Football Recruiting

The-Ozone Rewind: Signing Day Approaches for Troy Smith, 2002

Troy Smith Ohio State Buckeyes

[Editor’s Note: From now until Big Ten Media Days, we’ll be reaching into The-Ozone’s 23 years worth of archives and each day we will be posting a story from yesteryear. Big moments, small moments, big games, bigger games, and the random recruiting updates about guys you haven’t thought about in a decade or two.]


February 4, 2002 | If you were on the Ohio State internet back around 2001 and 2002, at least 40% of your life was consumed with receiving recruiting updates on three particular players: offensive lineman Derek Morris, wide receiver Richard Washington, and linebacker Buster Davis. Two of the three ended up committing to Ohio State, but none ever played for them. This rewind comes from Bill Kurelic, who you can now find over at 247Sports. In the report, all three players above are mentioned, as is a last-minute dual-threat quarterback by the name of Troy Smith. Smith was deciding between Ohio State and West Virginia. Imagine Jim Tressel’s career at Ohio State without landing Smith. Does it still turn out as good as it was?  — TG


The Buckeyes are focusing on several prospects as national signing day nears. Certainly one of those is a commitment Richard Washington from Florida. Washington of course made an official visit to Florida this weekend, and was met by OSU head coach Jim Tressel before this visit to Florida. The visit with Tressel went well, but Washington still decided to visit the Gators.

Also visiting Florida this weekend was offensive lineman Derek Morris from North Carolina. Going into his visit to Florida, Morris had OSU, Georgia and North Carolina State as his top three choices. Morris told me after his visit to Florida that his visit went well, he liked Florida, that he liked hanging out with the guys on the team, and said that new Florida head coach Ron Zook is very excited about everything and is very into recruiting.

However, Morris said that as of right now, his two favorites in no particular order are Georgia and Ohio State, with North Carolina State third and Florida fourth. Morris said that that might change tomorrow after he has a chance to talk things over with his father, especially about the Florida visit. Morris said he is still planning to announce his decision at a 12:20 afternoon press conference on Wednesday, national signing day in his high school gym. It continues to look like it will most likely come down to either Ohio State or Georgia for Derek Morris.

Richard Washington is not taking calls, but Derek Morris did spend time with Richard Washington while they were at Florida together, and Morris said that Richard told him that he is committed to Ohio State, but he likes North Carolina State a lot as well. Morris said that Washington indicated that he doesn’t like Florida that much and did not see himself going there, but Morris said he didn’t know if Washington would end up at OSU or N.C. State.

Washington’s mother would strongly like her son to stay closer to home at either Florida or N.C. State. Derek also mentioned that the two have talked about possibly going to the same school and certainly Ohio State and N.C.State are on both of their lists, but Georgia is very high on Morris’ list as well.

The Buckeyes continue very much in the hunt for LB Buster Davis, 5-11, 228 from Florida. Davis is set to announce his decision on Tuesday. Davis has Ohio State, Florida State and Nebraska as his three finalists, but I continue to think he will end up at either OSU or FSU.

The Buckeyes also continue their interest in QB Troy Smith, 6-1, 200 from Cleveland. Smith is deciding between West Virginia and Ohio State. Smith’s mother Tracy told me that her son is basically down to West Virginia and Ohio State, in that order. There is still a concern with academics with Smith, but he could end up in this Buckeye recruiting class, though he still needs to raise his test score. Smith could announce as early as Tuesday, but may wait until Wednesday, national signing day.

The Buckeye recruiting effort has been very good this year as is evidenced by the quality of the commitments they already have. I have the Buckeyes rated as the number two recruiting class in the country. The addition of any of the four players still being recruited by the Buckeyes will only make an already good class better.

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