Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking Back At Ohio State's 2013 Recruiting Class (Part Two)

(This article originally appeared on athlonsports.com)

Back in February 2013, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff were able to sign 24 players in a recruiting class that was ranked second in the country by 247Sports. Of these 24 players, Ohio State only lost three to transfer or dismissal, meaning 21 players have either started for or contributed to Ohio State since 2013.

Part one dealt with the departed players. Part two will focus upon those players who have been contributors to Ohio State, with the caveat that some of these players may even emerge as starters by the conclusion of the 2016 season. Those players will be listed below, in the order that they committed to Ohio State.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Looking Back At Ohio State's 2013 Recruiting Class (Part One)

(This article originally appeared on athlonsports.com)

On Feb. 6, 2013,  head coach Urban Meyer addressed the media to discuss the recruiting efforts of the Ohio State coaching staff. "Our first year together as a coaching staff last year did not count because that was not a coaching staff. That was a bunch of guys coming together like a bunch of gypsies trying to find players anywhere we could find them. We did pretty good...This year it was a full cycle of recruiting. And I’m very impressed with our coaching staff."

My personal history when it comes to analyzing Ohio State recruiting classes goes back to 2005, when the new Buckeyes included the likes of James Laurinaitis, Brian Hartline and Malcolm Jenkins. That class was relatively small with 18 players signed, and was not highly rated by the recruiting analysts, but the coaching staff only lost three from that class due to transfer or academic issues, resulting in 15 who either started or contributed to Ohio State during their careers. This 83 percent success rate ranks that group highly in the unofficial "Rule of Thirds" concept that is applied to recruiting classes.

“The Rule of Thirds” is pretty simple — within any class, there will be approximately a third who will develop into starters as the coaching staff hoped and recruited, a third will be contributors in some fashion, and a third will not work out, leaving due to transfer, injuries or possibly disciplinary reasons.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Need For OSU To Feel Defensive About Playing These True Freshmen

On August 7th, Ohio State began their fall camp.  While expectations are always high for Ohio State football, what type of expectations await the true freshmen who will be Buckeyes?  Considering how young Ohio State is across the board, are there any true freshmen who will possibly be able to make an impact?

On defense, Ohio State has several options.  Some of these players' names will not surprise you, as Buckeye fans have been hearing about some of these names since February, when the players signed their letters of intent with Ohio State.

Let us begin with the defensive freshman who has fairly, or unfairly, been the focal point of the 2016 recruiting class ever since he committed to Ohio State - Nick Bosa.  Bosa is coming off a knee injury that ended his high school career, and Ohio State has pledged to not rush Bosa into the lineup.  That being said, below are some points being made about Nick Bosa that should excite Ohio State fans as the 2016 season approaches...




Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer has never struck me as being a very patient man.  I believe it will be extremely difficult to remain patient with Nick Bosa, especially when the talent Bosa possesses is staring Coach Meyer and Coach Johnson in the face every day at practice.  Bosa may not start, but look for Bosa to be in the rotation along the defensive line a lot this season.

Linebacker is not a position of need for Ohio State this season.  With Raekwon McMillan returning, and players such as Chris Worley and Dante Booker ready to contribute at the outside linebacker positions, the idea of not playing some of the true freshmen at linebacker must have crossed Coach Meyer's mind, right?  Think again...




Lastly, I am going to name Jordan Fuller from the secondary as a probable true freshman who can make an impact this season for Ohio State.  Fuller was recruited as a cornerback, but has also been receiving practice time at safety.  Fuller is too good of a player, and the Ohio State secondary inexperienced at three positions, that it makes sense that Fuller will get some playing time at various points this coming season.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Officially Many Offensive Options At True Freshmen For OSU

August 7th marks the beginning of Ohio State’s fall camp.  While expectations are always high for Ohio State football, what type of expectations await the true freshmen who will be Buckeyes?  Considering how young Ohio State is across the board, are there any true freshmen who will possibly be able to make an impact?

On offense, Ohio State has several options.  Some of these players’ names will not surprise you, as Buckeye fans have been hearing about some of these names since February, when the players signed their letters of intent with Ohio State.

The most obvious name for playing time is at a position that gets little fanfare, but is crucial in the success of the overall offensive unit.  True freshman Michael Jordan enrolled early in February, and has been cited by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer as “probably” going to be in the starting lineup at one of the offensive guard spots.  For historical perspective, this has not happened at Ohio State since 1994, when a young offensive lineman by the name of Orlando Pace lined up as a starter in the opener versus Fresno State.

 


Austin Mack gets my second vote as a true freshman who will make an impact on Ohio State’s offense in 2016.  Wide receiver is well-stocked with many talented players, but Mack was turning heads as a true freshman throughout the spring.  While Mack may not start, look for Mack to earn playing time this season.

My last selection should not come as a surprise to anyone who remembers the 2014 season and what played out at the quarterback position.  While I am not suggesting that true freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins is going to play a lot, it will not surprise me if Haskins earns playing time, especially at the beginning of the season.  With J.T. Barrett as the starter, and Joe Burrow as the backup, Haskins may have opportunities at the end of games to come in and play.  Considering how the 2014 season involved at least three quarterbacks, one would hope the coaching staff would try to ensure Haskins is ready to go, in the event something happens to Barrett or Burrow.

Friday, July 22, 2016

THE GAME 2016 May Rival 2006 For B1G, Possible CFP Spot

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison

Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.

“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.

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“That Team Up North”, AKA Michigan Wolverines (Game 12)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 2 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State:  DB Jabrill Peppers, DE Henry Poggi, LB Mike McCray, RB Ty Isaac, DE Taco Charlton, RB Wyatt Shallman, TE Chase Winovich, RB De’Veon Smith, DB Dymonte Thomas, LB Ben Gedeon, DL Chris Wormley, OT Mason Cole, OL David Dawson, OL Kyle Kalis, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., WR Drake Harris, DE Lawrence Marshall, RB Kareem Walker, DT Rashan Gary, OT Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, WR Ahmir Mitchell, DE Ron Johnson, and WR Eddie McDoom.  Ohioans from this group are McCray, Charlton, Smith, Thomas, Gedeon, Wormley, and Kalis.  I am more than willing to bet I may have inadvertently missed on some players; please let me know and I am happy to correct my error(s).

Game Date: November 26, 2016

Kickoff Time: TBD

Location:  Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking:  Yes, I know Ohio State crushed TTUN (sometimes using abbreviations just make things easier when you’re trying to write an article…) up in Ann Arbor in 2015, 42-13.  Yes, I know THE GAME is at home this season, unlike last year.  Yes, I know that Ohio State is playing TTUN the week after the Buckeyes play Michigan State, just like in 2015.  (I point this out, because my man Shannon Sommers has a buddy who disagreed with my rankings, which is entirely okay.  I appreciated his perspective.)

But…Look up at that list of players who were recruited by Ohio State.  Regardless of what you think of those players now, regardless of any hurt feelings you may have that those players chose TTUN instead of Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes…Those are players that Ohio State wanted and recruited.  In my humble estimation, that means those are some talented players who are now suiting up for TTUN, and TTUN has a wily and talented head coach in Jim Harbaugh.

Here’s where the game against Michigan State comes into play.  No matter how Ohio State does against Michigan State, win or loss, I expect that game to be a close, hard-fought, physical battle, as they all have been since the 2012 season.  Then the Buckeyes get to finish out the season with THE GAME, which is always a physical battle?

Prediction:  Looking at TTUN’s schedule, I anticipate the Wolverines coming into Ohio Stadium with no more than one loss.  It could be when TTUN visits East Lansing in late October; it could be when TTUN travels to Iowa for a night game in mid-November – hey, stranger things have happened when those teams have played before in Iowa.

Remember the hype for THE GAME in 2006?  This one could rival it, with the winner earning The B1G East Division title and a trip to The B1G Championship Game.  And this game could also have an impact upon a possible College Football Playoff spot, if both teams enter it with only one loss on their respective records.  As usual, it should be something to watch.

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