CB Malcolm Jenkins

2007 Statistics

Coach: Jim Tressel
73-16, 7 years
2007 Record: 11-2
at Washington WON 33-14
at Minnesota WON 30-7
at Purdue WON 23-7
at Penn State WON 37-17
at Michigan WON 14-3
Louisiana State LOST 24-38

2007 Final Rankings
AP-5, Coaches-4, BCS-1

2008 Outlook

Two previous seasons, two failed trips to the national championship game. The same type of fast, spread out SEC team beat them pretty easily each time. We could sit here and tell you about the Buckeye’s amazing All-Americans, or their highly-touted recruits, or their superlative numbers, especially on defense. But losing those two games has to still be keeping head coach Jim Tressel up at night, and knowing he has another good shot at returning to the big dance, the monkey on his back will be getting ornery as the wins again pile up. With so many starters and experienced upperclassmen, this group has either learned from their mistakes or they are doomed to repeat them when the top competition comes a-callin’.

Look for the trip to Southern Cal to be a good wakeup call that will give a barometer for how well adjustments are coming. Most know USC is as good as anyone - just as fast as SEC teams and just as deep, too. That game looks winnable since the Trojans will still likely be searching for their next QB so early in the season. That games’ number will keep Ohio State from rising to the top of all of the (defensive) statistical categories like they have in the past few years. That’s a good thing…yes, read on.

Artificially inflated numbers may be impressive to many, but when the Buckeye players believe their validity, those easy-to-come-by numbers haven’t translated when OSU finally sees a team that is as good as it is. The proof in the pudding for this theory is spelled out in the home loss to Illinois, when a rising team came to the Horseshoe and out-played OSU in both trenches to win rather handily 28-21. They controlled OSU’s amazing defense like LSU and UF did, with low-impact plays that caught the Buckeyes believing the No.1 hype and allowing such 5, 10 and 15 yard gains to methodically succeed, thinking it is only one play here and there, until it was too late to come back.

There is no more Troy Smith, a guy who had proven himself in the tougher battles…just senior Todd Boeckman, a solid technician who needs to be trusted on “read” plays more, and now, messiah Terrelle Pryor, who is too young as an incoming frosh to carry this veteran team in any capacity. Troy beat Michigan with his dual-threat abilities three years straight and eventually won the Heisman, the same thing that is needed in today’s Buckeyes to freeze any big, mobile LBs and safeties for that needed split second so plays can have a chance to succeed. Beanie (Chris Wells) forces teams to commit at least seven to the box almost every play, so laterally developing plays – more than just flanker/WR screens and reverses – are needed to slow better foes down. That’s how Ohio State was beaten each of these last three times, and with the same essential lineup as last year on offense, this prescription for opening things up to guarantee a wider range of production should fix what ails the offense in the biggest of games.

Defensively, this team has to win games when the offense can’t, or the same disappointing result will occur if OSU makes it to the big dance. Few foes can match the Buckeyes on paper defensively, let alone on the gridiron. The line is as stacked as any, the LBs are led by multiple award-winner MLB James Laurinaitis, and the secondary loses no one from the top unit in the country. But can they figure out their underneath coverage so top teams don’t dink and dunk their way to time-consuming scores…and win more championships from under the Buckeye’s nose(s) in the process? Watch the USC game closely to see if they have made any worthwhile adjustments this way, cause you know Pete Carroll will do this until Laurinaitis and Freeman make him stop.

This group will be looking forward to their trip to Champaign since Illinois is a payback game. Michigan is at home and they have a new starting QB, as do Penn State, Wisconsin, and the Trojans. This Buckeye squad is poised for a third trip to the BCS title game, and it looks like injuries and/or themselves are the only thing(s) that can keep OSU from this destiny. Just as we do, Buckeye fans know how winning that game is still within reach, so fixing what has kept them from being No.1 in the last two year-end polls is the focus. Yes, this is a worthy No.1 preseason team, but that won’t mean much to Betty until she sees the Waterford Crystal back on High Street.

Projected 2008 record: 11-1
QB - 4 DL - 4.5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 4 DB - 5
OL - 4.5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Todd Boeckman, 191-299-14, 2379 yds., 25 TD

Rushing: Chris Wells, 274 att., 1609 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Brian Robiskie, 55 rec., 935 yds., 11 TD

Scoring: Ryan Pretorius, 18-23 FG, 48-49 PAT, 102 pts.

Punting: A.J. Trapasso, 53 punts, 41.5 avg.

Kicking: Ryan Pretorius, 18-23 FG, 48-49 PAT, 102 pts.

Tackles: James Laurinaitis, 121 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: James Laurinaitis, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Malcolm Jenkins, 4 for 53 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: Ray Small, 22 ret., 17.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Brian Hartline, 20 ret., 11.4 avg., 1 TD


QB Todd Boeckman
OFFENSE: Dionte Johnson-FB, Kirk Barton-OT
DEFENSE: Larry Grant-SLB, Vernon Gholston-DE (NFL)

When you return nine starters from a squad that went to the national championship the prior (two) year(s), most would say production is doing fine, so changes aren’t really needed. But after losing that all-important game…TWICE…coach Tressel has to wonder how his team’s pedestrian 62nd ranking for total offense plays into that fact. State will continue to run it and run it well, with Chris Wells likely on most early Heisman watch lists. OSU will again pass it rather efficiently, when they do. So just what needs tweaking? That answer lies in opening up the playbook early and often, something that the coach couldn’t really do with only five offensive starters back in ’07. More specifically, finding more ground option, including at QB, and sticking with those running options in even the toughest of games/situations.

Todd Boeckman can motor it for decent yards and is a load to bring down, but the new face of 6’6 Terrelle Pryor will revamp the way the coaches use the position for ground production. Yes, conjuring how Tim Tebow was used in his first season will give you an idea of the many ways Pryor can be plugged in. Pryor, who runs a 4.3 second 40, is the top recruit at any position (Rivals), so it is just a matter of time until he takes over. But this year currently belongs to the senior who got them to the top in ’07. Boeckman is a solid passer, seeing the field well (6’5) and picking his downfield options wisely as he patiently sits in the pocket. But the Buckeye’s knife-through-butter ease in production against most of their early 2007 opponents didn’t translate once OSU was actually tested. Boeckman couldn’t get his team to the next/needed level(s) against the last three foes of ‘07 (35-for-62 for 414 yards, with six INTs and only two TDs in those games), showing that State may have a decent game manager but still doesn’t have an established savior. Former back up Rob Schoenhoft decided to transfer. Depending upon how well Pryor comes along once in the mix (arrives in June), Pryor could quickly find himself inheriting the QB spot the same way Troy Smith did (when the guy in front of him, Justin Zwick, suddenly faltered). Georgia Offensive Player of the Year (2005) Antonio Henton has opted to transfer leaving the door even more open in terms of Pryor gettin playing time. Tressel just has to find a way to make this talented duo help the team reach its potential.

“Beanie” is worthy of his 20+ carries per game, but in the biggest games (including the two ’07 losses), it seemed like his predictability limited production by year’s end (ergo scoring only 21 vs. Illinois, 14 vs. Michigan and 24 in the title game vs. LSU). Wells is a bruiser who truly wears defenses down; they have to commit at least seven to the box when he is in the backfield, and he runs over dudes at will with a burst of speed that surprises you for a 230+ guy. All-American honors will pour in for the Jacksonville-native over the preseason. Wells only getting five catches is an example of how his presence (and then the lack of it) telegraphs play-calling. His namesake (but with no relation to) Maurice Wells has never gotten a real chance to shine – he averages a mere six carries per game, getting more than 10 only five times in 34 career games. Tough between the tackles, he also has found it hard to showcase his soft hands. Sophomore TB Brandon Saine – Ohio’s Mr. Football (2006) and both the 100m. and 400m. state champ – has found more of a hybrid role, the trend needing to be seen more (ala Ginn, Jr.). The position is stacked five-deep, so let’s see some fresh options who make defenders rethink their approach due to the unknown. The biggest unknown has to be at the vaunted fullback position. Three seniors left, but this position has, as of late, been a non-option for actual ball carrying. Linebackers galore (Lukens, Spitler and incoming frosh stud Sweat, who is our choice of the three) have been spotted at FB, so that dimension looks covered but not experienced. The other ground option has to be realized so spread formations can have their intended impact – at QB.

The ‘Brian’n’Brian Show’…Robiskie is a strong route-runner who finds open space (usually behind the LBs) within which to operate. Hartline is the underneath guy, with Sanzenbacher and Small also in the mix, but only at limited times. Five-star recruit DeVier Posey (No.3 WR prospect) is sure to find his way onto the field on Saturdays, but with only two receivers from ’07 earning 21 or more catches, you can see why developments on offense are crucial for finding more weapons and therefore keeping opponents guessing as to which of those variables will get the ball. Pounding Beanie will get OSU early wins with impressive national rankings…but to get this offense back atop the BCS, coordinator Jim Bollman has to be allowed to use all of his options and learn about his newest QB through a few gutsy mistakes.

Getting back to the theme of opening things up, TEs Rory Nicol and/or Jake Ballard had no stat lines for the BCS title game, a testimonial to how easy it can be sometimes for savvier foes to analyze the Buckeye strategy accurately from play to play. They may be utilized for only 29 catches again, but those – especially those in big games – are important to occupy LBs and distract safeties. Get it to these guys, Jim!

The line is there to guide anyone downfield, and is just as good at protecting the hurler. Alex Boone will be a popular All-American selection at left tackle. A starter his freshman year, the Lakewood-native is rather athletic for his 310+lbs and can get downfield when needed. Still the exact same (just like the entire starting line was throughout every game last campaign) are the inside pushers. Mammoth Steve Rehring has adapted from tackle very nicely, while fellow senior Ben Person is a surprisingly strong pass blocker and can move laterally exceptionally. Depth at every position is there (this year’s incoming class features the No.1 tackle and the No.4 guard prospects), except at center, which has to be of concern and something that will be approached and solved before fall. Junior Jim Cordle is just another in the lone line of NFL-caliber centers that wind up in Columbus…but behind him, non-scholarship Andrew Moses would represent a possible drop-off in between-the-tackle production.


RB Chris "Beanie" Wells


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Todd Boeckman-Sr (6-4, 244) Joe Bauserman-Fr (6-2, 220)
Terrelle Pryor-Fr (6-6, 235)
FB Ryan Lukens-Sr (6-0, 238) Spencer Smith-Fr (6-2, 225)
TB Chris Wells-Jr (6-1, 237) Maurice Wells-Sr (5-10, 195)
Brandon Saine-So (6-1, 217
WR Brian Robiskie-Sr (6-3, 199) Taurian Washington-So (6-2, 179)
WR Brian Hartline-Jr (6-2, 186) Ray Small-Jr (5-11, 180)
WR Dane Sanzenbacher-So (5-11, 175) Devon Torrence-So (6-1, 193)
TE Rory Nicol-Sr (6-5, 252) Jake Ballard-Jr (6-6, 256)
OT Alex Boone-Sr (6-8, 312) Jon Skinner-Sr (6-5, 306)
OG Steve Rehring-Sr (6-7, 345) Kyle Mitchum-Sr (6-3, 291)
C Jim Cordle-Jr (6-4, 297) Andrew Moses-Jr (6-3, 280)
OG Ben Person-Sr (6-3, 323) Connor Smith-So (6-4, 321)
OT Bryant Browning-So (6-4, 311) J.B. Shugarts-Fr (6-8, 298)
K Ryan Pretorius-Sr (5-9, 169) Aaron Pettrey-Jr (6-2, 199)



There has to be a similar approach to analyzing the Buckeye defense, one that doesn’t concentrate so much on their many easy successes, but, moreover, breaks down the few instances of this stellar group being beaten, and rather soundly when it was done last year. Illinois and LSU both ran it effectively against OSU’s then-No.1 rushing D – the Illini for 260 yards and the Tigers for 152. Without these two games (412 combined yards), Ohio State finishes allowing 665 total ground yards (in 11 games) and only two rushing TDs. You can see we are lauding these numbers, but also pointing out certain aspects that seem consistent amongst teams that beat OSU (including the 2006 Gators). The Illini ran it 51 times, and they controlled the clock and OSU’s powerful offense this way by keeping it off the field. When they got the ball back with 8:09 left in the game, and a 28-21 lead, Illinois then ran it successfully enough in 14 out of 15 plays to beat State at their own clock-control game. LSU ran it 49 times, also ruling Tressel’s guys in time-of-possession (by nearly eight minutes) and converting 11-of-18 third-down tries after OSU allowed only 30.6% conversions up until that all-important game. We are sure OSU fans would give up their No.1 defensive ranking – mere numbers – for wins in those three losses over the last two years, so this is why we point this out. The talent is there in returning 11 guys with extensive starting experience.

The loss of starting ends Barrow (left team to pursue other interests) and Gholston (NFL) will look bad on paper and may even be felt a bit at first. But they have until the early trip to Los Angeles to figure it out up front. Retooling won’t hurt the run-stuffing dominance the Buckeyes have had in recent years. Cameron Heyward is the latest Buckeye DE phenom – the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Cameron has converted from DT with great success. He had only five less total tackles than All-American Gholston, starting the last seven games as a true freshman (First Team Freshman All-American, Rivals). Heyward is not a sprinter, but he pushes up his lane responsibly, allowing few ball carriers to run around him as he uses his 6’6 frame to disrupt the QB. The nation’s top DE recruit two years ago – Cleveland’s Rob Rose – inherits big shoes and even bigger expectations as the bookend to Heyward. This kid has the speed and size to really have an impact as just one player (ala Gholston). The return (with a vengeance) of Lawrence Wilson (broken leg) makes this group of ends comparable to those who were just here. Inside, the rotation of Worthington, Abdallah, Larimore and Denlinger finished 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th, respectively, in team tackles…not bad for the two-deep of DTs. Abdallah is the senior leader who knows how to clog lanes and occupy two blockers. Every DLman seems like an end-tackle hybrid, and their ability to be interchangeable – both inside and out – makes this one of the top lines in the land.

When the experts tell you how amazing this linebacking corps is, not many will tell you their weaknesses, too. UF and LSU told them to you, clearly. Simply put, against those faster (SEC) foes, this group has shown to be vulnerable to the underneath pass as procured in a spread approach (which allows opposing QBs to see any mismatches as the teams line up and then audible so as to exploit them). Sure, the tackle(s) the LBs make after the catch are quick and circumspect, but keeping the ball out of the receiver’s hands is the first, most important objective in that sequence. Butkus (2007) and Nagurski (2006) Award-winner James Laurinaitis is an amazing player, one with instinct and range like few who have ever worn the Buckeye uniform. He is a strong leader and made for the MLB position. Classmate Marcus Freeman is better made for pass defense; he emerged a more well-rounded player after an injury to fellow-WLB Ross Homan (toe) gave him the reps to work through improving his run-stopping. Freeman is All-conference caliber, and should find himself even more room for improvement. SLB Curtis Terry will be the possible difference – after sitting out ’07, he brings the speed needed to matchup well in the slot.

The role of Chimdi Chekwa at nickel (or “star”) should expand after he finished as the top Buckeye for passes defended. This ex-track star will surely bow to incumbents CBs Donald Washington and Second Team All-American Malcolm Jenkins as the starters, but Chikwa is a strong tackler who can hold his own in running situations to give OSU better underneath coverage if he can stay in the game more. This is a superior secondary that returns all its starters from the No.1 ranked unit in all of college football. That the Buckeye’s foes threw it a combined 406 times – more times than for any of the next eight teams that placed under them in the pass defense rankings - and that OSU still was the best just shows you how stingy they can be. They were the only team in the FBS to allow less than five yards per pass attempt (4.81). The thorn in their side has to be that, in the two losses, they gave up four passing TDs in each game, even though they held Illinois to 140 aerial yards and LSU to a measly174. Big plays all year will cover the team’s résumé yet again, but having the skills when OSU faces its next big (BCS) opponent is all that matters to Buckeye fans. This is a tall set of heads-up cover men that can be left alone on the outside. Depth from the recent incoming classes just needs development. The same can also be said at safety, and junior starters Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell will be able to stay fresh with so much experience behind them. FS Russell had twice as many TFLs as his partner, but, conversely, Clayton-native and converted-CB Coleman is excellent in coverage for a SS. Senior Jamario O’Neal and big hitter Aaron Gant both could start at most other Big Ten schools. The chemistry will be that much better and we expect them to take more chances, in turn producing more than 2007’s modest total of 11 INTs. Ok, so throwing underneath still seems like the only viable option against this D. Well then, OSU has to keep things in perspective on this side of the ball – when they beat up on Youngstown State and Ohio U., they have to figure USC knows this marginal weakness and will attack it like LSU and Florida did. DC Jim Heacock (entering his sixth year) has to force the new Trojan hurlers to beat his men over the top by taking the underneath stuff away, or we think the trip out west will be an early version of OSU finding the same unfortunate results as they have in the recent title games. If they don’t use Chikwa more in the bigger games, such a decision will again bite State in the butt.


LB James Laurinaitis


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Cameron Heyward-So (6-6, 287) Mark Johnson-So (6-4, 243)
DT Todd Denlinger-Jr (6-2, 292) Nader Abdallah-Sr (6-4, 300)
Robert Rose-Jr (6-5, 285)
DT Doug Worthington-Jr (6-6, 276) Dexter Larimore-So (6-2, 300)
DE Lawrence Wilson-Sr (6-4, 274) Thaddeus Gibson-So (6-2, 240)
SLB Curtis Terry-Sr (6-1, 229) Tyler Moeller-So (6-0, 216)
MLB James Laurinaitis-Sr (6-3, 240) Austin Spitler-Jr (6-3, 234)
WLB Marcus Freeman-Sr (6-1, 239) Ross Homan-So (6-0, 229)
CB Donald Washington-Jr (6-0, 194) Chimdi Chekwa-So (6-0, 188)
CB Malcolm Jenkins-Sr (6-1, 202) Andre Amos-Jr (6-1, 183)
SS Kurt Coleman-Jr (5-11, 187) Jamario O'Neal-Sr (6-0, 205)
FS Anderson Russell-Jr (6-0, 205) Aaron Gant-Jr (6-0, 194)
P A.J. Trapasso-Sr (6-0, 229) Jon Thoma-Jr (6-2, 201)




The Buckeyes will continue to have an advantage in the kicking games – Trapasso and his coverage teams get consistent net results (longest return allowed was 16 yards in ’07), and Pretorius is the South African with a soccer/rugby/track background who is as deadly with his fierce tackling (rugby nut) as he is with his leg from 50+ yards out. Backup WR Ray Small seems to be the “choice” at both KR and PR. Still, Robiskie, Hartline, Jenkins, (Maurice) Wells and Saine all had equal or better results when employed as return men, so expect different jersey numbers to be seen under falling kicks for OSU.