2017 NFL Draft: Day 2

 

Curtis Samuel, WR (Carolina Panthers):

Curtis Samuel was the first Buckeye that was taken on Day 2 of the 2017 Draft, being selected with the 40th overall pick by the Panthers.  The Panthers have spent picks on back to back offensive studs due to the losses of Ohio State Alums Ted Ginn and Corey Brown during free agency.  With Samuel the Panthers will be getting a playmaker just like McCaffery who can play multiple positions.  Both players have the speed and they will help Cam Newton give opposing teams defenses fits.  Samuel will be used early and he will work in the slot, and he may see some time at Running Back.  Samuel is 5’11” and 196-pounds and turned in a 4.31 40-time in the combine.  His measurable and his talent will be utilized to spread the opposing defenses and keeping them honest during games.  He will share time with McCaffrey, but I feel like Ron Rivera will give both draftees ample opportunities to shine.

Raekwon McMillan, ILB (Miami Dolphins):

Raekwon McMillan, a recruit out of the Peach State was the second Buckeye taken in Round 2.  At 6’2″, 240 pounds he is the motor that was in charge of the Buckeye defense the last two and a half seasons.  He has the speed and the leadership abilities that will continue to flourish at the next level.  He is viewed as a 3 down linebacker and he must show development to see some playing time this fall.  McMillan is the first Inside Linebacker taken over Vanderbilt’s own Zach Cunningham, and he will be behind newly acquired addition Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso, who re-signed with the team this offseason.  Behind both of them McMillan will have the time to develop under Timmons, who arrived after time in Pittsburg and Alonso, who was still hasn’t established himself in the league yet.  McMillan’s only concern is in coverage, but he is a sure-tackler, who can stuff the run when called to.  He can become great with some time, so I can see him as a back-up for now, but he can flourish with the right coaches in place.

Pat Elflein, C (Minnesota Vikings):

Pat Elflein was the Swiss Army Knife out of Ohio State who can play multiple positions along the Offensive Line.  During the Ohio State Championship year Elflein began at Guard and then the following season he seamlessly switched to Center, where he earned the award for the Top Interior Lineman Award in his last season at Ohio State.  At 6’3″, 303-pounds he will compete with the likes of Joe Berger and Nick Easton for the starting Center gig in Minnesota.  If he cannot beat out the others at Center, Elflein can compete for the starting job at Guard opposite of former Ohio State Alum Alex Boone.  The Vikings have another Guard in waiting and all Elflein needs is an opportunity to play and earn playing time.  The Vikings drafted Dalvin Cook in the Second round and he will look to Elflein to block for the fellow rookie in the upcoming season.  Elflein is a tireless blocker that almost always finishes until the whistle is blown.  There are questions about his overall strength, but with an NFL Caliber strength and conditioning program, he will improve.

 

Recruiting Spotlight: Sevyn Banks

The Coaching staff is hot on the recruiting trail, and once again they plucked another SEC type of player out of the South.  Banks is another lanky Defensive Back that will potentially join the Buckeyes ultra-talented Supreme18 and they could only improve from here on out.  Banks is a 6’1″, 186-pound Corner who can play Safety with his overall length.  This class will see a lot of their scholarships go toward the defense.  The Secondary, or BIA, will potentially lose this season’s starters IF things go like last year and IF the starters blossom during the season.  Banks did not follow in his brother’s footsteps and did not follow him to Florida, but this could be a good thing for recruiting Florida and the rest of the South. This recruiting cycle will be another one for the ages, stayed tuned in for some booms.  This class will be epic.

Recruiting Spotlight: Brenton Cox

Coach Johnson and Coach Meyer struck gold once again, plucking highly touted Defensive End Brenton Cox out of the talent rich state of Georgia.  Another notch is placed on their belts, as they add another talented Defensive End for Coach Johnson’s Rushmen package.  Cox is a hybrid and he is listed as a DE/OLB, and he would be paired with current Ohio State commit, Taron Vincent and they are still chasing more playmakers along the Defensive Line to add depth to compensate for the impending losses after next season because most of the starters are upperclassmen.

Cox is a monster that will only improve under the watchful eye of Larry Johnson.  He can bend with the best of them and he has the size and speed to boot.  He is currently 6’5″, 240 lbs. and he will be a terror along the edge for years to come.  Another great addition to what will be another stellar class for the Buckeyes.  This is the first commit since the two of the spring game, and there might be more to come. Go Bucks!

Here are his Junior season highlights below from Hudl.

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Post Spring Game Depth Chart: Quarterbacks

The Starter:

The Quarterback is what makes the offense go and after a rare poor performance combined with poor offensive play calling, J.T. Barrett quickly returned to redeem himself for one last season at the helm.  At the annual spring game, he showed why he was the starter, but his performance was far from perfect as he missed some of his receivers.  He will lead this years Buckeye team to show that he is capable of being an deadly passer instead of someone who relies too heavily on his legs to make plays.  Barrett will be an assassin because it is evident that Coach Wilson and Coach Day are making an impact with the Quarterbacks, but lets see how they execute when the season begins.

Back-up Quarterback-A:

Joe Burrow was impressive when Barrett was pulled off of the field.  He had three scores through the air and a bunch of yards, and he flat out was impressive.  He found receivers at will and he showed that he could play at the Division I level.  Coach Meyer has quite the dilemma on his hands, but it is a good problem to have.  Burrow showed his ability to sling the rock and read the defenses he faced.  Burrow has done all he can to secure the job after his performance at the spring game.  It is up to Coach Meyer at this point.

Back-up Quarterback-B:

Dwayne Haskins also threw for three touchdowns, and he too showed that he could play at the Division I level.  He found his receiver and showed the ability to throw it deep, with a silky smooth touch and deadly accuracy.  He will look to earn the backup job this season, and after J.T. leaves, he will look to beat out Burrow for the starting job.  He is a year younger than Burrow and has the wheels and the biggest arm out of the rest of the Quarterbacks.  If he can establish a foothold, he has the potential to succeed.

Scout Team Quarterback/Red Shirt:

Highly touted Quarterback out of Las Vegas was one of the biggest wins in last years recruiting class.  He had quite the highlight reel and he established that during the spring game after he weaved through two defenders for a rushing touchdown.  He was live and he did not have the black jersey on, so it is safe to say that he will work the scout team duties.  He isn’t a terrible player and he has the traits that Coach Meyer looks for in a Quarterback.  He has the arms, the speed and the accuracy, and he will be a star in the near future.

 

Spring Game Fever: The Spectacle We Love

The spectacle of the Ohio State Spring Game is upon us.  This is one of the biggest offseason events that the Buckeyes host and this year will be no different.  With many blue-chip recruits of all ranks, the Buckeyes will look to rise up in the rankings with a great showing, that is looking like it won’t disappoint.

***  The storylines will feature a brand new Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach in Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, it will return a good amount of starters from last season with J.T. Barrett on offense and the majority of the Defensive Lineman.  The inexperience and the lack of creativity and variety was a problem, but with a few old pieces in places and some new faces on the coaching staff, this makes for another intriguing storyline to follow.  Look for a more improved offense that will tire out the defense with their upgraded tempo.  Will they find their next version of Curtis Samuel?  Will they find their next Devin Smith, Braxton Miller or Mike Thomas?

***  Zach Smith and Tony Alford will be tasked with providing playmakers and balance for the Buckeyes offense with members of their respective units.  Will Coach Smith find the next stars for his unit?  He needs Zone 6 to produce another playmaker and establish his role in the offense.  The Buckeyes will have the talent, but can they find the playmakers to follow what Mike Thomas, Devin Smith, and Braxton Miller have built?  Will Coach Alford they find their next version of Curtis Samuel or the next Ezekiel Elliott?  He has Mike Weber, who acted as their workhorse, but will Antonio Williams and J.K Dobbins step up?  Or can walk-on Jerimiah Knight carve out a steady role for himself?

***  Look for new Linebackers Coach Bill Davis to find his niche from within the Schiano captained defense.  He took over for Luke Fickell and he looks to use his extensive NFL coaching experiences to bridge the gap left by Fickell.  He lost Raekwon McMillan, but he retained Chris Worley, who is now the starter at the Mike spot, Dante Booker, who is coming off of an injury-plagued season and Jerome Baker, who had a coming out party last season.  He also has a lot of talented personnel waiting for their chance to reload the Buckeyes.

***  Coach Schiano and Coach Coombs will have the task of rebuilding the Scarlet Curtain or B.I.A., the Best In America.  Three of their starters, Malik Hooker, Garon Conley and Marshon Lattimore left for the NFL, leaving only Damon Webb as the only returning starter.  The Buckeyes signed five talented DB’s during NSD and they will look to make an immediate impact or contribution to the lack of established starters.

***  Last, but not least, the recruiting aspect for this game will be one of great importance.  Many blue-chippers will come to see if their prospective unit succeeds or what improvements have been made.  The potential of someone pledging their allegiance to the Buckeyes are good, but only time will tell.  Both the offense and the defense need to put on a show, and with a few Buckeye commits present, you really never know what could occur.

***  P.S.  The BTN chose to air the Ohio State Spring Game over TTUN’s.  Lol!

 

Draft A Buckeye: Raekwon McMillan

 

Raekwon McMillan was one of Urban Meyers most prized recruits coming out of SEC territory and he has grown into a leader on defense for the Buckeyes.  At 6’2″, 240 lbs., McMillan is viewed as a speedy Middle Linebacker who can play sideline to sideline, stuff the run and diagnose plays.  The former Butkus Award recipient played Quarterback for the Buckeyes defense and directed his troops as he sees fit.  He was a leader and he should blossom and evolve after a team takes a chance on him.  He ran a 4.61 in the 40, 7.15 on the 3 cone, 4.39 in the 20-yard shuttle and an 11.84 in the 60-yard shuttle.  He is athletic and flat out fast for a linebacker, and he will be used sparingly until he finds a foothold or if injuries occur.  This is not detracting from his talent, but he had a decent season but was less productive than previous seasons.  McMillan will be an asset to a team as he is projected to be drafted in the 2nd to 3rd Round of this year’s draft.

Recruiting Spotlight: Jackson Allen

 

Here we are Motsag Sports subscribers with another recruiting spotlight on 2021 Quarterback prospect Jackson Allen from Hattiesburg, MS.  We know this is a bit off but the youngster is impressing people. College football, indeed all of college sports starts paying attention at such young ages. Jackson isn’t the first and won’t be the last. But the composure these young people possess is startling as this interview suggests.

It’s virtually impossible to identify big time success at such a young age and we don’t pretend to be able to project that. But we thought it interesting to hear from a youngster who has gotten some buzz. He obviously has matured to a point where he can talk like a talented yet respectful lad who understands the path ahead. We will be interested in following his development.

R.T:  With it being so long until you sign your letter of intent, what schools are you currently hearing from?

J.A:  Well the past few years, I have had Mississippi State show interest, and mainly that’s it, but I think with me just getting my film out there to colleges and me performing well my freshman year will really help me out as far as interest goes.

R.T:  Are there any schools that you are highly interested in at this moment?

J.A:  I have grown up a Mississippi State fan, so Mississippi State has been my number 1 school and I love how Dan Mullen works with quarterbacks.  I think he is the best in the business at progressing quarterbacks, but I also love Alabama.  I love how their offense is, they will spread the defense out from the shotgun but they will also go from under center and work their offense from there.  So those are my 2 favorite schools right now.

R.T:  What offers do you currently have?  Which offers would you like to have prior to your National Signing Day moment which is quite a bit in the future?

J.A:  At this point, I don’t have an offer.  I’m only in the 8th grade, but I think if I perform well my freshman and sophomore years, the offers will come flowing in.  I think it is just the competitor inside of you that want to have every D1 scholarship in the country going into signing day.

R.T:  What factors do you consider “musts” for the schools that you are interested in?

J.A:  My number top 3 “must” would be:  1.  Being able to compete for the job as a freshman right when I get on campus.  2.  Would be the right system for me as a quarterback.  And number 3:  Would be, being comfortable with the coaching staff and my position coach.

R.T:  Being from Hattiesburg, MS, did you become a quarterback because of Brett Favre?  If not, who would you say influenced you to?

J.A:  Being from Hattiesburg, MS and when I have to introduce myself to coaches and or media, the first question I get is, “does Brett Favre living in your town influence you to play quarterback?”.  My first response is “no” because the funny thing is, I did not wanna play quarterback until my 3rd year of tackle football, which would be my 5th grade year, and the reason I never got to play a different position is because my dad forced me to play quarterback and it turned out amazing, so I give all the credit to my dad!

R.T:  What type of quarterback are you?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What can you improve on?

J.A:  I don’t hold myself to a specific type of quarterback.  I believe I can do it all.  I can throw it, I can run it, I can throw it on the run, I can manage the game, and I can make the players around me better. My biggest weakness is flexibility and I’m not the strongest in my core but I’m working hard to fix those things so I can find something else to critique about my game. 

R.T:  What type of leader are you on the field?  And off the field?

J.A:  On the field, I am a very intense leader.  I feel like I know when to get onto a player and then when to just tell them you’ll get it next time, and I think that separates me from other guys.  Off the field, I’m a little bit more laid back, but I do good in the classroom, and I encourage my teammates and classmates to do the same.  

 

Recruiting Spotlight: Julius H.F. Buelow

I have something new and exciting for you Motsag fans, an interview with Class of 2019 recruit Julius Buelow from Kapolei High School in Hawaii.  Buelow is 6’7″, 314 lbs., and is currently an Offensive Tackle for Kapolei High School, but he is comfortable when placed outside his natural position, whether it is on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

R.T:  First off, how would you describe your unofficial visit to Ohio State?  What stood out to you during the visit?

J.B:  The visit to Ohio State was awesome.  The campus is huge and the football facilities are impressive. The football building was really busy the day we went and I got to meet a lot of the coaches, trainers, and players.  The atmosphere stood out to me, there is a lot of energy there and you can tell people are working hard to be the best.

R.T:  I know that the 2018 recruiting cycle has just begun, but what schools are currently “high” or “sticking out” to you?  And why?

J.B:  This is a hard question to answer.  I’ve been to a few different schools and they each have different things to offer.  So I really need to figure out what I’m looking for as far as what I might want to study, the football program, and maybe even the type of campus, but I’m only a sophomore, so right now I’m trying to learn about different schools, so I know what kind of options I might have.

R.T:  What offers do you currently have and what offers are you striving to obtain/that you covet?

J.B:  Right now I only have some verbal offers, nothing official yet.  Not sure yet, same as last question, just trying to check out as many programs as I can, so I can have a better idea of what I’m looking for.

R.T:  When would you consider cutting down the list of offers?  Do you have an idea on when you will commit?

J.B:  I probably won’t commit until my senior year, 2019, unless I figure out what I want really early, and that school feels the same way about me.  But it’s a big decision, so I don’t plan on making it quickly.

R.T:  Being from Hawaii, how comfortable are you about moving far from home?  Does weather play a factor?

J.B:  As long as I have family kind of close by, I have no problem moving away from Hawaii for college.  I always wanted to go to the mainland for school.  I like the cold so that doesn’t bother me, by cold, I mean 30’s – 50’s.  Don’t know yet how I will do if it’s colder than that lol.  Just gotta make sure I have the right clothes and that there’s an indoor practice field haha.

R.T:  What factors play a key part in your recruitment?  Coaches, facilities, playing time, etc?

J.B:  Yes, all of those, and one of the biggest factors is going to be if the school is highly rated for the major I’m in, and also if they have a lot of options if I decide I want to change my major.  But the O-Line Coach is going to be one of the main factors for me, and the culture of the program.  I want to be somewhere that will prepare me for life after football.

R.T:  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What are you looking to improve during your junior and senior years in high school?

J.B:  Strengths – my size, footwork, and technique.  Weakness – lack of experience, didn’t start playing until 8th grade and never had playing time until 9th grade.  Looking to improve everything that has to do with me as a player and a person.  

 

Playstation Fiesta Bowl Recap: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 BIG) vs Clemson (12-1, 7-1 ACC)

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Game Day is here, and so are the nerves and the paranoia.  The angst and the dread are there too.  I have this knot in my stomach as we are minutes away from the opening kickoff.  Clemson is ready.  Ohio State is ready, and as both teams take the field, the anticipation kicks in and I am ready.  This is what Ohio State and Clemson is here for a spot in the College Football Championship Game.  All of the players are ready to unleash a whooping on each other.  As a College Football fan, no matter what the end result is, we had a hell of a season.  A rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.  And Clemson has gone through the same ride. This is a successful season for both of their standards, but a win would be ideal.  We will see how it goes.

On the opening possession, J.T. Barrett begins the game with a pop pass to Samuel to ensure he gets his quota for touches per game.  The drive then stalled as on 3rd and 8, Barrett finds an open Mike Weber out of the backfield for an easy first down catch.  Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Weber dropped the pass and the Buckeyes punt the ball back to Clemson.  Clemson began past the 15-yard line, but their first drive only lasted two plays.  A receiver slipped on the turf and Gareon Conley undercut the route for the games first turnover.  With decent field position, the Buckeyes drive ended on a sack after Michael Jordan went down after with a key injury.   Demetrius Knox was inserted into the game and gave up the first sack of the game after failing to get off the line to block and Tyler Durbin pushed the field goal a smidge to the right. Clemson took over and drove into Ohio State territory for a field goal and currently lead the Buckeyes 3-0. The Buckeyes got the ensuing kickoff and Parris Campbell returned it to the Clemson 46-yard line. After another missed field goal, the Buckeyes leave more points on the field.  Clemson takes over at their own 30-yard line.  The Tigers take the ball 67 yards on 9 plays and Deshaun Watson takes it in to extend their lead 10-0.  Ohio State get the ball back on their 23-yard line and reach Clemson territory and end the 1st Quarter on a 1-yard gain.  The predictability of the play calling and the inability to block and get open in space, coupled with the nerves that has shaken Tyler Durbin to the core have cost the Buckeyes as it should be a 10-6 game, but things happen.  Here is to another quarter.

After receiving the Buckeye punt, Clemson begins their next drive at their 11-yard line.  The Silver Bullets makes the stop as Jalyn Holmes and Raekwon McMillan stop Watson short of the line to gain.  The Tigers punt and the ball takes a Clemson roll to the Buckeyes 11, pinning them deep in their territory.  Ohio State was once again plagued by drops and untimely penalties and it results in another Buckeye punt.  The Clemson Tigers began their next drive with the lead at their 26-yard line.  The Clemson Offense looked to tack on another score to pad their lead, but Malik Hooker added to his interception statistics as the most of the Buckeye crowd burst into excitement.  Hopefully, this will bring energy to the offense because they are struggling to make plays and the play calling is predictable at best.  Mike Weber needs to be fed like Zeke was because he still has no carries for the game.  Long behold, Weber on the first play of this drive received his first carry of the game for a gain of 5 yards.  The interception was all for nothing as the Buckeyes punt once again bringing up his total to 189 yards for the game compared to the entire offenses 76 yards.  This is not looking too good, but I will keep the faith.  The Clemson offense received and took the ball in the end zone on another wheel route to a leaking Running Back.  Baker was left in coverage and Holmes had a roughing the passer penalty to guarantee a touchback.  The Buckeyes end the half with a 17-0 deficit.  They all look defeated as their punter doubles the offensive output with 240 yards to the offenses 88.  Things need to change or they will get blown out.  See you after halftime.

On Clemson’s first drive of the second half, the Buckeyes look to stop the bleeding.  Three plays later, the Buckeyes come up big on defense to force a Clemson punt.  The possession did not last long as Weber fumbled the ball, putting the Buckeyes in a bad spot.  This is probably what happens when you don’t feed him enough.  Anyway, the Clemson Tigers raced into Ohio State territory once again and that is when the Buckeyes made three huge defensive plays in a row.  Three big tackles for loss and one, a sack from McMillan is a welcome sign for the way the game has been for us fans.  A near offsides penalty by Dre’mont Jones cost the Buckeyes the stop, but Huegel missed the field goal wide left to keep the score at 17-0.  It is within reach to creep back into this game, but it’ll take some imagination with the playcalling.  The Tigers force another punt as they continue to shut down the Ohio State Offense.  On their drive, they reach the Ohio State territory, but the defense comes up with their second sack of the game forcing a rare Clemson punt.  Ohio State comes back with another punt on their own after another sack of Barrett.  Well, the end is here.  Watson scored once again to push the lead to 24-0.  It is now over with Beck and Warriner’s inability to call anything but swing passes.  After back to back deep shots and two penalties on Clemson, Weber runs the ball, then runs over the defender and fumbles.  Next play, Barrett throws a pick.  I am ready for this game to be over because I am sick to my stomach at what I am seeing.  The players are getting a bit chippy as Weber pushes Tankersley after the interception and Watkins comes to his rescue.  The end of the 4th Quarter as the Tigers look to salt away the game.  They get into Ohio State territory once again, but they end up punting the ball.  Samuel earned some yardage as he gained 64-yards on a counter play.  The Buckeyes line immediately gathers more negative yardage on a false start and it set them back 5 yards and a sack on the next play.  On 3rd and 17 the Buckeyes turn it over with a pick that nearly went for six points. Gallman punches it in for another score.  Clemson up 31-0.  At this point, I just want some points to cap a terrible showing.  On 4th and short Weber gets stuffed and the shut-out is still there.  The Clemson Tigers win 31-0 and blank the Buckeyes for their first shutout since 1993 to TTUN.  This has been one hell of a ride and you can only grow from this, no matter how bad it tastes at this moment.  Life will go on and this will certainly be a long cold offseason for all of us.  Good job team and it has been a great season and good work Clemson, you deserve it.  Goodnight folks.

Playstation Fiesta Bowl Preview: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 BIG) vs Clemson (12-1, 7-1 ACC)


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Who:      The #2 Clemson Tigers versus The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes

What:     College Football Playoff Semi Final, Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Where:  University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

When:    7 p.m. ET on December 31, 2016


Game Day is here and with hours in between kickoff, I will ease my anxiety with doing one last article before the recap.  In roughly 9 hours, the game will begin and I will take the time to talk about the matchups within the game because there are many juicy matchups between each unit for both teams.  The magnifying glass will be placed on each of those units, regardless of which team wins out, in the end, this game will be used to analyze talent on both teams that are potential NFL Draft prospects if they declare either after or before the game.  This game is viewed as the game to watch because the last team both of these teams met in the Orange Bowl two years ago, it was a shootout.  This year looks to follow suit with a potent offense versus a stellar defense.  Clemson’s Offense is lethal and Ohio State’s Defense is suffocating and this is guaranteed to impress no matter who wins and who loses.

Friends Turned Foes:

imgres-7Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney share a bond as they both grew as coaches.  Coach Meyer has the edge with multiple championships and one of them came at the expense of his current team when he coached up at Florida.  Coach Swinney on the other hand built Clemson into the monster that they are currently, and he is looking for another shot to prove his worth as a coach and as a team.  Coach Swinney was playful during media day as he playfully mentioned Meyer’s book, constantly mentioning excerpts when given the chance.  Coach Meyer on the other hand was dialed in and seemed distant and focused on the task at hand.  Clemson dished Meyer one of the 5 losses during his tenure at Ohio State.  He gave Meyer his first consecutive loss streak, after Meyer and the Buckeyes fell short in the Big Ten Championship Game.  Is Meyer plotting his revenge?  Will he have something in store for them?  The doubters, who are assuming that Clemson will move on with little to no challenge from the Buckeyes?  The mental chess match between Meyer and Swinney began when the Playoff field was announced.  This is one of the friends turned foes battles.

images-8J.T. Barrett versus Deshaun Watson will be the other friend versus foe matchup to focus your attention on.  Barrett and Watson were good friends when they both served as counselors for an elite passing Camp.  Their relationship has blossomed since as they shared the “see you in Arizona” pleasantries when discovering that their teams will go up against one another.  This will be Watson’s pass-happy attack versus Barrett’s run heavy offense.  Both Quarterbacks aren’t talking and both don’t have to with the body of work that they have created with their respective teams. Both teams will play fast and hard, both teams will be prepared for the kitchen sink at each other, both teams will ride the wave with their Quarterback.  Both players are proven winners and they will look to display their value on the field.

Trench Wars:

51859_hThe battle in the trenches will be another factor in the game. Ohio State has three new starters on the Offensive Line with Junior Jamarco Jones, True Freshman Michael Jordan and Sophomore Isaiah Prince, who has been the chink in the Slobs’ armor at Right Tackle.  Prince will be the crux of if Ohio State is productive on offense and Jordan will also be tested early and often.  Prince will face star Defensive Lineman and former Ohio State target, Christian Wilkins and Jordan faces another beast lineman and another former target, Dexter Lawrence.  Wilkins is a quick twitch lineman, who flashes the speed and burst to blow past linemen and Lawrence has the bulk and outweighs all the Slobs at 340 lbs.  He will be used to take double-teams to free up his companions.  He is also a bully in the interior and the leaders for the Slobs will be tested and busy the entire game.  Pat Elflein and Billy Price will look to stop the bleeding attempting to keep Barrett upright and untouched.  It is easier said than done with the talent on Clemson’s D-Line.

imgresClemson’s has a stout Offensive Line and they are beyond beefed up as they average 310 lbs on every position with their Right Guard being the heaviest at 340 lbs.  The Rushmen will face their toughest challenge of the year trying to reach Deshaun Watson in the backfield.  Clemson boasts a Left Tackle and former Ohio State targer, Mitch Hyatt who has allowed one sack in his tenure at Clemson.  This matchup will be another factor as the battle in the trenches looks to become another tough, but exciting matchup for both teams.  The trench wars will be one of the highlights and the main attraction of the game due to Ohio State’s inability to protect the line line of scrimmage.  With Prince struggling mightily, will he finally earn his star in College Football circles?  Or will he fail once again?  You will never know until the first couple of drives but it very intriguing and my heart hurts just thinking about what could go wrong and what could potentially happen.

Explosive Offense VS Stingy Defense:

imgres-4Ohio State has one of the best secondaries in College Football and they will be needed to stop Clemson’s explosive offense.  Ohio State has playmakers at every level on the defense and Clemson does too, but players like Malik Hooker is a scoring threat with Conley and Lattimore locking down their receivers.  The explosive offense will be a problem as well because Clemson, like Ohio State has playmakers on offense, who can break the game wide open for Watson.  This matchup focuses on WR’s Mike Williams, Artavis Scott, Hunter Renfrow, TE Jordan Leggett and RB Wayne Gallman matching up against Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore, Damon Arenette, Denzel Ward, Damon Webb and Malik Hooker.  This will be another exciting matchup between a suffocating defense versus and crazy good offense.  If this doesn’t get you as excited and paranoid as I currently am, you might be dead.  Get a pulse because this could be the matchup that could decide who advances to the big dance.  Ohio State collects athlete’s and playmakers, who add a different element to the defense.  Their secondary is one of the best in taking the ball away and turning it into points.  The Buckeyes have 7 TD’s for points and Hooker has 3 of them.  Turnover’s will be key in this contest that could go either way.

mike-williams-clemsonClemson initially opened up as a three point underdog, even as the higher seed.  They feel slighted and they should because their playmakers will look to do some damage on the vaunted Ohio State Secondary who is known to shift the momentum during close games.  Mike Williams is a dog and a playmaker who can also shift games in their favor.  The rest of the playmakers who start and a few of their key reserves would also do the same.  It is just a matter of protecting the ball and their Quarterback.  It is a strength versus strength battle with both teams as they both look to advance forward.  This will not be a cakewalk for either team.  Ohio State’s Secondary will be one of the best that they have seen so far this season and likewise with Clemson’s Offense.  Clemson will be the best offense that they have faced this season because the depth and talent at every position.  This will be crazy to see both squads fighting to advance into the Championship Game.  Talent versus talent for the glory.

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The Ohio State Offense will lean on Curtis Samuel and the rest of Zone 6 to produce.  Zone 6 has struggled mightily to get separation during games and that is one reason why J.T. Barrett’s production has been lacking a reliable and consistent receiving threat outside of Samuel.  This will be an interesting factor and the pundits are expecting Clemson to put this one out of reach early, with no one giving the Buckeyes a shot with their lack of a passing threat.  It is true that he hasn’t been required to throw it downfield, but when the running is so effective, why change what works.  The Clemson Defense will key in on this fact as they look to shut down Ohio State’s run game early.  The production for Mike Weber and friends, and Samuel will be needed to pull this one out.  One of the Zone 6 members or a couple of them need to show their talent in order to win out.  Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill, Dontre Wilson, Parris Campbell and Marcus Baugh will be needed, badly.

imgres-4On the other end, the Clemson Secondary will be leaned on to keep the Buckeyes contained.  If Gallman struggles, then it’ll be a defensive battle and both teams are pretty good on offense and defense, it is just a matter of opportunity to make plays.  That is all you could ask for.  Both teams will look to cancel each other out and this will be the epic battle of the century.  The strengths and weaknesses are obvious and well documented and it is up to every unit to produce or make play when needed to.  This will be a crazy game filled with many momentum swings and it will be a good one.  Everyone will be glued to their seats as we watch how the game unfolds.  Are we in store for a blowout or another overtime dance with another well-coached contender.  Who knows, but we will find out in a couple of hours.

Conclusion:

So to conclude, this will be a fight from beginning to end.  Both teams will swing for the fences for a chance at the title.  Everything will be left out on the field after this one.  One team will advance and the other will face their end to a magical season.  For my prediction, I have Ohio State advancing after a hard fought victory.  It will come down to the wire, whether in overtime or at the ending seconds of the game.  This will be a defensive struggle with both teams struggling to get things going.  Barrett does it again, 31-34 Buckeyes.  The a member of the Ohio State Defense will turn the tide on a turnover.  I don’t know who it’ll be and Clemson will be paying attention to where Hooker is lurking, essentially avoiding him.  My guess is McMillan or Baker wreak havoc and Nick Bosa has a game in the Rushmen Package.  A shootout will happen.  Go Bucks!!!