How each 2016 OSU commit is ranked in all four services.

Nick Bosa

Composite- 5
247sports- 15
Rivals- 15
Scout- 2

Jonathon Cooper

Composite- 25
247sports- 17
Rivals- 57
Scout- 35
ESPN- 53

Kareem Walker

Composite- 31
247sports- 117
Rivals- 21
Scout- 23
ESPN- 22

Demario McCall

Composite- 44
247sports- 36
Rivals- 77
Scout- 69
ESPN- 55

Austin Mack

Composite- 88
247sports- 35
Rivals- 149
Scout- 79
ESPN- 210

Jake Hausmann

Composite- 100
247sports- 205
Rivals- 62
Scout- 117
ESPN- 152

Michael Jordan

Composite- 122
247sports- 216
Rivals- 118
Scout- 152
ESPN- 118

Tyler Gerald

Composite- 142
247sports- 154
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 158
ESPN- 99

Luke Farrell

Composite- 159
247sports- 173
Rivals- 210
Scout- 168
ESPN- 161

Tristen Wallace

Composite- 191
247sports- 4*
Rivals- 3*
Scout- 100
ESPN- 164

Tuf Borland

Composite- 281
247sports- 204
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 282
ESPN- 3*

Malik Barrow

Composite- 298
247sports- 91
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 3*
ESPN- 4*

Kierre Hawkins

Composite- 320
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 276
ESPN- 4*

Wayne Davis

Composite- 318
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 241
ESPN- 4*

Jack Wohlabaugh

Composite- 411
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 4*
Scout- 3*
ESPN- 3*

Gavin Cupp

Composite- 555
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 3*
Scout- 3*
ESPN- 3*

Kareem Felder

Composite- 795
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 3*
Scout- 3*
ESPN- 3*

Drue Chrisman

Composite- 874
247sports- 3*
Rivals- 3*
Scout- 4*
ESPN- 3*

The Power of Sport — Thoughts on 9/11, Berlin and a Buckeye

We here at MotSaG are honored to have an article written for our readers pleasure by Celebrity Buckeye fan Stephen Keszey. Many OSU fans will know him from his time starring with his brother Robbie on the Discovery Channel show Swamp Brothers where he wrestled gators and his fears and endured his brothers tough love. Stephen was always proud of his Buckeyes and wore an Ohio State hat on every episode and OSU fans love him for repping his Alma Mater on his TV show. Mr. Keszey’s love for Ohio State knows no limits but it is closely followed by his love for New York City. In this article Stephen touches on the 9/11 event and how Ohio State helped him through a tough time and how sports can transcend into real life.

So sit down and read this article and please follow our friend Stephen Keszey on Twitter @Kezbro2. You can follow Stephen on Facebook by clicking Stephen Keszey. Follow the Swamp Brothers on Facebook as well.

Last week was the 14th anniversary of 9/11 and I pondered upon it all day long. Be warned you’re about to go deep into the rabbit hole of my neurotic, tangent-scattered mind!

After graduating from The Ohio State in 1992 I moved to New York and called it home for fifteen years. On September 11, 2001, I was living in Corona, Queens. I saw the first plane smash into the Trade Centers on television but it did not register with me at all as I ran to catch the 7-train. “The 7” is elevated in Queens and there is a nice stretch right before it goes underground into Manhattan where you have a splendid view of the Manhattan skyline. But the view that day was horrific and a nightmarish reality dropped on me like an anvil as we went underground into Manhattan.

Every September 11th since then I end up staying away from Facebook and spending all of the day just thinking about my favorite city. I remember incredible courage of our firemen, policemen and EMS; I remember New Yorkers in general… How great everyone was in the face of this tragedy. I also remember how sporting events were a great elixir to combat this horrific act for myself, and tens of thousands of other New Yorkers.

In 2001, Most New Yorkers were honed-in on the Yankees, but I was honed-in on my very favorite team — The Ohio State Buckeyes and new head coach Jim Tressel. I saw first hand, and experienced first person, how sports could help people heal in the face of even the most tragic of events. Alright, enough backstory!

This September 11th I was reminded of the President throwing a great first pitch during the Yankees vs. Diamondbacks World Series. And OH! Those Buckeye games, culminating in a victory over that team up north which seemed like it hadn’t happened in FOREVER! I then started to think more on how sports can heal, energize and give hope to people.

I remembered Stephanie Spielman’s fight with breast cancer and how a man we loved through sport (her husband Chris) made use of his sports fame to help raise awareness and money for research against a heinous mutant enemy.

Of course, I thought about the “Miracle on Ice” and how it is thought of as the greatest moment in all of sports. Then I thought about an event well before I was born that I would consider, the greatest, most impactful moment in sports history. A great show of power… By a Buckeye!

In 1935 Jesse Owens’ achievement of setting three world records and tying a fourth in under an hour at the Big Ten track meet (in Ann Arbor of all places!) has been called “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport”, but what he did the following year was much more important. There was a “Master Race” being built in Germany and its leader, Adolf Hitler, wanted to show the world his Aryan race supremacy. Now I could take up five more pages telling of Owens’ greatness in detail, but I’ll keep it simple. Our Buckeye Jesse Owens, in a time when segregation was still the norm, represented our country with great class and honor, and showed the world that the “master race” was a myth by winning four gold medals on their home turf. I would go so far as to say he put the first “dent” in the Nazi armor, for the whole world to see.

I would love for everyone to learn more about Jesse Owens and honor a man that wasn’t honored nearly enough when he was alive. For example, how could FDR not invite him to the White House after going into Nazi Germany and bringing home four golds for The United States?

To think that Owens was ranked #3 on the list of the 50 greatest “Big Ten Icons”? I would have been fine with it had he also been numbers 1 & 2 to give him the extra “television story time” he deserves, but behind Red and Magic? Pure and udder idiocy!

I’d also encourage everyone to think about just how great an athlete Owens was — his world record long jump stood for 25 years! And just for kicks (with no disrespect to him), let’s time Usain Bolt in the 100m after he laces-up a pair of 1930’s track shoes then runs outdoors on a dirt or cinder track with no starting blocks. Let’s not even take into account modern training, diet and supplements!

Stop it Stephen! You really have gone Mad Hatter! You Start at 9/11 and end up wanting to slap a pair of shoes from the 1930’s on Usain Bolt!? Plus you are now typing to yourself in the third person!

Sports is a major fabric of history not just a decorative lace. Sports can inspire and show human decency on both the largest stages of history, and in the smallest communities. Google Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus and grab a tissue.

God Bless NYC, America, Jesse Owens and all those who use the platform that is sport to make our world better!


Introducing The Newest Writers For MotSaG

Over the last few weeks we here at MotSaG have been interviewing and and testing many applicants to help our site grow and get to where it belongs. Today is a great day for not only the site but for our fans and readers as well. With the hiring of these new writers what we hope to do is up our daily content. Men of The Scarlet and Gray has been around for over nine years and we hope to be here for nine more. In order to do that we needed to make sure our content is not only frequent but also of high quality. So without waiting any longer let’s meet the newest MotSaGers…

Richard Tongahan Jr

Richard is a humble and proud member of The Buckeye Nation. I have been proudly serving our great nation and have put in 10 years and counting. I love the Buckeyes and have been a dedicated fan since 2005. my fondest memory was last years title run. I am originally from Guam and I have a beautiful with of 10 years, two lovely daughters and a son on the way. I love hearing that Buckeye Swag song at the end of games and I am looking forward to our teams future. Go Bucks!

Twitter- @Tongaricious
Facebook- Richard Tongahan Jr

Justin Golba

Even though I grew up in Maryland, I have always had scarlet and gray in my blood due to my father being an OSU alum. I currently attend Kent State University but still rep OSU proudly. My favorite buckeye of all time is Brian Hartline and my favorite moment as a fan is when number one ranked OSU beat the number 2 ranked TTUN and the game that won Troy Smith the Heisman that year.

Twitter- @justin_golba
Facebook- Justin Golba

Mark Prine

The year is 2005 and I am a seventh grader at Dunbar Middle School in Mobile, Alabama. Like many young boys I was an avid sports fan and I looked forward to Saturday mornings in the fall, so I could wake up bright and early; just to watch college game day and see who was playing who. There was a team from Ohio that I wasn’t very familiar with, that played smash mouth football and hard nose defense(which Iove). Guys with names like James Laurinaitis, Ross Homan, Thaddeus Gibson, Doug Worthington and Vernon Gholston were always flying around like mad men with reckless abandon. To me it was perfect football and that was all I need to know. The Ohio State was officially “my team” which I love.

Twitter- @marksamuelprine
Facebook- Mark Prine

Andy Urbanski

Andy was born and raised in the great state of Ohio and graduated from THE university in 2013. Buckeye fan his entire life, Andy decided to give this whole writing thing a shot for the first time (Fisher College of Business Kid) and the Buckeyes are about the only thing he believes worth writing about. Andy’s a fan of bourbon and beers, so his posts may or may not be written under the influence. Cheers and Go Bucks

Twitter- @PBR_Pounder
Facebook- Andy Urbanski

Bobby Hall

It’s hard to remember when the Buckeyes became such a big part of my life. It’s easy to say that they have turned into a borderline addiction. I grew up in the Dover – New Philadelphia area of Ohio where being an Ohio State fan is not a choice…it’s a must!

In 2013, I graduated from Muskingum University and have since been in the heavy equipment sales industry . The territory I am responsible for is in eastern ohio along the ohio river. There is no question though, besides my wife and beautiful baby girl, OSU football is my passion!

Twitter- @BubHall7
Facebook- Bobby Hall

Brad Pettiford

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Brad graduated from Miami University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, before earning a master’s degree in sport management from Ohio State. He has worked in the communications/PR field for more than seven years, with three years dedicated to athletic communications. Before transitioning to corporate communications, Brad was an SID at the University of Toledo. He now lives in the Metro Detroit area and is a proud ambassador of Buckeye Nation in The State Up North.

Twitter- @bradpettiford23
Facebook- Brad Pettiford

Phil Schoch

Phil escaped the hard scrabble streets of Minster, Ohio in 1990 to pursue the Buckeye dream. After maxing out his Freshman Forgiveness, he hung up his black British Knights and bib-overall shorts (one flap down), got serious and got diploma’d as a Buckeye on St. Patrick’s Day, 1995. He later swiped a Master’s Degree from Ashland University in 2000. He has spent the last twenty years of his alleged adulthood as a middle school teacher. He now drives a mini van, lives in Worthington and coaches 1st grade soccer, basketball and baseball.

When asked about the most important week of the year, he responded, “I went school during the Copper years. Those were bitter, gray holidays and winters. I still get paranoid in November. My guts churn endlessly during Michigan Week. I know the ghost of 2-10-1 lurks. I know the demon of Michigan 1969 is poised, perhaps wearing khaki.”

Twitter- @osuphil95
Facebook- Phil Schoch

Joston Da Grava

Joston was late to the game in becoming a Buckeye fan. Growing up near Pittsburgh in the early 90’s there were only three things: Steeler football, Penguin hockey, and that thing once known as Pirate baseball. It wasn’t until after watching the national championship win over Miami in 2003 that Joston became enamored with the Scarlet and Gray. After moving to Columbus to attend OSU, the veins that had once been full of black and gold now ran rampant with the colors of the Buckeyes. When asked by his Pittsburghian father how such a change could have occurred so quickly, his response was simple: “It is one thing to be a fan. It is a far different thing to be a member.” During his four years at Ohio State Joston never missed a game and rarely missed a moment. He is proud to say that he has been in the murky waters of Mirror Lake four times and never regrets it for a moment. He believes there is no better tradition in the sport of football than the Dotting of the ‘i’ and will fight any man, woman, or child who dare to challenge that belief. Joston graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with his now wife Michele. They live in northeast Ohio where they impatiently await the arrival of their first little Buckeye at the end of 2015.

Twitter- @jtdagrava
Facebook- Joston Da Grava

Parker Eads

Been bred into a buckeye since birth but born in Virginia. Currently a senior at Emory & Henry College and studying mass communications. I’ve got a record of 2-0 in attendance at national championship games (’02,’15). I carry a lucky buckeye in my pocket all day and every day for good luck. Lastly, I hope to one day cover the Buckeyes in some way or perhaps work for the university.

Twitter- @1flybuckeye
Facebook- Parker Eads

Ray Casola

Been a die hard Buckeye fan since the day I was born! My favorite Buckeye memory was the 1997 Rose Bowl win over Arizona St. That game forever stamped my love for not just Ohio State football, but football in general. I am an alum of St. Edward High School where I played football and also coached for two years. Along with St. Eds, I also spent 6 years coaching at Elyria Catholic high school so my love for football at all levels runs deep. As a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder, I clearly have a good sense of humor. I also believe the best answer to a question you don’t know the answer to is always “Because I couldn’t go for three”.

Twitter- @rayrayc3
Facebook- Ray Casola

Five Must See Games Of 2015 For Ohio State

This week we will be presenting to our readers a bunch of posts from potential writers for MotSaG. All of these guys have applied to write for us and were given an assignment to perform. This particular post is brought to you by Mark Prine. So leave some feedback on your thoughts and opinions. Thanks

Here we are just under two weeks away from the start of the 2015 season for the Ohio State University Football Buckeyes, and I’m sure you all have been asking yourself “what are the five most important games of the year??” Well I have been sent to tell you to ponder no more, for I have compiled a list.

1. Virginia Tech

On Labor Day the bucks will travel south to Blacksburg, Virginia to fight it out with the Hokies. This is an absolute must win for Ohio State. But it doesn’t have anything to do with last year. We know that OSU lost to VT last season and they want revenge and blah blah blah. That all sounds very good but let me tell you, last year’s loss doesn’t matter anymore. This is a nationally televised game on week 1 AND Ohio State is the away team AND they are facing a defensive powerhouse. With everybody and their mother watching, including the playoff committee, the Virginia Tech game will set a precedent for Ohio State’s season.

2. Penn State

In the weeks following the Virginia Tech game, Ohio State takes on Devry, ICDC College and THE University of Phoenix online, so I’ll confidently say that those will be wins and we’ll just fast forward to October 17th in Columbus when James Franklin’s Nittany Lions come to town. Penn State gave OSU one of it’s toughest games last season; and with nine returning Offensive Starters and seven defensive starters coming back, this year’s game is sure to be another nail biter.

3. Sparty

This is THE game before “The Game.” Connor Cook was all B1G last year and he is back again for the sole purpose of playing in this game. He has a great O-Line protecting him, led by Jack Conlin and All-American Jack Allen. Not to mention, Defensive End, Shilique Calhoun plays with a chip on his shoulder. There’s not a more evenly matched team in the conference, who could knock off the buckeyes, than Michigan State.

4. The game

Coming off of a game against MSU, Ohio State has to remain focused for the next game. I don’t see that being a problem when Urbs is the man in charge. On paper this game should be a blow out. Jimmy’s players won’t match up with this Ohio State team in ANY facet of the game, IF AND ONLY IF the Buckeyes are firing on all cylinders. If OSU comes out going half speed and waits until late in the 3rd quarter to turn it on then we can see another barn burner. Should the boys come out flying around, then watch out….It could get ugly.

5. Big ten championship

As OSU is favored to run the table this regular season, I fully expect them to participate in the conference championship game. Ohio State is a confident football team that knows, everything is earned, nothing is given, and just showing up is never enough. But….there is a fine line between confindence and arrogance. As the season progresses and Ohio State wins and wins and wins, the coaching staff’s ability to keep the team grounded and focused will determine whether they will win this game and appear in the second annual College Football Playoff.

Virginia Tech Blogger Q&A With @GobblerTown

When looking at the first game of the year it is not too difficult to come up with story lines. Revenge is on every ones mind. So when I sat down with Justin Clark of @GobblerTown we discussed all the story lines and tidbits for the game in Blacksburg. Here is the link to my answering the questions for them. Below is their answers to my questions.

Jeremiah- Looking at Techs offense they were 96th in the country last year in scoring. How do they plan on improving on that?

Justin- To first understand how Virginia Tech will improve offensively this season you first have to understand where this offense has come from over the past two years. Certainly, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has taken some heat over the past two seasons for our offense being inept at times (Wake Forest last season is a good example) but he hasn’t had much to work with.

The offensive output during our first two games of last season really showed what this unit is capable of doing when the unit is fully healthy. Unfortunately, after beating Ohio State, quarterback Michael Brewer spent the rest of the year nursing several injuries, our most effective runner in Shai McKenzie tore his ACL, our backup running back Marshawn Williams tore his ACL, our top offensive lineman broke his ankle, and we lost one of our most experienced receiver in Josh Stanford because he simply left the team.

While Tech’s rankings were horrid by the end of the year, there’s still plenty of potential on this offense, especially when you look at how many freshmen played last season. In fact, every person who scored a touchdown last year returns this season. So, just by experience, the Virginia Tech offense should be better in 2015.

Jeremiah- How many starters is Tech returning on Offense and Defense? Which new starter on both offense and defense should OSU fans get to know about now?

Justin- The pre-season magazines will say we return eight starters on offense, eight on defense, and both special teams guys. But, that’s a little misleading.

First, our starting right tackle Wade Hanson started three games last season filling in for an injured Jonathan McLaughlin. So, he’s not exactly a newcomer on the offensive line. The same can be said for JC Coleman, who’s a fourth year senior with nine career starts under his belt. Really, the only new starter on offense is Eric Gallo, who is our new starting center.

Defensively, the same is true mainly due to the injuries we suffered down the stretch. Andrew Motuapuaka isn’t listed as a returning starter but he started three games last season in substitute for Chase Williams, who suffered a knee sprain. Donovan Riley is likely to be our new starting rover but he started seven games at cornerback last season and was the one who helped clinch the win in Columbus with his 4th quarter interception that he promptly returned for a touchdown. On the whole, this defense will be the most experienced unit we’ve had since Tech finished first in the country in total defense back in 2007.

As for a new name to know, I think there are a few on both sides. Offensively, you may see the Hokies use incoming freshman quarterback Dwayne Lawson briefly in our Wild Turkey package. Lawson is a phenomenal prospect and a terrific, high football IQ guy that’s going to play this season. At tight end, you’ll see Tech use redshirt sophomore Kalvin Cline. He did extremely well as a true freshman two years ago but missed all of last year due to injury.

Defensively, Mook Reynolds is a guy you’ll see and hear about. He’s going to be Virginia Tech’s next great defensive back. Right now, he’s penciled in as the backup at field corner behind Brandon Facyson. But, he’ll likely see some snaps at some point in the game.

Jeremiah- Virginia Techs defense is great every year. Your DBs are arguably the best group in CFB. What can you tell us about the LBers and DLmen?

Justin- When Virginia Tech has produced great defenses in the past, we’ve been able to go at least eight deep on the defensive line. I think the Hokies are back to having that kind of depth this season. Our entire starting defensive line that wrecked havoc against Ohio State last season returns with Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem anchoring our defensive end spots. Nicolas gets all of the praise as a potential first round pick but Ekanem actually led our teams in sacks last season, coming on big-time at the end of the year. Of course, our defensive tackles are fantastic with Luther Maddy back after missing the final 9 games in 2014 due to injury and Corey Marshall will join him again in the starting lineup. The backups are a little green at defensive end but I love the potential Seth Dooley and Vinny Mihota have in our system. Tech will be able to pull from three or four backup defensive tackles, including Nigel Williams who started nine games and registered 4.5 sacks in relief of Maddy.

Linebacker could be our weakness but it depends on how Andrew Motuapuaka plays in the middle. He’s just a sophomore and he appeared a little overmatched when he started last season. Miami made it a point to run straight at him and the results worked in their favor, whipping us 30-6 on Thursday night. If I were Ohio State, I would make Motuapuaka work in the middle. If he plays well and doesn’t prove to be a weakness then this defense is going to be the stingiest unit we’ve had in years. If he struggles then it could really drag the entire unit down. Otherwise, I’m confident in our other two guys. Deon Clarke is a fifth year senior at our “backer” position and Ronny Vandyke is a talented senior who will start at our WHIP linebacker position.

Jeremiah- I know there have been some off the field issues for some VT players this off-season. Shai Mckenzie comes to mind. Any news on his status or anyone else as to who may be suspended?

Justin- To be honest, I don’t think McKenzie missing the Ohio State game is the worst thing in the world. I was sort of hoping they would suspend him for the year just so we could redshirt him. McKenzie tore his ACL as a senior in high school then re-tore it again last season. Ideally, I’d like to give him a year to recover.

Other than CJ Reavis, who was penciled in as our starting rover before being expelled a few weeks ago, the Hokies should have everyone available to start come Labor Day. The only other player who may be a little iffy is running back Marshawn Williams, who was very limited yesterday in practice as he too continues to recover from ACL surgery.

Jeremiah- What should traveling OSU fans expect from their visit to Blacksburg and any traditions they should take in or places to eat that are must dos?

Justin- Blacksburg is truly an awesome place on gamedays. I would highly recommend going to TOTS (Top Of The Stairs) and getting a Rail before the game. It’s their signature mixed drink with a shit ton of alcohol. For food, I would highly recommend Mike’s for great burgers, Cabo Fish Taco if you love seafood, Big Al’s for great drinks and bar food, or River Mill if you’re looking for just a nice sit-down place with an eclectic menu. Seriously, just pick a joint off Main Street and you’ll be fine.

After the game, go to CookOut off Main Street for the best cheap southern fast food you can get. Five bucks gets you a double cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, and a large drink. Can’t beat it at 2 a.m.

Lastly, try to make your way to the stadium about 45 minutes prior to kickoff. If you wait to long, the gates can get a little backed up and you don’t want to miss Virginia Tech running onto the field to Enter Sandman. It’s truly one of the most exciting entrances in sports.

Jeremiah- What is the feel of Tech fans do they believe they can pull off another upset of Ohio State? Are they worried OSU may blow them out?

Justin- I haven’t polled the posters over on my site yet but I think there’s a quiet confidence with our fanbase. Obviously, Ohio State fans are confident heading into this game and they should be after the season they had a year ago. But, it’s a new year and the best time to pull an upset is early in the year when neither team has fully installed their offense and mistakes are more likely to occur. So, this game does favor the Hokies in that regard.

Combine that with Ohio State’s suspensions and I’m feeling fairly optimistic heading into this game. Ohio State isn’t going to come in and win this by 40. If the Buckeyes win by 10, it will be something to celebrate. I truly feel this is going to be a three point, down to the wire kind of game.

Jeremiah- Is Frank Beamer on the hot seat? Is he close to retiring? Could this be his swan song season?

Justin- The feeling around Blacksburg is that Beamer will likely stay through 2016, which was the end date of his original contract before we extended to 2019 solely for recruiting purposes. Beamer had throat surgery in the off-season and from what I’ve been able to gather, it was fairly extensive. So much so that his voice is notably different this pre-season. He’s also lost a lot of weight, perhaps doctor mandated, so his health is definitely something that may play a role.

But, I don’t believe he’s on the hot seat. The reason for our recent swoon is talent driven not coaching driven, at least not anymore. Our last two recruiting classes have been very good and thus you’re going to see a much better, much deeper Virginia Tech team these next two years.

Jeremiah- How do you see this game going? Score prediction?

Justin- I’m confident that the Hokies can hang in there and keep it close. But, in rewatching last year’s game it amazed me how many chances Ohio State squandered as well as how many 3rd and longs Virginia Tech converted. I don’t see either of those two things happening again this year. The Buckeyes will be ready for Tech’s offense and whoever starts at quarterback for Ohio State will be better prepared for the Hokie’s defense.

That said, there are three things that make me optimistic as a Virginia Tech fan

1.) Our offensive line will be drastically improved this season. I think on every single offensive snap last year, our center and our left guard were pushed into the backfield. Thankfully, Wyatt Teller emerged as our top offensive line prospect at the end of last year and he is now our starter at left guard. Eric Gallo at center is a future all-conference player as well. I have a lot of confidence in our starting five up front, especially with no Joey Bosa on the other side.

2.) Our running game should be better. JC Coleman ran for over 450 yards in the final five games of last season. That won’t compare well to Ezekiel Elliot but it was a major step forward for our running game that has stalled since David Wilson left for the NFL. This also proved that our offensive line got better at the end of last year.

3.) I have a lot of confidence in Bud Foster to design a gameplan that eliminates Ezekiel Elliot from the equation. Stopping the run is always the first order of our defense. If Elliot runs for over 100 yards then odds are the Buckeyes will win. If not, then Tech’s chances increase dramatically.

Of course, despite all of that I just see Ohio State, like so many great teams throughout the years, finding a way. It probably won’t be pretty if you’re a Buckeye fan and at the end you may drop to your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in. But, I’m taking the Buckeyes 24-20.

Behind Enemy Lines: A Look From That State Up North

This week we will be presenting to our readers a bunch of posts from potential writers for MotSaG. All of these guys have applied to write for us and were given an assignment to perform. This particular post is brought to you by Brad Pettiford. So leave some feedback on your thoughts and opinions. Thanks

Ohio State football fans have been blessed with a lot of good fortune in recent years, as the Buckeyes have enjoyed tremendous recruiting success, tons of national exposure, an abundance of All-Americans and Heisman hopefuls, and an undisputed national championship. On the heels of last season’s legendary title run, and with all signs pointing toward a successful 2015 campaign, OSU fans can continue to count their blessings. But make no mistake – there is one segment of Buckeye Nation that has been blessed with far less: those of us who have the misfortune of calling The State Up North “home”.

Sure, the state of Michigan has beautiful bodies of water and great tourist attractions, but is there a bigger buzzkill than trying to enjoy Ohio State’s thrilling gauntlet run through Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon while the only topic of discussion in local media revolves around some Khaki Crusader? I obviously understand the TV and radio business enough to know the importance of media outlets speaking to their audience – as seemingly 99 percent of Michiganders root for U-M or Michigan State – but that doesn’t make it more bearable.
As the season-opening kickoff in Blacksburg, Virginia draws nearer by the day, and a lucky group of Ohio State fans have the luxury of being immersed in pro-Buckeye talk on their local airwaves, I’d like to provide updates on the chatter going on up north.

Blue is Back!

In the history of the world, have this many chickens ever been counted before they’ve hatched? I didn’t know it was possible for the fan base of a team that has been irrelevant from a championship-contending perspective for a decade to so quickly flip a switch and beat their chests again.

While the constant Jim Harbaugh “will he return, or won’t he” coverage during Ohio State’s title run was gut-wrenchingly annoying, it has only amplified throughout the offseason. Michigan airwaves have covered Harbaugh from a myriad of angles – his heroic roadside rescue of highway commuters; the humane capture and harmless release of a mouse from a Michigan restaurant; the rationalization of his shirtless prancing during a satellite camp in Alabama; the defense of his ultra-awkward phone conversion with former ESPN personality Colin Cowherd. I feel like the list could go on and on. I’m just ready for all the “Most Interesting Man in College Football” talk to subside and for conversation to focus on actual football.

But now – following a 5-7 season, mind you – the hiring of one man has led to conversation about another 10-Year War, Woody vs. Bo 2.0, and the return of the greatest rivalry in college football. While those things all sound neat, and would make the matchup more interesting in the years to come, these expectations aren’t based on anything of substance.

Michigan fans and the media are already including Harbaugh in discussions of the elite college football coaches in the country for the 2015 season, when he hasn’t done anything at Michigan yet. Harbaugh disciples point to the ascension of the Stanford football program during his tenure, often pointing to the 2007 upset over USC as 41-point underdogs as reasoning for why Harbaugh will lead Michigan to many victories over Ohio State. People call into sports radio programs, and when asked my Michigan will have 10+ wins this upcoming season, they’re response is simply, “Harbaugh.” I go to work and hear from Michigan fans about how young the Wolverines were last year, and how with another year of experience and the return of an already solid defense, U-M will defeat the Buckeyes in the Big House.

I get it – Michigan fans are excited about their new coach. I remember how energized and optimistic when Ohio State officially announced the hiring of Urban Meyer in November 2011. Then OSU backed up expectations on the field as, Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record. Michigan fans have a right to be excited about a new coach with the perception and football pedigree of Jim Harbaugh; I just wish they’d let him coach a real game with the Block M on his hat before boldly proclaiming that the Michigan football program is back.

Beware of Sparty

Make no mistake – I am fully confident in Ohio State’s ability to run the table in the regular season and repeat as Big Ten champions, but I would urge Buckeye fans to remain vigilant of the very real threat that is coming out of East Lansing. On paper, Michigan State appears to be sitting in the same seat that Ohio State was sitting in just one year ago, which makes them incredibly dangerous in my eyes.

Think about how closely the story lines parallel one another. MSU entered the 2014 season as the perceived “bad boys” of the Big Ten, following a conference championship and being discussed as the team with the best chance to represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff; OSU entered the season angry and focused, motivated to retake their spot as Big Ten champions. This year, Ohio State enters the season with a lot of hype – and deservedly so – but the Spartans are guaranteed to enter Ohio Stadium with a revenge-minded intensity that the Buckeyes must match and surpass.

Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has thrived in the underdog role, finding great success while playing with the proverbial chip on their shoulders. It can be argued that the great expectations heaped upon them by the media last season were their downfall – that playing as “favorites” took away from their “us against the world” mantra. That certainly won’t be an issue this year, as all the talk is centered on Ohio State’s first-world depth chart problems, their heavy presence in the preseason Heisman odds, and discussions of a repeat national championship.
A lot has been said about Ohio State’s success in an underdog role under Urban Meyer’s watch – which ultimately improved to a 6-0 mark following wins over Alabama, Oregon, and Wisconsin (who was actually favored due to the forced insertion of inexperienced Cardale Jones into the starting role). But, through no fault of their own, the Ohio State’s success in 2014 and the hype surrounding their returning talent has coincidentally helped Michigan State return to their own comfort zone. How will the Buckeyes perform as they’ve been forced outside of their preferred underdog role big games? Will they be able to push an agenda to prove something to the world when no one actually doubts them?

As the college football season gets closer by the day, there are a lot of things to get excited about regarding the 2015 Buckeyes. Those of us stranded in The State Up North will just have to rely on OSU fan sites and televised Buckeye games to survive the misery of living behind enemy lines.

The Slobbiest Slobs In The Country

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The Slobs. In Ohio State’s championship run last year, the core of the offensive line, better known as “the slobs,” proved to be critical in the team’s success.

With the start of the new season swiftly approaching, let’s take a closer look at the slobs that will be playing the offensive tackle position and who the fans should be seeing in Lane Stadium on September 7 as the Buckeyes search for vengeance from last season’s lone loss.

Without a doubt, senior Taylor Decker has locked down his starting role, and he is the one returning starter at the tackle position. Decker decided to come back for his senior season instead of taking his chances in the NFL Draft. Even after this season is over, some scouts and projections are saying that Decker could even be a first-round pick.

The Vandalia, OH native is definitely the most experienced at the position having played in all of the last 41 games for the Buckeyes and totaling over 2,300 offensive plays in the process. He earned second-team all-Big Ten honors last season, and he helped the Buckeye offense shatter a number of records. Last year’s offense broke school records for touchdowns (90), points scored (637), passing yards (3,707) and also passing touchdowns (42). Kudos to the unsung hero – Captain Decker.

As he did last year, Decker will more than likely play on the left side to protect Jones’…no, Barrett’s… well – whoever’s blind side. And he will be looked to again for his leadership and consistency which was evident after the loss to the Hokies last season.

The hole that needs filled is the right tackle position, formerly occupied by Darryl Baldwin. That void will be filled by senior Chase Farris, according to Urban Meyer who made that announcement this past April. Farris was part of more offensive plays than any non-starter along the offensive line last season – so it only makes sense for Meyer to trust him with the starting right tackle role now.

Not only does Farris make a strong case with his physical presence at 6’ 5” and 310 pounds, but Farris has all the intangibles as well. In last season’s playoff semifinal against Alabama, Farris was called upon to play the guard position after center Jacoby Boren went down to an injury, thus pushing Pat Elflein to center and Farris to Elflein’s right guard spot. In a season where the mantra became “next man up,” more so applying to the quarterback position, Farris proved that he could be and will be that next man up on the right side of the offensive line.
Obviously Decker and Farris cannot play every down of every game, so who is the “next man up” after those two?
Sophomore Jamarco Jones makes a strong case for the backup position at either side, but he would more than likely backup Decker over Farris for locking down the blind side. The four-star prospect from Chicago played in ten games last season as a true freshman, playing his game high 41 snaps against the 66-0 drubbing of Kent State as well as playing 19 snaps in the game against Rutgers. Scout rated him the 63rd best recruit in the country, and he was within the top ten at the offensive tackle position.

As far as the second backup is concerned, there are three potential guys that could impress Meyer and offensive line coach Ed Warinner during fall camp to be that other backup, all freshman – Isiah Prince, Grant Schmidt, and Brady Taylor.

Prince was a four-star prospect from Greenbelt, MD rated among the top ten offensive tackle prospects by Rivals. Schmidt was also a four star prospect, was ranked 26th nationally at the tackle position and is the first player ever from the state of South Dakota to play for the Buckeyes. Lastly, Taylor brings a bit of an edge with some experience as a redshirt freshman, but any of these three guys could lay claim to the other backup position.
One thing is for sure though – with Warinner, the Offensive Line Coach of the Year in two of the last three seasons, the O-line is in very good hands.

2015 – The Year of the Linebacker?

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It wasn’t long ago that the three athletes that lined up behind the defensive line accounted for the weak link of an otherwise solid Buckeye defense. Dare I even say a liability? Ryan Shazier was a rock star but he was the only Silver Bullet linebacker to be chosen in the first round since AJ Hawk and Bobby Carpenter back in 2006. Trust me, I checked.

But in case you haven’t been paying attention, times they are a changin’. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from this year’s crop of Mikes, Wills, and Sams.

The Top of the Food Chain

Two starters return to lead this group along with a blue chip sophomore that logged plenty of meaningful playing time a year ago. Darron Lee went from relative unknown to household name in 2014. He is quick to the ball, disciplined in his assignments, gets after the quarterback and has great hands to go along with it. He accounted for two interceptions and two fumble recoveries a year ago to with 7.5 sacks from the strong-side position. All of this and more have lead to Lee being named to the preseason All Big Ten First Team.

Not far behind Lee is last year’s team leader in tackles (124) Joshua Perry. Perry hits with authority and rarely misses a tackle. More of a run-stopper, Perry can be counted on to get his nose into the line of scrimmage and do the dirty work. Perry brings an intangible to this unit that Coach Meyer praises ceaselessly: leadership. The senior has had scarlet and gray running through his veins since he was lining up for Olentangy High School in his hometown of Galena. He’s listed as a preseason All Big Ten Second Team but don’t be surprised if he finishes the season even higher.

Raekwon McMillan is what Coach Meyer would call a “freak”. This true sophomore, and preseason All Big Ten Third Teamer, came out of high school with a highlight reel that would give the average scout shivers. In a backup role to Curtis Grant a year ago, McMillan made sure there was no drop-off in athleticism. He played in all fifteen games and finished eighth on the team in tackles. And he proved that he isn’t afraid of the spotlight either with a pick-six against Maryland and six tackles in games against Michigan and Wisconsin each. So have no fear Buckeye fans, losing last year’s senior starter at the middle linebacker position may actually become an upgrade for this defense.

The Second Wave

It is no secret that, since arriving in 2012, Urban Meyer has turned recruiting into an Ohio State work of art. And after a few years of building multiple top-tier classes, the result is a team full of depth at every position – the linebackers falling right into this mold. Chris Worley, a 6’2” Will linebacker from Tedd Ginn, Sr.’s Glenville football factory, personifies this perfectly. He even began last season as a starter at the weakside position against Navy before Perry surpassed him on the depth charts. If that doesn’t say enough about the redshirt sophomore, consider that he did this after switching from playing safety in high school.

Dante Booker is another monster of an athlete that has been difficult to keep off the field. As a freshman letterman a year ago, Booker earned his playing time exactly the way that Coach Meyer requires: on special teams. He improved every single week and earned himself 21 snaps against Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. If Darron Lee weren’t the man in front of him, it might be Booker’s name on Phil Steele’s All Big Ten list.

Camren Williams has a significantly different story than the other backers that have been covered thus far. This four star recruit out of Massachusetts was part of Urban Meyer’s first recruiting class back in 2012. He’s a four-time letterman and has seen more and more of the field every year. He seemed to live up to his potential back in 2013 when he started for Curtis Grant and racked up ten tackles on the road against Illinois. But since then he just hasn’t impressed the coaches enough to become one of the starting three.

Making the Leap

The only question mark among the linebacking corps may be this: who is this year’s Raekwon McMillan? Only camp will tell. But if I were a betting man I would put my money on Justin Hilliard. This five star recruit from St. Xavier in Cincinnati walked onto campus with the size of someone who has already been through Mickey Marotti’s strenuous training program. He was the number one prospect in the state of Ohio and the second ranked outside linebacker in the country.

Jerome Baker isn’t far behind Hilliard. The third ranked recruit from the Buckeye state is gifted beyond measure and even has the potential to line up at multiple positions on either side of the ball. He played running back and linebacker at Cleveland Benedictine and was recruited by both defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and since departed running back coach Stan Drayton. There’s not much of a chance that Fickell lets this kid out of his grasp, though.

Kyle Berger is yet another player that could see time in the linebacker rotation. The redshirt freshman out of St. Ignatius’ fabled football program spent last season recovering from a knee injury. At 6’2” 230 pounds and with a year under his belt to learn the playbook, Berger certainly has the mental advantage over the other freshmen. Meyer has mentioned in multiple press conferences that he needs to find time for Berger. These three should be a big part of the Piranhas special teams unit, but don’t be surprised to see them subbing in for the starters more and more frequently as the season progresses.

The Last Line of Defense

Whether they are career special-teamers, clipboard-holders, or redshirts-in-waiting, the remaining four linebackers should see limited playing time this season. Craig Fada and Joe Burger are beloved by teammates and coaches. The two seniors are are shoe-ins for the special teams units. (And if you haven’t seen their “Buckeye Cribs” video then you need to get with the times.) Nick Conner may be the odd freshman out when it comes to playing time. Even though his future is bright, you’ll likely only see him on the field in garbage time if Meyer doesn’t apply the redshirt. Jared Drake and Zach Turnure round out the group and will make their biggest impact in practice and cheering their teammates from the sideline.

Ohio State makes it’s case for Running Back U. in 2015

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Coming off of a National Championship, the Ohio State Buckeyes have an
embarrassment of riches at almost every position and the running back position is no
different. So let’s take a look at a few of these guys and see where they stack up on the
depth chart.

First of all, we can start with (maybe) the best running back in all of college
football. Ezekiel Elliott is a junior standing at 6 feet 225lbs from St Louis Mo. He took
over the world with his record breaking performances in the Big Ten Championship game
as well as the College Football Playoff. For most Buckeye fans, this was not a huge
surprise. Zeke was a big time four star recruit coming out of high school and has lived up
to all the hype. Zeke will be the bell cow for the Buckeyes backfield this year because of
his talent and because he is chasing a Heisman Trophy.

The next guy on the depth chart is 6 foot 215lbs Bri’onte Dunn. Dunn was a four
star recruit coming out of Glenn Oak High School in north east Ohio and was expected to
be the next great RB for the Buckeyes. Early on in Dunn’s Buckeye career he had a hard
time adjusting to the demands of a program like Ohio State. In fact, when the Meyer
regime came to Columbus they were not very fond of Dunn and his work ethic, but last
year Dunn decided to commit to the system and became a wrecking ball on special teams.
Now that Dunn has put everything on the table I am expecting a big year out of him as
Zeke’s main backup. There is no shortage of talent when it comes to Dunn. I truly hope
he has a great year and is able to assist on multiple levels.

The guy that is right on Dunn’s heels is true freshman Michael Weber out of
powerhouse Cass Tech from the state up north. Weber, a 5’ 10” 215lbs bowling ball, had
one of the most interesting recruitments last spring. At one point he was committed to the
team up north and then decided to de-commit and eventually commit to the Buckeyes.
Things got worrisome after national signing day. Buckeyes running back coach Stan
Drayton decided to move on to the NFL. This was not taken well by Weber because he
and Coach Drayton had such an astounding relationship. Eventually, Coach Meyer was
able to do what he does best and reel Weber back in. Weber was the second freshman to
get his back stripe removed from his helmet, symbolizing that he is fitting in well with
the group . New coach Tony Alford recently mentioned that Dunn was currently the
backup, but that Weber was right there with him. Unfortunately for Weber, reports have
come in that he has a significant knee issue that occurred in training camp which possibly
puts him out 3-4 weeks. Both Dunn and Weber will play, but it is up to them who ends up
getting the bulk of the backup carries.

The last guy that is considered strictly a running back is 6’1” 225lbs Warren Ball.
Warren is a Junior from Columbus De Sales who has seemingly been a victim of great
recruiting by coach Meyer. Since Meyer showed up in Columbus he has been able to
bring in some of the best running backs in the country which has ,unfortunately, pushed
Ball further down the depth chart. Ball would be in the two deep on most Big Ten teams,
but lets be honest, the Buckeyes are not like most teams in the Big Ten. I believe Ball will
transfer for his final year if he does not have a more significant role this year.

The guy that could completely throw a wrench in this whole thing is the
remarkably talented 5’11” 200lbs Curtis Samuel. Brooklyn, NY is where the Buckeyes
coaching staff plucked Samuel from. He did not wait long to make his presence known
last year with coach Meyer calling him a “ grown man” in training camp. He also had a
great impact on the field but as Zeke started to gain momentum , Samuel started to see his
playing time dwindle. I don’t have Samuel in the two deep due to the fact that the
Buckeye coaching staff is trying to put Curtis at the H- Back position. This is simply to
get him on the field for more snaps because he is that dynamic. It will be interesting to
see how the coaches decide to use Samuel this year!

Bottom line is the Buckeyes are loaded at the RB position and I cannot wait to see them
unleashed in Blacksburg in a few weeks!

Positional Previews: The Tight Ends by @justin_golba

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There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the powerful Ohio State offense. From the best quarterback battle any fan could have asked for, to the Heisman candidate running back Ezekiel Elliott, to the position change of Braxton Miller, this spring has been highly profiled and has excited Ohio State fans everywhere for the upcoming season. However, there is one position that has not gotten the attention that the rest of the offense has received. The tight ends. This is a very talented group of proven and unproven talent, mixed with veteran leadership and youthful optimism. The tight ends are exciting because their production since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus in 2012 has increased every year. Catches, touchdowns, and targets have gone up each year since Meyer took over and with the tight end group that Ohio State has this year that does not look to be changing any time soon. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the tight ends that will suit up in the Scarlet and Gray this year.

The Starter: Nick Vannett

Nick Vannett is the guy. Vannett, a fifth year senior who just recently earned his degree from Ohio State, has been watching, learning and taking his reps behind Jeff Heuerman for the past two years and now it is his turn. He really broke out last year towards the end of the year, with 2 catches and a big touchdown grab in the National Championship. Standing at 6’6 and 260 pounds, Vannett is a great combination of speed, size, and sure hands along with his great route running and tremendous work ethic. He is also a fantastic blocker which will help the highly anticipated Ohio State rushing attack immensely. It will be interesting to see how well he adjusts to all the playing time he will get as the go to tight end. Nick Vannett is due for his breakout year and he can also be a dark horse in Ohio State’s run for a repeat of the national championship. Expect a 1st or 2nd team All-Big Ten selection in his future.

The Back-up: Marcus Baugh

As a four star prospect out of high school, his coaches and fellow players think his potential is through the roof. Baugh is 6’5 and 255 pounds and is a very difficult match up for opponents due to his overwhelming size and notable speed. He also has great hands and can block very well to help the running game even more. Vannett even went as far to say, “He’s probably the most athletic guy in our room” which is extremely high praise for the young tight end. He is not as strong as the coaching staff would like but due to him only being a sophomore, he can work on that throughout time. Although he has been cited multiple times for underage drinking and has been suspended two times by the team, most recently two games at the beginning of last year, coaches have said that he has matured noticeably since his suspension. He did not play in the spring game but he has had a solid spring of practice and has made huge strides towards reaching his full potential as a tight end. As long as he can stay on the field this year he will get plenty of playing time with Urban Meyer’s love for a two tight end set and his incredible athletic abilities.

The freshman: A.J. Alexander and Rashod Barry

These two young true freshman will arrive in Columbus and immediately look for playing time. Depending on how well Baugh adjusts to his new role, these two guys may have a chance to fight for the backup spot. A.J. Alexander is a 6’4, 220 pound tight end/H-back, who said during his recruitment and after he committed that he would be used at H-back, but is now being looked at as more of a tight end due to his size and that he can play sooner at tight end rather than at H-Back, especially after the emergence of Jalin Marshall last year. He has superb speed and sure hands due to his wide receiver experience in high school. He is coming off a torn ACL during his senior season, and paired with the certainty of Nick Vannett starting at tight end, that could be enough for the coaching staff to redshirt him this year, recover fully, and then compete for the starting spot in 2016. If he does not redshirt, look for him to get some playing time in special teams and maybe even a couple snaps at tight end. The next new kid on the block is Rashod Barry. A defensive end in high school, he has been leaning towards moving to tight end before the beginning of the season due to the chance of him getting more playing time sooner. He stands at 6’5 and 250 pounds, and just adds to the tall, strong, and athletic flock of tight ends. Both Alexander and Barry are terrific athletes and have the potential to be phenomenal tight ends in the Big Ten, and, if they do not redshirt, can make a significant impact on special teams this season with their size and speed.

Projected Depth Chart:
1) Nick Vannett
2) Marcus Baugh
3) AJ Alexander
4) Rashod Barry