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April 19, 2006

Photo Gallery | Depth Chart.pdf

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sides have been chosen for Saturday’s spring game, and the gauntlet has been thrown down.

“I think the Scarlet team clearly has the superior team,” said quarterback Troy Smith who will be calling the plays for the Scarlet squad. “They (the Gray team) have some great receivers, but our over-all depth is just too much for them to overcome. Our guys will step up and get the job done.”

Countered Gray safety Brandon Mitchell, “We have lockdown corners that can shut down their receivers.”

Seniors from the two teams traded friendly barbs Wednesday afternoon in the recruiting room during the annual team draft. Head coach Jim Tressel had divided up the seniors and the coaching staff earlier in the day.

The Scarlet squad, which also includes seniors Doug Datish, Ryan Franzinger, John Kerr, David Patterson, Jay Richardson and Antonio Smith, won the coin toss and shocked many of the onlookers by choosing punter A.J. Trapasso with the first pick of the draft.

Asked why the team would choose a punter with its first pick, cornerback Antonio Smith brought down the house by responding, “Because the punt is the most important play in football.”

The latter, as expected brought a broad smile to the countenance of Tressel who is the author of that particular quote.

The Gray team, which includes seniors Mike D’Andrea, Roy Hall, Drew Norman, Joel Penton, Quinn Pitcock, Mike Roberts and Justin Zwick, then got is first true pick and selected defensive end Lawrence Wilson, a 6-6 defensive end who has added 40 pounds since the start of the 2005 season and now weighs in a an imposing 270 pounds. The Akron product has been one of the stars of spring practice thus far.

With its second pick, the Scarlet team opened up the defensive line position and chose redshirt freshman Todd Denlinger of Troy, Ohio.

The Gray team then chose cornerback Malcolm Jenkins in the fourth round. Jenkins started four games last year as a true freshman, filling in for injured Tyler Everett.

Center Tyler Whaley was the first offensive player taken. He was chosen by the Scarlet team, which opened up the center position. Whaley is a 6-0, 270-pound walk-on from Ironton, Ohio.

At that point, Tressel, the acting commissioner for the draft, interrupted the proceedings to point out that most of the attention this spring had focused on replacing Ohio State’s trio of outstanding linebackers – A. J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel – and that position had not yet been opened.

The Gray team responded by opening the position of offensive line and taking mammoth tackle Alex Boone.

With its next pick the Scarlet team chose tailback Erik Haw. When the Scarlet squad chose Maurice Wells, the Gray team quickly grabbed freshman Chris Wells to load up at that position.

The Gray team then selected Will linebacker Marcus Freeman, the talented sophomore who sat out last year after injuring his knee in the opening game against Miami (Ohio).

The Scarlet team stayed with the linebacker position on its next pick, selecting junior-to-be Curtis Terry, a standout special teams player the past two years and one of those players who has caught everyone’s eye this spring. The Sam linebacker is one of three players on the Scarlet roster who prepped at Cleveland Glenville High School.

All-American candidate Ted Ginn Jr. was the next player taken. The Gray team also landed Brian Robiskie, Roy Hall and Albert Dukes at the wide receiver position. Ginn is the Buckeyes leading returning receiver with 51 catches last year, including 17 in the last two games.

Ginn’s selection made it two straight players from Glenville, and that number increased to three when the Scarlet team took safety Jamario O’Neal with its next pick. O’Neal, who saw action in all 12 games last year with the special teams, is competing for the strong safety spot vacated by Donte Whitner, who also hailed from Glenville.

The Gray squad picked next and selected tight end Marcel Frost, who closed out the 2005 season on a strong note and is battling Rory Nicol for the top spot on the depth chart.

Mike linebacker Chad Hoobler was the next player chosen, closing out the three linebacker positions.

The Gray team then chose Todd Boeckman to backup Zwick at quarterback. That selection sent true freshman Rob Schoenhoft to the Scarlet squad behind Smith. Neither Smith nor Zwick are expected to see action in the second half on Saturday.

The Scarlet team then took fullback Dionte Johnson and the Gray team tabbed kicker Aaron Pettrey with the final pick.

When neither team could agree on a trade, Tressel declared the draft closed.

Tickets for the spring game currently are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office at the Jerome Schottenstein Center and can be purchased in person or by going on-line at the Athletic Ticket Office. The gates open at 11 a.m. on Saturday and tickets will be available both on the south side of St. John Arena and in the north end of Ohio Stadium.

The football team, the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the men’s gymnastics team will all be recognized at halftime of Saturday’s game. Ohio State made Big Ten history this year by becoming the first conference school to win league championships in football and both men’s and women’s basketball in the same year.

Draft Day Quotes

John Kerr – Scarlet Team
“We had a good draft. We feel we have the upper hand defensively. The guys are going to work hard. We are in good shape.”

T.J. Downing – Gray Team
“We drafted very well. We are confident with our receivers and special teams, but a little nervous about the offensive line. We are happy with our defensive ends.”

Coach John Peterson – Gray
“We are pleased with our picks. We tried a few trades, but we are very happy with our team. We are going to try to take the pressure off the edges. The guys on the corner spots will do a good job locking up the receivers.”

About the importance of the Spring Game
“Any time you get to compete in the horseshoe, it’s about pride. You want to win.”

Coach Darrell Hazell – Scarlet
“I look forward to a good afternoon. The team is ready to play hard and it should be lots of fun.”