BG’s Falcons Look To Be Hunted, Not Hunters, By Buckeyes In 2016 Opener

“ 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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Bowling Green Falcons (Game 1)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 11 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. To the best of my knowledge, there are no players on Bowling Green’s roster that Ohio State actively recruited or offered a scholarship. More on this below, but that is always something to be on alert against, whenever Ohio State plays another Ohio-based opponent.

Game Date: September 3, 2016

Kickoff Time: TBD

Location: Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking: Bowling Green is led by first year head coach Mike Jinks. Jinks comes to Bowling Green from Texas Tech, where he served as the associate head coach/running backs coach for Texas Tech. Just as I predict with Tulsa in game two, look for Bowling Green to come into Ohio Stadium, trying to run an uptempo offense, comparable to what Texas Tech or Baylor traditionally do.

Prediction: Any time Ohio State plays another Ohio-based opponent, there is always some concern. Remember the scare Toledo put into Ohio State, back in 2011? As written up above, there are players on Bowling Green’s roster that did not receive an Ohio State offer, and that perceived slight, fairly or unfairly, always seems to give that team a slight edge psychologically. Throw in the concerns that the Ohio State players may be taking this game lightly, and that is why I have listed Bowling Green eleventh out of the twelve scheduled opponents Ohio State will face in 2016.

Considering the depth and talent Ohio State has all across the board, no matter how inexperienced, as well as what should be a close to sellout crowd in Ohio Stadium for the 2016 season opener, look for Ohio State to come out with a little more intensity and fire than Bowling Green can match. This one will be entertaining for the offensive styles of play from both teams, but Ohio State should be able to have a comfortable lead by halftime.

Previous Rankings:
12 – Tulsa

Quick Hits – Buckeye Recruiting – 5-12-2016

Welcome to Quick Hits, a new feature we are rolling out to highlight the most recent athletes who received offers to play football at Ohio State.

Emory Jones – QB – Class of 2018

Yesterday [May 11] the Buckeyes offered another QB spot to Emory Jones out of Franklin, Georgia. Jones is one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the nation for 2018, and he’s the fourth quarterback the Buckeyes have offered in the class. Many thought Jones was a done deal to Tennessee, but the Buckeyes are his “dream school,” so the offer certainly changes his recruitment. The Buckeyes want to get him on campus as soon as possible with the hope that a visit will secure a commitment. Jones told 11W he wanted to make a decision by the end of the summer, and it will still likely come down to Tennessee and Ohio State. I personally like what Phil Jurkovec brings to the table, and I’d prefer to have him in the class over Jones, but that’s just me.

Derrik Allen – CB – Class of 2018

Derrik Allen of Marietta, Georgia also received an offer yesterday. He’s the 2nd-ranked cornerback in the early 2018 rankings and already holds 23 offers from most of the top schools in the nation. Right now he is crystal-balled to Georgia, but with only two predictions right now, his decision is far from certain. Allen is listed at 6’1” and 185 and judging by his highlights, he plays the ball well while in the air, but he can also play down and make some big hits at the line.

KJ Henry – DE – Class of 2018

A couple of days ago, the Buckeyes offered KJ Henry, a weak-side defensive end out of Clemmons, North Carolina. He’s the 2nd-ranked WDE in the nation in the early 2018 rankings and currently holds 22 offers from pretty much the entire ACC conference, as well as Florida, Tennessee and Florida State. Henry currently has a crystal ball prediction to both North Carolina and Clemson, but Clemson seems to be the leading the chase for now.

Josh Belk – DT – Class of 2018

The Buckeyes are on a roll with 2018 offers, and Josh Belk, the #5 DT prospect in the 2018 rankings, was on the receiving end of one of them. Belk hails from Richburg, South Carolina, and his home state Gamecocks look to be the favorite to land him; however, he also holds offers from traditional powers like Clemson, Florida State and LSU. He has three crystal ball predictions in for the Gamecocks, so pulling him out of South Carolina may be a challenge for the Buckeye coaches.

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-12-2016

Kerry Coombs still out recruiting, now in Maryland:

Todd Sibley to visit Pitt this weekend:

Cam Heyward making a name for himself in the NFL:

Buckeyes getting ready for Summer workouts:

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-11-2016

Corey Smith Story in the Dispatch:

Buckeye Football:

Rutgers Using OSU against Michigan:

OSU v Rutgers Game Time Announced:

Mel Kiper’s Too Early Big Board

#18 Raekwon McMillan

Tyquan Lewis just missed the top 25 on his list.

Former Buckeye Waived by Bengals:

Kerry Coombs down in Atlanta:

TE Matt Dotson nears decision, OSU not in final 3:

Peoples-Jones discusses recruitment:

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-10-2016

Kerry Coombs down in Florida today:

Pickerington Star Morgan Ellison making a name for himself:

Buckeyes make visit to Shaun Wade:

Buckeyes doing charity work in Jamaica:

Buckeyes offer 4* DE from North Carolina:

ESPN’s Way to Early Top 25:

Buckeyes offer 4* DT from South Carolina:

Taylor Decker’s Rookie Contract Details:

OSU Commit Josh Myers is strong:

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-9-2016

Michigan Commit visiting OSU this Summer:

3* Sets Visit to OSU:

Danny Clark shows Jamyest Williams around campus during The Opening:

Former Buckeye Armani Reeves Headed to Boston College as Graduate Transfer?

Todd Sibley still committed, but looking:

More on Todd Sibley:

Danny Clark still 100% to OSU, loves the honesty:

Nine Buckeyes get degrees yesterday:

Donald Washington signs with Pittsburgh Steelers:

Verlon Reed signs with Detroit Lions:

Buckeyes in to see OL Blaine Scott:

Cardale returning fan mail, finally:

Tulsa Will Probably Be No Tussle For The Buckeyes

Before I progress into my early predictions for the 2016 Ohio State football season, I want to take a few moments to congratulate the twelve young men who were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, as well as the three young men who signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Adolphus Washington, Braxton Miller, Nick Vannett, Joshua Perry, Cardale Jones, Tyvis Powell, Jalin Marshall, and Chase Farris – thank you for all of your contributions to Ohio State football, from 2012-2015. Best of luck to you all in what I hope will be lengthy and successful NFL careers…#GoBucks

Here’s a tweet that I am not sure if Ohio State fans have truly contemplated…The first time since 2008 that NO member of the Boren family will be on the roster.

Below are some other impressive tweets that detailed the impressive 2016 NFL Draft for Ohio State…

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“ 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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Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Game 2)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 12 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. To the best of my knowledge, there are no players on Tulsa’s roster that Ohio State actively recruited or offered a scholarship.

Game Date: September 10, 2016

Kickoff Time: TBD

Location: Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking: Offensively, Tulsa is led by senior quarterback Dane Evans. Evans had a solid 2015 season, throwing 25 touchdowns and 4332 yards. Defensively, Tulsa surrendered points quite easily in 2015, averaging 40 points a game to the opponent in 2015. For a young team such as Ohio State, this game certainly will be an opportunity to work on every aspect offensively, before the big test down in Norman, Oklahoma, on September 17th.

Prediction: Tulsa’s head coach Phillip Montgomery did a solid job with the Golden Hurricane in 2015, leading them to a 6-7 record. Montgomery is a former Baylor offensive coordinator under Art Briles, meaning the Buckeyes can expect to see Tulsa throwing it all day long in Ohio Stadium on September 10th. With Ohio State having a young but talented defensive line, and inexperienced secondary, there may be some anxious moments, but look for Ohio State’s superior talent to be able to pull away in the second half. There is an old coaching axiom that a team makes its biggest improvement from game one to game two. Guess when these two teams meet? Game two, on September 10th.

Forecasting the 2017 Defensive Back Haul

5-Star S, Jeffrey Okudah | Grand Prairie, TX

The number 1 safety in the country in 2017, Jeffrey Okudah holds offers from almost every high profile school in the country. This recruitment will last through official visits in the fall, but Okudah has made it no secret that the Buckeyes currently lead for his services. Okudah has only visited Ohio State one time, last summer, so getting him back on campus for an unofficial visit this summer and an official in the fall will play large in Ohio State’s chances of landing the star from the longhorn state. Okudah is a versatile DB that reminds many of high draft pick Jalen Ramsey from Florida State. Another key factor to watch in this recruitment is what Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano does after this season, as Okudah has said that Schiano is a key factor on why he is so interested in Ohio State.

Projection : Ohio State

5-Star CB, Darnay Holmes | Calabasas, CA

Holmes, the number 1 corner in the nation, has a lot of interest in the Buckeyes and plans to visit the Buckeyes sometime this summer, most likely at Friday Night Lights in July. The problem for the Buckeyes is they seem to be playing from behind in this recruitment as Holmes has high interest in two schools that are closer to home in Stanford and UCLA. The Buckeyes, who does not have the advantage of being so close to Darnay, will look to combat this and land the high flight corner. Not only does it seem that local schools in Stanford and UCLA may be ahead, but a recent Calibraksa movement led by two of Holmes teammates in Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Tristan Gebbia, has the Huskers also looming large in his recruitment. Again, getting Holmes on campus for an unofficial in the summer and official in the fall can only help the Buckeyes, but distance may be too hard to overcome.

Projection : UCLA

5-Star CB, Shaun Wade | Jacksonville, FL

Wade, a current Ohio State commit, has been committed to the Buckeyes since the 2015 National Championship game. It is always hard to retain a Florida kid who committed to your school over 2 years from when he signs a letter of intent, and this recruitment is no different. Wade, who hasn’t stepped foot on Ohio State’s campus since last summer, has taken several visits to other schools to survey his options. Two schools that have gained a lot of traction in his recruitment are Florida and Alabama and they will be in it till the end. Although Wade is still publicly committed to the Buckeyes, it is hard to see him ultimately staying with that pledge through National Signing Day. Florida is the hometown school and Alabama has the advantage of Wade originally being from Tuscaloosa in their favor.

Projection : Alabama

4-Star S, Isaiah Pryor | Bradenton, FL

Isaiah Pryor, once thought to be leaning towards Notre Dame early in his recruitment, committed to Ohio State last July and this recruitment looks to be one that is over. Although schools continue to try to get Pryor to take a look at them, his relationship with the Buckeyes could not be any better. Some fans were a bit worried when it was reported that Pryor was checking out Tuscaloosa on his way back down from a Ohio State visit, but it appears that that visit meant little if anything in his recruitment. It would be a great surprise to see Pryor sign anywhere but for Ohio State on National Signing Day.

Projection : Ohio State

4-Star CB, Lamont Wade | Clairton, PA

Wade, once thought to be a sure bet to end up in Columbus, has seen his recruitment open up a bit more recently. Lamont has taken numerous visits to home state schools Penn State and Pittsburgh since the New Year and it has recently come out that Lamont and his family are concerned about him having a chance to enroll early if Ohio State were the choice. With Ohio State having such tight numbers as far as recruiting in the 2017 class, it is hard to have a definite answer if that opportunity will be there for Lamont. Ultimately, the concern over enrolling early may end a once perfect fit between Lamont and Ohio State and push him to a school closer to home. One key fact to consider in this recruitment is that Lamont’s parents would prefer that he not go to Pittsburgh.

Projection : Penn State

4-Star CB, Marcus Williamson | Bradenton, FL

Williamson, originally from Westerville South in Ohio, transferred to IMG Academy this year. He has been an Ohio State commitment for a while and it has been widely reported that he has been working on his teammates down at IMG to get them to Columbus as well. The one guy on the list of Defensive Back targets for Ohio State that I am most confident in being in this class come Signing Day is Marcus. This recruitment is about as cut and dry as it can get, nothing to see here.

Projection : Ohio State

4-Star CB, Amir Riep | Cincinnati, OH

A guy who has upward of 50 offers to date and will announce his intentions sometime during the summer is thought to be an Ohio State lean. Ohio State is in a position where if they offer an Ohio kid, there is a close to 100% chance they sign him if he is a take for them. Amir resides from Colerain, which happens to be the same high school that Ohio State Corners Coach Kerry Coombs use to be the Head Coach. This recruitment has just too much going for it not to wind up being Ohio State and Ohio State will gladly take a kid that is widely coveted around the country.
Projection : Ohio State

4-Star CB, Kary Vincent | Port Arthur, TX

This is a guy that is not talked about much with Ohio State and should get more publicity. Kary will be visiting at some point this summer and potentially again in the fall. A guy that has a number of high profile offers and that the coaching staff really likes, Kary could be a surprise addition to the 2017 class. Ultimately, I believe a numbers crunch will leave Kary on the outside looking in on Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class, but if Ohio State were to miss out on a corner projected above or find a last minute scholarship, Kary could very much make his way into the class.

Projection : Texas

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-5-2016

Buckeye QB Target Tate Martell decommits from Texas A&M:

OSU Target Tyjon Lindsey drops A&M as well from consideration:

Crystal Ball Predictions:

Throwback Thursday:

Zach Smith Responds:

Zach Smith in Tennessee Recruiting:

Cardale Jones Thanks OSU:

Position by Position Recruiting Summary – Offensive Line

Today’s “Future of Ohio State Recruiting” brought to you by the offensive line. These guys up front give quarterbacks enough time to make throws and open up holes for running backs to run for big gains. Over the past two seasons, Ohio State has enjoyed arguably two of the best offensive lines in college football, and it all boils down to recruiting the right guys and developing them into quality starters. The Buckeyes lost Taylor Decker, Jacoby Boren, and Chase Farris from the 2015 roster, and the team hopes to replace them with the abundance of young talent that have been waiting on the sidelines. Regardless of talent, replacing 3/5ths of an offensive line unit is a challenge. Luckily the line will have early home games against Bowling Green and Tulsa so the young guys can get meaningful playing time in a friendly environment before what’s likely to be a prime-time night game showdown in Norman. The earlier they can develop a rapport and get into a rhythm, the faster they can grow together and develop as a unit. 

The only certainties going into this season are Pat Elflein at center, Billy Price at left guard, and recently-named starter Jamarco Jones at left tackle. The other two spots are up for grabs, and the battles will continue up until fall practice finishes. Isaiah Prince and freshman Michael Jordan have stood out in spring ball and have a slight edge heading into the fall camp. However, guys like Malcolm Pridgeon, a former JUCO standout, and redshirt freshman Matthew Burrell may come in and push for immediate playing time. Demitrius Knox, Brady Taylor, Branden Bowen and whoever loses out on the RG/RT battle in fall camp should see some playing time this year on the second unit. It seems like Evan Lisle and Kyle Trout have been recruited over, so their chances at playing time are looking bleak. It should be interesting to see who lines up where when the Buckeyes take the field against Bowling Green the first weekend in September.

2016 Projected Depth Chart:

LT: Jamarco Jones – Junior

– Kevin Feder – Freshman (RS)

LG: Billy Price – Junior (RS)

– Demetrius Knox – Sophomore (RS)

C: Pat Elflein – Senior (RS)

– Brady Taylor – Sophomore (RS)

RG: Michael Jordan – Freshman

– Malcolm Pridgeon – Junior

RT: Isaiah Prince – Sophomore

– Branden Bowen – Freshman (RS)

Unless Billy Price decides to leave early after this season, we should have 4/5ths of our line returning in 2017, which will be nice for cohesiveness in front of JT Barrett – assuming he returns as well. You can never have too much depth at any of those spots, however, so Urban Meyer has been recruiting offensive linemen heavily. Let’s see what the future potentially holds for the Buckeye offensive line over the next couple of years.

The 2017 class got off to a big start with commitments from consensus top 10 player Josh Myers and high-four star Jake Moretti. Myers hails from Miamisburg, OH and has been committed to the Buckeyes since January 2015. Moretti is an out-of-state recruit from Arvada, CO who committed to the Buckeyes on July 4th of last year. It seems like both guys are finished with the recruiting process and have made their final decisions, so I believe that they’ll both remain part of the Buckeyes’ 2017 class. As I’ve discussed before, Ohio State is short on scholarship space in this class – with the number of players already in the queue for the Buckeyes, I can see maybe one to two more guys becoming a part of this class.  Some names to keep in mind are Isaiah Wilson and Robert Hainsey, and Joel Honigford. The first two guys are long shots at best, but Honigford is definitely one to keep an eye on. He hasn’t received an offer from Ohio State yet, but he seems willing to wait for one before making any sort of decision. I can see him camping at Ohio State this summer and pulling in that much-coveted offer … and possibly even committing on the spot. If he doesn’t get one for some reason, I think he heads north to Michigan State, but when all is said and done, I say he earns his offer and becomes the third member of the offensive line class of 2017.

Bringing back almost the entire offensive line in 2017 will be big because the unit will have a full year of experience behind it, almost like the 2015 season when Chase Farris was plugged in to replace Darryl Baldwin. In 2017, I see Brady Taylor taking over for Pat Elflein at center, with Jack Wohlabaugh being his backup. Again, Malcolm Pridgeon could very well start this season, which means he would be again next year, but for now I have him listed as a co-starter for 2016 and 2017. 

2017 Projected Depth Chart:

LT: Jamarco Jones – Senior

– Kevin Feder – Sophomore (RS)

LG: Billy Price – Senior (RS)

– Demetrius Knox – Junior (RS)

C: Brady Taylor – Junior (RS)

– Jack Wohlabaugh – Freshman (RS)

RG: Michael Jordan – Sophomore

– Malcolm Pridgeon – Senior

RT: Isaiah Prince – Junior

– Branden Bowen – Sophomore (RS)

The Buckeyes are be poised to lose three of these starters due to graduation after the 2017 season, so Urban Meyer and Greg Studrawa will have some big holes to fill during recruiting. Offensive line recruiting for 2018 hasn’t taken off yet, and the Buckeyes currently only have offers out to four players. Jackson Carman is the one to watch – he hails from Fairfield, OH and seems to be one of the Buckeyes’ biggest targets for 2018. I thought he might commit at the spring game, but that didn’t happen; however, a commitment could come at any time, and Carman would instantly become a leader of the class of 2018.  Two others with offers are Nick Petit-Frere out of Tampa, FL, and Will Lawrence from Memphis, TN. Yesterday Matt Jones out of Brooklyn Erasmus received an offer, and it was one he was coveting.  He can either play defensive line or offensive line so it is uncertain if he would fit into the offensive line discussion yet. With potentially four guys’ eligibility running out at the end of 2018, the Buckeyes will look to add three or four offensive linemen in this class. I think Carman will be the only current offer to be in the class, but I expect more and more linemen will receive offers as recruiting for the 2018 class gets rolling over the next few months.

2018 Projected Depth Chart:

LT – Kevin Feder – Junior (RS)

– Josh Myers – Freshman

LG – Demetrius Knox – Senior (RS)

– Matthew Burrell – Junior (RS)

C – Brady Taylor – Senior (RS)

– Jack Wohlabaugh – Sophomore (RS)

RG – Michael Jordan – Junior

– Tyler Gerald – Sophomore (RS)

RT – Isaiah Prince – Senior

– Branden Bowen – Junior (RS)

The offensive line is always a hard one to predict. Case in point: I didn’t see Michael Jordan becoming a starter after spring ball, but it’s looking like that might happen unless Malcolm Pridgeon comes in and takes his spot. Projecting farther than this season is even more of a guessing game because so much can happen between now and then. What I know for certain is that we have two of the best coaches in America in Greg Studrawa and Ed Warriner. Hopefully their talents will lead to great development and a consistently strong unit from year to year. The offensive line has been a strong suit for the Buckeyes since Urban took over, and I fully expect that to continue with top notch recruiting and player development.