Archives for January 2020

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

In another long-awaited installment of the hits & misses content, I will be looking at the 2017 class which features a bunch of familiar names. This was the year where eventual stars would join the fold and what better time to do it than right now?

DeMatha High School’s own Chase Young. Credit: 24/

Hit: Chase Young, WDE

When I spoke of a legendary class in terms of talent, the 2017 class was the tipping point when building depth and collecting talent. Defensive Ends were plentiful and most players at Ohio State had to wait their turn, but Young, the Buckeyes own predator took the same route the Bosa’s took to their rise to stardom. The slight wait was worth it and while he turned into the guy, the impact he made was by his talents along, but we have seen this before with lesser known or less heralded recruits.

Chase Young has declared for the NFL Draft this year and he is locked in to be a potential top-3 pick. He also might join two familiar faces in Haskins and McLaurin, but we will see how the draft process unfolds. It is unpredictable, but it has been worth seeing the development and the talent turn into stars and make an impact like Young.

Jeffrey Okudah in high school. Credit:

Hit: Jeffrey Okudah, CB

Like Young, Okudah also was highly recruited and he excelled after some time in the system. He was recruited and he sat and learned behind the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward, but the wait has been worth it as well. He essentially played it out and played himself into being a top-10 pick in this years draft. He was the shutdown corner that everyone avoided during games. He was one of three cornerbacks taken in the class, with Sheffield blossoming into a good player in the NFL and with Wade turning down the NFL for another shot at redemption.

Okudah has been preparing himself for years and he has maximized his talents. He left an everlasting impression and he should have passed-on some pointers to Wade and the younger BIA stablemates. His legacy has been fulfilled, even though it has left a year early.

Dobbins carrying the ball. Credit:

Hit: J.K. Dobbins, RB

And the hits keep coming, with J-K-All-Day being the third member of a stellar class to blossom into a full-fledged star in the Buckeyes offensive attack. In 2018, he shared the ball carrier duties with Mike Weber. He had over 1,000 yards that season, but he thought it was a failure. Fast forward to this past season, he reached his potential en route to breaking records and cementing himself and his legacy in Columbus. The added time and conditioning have been wonders and he surely plunged himself into uncharted territory being a top 3 running back.

Cass Tech’s own Donovan Peoples-Jones. Credit:

Miss: Donovan Peoples-Jones

Now, let us get a couple of misses in the article, and this one comes from our most bitter rival, Michigan and a one-time Buckeyes lean, Donovan Peoples-Jones. The pipe line at Cass Tech was flourishing, but I have no clue what went wrong in his recruitment. It also was a miss, but the team has been stacking talent over the past two seasons and well into the 2021 season. Sure, he is a star returner and he was needed in an unproven class that has two 6-5 players in Jaylen Harris, Elijah Gardiner and a 6-3 playmaker in Trevon Grimes.

DPJ is now leaving for the NFL and he left 0-3 against the Buckeyes and he never really made an impact during The Game. He is a valuable player, but the older, more-experienced players have held the team together for the time being.

The Replacements: Fast forward to now, the two big-bodied players have yet to reach their potential and Grimes is returning to Florida for one last ride. There are a lot of factors to consider, injuries, lack of experience or playing time, but it takes time to build yourself. Prime example, Johnnie Dixon. Injuries have plagued him his first three years, but the last two were memorable and productive. You cannot close the books on them but Grimes is no longer on the team and the other two could still make some noise.

The last NSD I watched with a hilarious twist with Darnay Holmes’ UCLA decision. Credit:

Miss: Darnay Holmes, CB

Last miss would be the youtube sensation “decision” from cornerback Darnay Holmes. He spurned the Buckeyes to go to UCLA and his little buddy was not happy to say the least. I know it is based on their decision in the end, but this is funny and it is needed during recruiting. Separating myself from that has helped and I don’t think it is that serious anymore. This one really grinded my gears, but now its all water under the bridge. Now he has announced his intent to pursue his NFL dreams, but with the transfer portal, rumors have been flying about him coming to Ohio State to sharpen his skills. I doubt that’ll happen, but I have seen weird things happen since following anything College Football.

Replacements: To call Sheffield, Okudah and Wade the replacements is foul, but with Holmes slipping away, they stepped up big-time. I would not change anything with this class, and I am happy that we still have Wade for one more season. If Holmes does come full circle, cool, but if not, it’s fine. You cannot predict things, but things have turned out pretty well so we can’t complain.

MOTSAG Roundtable: Ohio State Football 2019

What were your expectations of the 2019 season and how did they change by the end of the season and why were you right or wrong?

Scott – I expected a BIG title and a playoff berth. There was plenty of talent and with the defensive changes Day made I knew OSU would have a great season. 

Jeremiah – My expectations are the same as the teams every year. Beat Michigan, Win the B1G East, Win the B1G CCG, and give yourself a chance to make the playoffs. The team met my expectations but the way they did it far exceeded them. To have a top 5 offense and defense never happens. Was a truly magical season.

Richard- I had a BIG title, another pair of gold pants, and a playoff berth.  The end of the season was bittersweet, but the team met my expectations. I had a gut feeling about getting a title this year, but the team and the coaches performed well.  Still a great season that Ryan Day will build on, even after the NFL exodus.  

Chris – I had mild concerns about Justin Fields and Ryan Day for the season, but my biggest concern was how the defense would really improve given very little personnel change. I also believed they would still win against TTUN and have a shot at the B1G title when all was said and done! I was shown I had no reason to worry about the things that I did and this team became one of my all-time favorites .., ever!

At what point early in the season did you realize Justin Fields was a special football player and what was is best play/series of the season?

Scott – Cincinnati game. He was fantastic against a good team. He made it look easy. 

Jeremiah – FAU for sure. 295 yards and 72% completion and 5 TDs. I knew we had somehing cooking.

Richard- FAU contest.  Special and never rattled after going down 5-0.  Kept the momentum going and he flashed the rest of the season after he became comfortable.  The INT at the end of the season will plunge him into another level. We should all be excited for angry Fields/Day in 2020.  

Chris – I am with Scott here, 20/25 224 and 2 TD’s passing and 9 carries for 42 yards and 2 more scores against a very good Cincy team.

The Buckeyes offense has been setting and breaking records that have been around for decades. What are some of the reasons they have been able to keep it up against some of the best defenses in America?

Scott – The offensive line played up to its capability and a mobile QB kept the defense honest. 

Jeremiah – Limiting mistakes. When your QB has 3 INTs all season you can gain a ton of yards. When your WRs dont drop balls. When your OL doesnt have a false start every other play. OSU has stopped killing themselves and become extremely efficient.

Richard- Balance is the key to a successful offense and the Buckeyes have it in spades at every position.  The Buckeyes are deep on offense and the line and the playmakers wore down opposing defenses as the game progressed.  With a new RB, it could stall a bit, but once he gets that wiggle, back to the balanced offense.

Chris – This hasn’t just been a this year success story. Honestly, since Ryan Day has arrived the Buckeyes have been able to impose their running will on some of the best including Clemson. A big part of it’s scheme but a lot of it has to do with the front five on offense too. The Buckeyes have been enjoying some great success along the front since Stud took over.

Giving the defensive struggles of 2018, when and why were you convinced this was going to be the defense it was? 

Scott – When Day cleaned house defensively. Boom!

Jeremiah – Deep down inside I never was. I know I am Mr. Positive but every game I kept waiting for this defense to have a Purdue or Iowa game and it never happened. Kudos to them.

Richard- Just the will to blow things up with the staff.  That willingness from Day was a good sign for the future and it shows that he values production and accountability over relationships (even though he values relationships).

Chris – This is unanimous kinda. I think when Day cleaned house and took ownership himself in how they were approaching the players and what schemes to go with. Not throwing shade on past coaches(lacking talent) but knowing how to speak to the players and simplifying the coverage’s made a huge impact.

What player/players or coaches were responsible for the defensive turnaround? What was the biggest difference from last year to this year?

Scott – All the credit to Greg Mattson and Jeff Hafley for the scheme changes and of course having Chase Young didn’t hurt either. 

Jeremiah – All of them. That said Al Washington had the biggest improvement on the defense. His LBers played great this year. They wont get the credit they deserve but Borland and Werner were really good this season.

Richard- Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison.  They worked well together and locked down the back seven.  The Rushmen benefited from great DB/LB play.  

Chris – Already mentioned above the coaching change and the simplification of coverage’s really helped. I also believe that Ryan Day has let the cat out of the bag about his say in the defense. Why I won’t be concerned in Silver Bullets in the future.

Knowing who’s returning and who’s not for the most part, what are the expectations of the 2020 version of Ohio State Football?

Scott – I expect to be preseason No. 1 based on the offensive players returning. While the defense takes some hits, they have been recruiting at a high level. B1G title and playoff berth should be on the radar. 

Jeremiah – Beat Michigan, win the B1G East, Win the B1G CCG, and get in the playoffs. 

Richard- Preseason top ¾ ranking for sure.  The BIG bowls haven’t been good and I can see them getting slighted again to work their way back up the polls and rankings.  Defense is not as stout, but they are a solid group with Riep, Brown and Proctor using their experiences to turn into dogs in the offseason.  BIG title for sure and a playoff berth. Might be another good year with an ending we all want.

Chris –  Pre-season #1 and a really pi$$ed off football team. The offense will set some new records just not the single season rushing one. Prediction of a national title in 2020.