Ohio … SuperPrep ranks him as the 31st-best defensive back … coached by Jeff Bayuk.

Personal:
Born 1/20/86 … son of former Buckeye defensive back Garcia Lane, an All-Big Ten selection in 1983.

Devon Lyons
Wide Receiver
6-4, 214
North Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills

Woodland Hills High School:
Two-way player as a high school senior … could play on both sides of the ball for the Buckeyes … recorded 52 tackles and intercepted four passes as a senior … on offense, caught 23 passes for 756 yards and 14 touchdowns … named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Fab 22” team … finished junior season with 49 tackles, five interceptions and forced five fumbles … also runs track and has posted personal best times of 10.9 in the 100 meters and 22.8 in the 200 meters … listed as the 12th-best wide receiver prospect in the nation and the fourth-best overall prospect from Pennsylvania by SuperPrep … ranked as the 17th-best safety by TheInsiders.com … ranked as the No. 20 safety by Tom Lemming … coached by George Novak.

Personal:
Born 9/7/86 … son of Wesley Lyons and Marva Lerner.

Kyle Mitchum
Offensive Lineman
6-6, 275
Erie, Pa./McDowell

McDowell High School:
Good speed and athletic ability and quickness … has long arms, gets good leverage and has a solid base … good strength and mobility on defense … earned USA Today First Team All-USA honors … 2004 Parade All-American … named first-team all-state on both sides of the football by the Associated Press as a senior … graded out at 87 percent in his blocking … dominating run and pass blocker, who is able to redirect with ease … outstanding two-way tackle, though he prefers to play defense … tallied 75 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a senior … caused six fumbles playing defensive tackle and nose guard … second-team all-state by the Associated Press and the Pennsylvania Football News as a junior … played in the 2004 U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio, Texas … 50th on Tom Lemming’s Top 100 … ranked 55th by TheInsiders.com Hot 100, which also ranks him as the seventh-best offensive lineman … ranked 56th on the Rivals 100 … Rivals.com ranks him as the sixth-best offensive tackle and as the fourth-best overall prospect in Pennsylvania … ranked as the 41st-best offensive lineman prospect by SuperPrep … coached by Jon Cacchione.

Personal:
Born 4/26/86 … son of Darcy Cross.

Rory Nicol
Tight End
6-5, 245
Beaver, Pa./Beaver Area

Beaver Area High School:
Super-talented receiver with ideal size, quickness and aggressive nature to play tight end … dominating blocker with quick hands and good speed … caught 18 passes for 234 yards and five touchdowns as a senior … three-year varsity starter with excellent size and athletic ability … named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Fab 22” and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Terrific 25 … also was named to the Patriot News Platinum 33 team … all-conference selection as both a sophomore and junior … had 15 catches for 168 yards and one touchdown as a junior … also played linebacker and finished with 78 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two interceptions as a junior … second team all-state his junior year … runs 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds … rated 81st on TheInsiders.com Hot 100 list, which also ranks him as the second-best tight end prospect and the eight best overall prospect in Pennsylvania … the fourth-ranked tight end prospect in the nation as rated by Rivals.com, which also lists him as the 12th-best player to come out of Pennsylvania … ranked as the 11th-best prospect out of Pennsylvania by SuperPrep … ranked as sixth-best tight end in the nation by SuperPrep … coached by Jeff Beltz … also runs track, finishing the 110-meter hurdles in 15.8 seconds … finished third in the WPIAL AA championships throwing the discus … also a center on the basketball team, averaging 10 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Personal:
Born 3/27/86 … son of Bob and Kathy Nicol.

Nick Patterson
Defensive Back
6-2, 210
St. Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central

Hazelwood Central High School:
Shows the kind of size, athletic ability, strong hands and footwork needed to make it at either wide receiver or free safety … excellent quickness to the ball … caught 45 passes for 876 yards and 11 touchdowns … on defense, racked up 74 tackles (54 solo), had two interceptions and forced two fumbles … could play safety and cornerback for the Buckeyes … as a junior, caught 24 passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns, while recording three picks and 40-plus tackles as a free safety … runs 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds … listed as the 30th-best athlete by Rivals.com, which also rank him as the 10th- best prospect in Missouri … listed as the sixth-best prospect in Missouri by SuperPrep and as the nation’s 40th-best defensive back by TheInsiders.com … coached by John Pukala.

Personal:
Born 8/11/86 … son of Johnny Patterson.

Ben Person
Offensive Lineman
6-4, 300
Xenia, Ohio/Xenia

Xenia High School:
Most dominant run-blocker in the state of Ohio … strong at point of attack … named all-league and second team all-area as a junior … played left tackle for Xenia as a junior and senior … as a senior, graded out at better than 80 percent blocking efficiency and did not allow a sack the entire season … could play guard or tackle for the Buckeyes … ranked as the third-best prospect in the state by Ohio High and No. 8 by The Ohio Football Recruiting News … also ranked as the 17th-best offensive lineman prospect by TheInsiders.com … Rivals.com ranks him as the 10th-best offensive guard in the nation and as the eighth-best prospect in the state of Ohio … listed by SuperPrep as the No. 25-best prospect in the Midwest and the 35th-best offensive lineman prospect … listed as the eighth-best offensive guard by Tom Lemming … coached by Paul Jenne.

Personal:
Born 4/14/86 … son of Donald and Cheryl Person.

Steve Rehring
Offensive Tackle
6-8, 315
West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West

Lakota West High School:
Graduated from high school in December and is already enrolled in classes at Ohio State … excellent run blocker … very quick in a limited space and is a good straight-ahead blocker who also moves well laterally … gigantic offensive tackle prospect from the same school that sent current defensive end Brandon Maupin to Ohio State a year ago … rated as the 15th-best prospect in Ohio by The Ohio Football Recruiting News and No. 41 by Ohio High … Rivals.com ranks him as the 29th-best offensive tackle prospect in the nation and as the 15th-best overall prospect in the state of Ohio … SuperPrep lists him as the 48th-best prospect in the Midwest … coached by Larry Cox.

Personal:
Born 8/6/85 … son of Bob and Eileen Rehring.

Jon Skinner
Offensive Line
6-5, 280
Mount Carmel, Pa./Mount Carmel Area

Mount Carmel Area High School:
A big, durable and technically sound offensive lineman who is very fluid in his movement and can slide very well laterally … named first-team all-state in class 2A … team finished 10-2 as a senior … played junior season with a torn ACL and helped lead his team to a perfect 15-0 record and the 2002 Pennsylvania state AA championship … part of two state championship teams, having won the 2000 state championship his freshman season … Rivals.com ranks him as the 39th-best offensive lineman prospect in the nation and the 27th-best overall prospect in Pennsylvania and could have been higher if not for a knee injury … listed as the 16th-best prospect out of Pennsylvania by SuperPrep … coached by Mike Brennan.

Personal:
Born 8/3/85 … son of John and Judy Skinner.

Brandon Smith
Linebacker
6-3, 240
Euclid, Ohio/Euclid Senior

Euclid Senior High School:
Registered 125 tackles, four sacks and had three interceptions for a 6-4 team his senior year … earned special mention All-Ohio honors in Division I … had 70 tackles as a junior … boasts 4.57 speed in the 40 coached by Mike Rezzolla.

Personal:
Born 7/13/86 … son of Wilbert and Elzoria Smith.

Curtis Terry
Defensive End/Linebacker
6-2, 205
Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Glenville High School:
Made 48 solo tackles, including 12 sacks and 25 tackles-for-loss … boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40 … has run 21.7 in the 200 meters and has close to a 40 inch vertical jump … from the same high school as fellow Buckeye signee Ted Ginn Jr. and current Buckeyes Troy Smith, Donte Whitner and Dareus Hiley … coached by Ted Ginn Sr.

Personal:
Born 11/20/84 … son of Tommy Miller.

Brandon Underwood
Defensive Back
6-2, 170
Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton

Hamilton High School:
A tall, lanky, quick-footed defensive back with a great burst … as a senior, tallied 60 tackles as a senior after a junior year in which he recorded 50 tackles, had three interceptions and 15 pass breakups … was a second-team all-conference selection as a junior … ranked as the 13th-best prospect in the state by The Ohio Football Recruiting News and No. 16 by Ohio High … Rivals.com ranks him as the 16th-best cornerback prospect in the nation and as the 13th-best overall prospect in Ohio … TheInsiders.com ranks him as the nation’s 14th-best cornerback prospect … boasts 4.41 speed in the 40 … coached by Mark Kalugyer.

Personal:
Born 6/24/86 … son of Elmer and Pamela Underwood … brother, E.J. Underwood, is a defensive back with the Buckeyes.

Sirjo Welch
Defensive Back
6-0, 185
Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft

Beechcroft High School:
Loves to hit and play the run … explodes on receivers, shows very quick feet and good balance … can pedal and turn without losing much in transition, and he displays good ball skills and recovery speed … had eight interceptions for 182 yards as a senior … had an outstanding senior season playing both free safety and wide receiver … led Beechcroft to a 9-3 record and berth into the Division III playoffs … first-team All-Ohio pick … listed as the state’s 11th-best prospect by The Ohio Football Recruiting News and No. 20 in the state by Ohio High … was an All-City League selection his junior season … topped 50 tackles as a junior and recorded six interceptions, returning two for touchdowns … listed by Rivals.com as the 17th-best safety prospect in the nation and the 11th-best overall prospect in Ohio … SuperPrep lists him as the 30th-best player in the Midwest … seventh-best safety prospect by TheInsiders.com … boasts 4.4 speed in the 40 … coached by Tom Dunlap … also played basketball and averaged 16.0 points per game as a guard and would like to play basketball for the Buckeyes.

Personal:
Born 3/26/86 … son of Raymond Smith and Lori Welch.