Ohio State Buckeyes Football: The Top Players Who Were 3-Star Prospects

Michael ChungCorrespondent IIIJanuary 27, 2011

Ohio State Buckeyes Football: The Top Players Who Were 3-Star Prospects

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head Coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches his team play against the Miami Hurricanes at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Jim Tressel has been recruiting at Ohio State since 2001.  He has recruited a number of 3-star athletes.  Many recruiting rankings rate the success of a recruiting class largely based on the star level of their recruits.  Hence, a top recruiting class will be loaded with 4- and 5-star athletes.  Jim Tressel has shown that one does not need to depend on star rankings for a recruiting class to be successful.  The following are 10 of Jim Tressel's best 3-star recruits.

10. Chimidi Chekwa

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    This 3-star cornerback came to Ohio State via Florida.  He had an interception during his freshman year at USC that was the beginning of a solid four-year OSU career.  He will definitely be drafted but did suffer a wrist injury during the Sugar Bowl that may slow him down.

9. Jay Richardson

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Defensive end Jay Richardson #98 of the Oakland Raiders sacks quarterback Jon Kitna #3 of the Dallas Cowboys after a bad snap during the preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California.
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Jay Richardson was part of the 2002 recruiting class that had other star-studded 3-star players.  Richardson often went under the radar due to names like A.J. Hawk, Troy Smith and others that were stars on the team.  But anyone who watches OSU football knows that Richardson was a solid D-lineman and was drafted into the NFL.

8. Dane Sanzenbacher

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Dane Sanzenbacher #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs after a catch against Isaac Madison #6 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second quarter during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in Ne
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Sanzenbacher was voted the team's offensive MVP this year and came up big in the Sugar Bowl by scoring the first touchdown off a Terrelle Pryor fumble.  A 3-star prospect out of Toledo, Sanzenbacher showed proved he had 5-star value to the wide receiving corps. 

7. Brian Robiskie

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    Robiske was a late commit to the 2005 recruiting class. Many thought he was just a throw-in as Ohio State still had extra scholarships.  But his career at OSU proved he was a top receiving prospect, and he now plays for the Cleveland Browns.

6. Brian Hartline

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31:  Brian Hartline #82 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball while defended by Leon Hall #29  of the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Brian Hartline suffered a devastating leg injury during his senior season that may have dropped him down to a 3-star level, but his OSU career clearly surpassed three stars.  He was a top OSU receiver and now plays for the Miami Dolphins.

5. Chris Gamble

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals keeps the ball away from teammates Chris Gamble #20 and Charles Godfrey #30 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Chris Gamble did it all at Ohio State.  Recruited as a receiver, Gamble would later be switched to cornerback, shutting down Andre Johnson of the Miami Hurricanes in the 2002-03 National Championship game, and acting as the primary punt returner for OSU during that season. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers and continues to play as a solid cornerback.

4. James Laurinaitis

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: James Laurinaitis #55 of the St. Louis Rams is introduced prior to playing the Kansas City Chiefs at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwana
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The son of former professional wrestler Hawk, Laurinaitis came to OSU via Minnesota as a 3-star prospect.  He played his freshman year in the Michigan game after Bobby Carpenter suffered an injury. He went on to win awards early on in his career as a top linebacker.  He could have left early and likely would have been a top-10 draft pick but stayed in college for his final year.  He is now with the St. Louis Rams.

3. Malcolm Jenkins

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 31: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints tackles Antwaan Randle El #82 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
    Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

    Coming out of New Jersey, OSU fans were wondering who this kid was.  People stopped wondering when he began playing.  He shut down the Big Ten's best and decided not to go to the NFL early, but returned to help lead the team his senior year.  He has won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints.

2. Santonio Holmes

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrates after he scored a third quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    This 3-star recruit out of Florida became a star at Ohio State.  He later would be a Super Bowl MVP with the Pittsburgh Steelers and also helped the New York Jets to the AFC Championship game.

1. A.J. Hawk

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  A.J. Hawk #50 and Scott Wells #63 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate as they walk off the field after they won 48-21 against the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 i
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    A.J Hawk was part of the 2002 recruiting class that featured prominent recruits like 5-star Mike D'Andrea and 4-star prospects Bobby Carpenter and Stan White Jr.  Hawk was under the recruiting radar, but he quickly established himself at OSU, sending Stan White Jr. to fullback while Mike D'Andrea barely played due to injuries.  Hawk was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers and will be playing in his first Super Bowl on February 6.