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Published: Wednesday, 2/11/2009

OSU nabbed QB recruit at 11th hour

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Guiton Guiton
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

COLUMBUS - It took Ohio State several years to court, entice, sway, convince, woo and otherwise persuade Terrelle Pryor to come play quarterback for the Buckeyes.

It took less than a week to land the player who could be Pryor's backup for the next couple of seasons.

Kenny Guiton of Eisenhower High School in Houston was the last addition to the 2009 recruiting class for the Buckeyes, and the only quarterback in the 25-member group. Guiton's road to becoming a Buckeye was the express lane.

Ohio State has only two scholarship quarterbacks on its roster - Pryor and former minor league baseball pitcher Joe Bauserman - and both have three years of eligibility remaining.

Coach Jim Tressel and his staff decided to add one quarterback to the team, and focused most of their recruitment efforts on Tajh Boyd from Hampton, Va.

Boyd was a hot commodity, with 11 scholarship offers in hand during his junior year.

He committed to West Virginia and then changed his mind, committed to Tennessee and then de-committed when Lane Kiffin got the coaching job there. Boston College, Florida State,

Oregon, Michigan and Penn State were all interested, along with the Buckeyes.

The weeks went by and the Feb. 4 signing date for recruits closed in, and when Boyd made Clemson his choice, there were just eight days left before the deadline. Ohio State scrambled, and with assistant coach John Peterson already in Texas, managed to track down Guiton.

"We were thrown into the late fire a little bit," Tressel said. "But thank goodness it's Ohio State. We went back and looked at what we needed and who would like to be developed.

"Kenny Guiton is the perfect guy for us."

Guiton (6-3, 180) led an Eisenhower team loaded with talent and started at quarterback for three seasons. He passed for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior year, and had another four touchdowns running the ball. His high school team had receivers sign with Texas and Oklahoma, and a defensive back go to LSU.

Guiton had offers from Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Rice and Prairie View, according to the Web site Rivals.com that tracks recruits throughout the country, but Guiton waited for something "better." And the Buckeyes grabbed him in the waning moments of the 11th hour.

The Ohio State quarterback situation had been fairly fluid. First, Rob Schoenhoft transferred to Delaware a little over a year ago after sitting third in the rotation for the 2007 season, behind starter Todd Boeckman and backup Antonio Henton. After Pryor made his much-anticipated announcement to join the Buckeyes last spring, Henton bailed and transferred to Georgia Southern.

Boeckman began the past season as the returning starter and an All-Big Ten pick, but was replaced by Pryor after just three games.

With Boeckman out of eligibility, just Pryor and Bauserman remained.

"The reality of our quarterback situation was we have two quarterbacks returning, which is attractive for some who would say, 'Gosh, they only have two quarterbacks,'•" Tressel said. "But then you flip it over and see both quarterbacks have three years left, and they're both pretty good."

Tressel said he and his staff determined that one quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class would be adequate, and they initially felt Boyd, who would be recovering from knee surgery, would work out.

"It was going to make some sense to come in and rehab and work his way up," Tressel said. "It didn't end up going that way, which is fine, but we had decided not to recruit some others."

Tressel said Guiton was so excited about becoming a Buckeye he phoned the OSU coach late on the evening before signing day, just to let Tressel know he had received the necessary

paperwork from OSU.

"I told him to [remember] he's on Central time," Tressel said. "But he's an anxious kid. He can run with the ball. He is a dual threat guy and he's just got that little glow about him. He wants to compete. He wants to develop. He is a guy who loves the game of football."

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.



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