Feb. 5, 2003

National Letter of Intent Press Conference Audio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel likes what he sees when he looks over his latest class of recruits.

“This is an extraordinarily talented and versatile group,” said the third-year Buckeye coach, who this past year led his team to a perfect 14-0 record and the 2002 National Championship. “It is a class with excellent maturity and an obvious passion to be a part of the proud tradition of Ohio State football. It is also a class that is very solid academically and that is very important to us.”

The class of 2003 includes 12 players from the state of Ohio, two from Texas and one from New Jersey.

“Ohio is always going to be our focal point,” stated Tressel. “You have to get the great ones here at home and I think we did that.”

There is one transfer in this year’s class. Linebacker Anthony Schlegel, a First-team All Mountain West selection at the Air Force Academy last year as a sophomore, will enroll at Ohio State in April and take part in spring practice. He will not be eligible, however, until the 2004 season. Schlegel, a native of Highland Park, Texas, will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Broken down by position, there are six defensive backs, but two of those also are listed as wide receivers and a third is listed as a running back. Additionally, there are four defensive linemen, two linebackers, one tight end, one offensive tackle and one wide receiver.

“We have a number of players capable of helping us at a couple of different positions,” noted Tressel. “It is nice to have that kind of flexibility. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the fall and then evaluate how those new players can best help us.”

Two of the defensive backs, Donte Whitner of Cleveland Glenville and Ashton Youboty of Houston (Texas) Klein are already with the Buckeyes. Both enrolled at the beginning of Winter Quarter and currently are taking part in winter conditioning just as tailback Maurice Clarett and defensive back Mike Roberts did last year.

Recruiting Class 2003 Roster

Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. High School/Last School
Kirk Barton OL 6-6 275 Massilon Perry
Sian Cotton DL 6-4 295 Akron St. Vincent St.
Marcel Frost DE 6-5 235 Lyndhurst Brush
Tony Gonzalez DB/WR 6-0 187 Cleveland St. Ignatius
Ira Guilford S/RB 5-11 185 Hoboken, New Jersey
Dareus Hiley DB 6-1 180 Cleveland Glenville
Louis Irizarry TE 6-5 235 Youngstown Ursuline
Devin Jordan WR 6-3 190 Massillon Washington
Curt Lukens DB 6-3 200 North Canton
Brandon Maupin DL 6-6 270 West Chester Lakota
David Patterson DL 6-3 260 Warrnesville Heights
Anthony Schlegel LB 6-1 240 Air Force Academy
Reggie Smith LB 6-2 225 East Cleveland Shaw
Donte Whitner DB 5-11 175 Cleveland Glennville
Ashton Youboty DB 6-1 180 Houston Klein

Player Bios

Kirk Barton
6-6, 275
Offensive Line
Massillon Perry High School
Massillon, Ohio

High School
Considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the Midwest …named to a First-team berth on the All-Federal League team and a member of the Akron Beacon Journal’s All-Star team … big, strong and very talented … played tight end and defensive tackle in high school and won all-district honors … expected to concentrate on offensive tackle at the collegiate level … ranked among the top 100 offensive line prospects in the country … intelligent player and student of the game … coaches like his agility and foot work … also has outstanding academic credentials … will be new to the offensive line, but has unlimited potential … selected to play in the Big 33 and the Ohio North-South All-Star games … high school coach was Keith Wakefield

Birthday is Nov. 4, 1984 … mother is Brigette Barton.

Sian Cotton
6-4, 295
Defensive Line
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School
Akron, Ohio

High School
Played both ways in high school and is a terrific athlete who attracted recruiters from all over the country because of his versatility …named to the All-Summit County team as both a junior and senior … projected to play the defensive line for the Buckeyes … has an abundance of speed and strength … coming off a super senior year in which he won First-team all-Ohio honors in Division IV and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … finished his senior season with 84 tackles and 13 sacks, that on the heels of 67 stops and 9 sacks as a junior … also a standout basketball player for the nationally-ranked Irish … bench presses 300 pounds … high school coach was Jason Brophy

Birthday is Jan. 1, 1985 parents are Lee and Debra Cotton.

Marcel Frost
6-5, 245
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker/Tight End
Lyndhurst Brush High School
Lyndhurst, Ohio

High School
Had everyone after him because of his combination of size and speed … 36 catches for 538 yards and 8 touchdowns as a junior … followed that up with 11 touchdown catches and 62 receptions as a senior … can stretch a defense with his speed and soft hands … has the frame and determination to be an excellent blocker … defensive stats include 65 tackles and 8 sacks as a junior and 80 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior … he and current Ohio State freshman Roy Hall were high school teammates and formed one of the most dangerous receiving tandems in Ohio … ranked as one of the top 56 top prospects in the Midwest by SuperPrep … high school coach was Eric Mitchell

Birthday is Oct. 4, 1984 … parents are LaMar and Debbie Frost.

Tony Gonzalez
6-0, 187
Defensive Back/Wide Receiver
Cleveland St. Ignatius High School
Cleveland, Ohio

High School
Excelled on both offense and defense … has excellent speed and an exceptional burst that allows him to separate from defenders and close on receivers, depending upon which side of the ball he is playing on … won first-team All-Ohio honors as a senior and was named co-Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press … ranked as the nation’s 16th best cornerback by … led St. Ignatius to the Division I state title as a junior … 53 tackles and six interceptions as a junior … also had 42 receptions for 1,012 yards and 10 touchdowns … enjoyed an equally spectacular senior campaign in which he had 50 tackles and four interceptions on defense and 33 receptions for 900 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense … also a fine student … high school coach was Chuck Kyle

Birthday is Sept. 18, 1984 … parents are Eduardo and Jenna Gonzalez … an older brother, Joe, plays football at Indiana.

Ira Guilford
6-0, 190
Safety/Running Back
Hoboken High School
Hoboken, New Jersey

High School
One of the nation’s most highly recruited prep players …won First-team all-state honors on both offense and defense and was named to the All-Tri-State team … honored as the County Player of the Year … coming off an outstanding senior season in which he rushed for 2,268 yards and scored 29 touchdowns on offense and had 87 tackles on defense … also forced four fumbles and had three sacks as a senior … 86 tackles, 824 rushing yards as a junior … ranked as the nation’s seventh best safety prospect by … renowned for his hitting ability … a superb athlete who bench presses 360 pounds and has a 40-inch vertical … high school coach was Ed Stinson

Birthday is June 23, 1985 … is the son of Duane Guilford and Christian Bell.

Dareus Hiley
6-1, 195
Defensive Back/Wide Receiver
Glenville High School
Cleveland, Ohio

High School
Four-year starter … played quarterback and wide receiver on offense in addition to cornerback on defense … accounted for more than 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns on offense as a senior … picked off five interceptions as a senior … career figures include 4,282 all-purpose yard and 58 touchdowns on offense and 18 interceptions on defense … ranked as the nation’s fourth best cornerback by SuperPrep Magazine … also a very talented receiver … ranked as the sixth-best prospect in Ohio by The Ohio Football Recruiting News … heavily recruited by all the major schools … selected to play in the Big 33 and the Ohio North-South All-Star games … high school coach was Ted Ginn

Birthday is January 21, 1984 … is the son of Cheryl Hiley.

Louis Irizarry
6-5, 235
Tight End
Youngstown Ursuline High School
Youngstown, Ohio

High School
One of the top tight end prospects in the nation … recruited by everyone because of his combination of size, speed and ability to catch the ball … was a three-year starter … caught 127 passes for 2,559 yards and 25 touchdowns during his career … averaged 20.1 yards per reception, an incredible figure for a tight end … really had a sensational year as a sophomore, hauling in 46 passes for over 900 yards … started as a freshman and helped Ursuline win the state championship … won First-team All-Ohio honors a senior, hauling in 35 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns … ranked as the fifth best player in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press and generally considered one of the top five tight ends in the country … is an excellent student … high school coach was Daniel Murphy

Birthday is Sept. 12, 1984 … parents are Louis and Evelyn Irizarry.

Devin Jordan
6-3, 190
Wide Receiver
Massillon Washington High School
Massillon, Ohio

High School
Accorded First-team All-Ohio honors by the Associated Press as both a junior and a senior … rated as the 10th best prospect in Ohio by the Ohio Football Recruiting News and the nation’s 29th best receiver by … teamed with current Ohio State freshman Justin Zwick to form one of the most dangerous aerial combinations in the state in 2001, hauling in 101 passes for 1,504 yards and 18 touchdowns, an average of 15.0 yards per catch … had 59 receptions for 893 yards and 12 TDs as a senior … also earned three letters each in basketball and track … high school coach was Rick Shepas

Birthday is Dec. 20, 1984 … parents are Richard and Sharon Jordan.

Curt Lukens
6-3, 200
Free Safety
North Canton Hoover High School
North Canton, Ohio

High School
Won First-team All-Ohio honors as a senior and was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in Division 1 … was the Most Valuable Player in the Federal League … also the Stark County MVP … played linebacker in high school, but is projected as a safety for the Buckeyes … had 130 tackles as a senior, including 80 solos, 17 tackles for loss and 12 sacks … also had two interceptions … also ran for 590 yards and had 20 receptions for 250 yards … had 125 tackles and 40 receptions for 970 yards as a junior … was both the Federal League and the Stark County MVP as a senior … also won All-Ohio honors as a junior … rated as the 49th best prospect in the Midwest by SuperPrep … 100 and 200-meter district champion in track as a junior … high school coach was Don Hertler

Birthday is March 20, 1985 … parents are Mark and Debbie Lukens.

Brandon Maupin
6-6, 290
Defensive Line
Lakota West High School
West Chester, Ohio

High School
Played tight end on offense and tackle on defense, but expected to concentrate on the latter at Ohio State … finished the 2002 campaign with 76 tackles, including 43 solos, and had 12 tackles for loss and three sacks … led Lakota West in tackles … named to a First-team berth on the All-Southwest Ohio District Team … also a First-team All-Butler County selection … rated as the 11th-best prospect in Ohio by the Ohio Recruiting News and the 39th best defensive-line prospect by the SuperPrep … high school coach was Larry Cox

Birthday is May 17, 1984.

David Patterson
6-3, 285
Defensive Line
Warrensville Heights High School
Warrensville Heights, Ohio

High School
Won First-team All-Ohio honors in Division II and was the Associated Press District Defensive Player of the Year … a three-year starter on both sides of the ball, but is expected to line up with the defense once he enrolls at Ohio State … big, strong and fast … had 98 tackles, including 25 tackles for loss and 17 sacks as a senior … also blocked three kicks … 120 tackles and 16 sacks as a junior … ranked as the nation’s seventh best defensive tackle prospect by … rated as the sixth-best overall prospect in the Midwest by SuperPrep … high school coach was Dan Thorpe

Birthday is Feb. 11, 1985 is the son of Leesa Patterson.

Anthony Schlegel
6-2, 245
Highland Park High School/Air Force Academy
Highland Park, Texas

Will enroll at Ohio State in April and take part in spring drills … a transfer from the Air Force Academy, where he lettered the past two years … will have to sit out the 2003 season and will become eligible for game competition in 2004 … 2002: Started all 13 games and became the first sophomore in school history to win First-team All-Mountain West Conference recognition … wound up the year with 118 tackles (54 solos, 64 assists) … first Falcon since 1997 to top the 100 mark … finished third in the Mountain West in tackles … led the team in tackles for loss with 10 … was named defensive MVP in the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl … had a career-high 19 tackles against Notre Dame … 2001: Played in 10 games as a freshman and started the final six … had 48 tackles as a freshman, including four for losses … High School: Lettered four years in wrestling and three in football … won the heavyweight state title as a junior and was runner-up as a senior … also national AAU champ as a junior … third-team all-state in football as a senior

Parents are Roger and Connie Schlegel … set two world deadlift records in the 19-and-under division with lifts of 662 and 672 pounds … birthday is March 1, 1981.

Reggie Smith
6-2, 225
Shaw High School
East Cleveland, Ohio

High School
Three-year starter at defensive end …won First-team All-Ohio honors as a senior … also named to a Second-team berth on the Parade All-America Team … finished his senior year with 121 tackles, including 16 sacks … forced five fumbles … spirited leader on the field who impressed the OSU coaches with his aggressive style of play and instincts for the game … currently averaging 20 points a game in basketball and is a fine all-around athlete … expected to move to linebacker for the Buckeyes … high school coach was Devlin Culliver

Birthday is Dec. 7, 1983 …is the son of Lynn Smith.

Donte Whitner
5-11, 185
Glenville High School
Cleveland, Ohio

High School
Considered one of the top defensive backs in the country … committed to Ohio State early and enrolled in school at the beginning of Winter Quarter (Jan. 6) so he could take part in winter conditioning and spring practice … rated as the No. 1 overall prospect in the Midwest and the seventh best in the nation by SuperPrep … rated as the third best cornerback in the nation by … SuperPrep All-American … played in the U.S. Army Bowl over Christmas break … credited with 87 tackles and had three interceptions as a junior … 60 tackles as a senior include 10 tackles for loss, three picks and four forced fumbles … scored 14 touchdowns as a junior and had nine TD receptions as a senior …13 career interceptions … recruited by all the national powerhouses … also excels in the classroom … high school coach was Ted Ginn

Birthday is July 24, 1985 … parents are Deborah and Lindsey Robinson.

Ashton Youboty
6-2, 187
Klein High School
Houston, Texas

High School
Committed to Ohio State early and enrolled at the beginning of the winter academic quarter (Jan. 6) so he could take part in winter conditioning and spring practice … a native of Liberia … also lived in Philadelphia before moving to Houston … ranked as the 14th best safety prospect in the nation by … had 60 tackles and three interceptions as a senior … averaged over 10 yards per punt return as a junior … made dramatic improvement between his junior and senior seasons and was recruited by a number of Big Ten schools in addition to schools in the Southwest … has all the tools to be an outstanding cover corner … long jumps 22 feet and finished second in the 100 and 200-meter runs at the district track meet as a junior … high school coach was Ray Kenjura

Birthday is July 7, 1984 … is the son of Jeannet Youboty.