Silver Linings, Onto The Future

The offseason is usually a rough time for me, but being able to continue writing about the Ohio State Buckeyes puts my mind at ease. The passion I have and the sheer love for the team prevents me from walking away and here I am talking about the future of the program.

Players will often take some time to make up their minds about their future and here we are in limbo for the time being. Fields, Olave, Fields, Wade and the majority of the linebacking core are likely to leave but the greatest mystery would be to see who stays.

Now, when we find out whoever does stay, it’ll be interesting to see the attrition process play itself out too. Younger players with no shot at being “the guy” for their respective positions—let’s see how mentally tough they are and if they can be patient. This is probably the most interesting part of the year where anything can happen leading up to the annual spring game.

While you can’t bet on the Buckeyes in Ohio just yet, there is optimism in 2021. Sports betting legislation is in the works. If you can’t wait and are in the Michigan area, sports betting in MI is going live this week. You can wager on all the Buckeyes futures bets on DraftKings, FanDuel, or BetMGM, Lineups has the latest news and reviews if you don’t know which book to use.

Anyway, this team should look different this year and the future is too bright to discount the efforts and the strives it took to have a season. These kids are here for our entertainment and for their future. Do not blur the lines. Being able to not let wins or losses dictate our lives is a blessing and for me, I’m just happy that I have found that silver lining in this.

#11 Ohio State Buckeyes Silences #2 Clemson Tigers in the Big Easy

Yes, you read that right and it was intentional. With all the chatter and all the slights sent their way, the Buckeyes have finally defeated the Clemson Tigers. The risk of falling 0-5 to Clemson was possible, but with all the motivation in the world the Buckeyes trounced the Tigers and silenced the doubters for now—and oh, how sweet it is?!

The build up to this moment was heavy. Two elite teams with two distinct paths to the CFB Playoffs. Two budding rivals that always seem to meet. Two elite head coaches with loaded rosters that could compete to become the next dynasty in college football. Both sides had their motives and their wills tested up to this moment.

One team, Ohio State went through adversity to play this season. They fought for a chance to play and they defeated the odds to do so. They had a nine-game season that turned to six with Maryland and TTUN cancelling, and the Illinois game being cancelled due to COVID concerns.

Clemson looked good but suffered an early loss at the hands of Notre Dame without Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence returns and throttles Notre Dame and avenged the loss to set the table for another head-to-head with the Buckeyes.

The chatter was immense and extremely disrespectful toward the Buckeyes leading up to the game—no one gave them a shot to advance. Coaches, Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney ranked the Buckeyes 11th (11th!) in his final coaches poll and the media was forecasting another Bama versus Clemson game.

With their demons on the field, the Buckeyes looked great in this game. They played with poise and balance—and they really dominated all phases of the game. Constant pressure by the defense stifled Lawrence while Fields’ grit shined through with the help of Trey Sermon in the ground game. The game was never really that close after the 14-14 tie but the job is not done with the #1 Crimson Tide on the horizon.

Yes, savor the win—do it! But we all know if you want to win a championship, you have to run through Alabama and Clemson. The Buckeyes demolished the latter and now they must be laser focused on the Crimson Tide and their arsenal of weapons at their disposal.

For what it’s worth: Even the Bama head coach, Nick Saban and their future opponent had them out at 5th overall behind Texas A&M and while the slight is less severe—we can all assume that it’ll be used again to sharpen their edge. Focus on the win and enjoy it, the Tide are not to be taken lightly especially with the issues we saw tonight with the secondary.

MOTSAG Heroes of the Game

Offense: Justin Fields, QB

Defense: Haskell Garrett, DT

Special Teams: Drue Chrisman, P

#GoBucks

Olave’s anticipated Tiger rematch: By Mike Scharf

December 28, 2019… State Farm Stadium… 29-23. 29-23. 29-23:

That final score has been entrenched throughout Woody Hayes Athletic Center. On the walls in the locker room, in the weight room. 

Everywhere. 

This score hasn’t left the Buckeyes team’s eyes since a last-minute interception in last year’s Fiesta Bowl ended their national championship hopes. 

This Buckeye team seeks redemption after having a bad taste in their mouth from last season’s clash with the Clemson Tigers, and none other than star wide receiver Chris Olave seeks it more than most.

Last season, Olave spoke up that he broke his route in last year’s Fiesta Bowl as he turned left instead of continuing his route thinking his quarterback took off to scramble which led to a Justin Fields’ interception right in the hands of Clemson’s defensive back Nolan Turner in the endzone securing a Tigers victory and national championship appearance.

As the NFL draft was looming, there was no denying in the mind of Olave what he was going to do—he came back to Ohio State to show everyone what he can do.

Olave met with the media ahead of the 2020 season expressing his love for Ohio State and the chip he has from last season’s disheartening loss:

“I care so much about this team, this university,” Olave said, “I don’t think I’ve gotten over it still (Fiesta Bowl loss), and I still got that chip on my shoulder and I want to show the world”.

Olave explained he found himself working out 2-3 times a day, trying to take his mind off things.

This Buckeye team knows who the underdog is and relishes it. The odds have been stacked against this group all season and they are ready to prove the world wrong.

In the Sugar Bowl trailer, narrated by Chris Olave, he acknowledge the team embraces the underdog narrative.

“We know you don’t want to see us here, and we know you don’t give us a chance. That’s fine,” said Olave. “After all we fought through, we just need one chance. A second chance.”

CO2 is ready.

#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: The Slobs

In today’s installment its all about the Slobs. This years offensive attack will be co-dependent on the ability of the entire offensive line to win their match-ups in the trenches. This group one of the most talented in the nation and Justin Fields will be hoping to rev things up when the season is officially underway. 10 more days left until Nebraska at home. This unit has definitely will have a championship-caliber team that can control games entirely, but again–we shall see.

The offensive line will return Wyatt Davis, who opted out due to the uncertainty of the 2020 season even happening. As the lone Captain on the offensive line at Right Guard, he will lead by example with Center Josh Myers and Left Tackle Thayer Munford also returning for what many consider “their last ride” in the scarlet and gray.

Although the trio of Davis, Myers, and Munford is wonderful, they have two available spots up for grabs at the Left Guard and Right Tackle spots, but they do not have a shortage in talent to fill them. At Guard, the Buckeyes have Harry Miller, Enokk Vimahi, Gavin Cupp, and Ryan Jacoby. The first three are in a competition for the two deep, while the latter falls behind. Davis in the depth chart.

If I were a betting man, I’d give it to Miller by virtue of setting up Vimahi as the back-up. Not a slight, but I can see Myers doing his thing and then leaving for the draft, and Miller either slides in at Center or he dukes it out with Matthew Jones. Vimahi would then slide into the starting spot or battle it out with Cupp next season. Either way, the talent for this spot is there for the Buckeyes.

At Right Tackle, Nicholas Petit-Frere gets the nod with Big Thanos Dawand Jones right behind him. Big Thanos had flashes at Left Tackle, but with his athleticism and agility he’d fit on either side, but for the future Right Tackle is his spot for now. Jones would have the nod over Max Wray, who would fall behind him for third on the depth chart.

If you are keeping score the first team would look like this, from the left side of the line to the right: Munford, Miller, Myers, Davis, and then Petit-Frere. The second team in the same order would be: Johnson, Vimahi, M. Jones, Cupp, and then D. Jones. So basically two versions of the Monstars that will basically maul people, but I will try not to get too ahead of myself.

With the Buckeyes in general, attrition would be a factor in this position as we’ve seen it over the past few years. Yes, the Buckeyes are loaded, but sometimes players look elsewhere for consistent playing time. They are developed and ready to go, but they haven’t received their shot yet. Hopefully that is not the case, but we won’t know.

Ahead of the 2020 COVID season, the Buckeyes have started much later than anticipated or expected, but we all know they are ready to go. We have all seen the videos and it hasn’t changed my mind about what I personally think the season would look like, but again–I am containing myself and reserving judgement until 10 days from now.

There are also a few studs in the 2020 class still in the fold too. The trio of Donovan Jackson, Ben Christman, and Zen Michalski currently committed, more talent is on its way. They may close out with the trio, but big names are still out there despite being close to being out of the running. Until it becomes official you just never know in recruiting. Stay tuned until either National Signing Days and just enjoy it.

#GoBucks

Spring Game 2020: Defensive Depth Chart

With the all of the firepower and potential of the offense, the defensive side of the ball is looking to flex their depth and talent as well. With losses of a few key cogs on the defense, the Buckeyes are re-loading once again as they look to not taking a step back in production. Laden with high four stars and many more five stars, the talent in this room is unmistakable. Most have been biding their time and most finally have their shot. Lets take a deep dive into this pretend depth chart for the Silver Bullets.

Defensive End: Zach Harrison, Tyreke Smith, Javonte Jean-Baptiste, Jonathan Cooper, Tyler Friday, Noah Potter, Darrion Henry-Young, Cormontae Hamilton, Jacolbe Cowan, Ty Hamilton and Aaron Young.

Coach Johnson’s room have lost a few key players over the previous few NFL Drafts, but he always finds a way to keep it stocked full of talented players. With the departure of Chase Young, Jonathan Cooper is the unquestioned leader and he has Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith to make up a trio of experienced players. The talent of the younger players is also an added benefit as they prepare to wreak havoc on opposing defenses in 2020.

Scarlet Team: Jonathan Cooper, Javonte Jean-Baptiste, Cormontae Hamilton, Jacolbe Cowan and Tyler Friday

Gray Team: Tyreke Smith, Zach Harrison, Darrion Henry-Young, Aaron Young and Noah Potter

Reserves: Ty Hamilton (summer enrollee)

Defensive Tackle: Taron Vincent, Antwuan Jackson, Jerron Cage, Tommy Togiai, Jaden McKenzie and Haskell Garrett.

Like at Defensive End, the Defensive Tackles also suffered a few key losses over the years and with both BB Landers and Davon Hamilton’s eligibility being over, the young bucks will continue the great tradition of interrupting the trenches. Experience is there but not to the level that Landers and Hamilton had, but it is a start. Each player on this list has impacted the game in some form–notably Togiai and Garrett have been players that saw time when the game had been put away. They will be counted on, but do not discount Vincent, Jackson and Cage because they’ve also seen some time with Jackson playing SEC football with Auburn before joining the Buckeyes. Jaden McKenzie is the new guy on the block, but with the strength coaches–he is in good hands just as long as he continues to work.

Scarlet Team: Taron Vincent, Haskell Garrett and Antwuan Jackson

Gray Team: Tommy Togiai, Jerron Cage and Jaden McKenzie

Reserves: N/A

Linebacker: Teradja Mitchell, Baron Browning, Dallas Gant, Pete Werner, Tuf Borland, K’Vaughan Pope, Craig Young, Tommy Eichenberg, Justin Hilliard, Ben Schmiesing, Cade Kacherski, Mitchell Melton and Cody Simon.

Linebacker was one of the few positions where they lost a key cog. Out of all the potential players to depart, only Malik Harrison left after his eligibility ran out. It could’ve been more with Werner, Borland, Browning and Hilliard all coming back into the fold. Like all other position groups, this room is filled with star power and talent that have all been waiting on their chance to shine. This room returns starters and they will attempt to dominate as usual. It is another season of waiting for a few, but you better believe during mop-up duty they’ll get their shot.

Scarlet Team: Tuf Borland, Teradja Mitchell, Dallas Gant and Craig Young

Gray Team: Baron Browning, Pete Werner, K’Vaughan Pope, Tommy Eichenberg and Justin Hilliard

Reserves: Ben Schmiesing, Cade Kacherski, Mitchell Melton (summer enrollee) and Cody Simon (summer enrollee)

Cornerback: Lejond Cavazos, Sevyn Banks, Tyreke Johnson, Ryan Watts, Marcus Williamson, Shaun Wade, Cameron Brown, Lloyd McFarquhar and Darryl Sinclair.

Cornerback saw the biggest loss in talent with Arnette and Okudah leaving for the NFL. At one time, they could’ve had Wade on that list too, but he returned after leaving the Fiesta Bowl on that ejection and wanting a shot at redemption. He comes back and the only two experienced players in Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint are currently facing legal issues. The other players who they will lean on are Banks, Brown, Johnson and Williamson and a pair of highly touted 2020 early enrollees Cavazos and Watts are all vying for playing time to help the Buckeyes for the season.

Scarlet Team: Shaun Wade, Marcus Williamson, Ryan Watts and Lloyd McFarquhar

Gray Team: Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, Lejond Cavazos, Tyreke Johnson and Darryl Sinclair

Reserves: N/A

Safety: Josh Proctor, Bryson Shaw, Marcus Hooker, Ronnie Hickman, Kourt Williams, Kevin Dever, Ryan Batsch and Lathan Ransom.

At safety, Jordan Fuller had quite a career but he moved onto the the pros. There isn’t much experience at the position but Proctor got everyones attention after laying the wood on the Jack Coan in the Big Ten Championship Game as the time dwindled down. He is the frontrunner for the robber position, but the talent behind him is unquestioned. He leads a young room that could blossom into something special.

Scarlet Team: Josh Proctor, Bryson Shaw and Kevin Dever

Gray Team: Marcus Hooker, Kourt Williams, Ronnie Hickman and Ryan Batsch

Reserves: Lathan Ransom (summer enrollee)

And there you have it! The defense is the hardest to predict with the amount of losses, but the talent is undeniable. The talent is there to take the Buckeyes back to the big dance, but it is all work from here. The Buckeyes are now two weeks away from the Spring Game as the anticipation steadily builds for the players and the fans.

#GoBucks

Spring Game 2020: Offense Depth Chart

The Horseshoe Wide Shot. Credit: News.osu.edu

Since we here at The Men of the Scarlet and Gray have plunged off the deep end with our Pretend March Madness series, I have succumbed and jumped on the hype train. I have this idea in mind that would do two things: fill the void with Buckeye content and to distract us from the on-going chaos around us. This mini-series not only fills the void in my heart, but it keeps me occupied as well so enjoy!

Quarterbacks: Justin Fields, C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller III, Gunnar Hoak, Danny Vanatsky, J.P. Andrade and Jagger LaRoe.

With Justin Fields returning, he will be the unquestioned starter coming into the spring game. Fields’ spot is his to keep, but the depth behind him was a huge question up until reinforcements from the 2020 recruiting class entered the fray to bring some competition to the room. Chugunov left and Hoak had some in-game experience, but he is not ready to contribute just yet. The Buckeye starter job is set, but the back-up battle has just heated up.

Scarlet Team: Justin Fields and Jack Miller III

Gray Team: Gunnar Hoak and C.J. Stroud

Reserves: Danny Vanatsky, J.P. Andrade and Jagger LaRoe

Running Backs: Master Teague III, Trey Sermon, Demario McCall, Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley, Miyan Williams, Xavier Johnson, Mitch Rossi and Robert Cope.

The tradition at the Buckeyes Cadillac position has been great over the years and with J.K. Dobbins departing for the NFL early, the legacy gets passed onto another back ready to prove his worth. Enter Master Teague III. Coming into the offseason, the starting nod was all but his, but the injury bug bit and an injured achilles later–he is shelved for a little while. Marcus Crowley is still shelved too and the depth was lacking, leaving a single scholarship player at a key position for the Buckeyes in Steele Chambers. True Freshman Miyan Williams won’t be on the roster until the summer and news broke today from Birm that former Sooner and former Buckeye target Trey Sermon has chosen the Buckeyes. I have plugged him into the spring game for funsies.

Scarlet Team: Steele Chambers, Demario McCall and Mitch Rossi

Gray Team: Trey Sermon (Grad transfer), Xavier Johnson and Robert Cope

Reserves: Master Teague (injury), Marcus Crowley (injury), Miyan Williams (summer enrollee)

Wide Receivers: Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Julian Fleming, Jameson Williams, Kamryn Babb, Mookie Cooper, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr, Jaylen Harris, Jaelen Gill, C.J. Saunders, Elijah Gardiner, Sam Wiglusz, Austin Kutscher and Chris Booker.

In a crowded, talent-stocked room the Buckeyes reloaded at the position once again. With the departure of a trio of leaders in Austin Mack, K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor, the need for leaders is needed to continue the tradition. Enter Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Two younger players that have been key parts of a lethal downfield attack are back to wreak havoc once again. The legendary 2020 haul featuring Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr, Mookie Cooper and Jaxon Smith-Njigba did nothing but boost the profile of Brian Hartline and increased his stockpile of weapons to unleash for years to come. C.J. Saunders is still awaiting an answer eligibility, but he is another one of the leaders on the team until we get a final answer on him.

Scarlet Team: Chris Olave, Julian Fleming, Kamryn Babb, Jaylen Harris, C.J. Saunders, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (H-Back),

Gray Team: Garrett Wilson, Gee Scott Jr, Jameson Williams, Mookie Cooper, Elijah Gardiner, Jaelen Gill (H-Back),

Reserves: Sam Wiglusz, Austin Kutscher and Chris Booker.

Tight Ends: Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert, Jake Hausmann, Cade Stover, Corey Rau and Joe Royer.

Tight Ends saw an uptick of usage in the Buckeyes offense last season and they will look to build on that momentum. Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hausmann all return and a former defensive standout in Cade Stover joined the fold along with Corey Rau, a grad transfer from SMU joined the team. The depth is fairly stocked, but thin due to all three players being upperclassmen after this season. The Buckeyes are looking to secure two additional players in the 2021 class and they have Sam Hart as the only player at the position. They are still searching for a partner to join him, but that is looking too far ahead.

Scarlet Team: Jeremy Ruckert, Jake Hausmann and Corey Rau

Gray Team: Luke Farrell and Cade Stover

Reserves: Joe Royer (summer enrollee)

Offensive Line: Nicholas Petit-Frere, Nathan Brock, Wyatt Davis, Matthew Jones, Luke Wypler, Zach Stevenson, Ryan Smith, Gavin Cupp, Chris Kuhn, Jack Jamieson, Enokk Vimahi, Ryan Jacoby, Max Wray, Trey LeRoux, Thayer Munford, Harry Miller, Paris Johnson Jr, Dawand Jones, Josh Myers, Grant Toutant, Josh Fryar and Jakob James.

The offensive line is still in great shape following the departures of LG Jonah Jackson and RT Branden Bowen. They managed to retain LT Thayer Munford, C Josh Myers and RG Wyatt Davis in another deep position group for the Buckeyes. Stocked full of ballers the one guarantee is that the best players aside from the aforementioned three will get the nod. This could be another ultra-competitive group and it’ll be another great battle.

Scarlet Team: Thayer Munford, Gavin Cupp, Josh Myers, Ryan Jacoby, Paris Johnson Jr; Luke Wypler, Max Wray, Nathan Brock and Jack Jamieson.

Gray Team: Dawand Jones, Enokk Vimahi, Harry Miller, Wyatt Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere; Trey LeRoux, Matt Jones, Zach Stevenson and Chris Kuhn

Reserves: Grant Toutant (summer enrollee), Josh Fryar (summer enrollee) and Jakob James (summer enrollee)

With the offense set-up for both the Scarlet and the Gray teams, the contest inches closer as we remain three weeks away until game day! The collection of talent at just about every offensive position accompanied by projected gains in the summer make this game more exciting. I hope you enjoyed my little piece of happiness and next week we will bring you the Defensive depth chart. Following that Special Teams and then the game. Thank you to all who have stuck with us and Go Bucks!

Buckeye Draft Profiles: Chase Young

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jp Waldron/CSM/Shutterstock

Chase Young, a stud at defensive end has left it all on the field during his time at Ohio State. He has been a force his entire career as a Buckeye, but the 2019 season was a great send off season for him before stepping foot into the pro ranks. Young and his team finished the season with a 13-1 record, but he did a ton of damage to opposing teams and their offensive aspirations. In an era where stats are recorded and scrutinized, Young’s individual stats are impressive. He finished 2019 with 16.5 total sacks (14 solo/5 assisted sacks), averaging 1.38 sacks per game which led the nation. He also led the nation in forced fumbles with 6 for the year. With tackles for loss, he had 21 for the season and averaged 1.8 per game.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Most draft experts are pegging him as a can’t miss prospect and the former Buckeye is projected as a Top-2 pick for this years NFL Draft. According to Sascha Paruk from SportsBettingDime, “there is no debate about who the first Buckeye off the board will be at the 2020 draft.” Adding, “Chase Young is the consensus best prospect in the class and will only fall from #1 because the Bengals have the #1 pick and need a franchise QB like Joe Burrow.” Paruk also speculated that “IF Chase Young doesn’t go second overall, it will be because Washington trades its pick to another QB-needy team, like the Dolphins or the Chargers.”

Mike Mulholland | MLive.com

For now, Chase Young is mocked to the Washington Redskins but with talks about potential trade down chatter, would make the 2020 NFL Draft more interesting. It makes sense from a re-building standpoint to stockpile picks to accelerate the entire process. The Redskins had a tough time this year finishing 3-13, but they have a few pieces in stock. Former Buckeyes, Dwayne Haskins might be their QB of the future and Terry McLaurin appear to be solid building blocks of the future. Their defense needs some help and Young makes sense, but Okudah does too with an aging Josh Norman. We will never know until Commissioner Goodell unveils the pick to make things official. The ball is in their court and the choice to make the pick or trade down is theirs alone. This draft will definitely be interesting and an exciting one.

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

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

DeMatha High School’s own Chase Young. Credit: 24/7sports.com

Hit: Chase Young, WDE

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

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

Jeffrey Okudah in high school. Credit: Dallasnews.com

Hit: Jeffrey Okudah, CB

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

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

Dobbins carrying the ball. Credit: Hudl.com

Hit: J.K. Dobbins, RB

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

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

Miss: Donovan Peoples-Jones

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

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

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

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

Miss: Darnay Holmes, CB

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

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

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

In our second installment of the hits & misses content, we will be looking into the class of 2018. Last weeks piece focused on the 2019 class and we will be working our way as far back as we can, but this week is 2018’s weeks to shine.

The recruiting game is great when the dominoes keep falling in place and the recruits commit and stick throughout. It is a terrible thing when coaches leave and there are questions that leave uncertainty, and they all of a sudden look around and ultimately leave for reasons.

The 2018 class was great and it was the last class prior to Coach Meyer’s retirement and this class finished second only to Georgia, but his class could’ve been better if it weren’t for departures from formerly committed players who found opportunities elsewhere.

Chris Olave visiting. Credit: Twitter.

Hit: Chris Olave, WR

When you think of Chris Olave, you think of all the impact plays he has made since he has step foot on campus. From slaying the Wolverines or just making a key play on a tremendous route or blocking a kick, he has made an impact in both years in Columbus. He is one of the biggest gets in recruiting and he was discovered accidentally while scouting JT Daniels in California. While catching passes from his quarterback, Olave was highly underrated and he was recruited lightly, but those who take the time to scout will often find a gem like Olave. That is exactly what the Buckeyes found and he is tearing it up.

Jeremy Ruckert at The Opening. Credit: 24/7 Sports.

Hit: Jeremy Ruckert, TE

Speaking of playmakers, Jeremy Ruckert showed his playmaking skills last week during the Big Ten Championship Game to bring the Buckeyes back from the dead, to secure their third consecutive conference crown after going down 21-7 at the half. On their first score during the second half, Ruckert made a one-handed snag that looked like a Jordan logo that brought the team back to life, that ultimately brought the juice back to the team and it started the run to the finish. This score gave the team the shot in the arm to go on a 28-0 run to close the game out, to win the conference championship for the third straight year.

Master Teague III. Credit: tennesean.com.

Hit: Master Teague III, RB

Who would’ve thought Master Teague would make an impact as a backup to JK Dobbins!? Although he didn’t get a snap in the Conference Championship game, he still has more yards that some starts at the position, as a backup. He has 128 carries and 780 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry, but imagine if he was the starter? I think he would easily have Dobbins-like numbers, but he has a beast in front of him. If there is a chance where Dobbins stays another year, similar to Chase Young, we will all be excited to see him try to overtake Archie Griffin in the record books, but it is more doubtful than Young’s situation.

Anyway, if he leaves Teague is the next man up with a stable of young, but capable backs in the Cadillac position. He runs with a purpose and he runs through would-be tacklers. He has that burst and the vision and the future is bright with Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers in the mix too. They have Miyan Williams, a former Iowa State recruit in the fold too and the future is bright with Teague being the leader of next years squad. There are other potential backs in the mix, but if they don’t grab another one, it should be fine. The 2021 class will likely grab two backs to make it up.

Jackson Carman. Credit: Hudl.com.

Miss: Jackson Carman, OT

Jackson Carman was once a heavy, heavy Buckeye lean and he grew up in their back yard in Fairfield, Ohio. He was heavily recruited by Meyer and his staff, but the questions about Coach Meyer’s future was the final nail in the coffin before he ultimately made the choice to spurn the Buckeyes for their CFB Playoff opponent, The Clemson Tigers. He has been inconsistent all year, but his team has dominated 90% of their games this season. If the Buckeyes hadn’t had questions about Coach Meyer’s future, which was the final nail that Dabo had used to steal him away, he would’ve been in the class instead of Nicholas Petit-Frere, but it is what it is.

Substitions: Nicholas Petit-Frere and Max Wray

Aside from losing the top prospect in the state of Ohio, they made waves after they snagged the best Offensive Tackle in Florida in Petit-Frere and they also kept Max Wray in the fold for some needed depth. Petit-Frere has been inconsistent and he was a starter at Right Tackle after Brandon Bowen went down with that gruesome leg injury. Fast forward into the 2019 season, he hasn’t played as much, but he is a solid depth piece and he saw some meaningful snap after Davis was injured and Bowen slid into the Right Guard spot and Petit-Frere played in Bowen’s spot. Petit-Frere will be looked at after Bowen departs this season and they just need more depth to add for the time being.

Micah Parsons. Credit: Inquirer.com.

Miss: Micah Parsons, WDE

In another bizarre situation, the Buckeyes lost out on another Weakside Defensive End/Hybrid Linebacker recruit due to unfortunate circumstances. Parsons was so close to being a Buckeye but an impromptu interaction with the College Gameday crew left many questions and the Buckeyes eventually cut ties with him afterwards to prevent the NCAA from taking action and leveling punishment against them for the interactions between Buckeye Alumni and a highly rated recruit. (Sigh). What could’ve been.

Parsons is a terror on the edge and he has helped Penn State’s defense with his skills and his leadership on the field. In two seasons, he has 177 tackles, 92 of which are solo tackles. He has 4.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles, with one recovered. He has been on a tear and minus the fact that he is thriving, he has done well for himself and he could’ve been ours.

Substitutions: Tyreke Smith and Alex Williams

Although it was a miss, the Smith and Williams have flashed but not to the extent as Parsons, but they are on their way. Smith filled in admirably for the suspended Young and he flashed his potential during cleanup time when games are put away. Smith has 9 tackles and 3 sacks, while Williams has 8 tackles. They aren’t producing but they are going to be cog’s on the defense in the future. There were clips of Chase Young potentially coming back for a senior season, but we will see what the future holds. Regardless, if he does come back, that frees up a rusher opposite of Young. That would be cool, but we will see if he would turn down a Top 5 pick NFL salary. I am skeptical, but who wouldn’t want that to happen?

Rumble In C’Bus

A collision course between Ohio State and Penn State will be in Columbus this year.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are on the home-stretch of an amazing season and with two games remaining, an old foe will arrive to stand in the way of a College Football Playoff bid. Penn State will visit The Shoe to attempt to de-rail the Buckeyes’ plans to end a two-year drought where they suffered terrible road losses to Iowa in 2017 and to Purdue in 2018. Will the Nittany Lions continue the trend? Will another conference foe, with this particular one being in the same division as the Buckeyes be able to pull it off?

This game is often decided by splash plays from any phase of the game. Penn State has won on a special teams play with a blocked field goal with little to no time left that resulted in a touchdown three seasons ago. Ohio State has won the last two and four of the last five contests. The last two were won by a single point, 39-38 at Columbus and 27-26 during a White Out, where Haskins brought the team back from a three-score hole. This contest will be in Columbus and although the team has yet to play in the second half, specifically the 4th quarter, Penn State will attempt to score early and often, all while leaning on their defense to keep the Buckeyes at bay.

Justin Fields scanning the field pre-snap.

Fields Impending Heisman Push

With a few precious weeks left of the 2019 season, everything the Buckeyes have accomplished is all part of the grander scheme of playing for another National Championship. Penn State is in the way this weekend and the last three-game stretch will most likely be Top 10 contests between CFB Playoff hopefuls that could add a bit of intrigue to the Buckeyes path back to the big dance. They have to fend off #8 Penn State this week, #13 or better TTUN at Ann Arbor in week 14, and #10 or better Minnesota or #12 or better Wisconsin in the Conference Championship Game before the final playoff rankings are released.

Justin Fields has the skills and the platforms these next three weeks to surge up the Heisman rankings if he continues to light up the scoreboard and against this type of competition. 31 passing scores and 10 rushing scores against one single interception is crazy and he could potentially be unleashed in the second half and in crunch-time during the 4th quarter. He is unproven, but if the moment comes, he will be ready. He has a chance to prove why he is Heisman-worthy and if everything goes well, he can overtake former Buckeye and now LSU QB, Joe Burrow for the lead by the seasons’ end. He has the weapons to make a run, but it all depends on his poise during the final stretch.

Young hunting for another strip-sack against Jack Coan.

The Predator’s Return

Chase Young has been the talk of Buckeye Nation and he has ended his two-game suspension for taking money to fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl. He is now back with a massive boulder of a chip on his shoulder and he has returned to haunt every offensive opponent that he has left on his schedule. James Franklin was sarcastic during a press-conference stating that “Chase Young is back for good-old Penn State”, and he might have been the source that got Young in the weeds, but we will never know and it is all in the past now.

Big boy football in the Big Ten will continue and the chase for rings is still on-going. Young’s addition will add more juice to the defense and they will try to punish Penn State. They will have their hands full with Hamler and Friemuth, but I can see their assigned defenders coming out with an edge. Hamler will be matched up with Wade, who he beat for 90+ yards and a score on a slant route. Borland and/or Harrison will be guarding the seams, where Friemuth has hurt defenses. This defense has not given up many splash plays, but this will be a test against Hamler and company. The opposing running backs are good too, so we will see how or if the Buckeyes can negate the playmakers and the young opposing quarterback.

Penn State defense after a key play.

Defensive Firepower

The Penn State defense has been a stellar group up until being upended by Minnesota. They have a top defense highlighted by a former recruiting target, Micah Parsons. I am not 100% on what happened, but he approached the college gameday staff and something happened that affected his status, and I am assuming it was illegal. He quickly fell out of the short-list of defensive targets before heading to Penn State. Now, two years later, he is leading this defense and he will be looking to ruin the Buckeyes’ dream season. He plays in an aggressive defense that matches up in talent with the Buckeyes, but do they have the depth?

The Buckeyes have loads of depth players on offense and on defense. They will look to flex their muscles with it in order to wear down this defensive group. This group of Slobs has a chip on their shoulder and they have been great so far. This will be another great test to see where they are at and I am planning on them being ready. They have already proved it against Wisconsin and Michigan State. They have a rough road ahead, but the focus will be on Penn State.

Dobbins continuing his domination on the ground for the score.

Running Wild With Depth

The Penn State message boards were on something this week, and they called Dobbins a one-trick pony and they called out the Cadillac position for its “lack of depth”. One thing that Dobbins isn’t, is a one-trick pony. He plays and runs hard, and he can catch the ball when necessary. He is a key cog in this offense and he has been amazing when leaned upon. He is certainly aware of the comments and I think he will punish this defense.

He also has a couple of partners that accompany him in the backfield in Master Teague and Steele Chambers. DeMario McCall is there and he is a change-of-pace back that plays in garbage-time. Marcus Crowley got hurt a couple of weeks ago, but the walk-on backs can be valuable cogs as well, but this game will be centered on Dobbins and Teague. This will be a bloodbath and we can only hope that the line opens up a bunch of holes for team Stiff Arm and Harm.

An overhead of The Shoe in Columbus, Ohio.

Buckeye Bonus

This weekend is homecoming week and it marks the last game for the Buckeye upperclassmen. With a big-time opponent on the schedule in Penn State, this is where the Buckeyes use their magic to re-load to take over those who are graduating and those who might leave early for the NFL. They have been on one of the best runs and it can only help their needs to restock the cupboard and what better platform than against one of your rivals in Penn State? This week will have a large group of potential targets and a few current commits will be on-hand to seal the deal. With or without them, the Buckeyes have been successful on the recruiting trail with Ryan Day and his staff, and I do not see that changing. This week is a recruiting milestone and with a big win, they can potentially flip and snag a few before the early signing day period.

Matchups To Watch

  • Fields versus Clifford
  • Zone 6 versus Penn State Back Seven
  • Hamler and Friemuth versus Ohio State Back Seven
  • Chase Young and The Rushmen versus Penn State O-Line
  • The Slobs versus Parsons and Gross-Matos

Prediction:

I want to predict this close, but I feel that the talent and depth would put the game out of reach. The last two games have been close between both teams, but this might be the year where the close games cease to exist. I think with the potential narc on Penn State’s sidelines and with Young returning, I think of TTUN beatdown in 2018.

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeat The Penn State Nittany Lions 48-17.

#GoBucks