Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Position Battles (Part III)

With this matchup being approximately a week away the focus will be on the defensive position battles between Ohio State and USC.  This matchup will feature Ohio State and their Top 10 defensive unit against a reinvigorated defense that has won 5 straight.

Defensive Line:

The Rushmen package that Coach Johnson has installed has worked tremendously well for the Silver Bullets.  The combination of Bosa, Lewis, Holmes, and Hubbard will be used to solely to disrupt Sam Darnold and cause chaos.  It has worked for most of the season, and why not go back to the well.

The depth and talent of the players on Ohio State’s bench are ridiculous, and most, if not all of them are starters at any other school in the nation.  That is the best part about having such a coach like Coach Johnson on to mentor them.

In the interior, Sprinkle and Jones will start the game with Hill and Landers relieving them when they get tired, and they are a pretty talented group of individuals who could all wreak havoc on the trenches.

They are 20th in the nation in total sacks and 13th in team tackles for loss.  They are averaging 2.85 sacks per game and 7.7 in total yards lost.  USC needs to control the trenches to succeed in this matchup because if the floodgates open, it’ll be a long day for Darnold.

Rasheem Green was once an Ohio State target when he was coming out of high school, but things did not work out.  Unlike Ohio State, who runs a 4-3, USC runs the opposite, a 3-4.  Rasheem Green, Josh Fatu, and Christian Rector all start for the Trojans, and they all are space eaters in the trenches.

USC is 6th in the nation in team sacks edging out the Ohio State’s unit with 3.31 sacks per game.  Running a different scheme has its advantages, but the Ohio State Offensive Linemen are one of the most talented groups that USC has faced, so it will have to be determined come gameday.


Both teams have an embarrassment of riches at the LB positions.  Ohio State has Baker, Borland, and Worley as starters, with Jones, Harrison, and Booker in the wings.  Together, they make a formidable trio for defenses and they are the second level behind the Rushmen.

Baker is a potential first rounder that can do it all.  In coverage, as a spy, even as a blitzer, he will do everything he can to make an impact.  Worley and Borland play well at their new positions.  Worley moved back outside while Borland took Worley’s spot in the middle, and it has worked out pretty good.

USC has quite a formidable combination at LB, and I think they are the reason why their defense has so many sacks.  The USC linemen occupy blockers while the LB’s knife through to seek out the Quarterback.

Led by Iosefa and Smith, this unit is scary good and they could give the right side of the line fits.  They are ranked as the 56th best team in the nation in tackles for loss, but I have a feeling that they will get to Barrett a lot this game due to the inconsistency of the right side, but I do not think it will be as bad as two years ago.

They will do enough to disrupt Barrett and his decision-making process, and they will most likely take the Buckeyes backs down a couple of times in the backfield.  This matchup will be between NFL Linebackers prospects, who are trying to make it to the next level.

Defensive Backs:

Denzel Ward leads another talented group of DB’s at Ohio State, along with Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield at Cornerback.  The definition of a shutdown corner in a long line produced by Coach Coombs, he will look to stop USC’s best playmaker on offense like he has done all season.

At Safety Damon Webb, a hard-hitting safety will patrol the top quarters along with Jordan Fuller to prevent the big plays downfield.

Collectively, BIA will be looking to prove once again that they are the Best In America by locking up USC, but Arnette and Sheffield must avoid the costly penalties that have been a problem for them this season to be successful.

Jack Jones, Iman Marshall, and Chris Hawkins lead the DB’s, and they will look to stop the Buckeye speed.  A lot of teams outside of Oklahoma and Iowa were unsuccessful in preventing the speedy WR’s from getting behind them, but they have the talent in the secondary to do so.

Like Ohio State’s starters, they will be tasked to stop a talented offense and they have the skills and the talent to certainly do so, but it is easier said then done.  Ohio State loves those crossing routes, but I feel like in order for this unit to succeed, they must stop Dobbins and Weber, and Barrett too from establishing a balance and establishing the run.

If they successfully make Ohio State one-dimensional, they will most likely have success.  If not, I think it’ll be a long day.

Position Battles:

DL:  Due to the different defensive schemes, this matchup is close.  From a talent standpoint, I will give the edge to the Buckeyes, but the production edge goes to USC.  The biggest factor will depend on which offensive line shows up.  If 2016 Ohio State shows up, USC wins easily.  If this seasons team does, Ohio State wins.  I am counting on the 2017 team to show up so I will give the slight edge to Ohio State.

LB:  Both units have a lot of talent that is starting and on the bench.  With Ohio State, they have been good, but inconsistent.  Baker tends to gamble and run himself out of position and Borland is good, but young.  USC will blitz like crazy and they have a lot of former Buckeye targets on their roster that will show up in the game.  With that, I declare this draw because there are too many variables that could swing either way.

DB:  This matchup features NFL prospects on both sides.  Ward is a lock in the 1st Round and everyone else is looking to get drafted.  Ohio State suffers from inconsistency outside of Ward, and when Arnette and Sheffield struggle, the game is almost unwatchable.  On USC’s side, Marshall and Marvell are looking to improve their draft position with a great performance against a Top 5 team and fellow conference champion.  I will give the Buckeyes the slight edge.

Special Teams:  I did not forget about this unit, but it will be an important part of the game in regards to the field position battle.  Ohio State has improved a lot over the course of the season, but USC’s unit is better in my opinion.  If USC can dominate this phase, they will be in line for an 8th straight win over the Buckeyes, but I think they finally break the streak.

Prediction:  Ohio State defeats USC 31-20

All things considered, I think the Buckeyes earn a victory in this contest.  The 7 wins in a row comment on Twitter, kind of gave the “Basic Defense” vibe and the last thing the Buckeyes need is more bulletin board material after being left out of the playoffs in favor of Bama.  I would love to see a decisive victory over USC, but I think both teams come out swinging with NFL draft positions being up for grabs.

Buckeyes Have 4 Star Massive Monday


The Ohio State Buckeyes had a massive Monday in the recruiting world. Urban Meyer and staff picked up three more commitments as we are fast approaching National Signing Day. A quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker made it known they will be playing in Columbus for the Scarlet and Gray starting next season. 12 Star Monday is a day that might have shaken the Big Ten again since two new Buckeye commits were flips from Maryland plus it made everyone remember Buckeyes are the head of the class still. Many have been jumping on that maize and blue bandwagon crowning them the East winners next year over a top recruiter that has three national championship rings (Senor Khakis has zero for the record).

Yesterday’s announcements put Ohio State back in first overall in the recruiting ranking in the nation. They jumped the previously mentioned Wolverines and LSU. The three pickups for the Buckeyes brings the 2016 class to 21 commitments now. We will have something shortly about how many more they can take and targets. Let’s discuss who announced yesterday their intentions to don the Scarlet and Gray for their college career.

Dwayne Haskins
6’3 198 QB Potomac. MD (The Bullis School)

The pro-style passer announced his commitment to Ohio State flipping from the Maryland Terps. He has dreamed about playing for Ohio State and his dream will now become a reality. Haskins threw for 2,217 yards and 20 touchdowns in 9 games his senior season. He is a drop back passer with a quick release but can run if he has to. Will be interesting to see how he will be used in Urban’s offense. All recruiting services have Dwayne listed as a 4 star.

National Rankings
Scout– 4 star #13 QB
Rivals– 4 star #5 QB
247Sports– 4 star #3 QB
ESPN– 4 star #3 QB

Dwayne Haskins Higlights

Keandre Jones
6’3 198 LB Olney, MD (Good Consel)


Another flip from Maryland Jones comes in reminding folks of a Ryan Shazier style player. Not as fast as Shazier if memory serves me right but he does possess speed and athleticism. Runs a 4.64 in the 40 yard dash. He plays outside linebacker and can rush the quarterback but has the size and athleticism to play the Will position also. With the departure of Joshua Perry and Darron Lee there is opportunity to possibly see the field but realistically probably needs to red shirt a year get some weight on his frame.

National Rankings
Scout– 4 star #13 OLB
Rivals– 5 star #6 OLB
247Sports– 4 star #12 OLB
ESPN-4 star #9 OLB

Keandre Jones Highlights

Binjimen Victor
6’3 177 WR Pompano Beach, FL (Coconut Creek)


Buckeyes Zone 6 is in need of some additions and they received one today. The wide receiver corp last year was thinned out due to injuries and it showed. Noah Brown is one of the biggest pieces coming back for Buckeyes but he is going to need some help and the incoming freshman will have just as much a chance to see the field. Victor can fall into the category of maybe seeing the field early, he isn’t a super fast athlete but he has good hands. He caught 42 passes for 846 yards and hauled in 15 touchdowns in his senior season. This is a good get for Ohio State and much needed.

National Rankings
Scout– 4 star #10 WR
Rivals– 4 star #18 WR
247Sports– 4 star #4 WR
ESPN– 4 star #44 WR

Binijimen Victor Highlights

Urban Meyer is proving why he is one of the best recruits. He has Maryland fans upset and crying now declaring this is a rivalry (OK). There is still some more time before national signing day so we will see how he has the Buckeyes positioned for the future which as it has been for some time since he stepped foot on campus: bright and national championship bound.

A surgeon’s lasting legacy


At the age of 72 years young, physician and author of ‘Any given monday’ Dr. James Andrews is arguably the most well-known Orthopaedic surgeon in the world. Andrews has been the go-to-guy, for the last thirty years, when it comes to treating professional and collegiate athletes. The list of athletes, that have trusted the future of their careers to the surgical skill of Andrews, is quite impressive; including but not limited to: Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Peyton Manning, Mariano Rivera, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and John Smoltz just to name a few. Yet, you would hardly know that Andrews is such renowned and accomplished man by listening to him speak, as he will tell you that “humility is the first step to greatness and if you don’t have humility,  you probably won’t get very far in any profession.” No doubt, a lesson he learned from his modest upbringing in north Louisiana.

In 1942, Andrews was born in the small town of Homer, Louisiana, about three hours east of Dallas. During the early 60’s, he was an undergraduate and All-SEC pole-vault champion at Louisiana State University. Ultimately Andrews stayed at LSU until he graduated from med school in 1967. After graduation, now Dr. Andrews, left Baton Rouge and headed to New Orleans, where he completed his surgical residency at Tulane.

Fast forward about a decade, as he prepares himself to perform a procedure on a patient, a young James Andrews has become starstruck by the man that lies on his table awaiting operation. This particular patient is not just any patient, this is Jack Nicklaus, the number one golfer in the world. Andrews begins to gather his focus, and he proceeds with the procedure. Just months later, Nicklaus would go on to win the Masters. About six months later, Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens won the American League Cy Young, with the throwing shoulder that had been surgically repaired by Dr. Andrews. Both of these major successes put Andrews on the map as one of the best specialist in sports medicine.

Fast forward to the present and Dr. Andrews is still the best Orthopaedist in sports medicine. He has performed over 2,500 Tommy John procedures, more than anyone else in the world. He has performed over 40,000 surgeries; and to this day, performs over 1,100 surgeries per year. Most notably in recent years he has operated on Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, LeBron James and Braxton Miller just last year.

After all he has accomplished, Dr. Andrews surely has nothing left to prove in his profession. Through medicine, he has left his mark on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA and NCAA. Yet, he shows no signs of slowing down. He still makes himself available, not only to the rich and famous but to the average joe as well, as he strives to help more and more patients each day. Not only is Dr. Andrews striving help patients surgically but he continues his research, at the Andrews Institute, on sports mechanics in an effort to mitigate preventable injuries. Dr. Andrews has not only changed patient care with respect to Orthopaedic surgery, he has extended the careers of thousands of athletes.

Building a Dynasty: 2016 Class Prediction

Since taking over for the Buckeyes in 2012, Urban Meyer has amassed a top 10 recruiting class every year – with an average national rank of 4.25 during that four year span.  That might not be all that surprising considering this is Ohio State; a school which resides in a high school football hot bed and is the only in-state college football power. But unfortunately for Urban Meyer, he took over the Buckeyes after the worst season in over 100 years and he was facing a steep uphill climb. He was fighting against his fellow Big Ten coaches and their constant negative recruiting tactics – Ohio State was a broken and corrupt program who had been beaten by the likes of conference foes Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue.  Brady Hoke and Michigan were coming off a Sugar Bowl victory and their first win against the Buckeyes since 2003.  Outside of the B1G (the southeast in particular is an area coveted by Urban and for good reason) the discussion wasn’t only about the on-field struggles of the Buckeyes, but how Urban Meyer can’t be trusted.  Look what he did to the Florida program.  He walked out on his players and left the program in disarray.  Would you want your son to play for a coach like that?  

Urban’s response to all this negativity?  He simply flipped several big name recruits, ensuring that his peers knew that Urban hadn’t lost a step in the living rooms of top prospects.  Noah Spence (heavy PSU lean), Tommy Schutt (ND commit), Brionte Dunn (flirted with TUN), Se’von Pittman (MSU commit), Taylor Decker (ND commit) and Kyle Dodson (Bert was sad) all pledged to the Buckeyes during the first few months of Meyer’s reign.  That momentum has continued on for Meyer and his staff.

The scariest part of all of this for non-Buckeye fans?  Urban’s 2016 and 2017 classes are currently projected as being the best of the bunch (both classes are currently #1 in the country).  Let’s take a look at how this 2016 class currently stands, and where it could finish by signing day.

Current Commits: (247 Composite rank)

QB: Tristen Wallace (179)

RB: Kareem Walker (31)

WR/HB: Demario McCall (44), Austin Mack (101), *George Hill (129), Kierre Hawkins (304)

TE: Jake Hausman (100), Luke Farrell (155)

OL: Michael Jordan (124), Tyler Gerald (143), Jack Wohlabaugh (413), Gavin Cupp (555)

DL: Nick Bosa (5), Jonathon Cooper (26), Malik Barrow (299)

LB: Tuf Borland (281)

DB: Wayne Davis (317), Kareem Felder (793)

P: Drue Chrisman (874)

Total: 19 commits
*I don’t expect Hill to be a part of this class.  I think he eventually ends up at MSU or Pitt.


The biggest need right now is at DB and interior DL, areas where the Buckeyes continue to recruit the hardest.  Now lets get to some prognostication…

DT Antwuan Jackson (56) – Arguably the top player on the staff’s board currently and he fills a major need.  Just unofficially visited Columbus for the Hawaii game, meaning an official visit is to be expected later in the season.  Auburn has been the main competition so far.

(247 Sports)

WR Binjimen Victor (71) – This position group has been about as fluid a situation as they come during this cycle.  Other names like Nate Craig-Myers and Donnie Corley we have heard about for months, but Victor is trending up right now.  Another big body receiver coveted by the NFL and a recent emphasis in recruiting by the OSU staff.

(247 Sports)

DB Jordan Fuller (123) – Quiet kid but has always been in constant contact with the staff.  Will need to get him on campus for an official this fall.  Has unofficially visited Rutgers, Notre Dame, TCU, Stanford, Penn State and Michigan State recently.  Brother attends UCLA.

(247 Sports)

DB Damar Hamlin (151) – Pulling kids out of the Pittsburgh area is always tough, but the Buckeyes have been on this kid forever and he has been to campus numerous times.  Final four looks like it could be OSU, PSU, Notre Dame and Pitt.

(247 Sports)

DB Tony Butler (530) – This is my dark horse pick.  Every year there is someone who flies under the radar until the last minute and the Bucks swoop in and steal.  I think the staff will be impressed with his senior game film at St. Eds and put on the full court press late in the process.  A one time Pitt commit and Michigan lean who is now considering schools outside the B1G footprint, he is an interesting prospect to monitor this season.

(247 Sports)


MotSaG Podcast: Blacksburg Beatdown Rainbow Warrior Preview

Yes Chip Minnich and I recap what happened at Lane Stadium with our beloved Buckeyes walking away with a big win. We also discuss the upcoming game against the Hawaii Warriors their next opponent.

Besides all this great content Chip and I make some predictions on some of the big games for the seconf week of the 2015 college football season. We even added some bonus content talking about some high school football.

As always hope you enjoy the show. Don’t forget besides listening to us on Buckeye Sports Radio you can subcribe to our show on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and so much more. Just search Men of the Scarlet and Gray (no longer MotSaG Live). Please leave us some comments on iTunes and ratings really would mean a lot to us if you were able to take the time out and let us know your thoughts on the show.

2016 Four-Star Wide Receiver Austin Mack Commits to Ohio State

Photo: 247Sports

Photo: 247Sports

The 2016 recruiting class continues to grow in size and talent for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Wide receiver Austin Mack, a four-star wide receiver in the 2016 class, committed to the Buckeyes this morning. The Fort Wayne, Indiana product committed to Ohio State after unofficially visiting Columbus on April 11. Mack is the 24th highest rated wide receiver in the country in the 2016 class according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He is now the 16th player in the 2016 class for the Buckeyes and the second wide receiver added in the class.

Here’s Mack’s comments on officially joining Buckeye Nation:

Mack stands at 6’2″ and weighs 205 pounds. He was recruited by Kerry Coombs and Zach Smith. Mack had offers from multiple schools. Among the schools vying for him and offering him were Michigan, Alabama, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Wisconsin and many more. Of course, as always, here’s the official “boom” from Director of Player Personnel, Mark Pantoni:

Check out the highlights of newest Buckeye Austin Mack below, courtesy of Hudl:

To see even more highlights, click here.

2017 4 Star Running Back Todd Sibley Commits to Ohio State

The rich keep getting richer. The Buckeyes get a fifth commitment this weekend, 4 star running back Todd Sibley who plays for Archbishop Hoban in Akron, Oh. Sibley will be joining teammate 2016 commit ATH Jonah Morris along with new teammate and 2017 commit QB Danny Clark.

Sibley(5’11, 205) had TTUN really really wanting him to become part of the alleged turn around chose instead to stay in Ohio and try to win National Championships.

Welcome to Buckeye Nation young man can’t wait to see you on the field.

Instead of boring you with stats here is his highlight tape:

2016 Four-Star Defensive End Malik Barrow Commits to Ohio State

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

The talent just keeps pouring into Columbus, as the Buckeyes land another highly rated recruit today. Defensive end Malik Barrow, a four-star defensive end in the 2016 class, announced via Twitter he’s coming to Buckeye Nation. The Tampa, Florida has verbally committed after visiting Ohio State the past two days. Barrow is the 17th highest rated strong-side defensive end in the country in the 2016 class according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings. He is now the 12th addition to the 2016 recruiting class and the third recruit to join the class this weekend. Barrow now makes up three defensive ends in the 2016 class, joining fellow four-star defensive ends Terrell Hall and Jonathan Cooper.

Here was his announcement on Twitter just a while ago:

Barrow stands at 6’3″ and weighs 260 pounds. It was his first visit to Columbus this past weekend, which speaks volumes to how great of recruiters the Ohio State coaching staff is to get a commitment so quickly. He was recruited by Tony Alford and Larry Johnson. Barrow had offers from several different schools, 21 in total. Among the schools that offered him were Michigan State, Nebraska, Kentucky, UCLA, Mississippi State and a host of others. I have a feeling that Mr. Barrow won’t be the last recruit to commit today to the Buckeyes and we’ll be hearing multiple booms from Mark Pantoni.

Check out one of the newest Buckeyes, Malik Barrow below in these highlight videos courtesy of Hudl:

Ohio State Lands Another Top Recruit: 2017 Four-Star Cornerback Marcus Williamson

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

The talent continues to pour into Columbus! The Buckeyes landed another talented recruit today, as 2017 four-star cornerback Marcus Williamson committed as he visited Columbus for Ohio State’s spring game. The Westerville, Ohio native is the fifth highest rated cornerback in the country in the 2017 class and the fourth highest rated overall in the state of Ohio according to 247 Sports rankings. He is the fifth recruit in an already stacked 2017 recruiting class for Ohio State. Williamson took to Twitter to express his excitement in joining the defending national champions:

Williamson stands at 5’10”, weighs 178 pounds and runs a 4.45 40 yard dash. He first unofficially visited the campus back in January before officially visiting for the past two weeks. Luke Fickell and Kerry Coombs recruited the highly rated cornerback. Williamson had offers from seven other schools, which included Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Recap of Ohio State football’s day: landed two great recruits and set the national record for spring game attendance with over 99,000 tickets sold. It’s simply another day in Buckeye Nation, as one of the richest programs in the country gets even richer (in more ways than one).

You can check out the newest Buckeye Marcus Williamson in the highlight videos below:

Three-Star 2016 Offensive Lineman Jack Wohlabaugh Commits To Buckeyes

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

Jack Wohlabaugh took to Twitter and announced he was officially a Buckeye today. The three-star lineman from Stow, Ohio is ranked the #30 overall offensive guard in the nation in the 2016 class according to 247 Sports’ rankings. Wohlabaugh is now the 11th player in the Buckeyes’ 2016 class, just a day after linebacker Tuf Borland became the 10th commit. He’s just the second offensive lineman in the 2016 class. Here’s Wohlabaugh’s commitment message on Twitter:

Wohlabaugh stands at 6’3″ and weighs 280 pounds. He unofficially visited Ohio State back in March and was recruited by Tony Alford and Ed Warriner. The Ohio product is officially visiting the Buckeyes today during their spring game. He received offers from 12 other schools, including Michigan, Minnesota, Boston College and Purdue. And of course the official confirmation from Mark Pantoni:

Courtesy of Hudl, check out the newest Buckeye Jack Wohlabaugh below: