Four-Star 2016 Running Back Demario McCall Commits to Buckeyes

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

Photo Courtesy: 247 Sports

According to Eleven Warriors, the Ohio State Buckeyes have landed top-rated running back Demario McCall. The North Ridgeville, Ohio native committed to the Buckeyes on his visit to campus today according to the report. McCall is the third-highest rated running back in the country in the 2016 class, according to 247 Sports’ rankings. He’s also the second best prospect in the state of Ohio in the 2016 class.

McCall stands at 5’11” and weighs 180 pounds, while running a 4.35 40 yard dash. With his commitment, that now makes a total of eight commitments for the 2016 class and the sixth commit from Ohio. McCall is also the third running back of the class, joining two other highly rated prospects Kareem Walker and George Hill. Needless to say the Buckeyes have a fantastic trio of running backs coming in.

McCall was recruited by Tony Alford and received offers from numerous schools, including Michigan State, Georgia and Arizona State. And for good measure you can’t forget this:

Check out the newest addition to Buckeye Nation below:

Ohio State Football Team Receives National Championship Rings

Players and coaches on the Ohio State Buckeyes football team received their national championship rings today for their amazing victories over Oregon and Alabama this past season. Many of them took to Twitter show off their new hardware. Of course these rings look even more amazing than I imagined them to be.

Wide receiver coach Zach Smith:

Cornerbacks coach and special teams coach Kerry Coombs:

As he mentions in the tweet, they’ll also be getting their Big Ten Championship rings and Sugar Bowl rings. That’s a lot of bling!

Urban Meyer and tight end Jeff Heuerman take a ring selfie together:

Personally I think Ezekiel Elliott wins best ring picture:

On top of all this, Ohio State’s pistol team won the national championship today. It’s their second consecutive season they’ve won it all. This is just shortly after the men’s wrestling team captured a national title too.

So the national championship count for Ohio State in 2015 has reached three. It’s officially raining gold in Columbus, folks!

2015 Ohio State Spring Football Questions: Wide Receiver May Offer Wide Options

On March 10th, Ohio State began spring practice, and had fifteen spring football practices available before the conclusion of spring practice on April 18th in Ohio Stadium. Over the next few weeks, I will rank the top ten questions facing Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff as the Buckeyes retake the football field after concluding the 2014 season as the national champions.

These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.

Three practices in, with Ohio State resuming practice after spring break. After March 24th, Ohio State has twelve remaining practices, including the April 18th spring game, to evaluate where the football program stands before fall camp begins.

Up until this point in the series, my questions and focus has been upon emerging players at backup positions, a clear testament to Ohio State’s depth across the board. From here on out, these questions will focus upon position areas where Ohio State has lost a player(s) to graduation or eligibility, which is why I have ranked these position groups higher in terms of importance.

4. Wide Receiver

Key Players/Contributors Lost: Devin Smith (eligibility); Evan Spencer (eligibility)

Key Players/Contributors Returning: Noah Brown (Sophomore), Parris Campbell (Redshirt Freshman), James Clark (Redshirt Sophomore), Johnnie Dixon (Redshirt Freshman), Jeff Greene (Redshirt Senior), Jalin Marshall (Redshirt Sophomore), Terry McLaurin (Redshirt Freshman), Corey Smith (Redshirt Senior), Michael Thomas (Redshirt Junior), Dontre Wilson (Junior).

No more “clown show” at wide receiver. Once derided by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, the wide receiver position group established itself as a legitimate team strength during the 2014 national championship run.

Unfortunately for Coach Meyer, two of the best players from the wide receiver group, Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, have exhausted their eligibility. Besides leaving Ohio State with many dazzling highlight plays and the eternal gratitude of the Buckeye fan base, both Devin Smith and Evan Spencer had considerable playing experience over a four year period.

So you might be asking yourself, “Why is Minnich only ranking this fourth?!? Why isn’t this higher in terms of concerns?”.

Here is why…

Ohio State is losing Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, and both will be missed, but…Ohio State is loaded with talent at the wide receiver position. I am not even mentioning the players who will be arriving this summer from the 2015 recruiting class below.

Starter and leading receiver Michael Thomas returns. While I am including a link to a long touchdown play by Thomas at Michigan State in 2014, it bears repeating that Thomas has a history with possible quarterback starter Cardale Jones, dating back to their days at Fork Union Military Academy; Jones certainly looked for Thomas in the games versus Alabama and Oregon during the national championship run. Thomas is a dependable possession receiver, capable of breaking short passes into substantial gains after the catch.

The second leading receiver in 2014 was Jalin Marshall, who also returns. While listed as an H-B on Ohio State’s official roster, Marshall also emerged as a receiving threat, especially during the national championship run.

Want more? How about fellow H-B Dontre Wilson? Corey Smith, who was a superstar on special teams kick coverage, like Devin Smith? Even Jeff Greene, a walk-on, has previous experience from his days at Georgia Tech.

What about losing Devin Smith as a deep threat? Yes, that is a loss, but…Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin are all reputed to have tremendous speed. One, or all, could conceivably fill that deep threat role this coming season.

What about losing Evan Spencer as a blocker? I am more concerned about this, but have tremendous confidence in players such as Noah Brown or Jeff Greene as blockers, and believe one, or both, will emerge in the eyes of the coaching staff this spring in this necessary role for the Ohio State rushing offense.

Losing Devin Smith and Evan Spencer will hurt, but the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes may determine that the wide receiver position group is truly offering multiple players wide options to emerge this spring, and throughout the upcoming season.

Defensive Back Preview

The unit that improved the most last season, in my opinion, was the secondary. After being torched the last three games in the 2013 season, the hiring of Chris Ash and some young talent taking over helped turn the secondary into a formidable defense. It’s early, but here’s the way the secondary could shake out, with one spot to fill in the gradated Doran Grant.

Who To Watch

There’s a spot open at cornerback because Doran Grant has graduated. The two names I think we’ll here connected to that spot are Gareon Conley and Damon Webb. Conley, class of 2013, took a redshirt in the 2013-14 season. He was a four star recruit, and saw minimal playing time this season. He started the Michigan State game in place of Eli Apple, though Apple came in not late into the game. Damon Webb played as a true freshman last year, primarily on special teams. If you play on special teams as a true freshman under Urban Meyer, you’re probably pretty good. Neither Conley nor Webb has significant playing time at the cornerback position in college, so spring ball will be huge for them. Conley’s action was mainly in relief last season, and he got chewed apart for the portion of the MSU game in which he played. However, I still give him the edge to be the starter, because his minimal experience is more than Webb has, and Webb is younger. The wildcard in this position battle is senior Armani Reeves. He has primarily been the nickelback, and as a senior has the most experience of the group. However, the young talent on this team will prove quite a challenge for Reeves. The last name that might surface is redshirt freshman Marshon Lattimore, who sat out last year with a hamstring injury. While a highly touted recruit (right behind Damon Webb in the 247sports.com rankings), missing last year due to injury puts him behind in experience.

The Veterans

Safeties Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell return, as well as cornerback Eli Apple. All three of these players will, barring injury, retain their starting positions. All three of these players played huge roles in the Buckeyes’ run through the playoff. Bell picked off Alabama’s Blake Sims in the end zone after a shanked punt, causing a huge swing in momentum. Tyvis Powell intercepted the Hail Mary at the end of the Sugar Bowl. Eli Apple intercepted the last pass of the National Championship Game. These three are going to have the secondary on lock down with another offseason together. Their communication and feel for each other will improve, and I expect these anchors of the secondary to lead this defense to be one of the nation’s top pass defenses next season.

The Depth Chart

Thanks to three returning starters, this isn’t as much as a guessing game as say, the quarterback position.

CB – Eli Apple; Marshon Lattimore

CB – Gareon Conley; Damon Webb

S – Tyvis Powell; Cam Burrows

S – Vonn Bell; Erick Smith

Apple, Powell, and Bell are solidified at their positions. As I said earlier, I give the edge to Conley to take the other CB starting position, but that could change at the end of spring practice. Cam Burrows will backup Powell, and Erick Smith, Bell. Smith saw some time on special teams last season, and should factor into the rotation in the secondary this year when Bell needs a breather/is injured.

Did Braxton Miller Commit An NCAA Violation? *Updated*

Braxton Miller has been pimping a company called Advocare on his Instagram account lately and today he dropped this picture which clearly reads like an advertisement….

NCAA violation- Such compensation may not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.

and

Student-athletes are not permitted to be involved in the advertisement, endorsement or promotion of a commercial product or service of any kind.

If you click on the link on Braxtons Instagram it lists Braxton as a Distributor.

What will come from this? Who knows maybe nothing. Maybe Braxton already plans on not playing in the 2015 season and is just working on his financial future. Stay tuned there will be more for sure.

CONSPIRACY THEORY

Braxton Miller didnt declare for the NFL draft. He has now been told he wont be a QB in 2015 for OSU. In order for him to get into the supplemental draft he has to be declared ineligible by the NCAA so he did this on purpose to get into the Supp Draft.

To far fetched?

*UPDATE*

From an advocare distributor…

*Update #2*
(This is Tony, not Jeremiah)

Advocare has some “guidelines” on their site, giving student athletes and coaches some guidance on their involvement with Advocare products (basically it’s ok to use them, not ok to appear to be promoting them). You can read the entire document here, but this little blurp is germane to the discussion of Braxton’s post:

advocare_ncaa

Public Celebration for OSU Wrestling National Championship

According to OSU AD Gene Smith Ohio State will honor the @WrestlingBucks on Saturday at 11 am at St John Arena. I hope the place is full to the rafters to celebrate the young men who made Buckeye Fans so proud winning the teams 1st ever NC and having 2 individual winners.

Jalyn Holmes: The Next Great DE? (Video)

One on one's with the O-Line and D-Line. Practice #3 #GoBucks

A video posted by Ohio State Football (@theohiostatefootball) on

A couple of takeaways from this video….

1.) Jalyn Holmes has gotten HUGE makes Taylor Decker look like a normal sized human being.

2.) Jalyn Holmes is really quick and has learned some new moves.

3.) Taylor Decker is no slouch and could be a Top round NFL draft pick and still got made to look like a Freshman.

Buckeyes Storm to Commanding NCAA Wrestling Lead: @wrestlingbucks @buckeye158

Though danger definitely lurks with a deep Iowa team and top heavy Missouri team, Ohio State busted out to a commanding lead after the third of six rounds at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, MO. Although the Buckeyes are down to five wrestlers who are still alive, all five will be All Americans and are headed to the semifinals, live tonight on ESPN (8 Eastern).

The feel good story of the year really is Kenny Courts. Dogged by inconsistent performance in light of his clear and undeniable talent, the junior 184 pounder is one match away from wrestling on the elevated stage in tomorrow night’s finals. Coach Tom Ryan, while frustrated at times, has never wavered in his belief that Kenny had the goods to break through. Both were rewarded when Kenny hit an overtime takedown to beat Matthew McCutcheon of Penn State. Ryan suggests a gentleman upstairs might be looking out for the unseeded Kenny who, after knocking off a six seed, saw someone else knock off the eleven seed that would have been his next opponent, followed by McCutcheon who beat the third seed. It has happened yet again. His next opponent, Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh upended the two seed. The winner will go to the finals in a bracket buster no one saw coming.

The other amazing thing is this: while you can expect Logan Stieber and his freshmen gang of three (Tomasello, Jordan and Snyder) to make it to the semis, with such a big number something almost always goes wrong. Not today. Tomasello kicked the stuffing out of Corey Mines of Edinboro to earn a tech fall. Stieber did the same to Anthony Abidin of Nebraska. But then Bo Jordan PINS a Cooper Moore who pinned two guys including four seed Nick Sulzer, a guy most predicted would best Jordan.

Right after Courts’ thriller, Kyle Snyder had had a Schiller Thriller, taking down the immovable object in Scott Schiller of Minnesota. Schiller is a very strong wrestler, and a veteran but he has no ability to penetrate Snyder’s defenses. An early Snyder takedown essentially sealed the deal.

So the Buckeyes head to the semis with an astounding five wrestlers, three of whom face number one seeds and two of those, Tomasello and Snyder, face Missouri opponents. The Buckeyes will need to pull off one of those head to heads, and to stay ahead of Iowa they may need both. Of course, if Kenny Courts or Bo Jordan (who faces number one Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State) can get to the finals, the entire equation changes for the better.

It has been a great year to be a Buckeye and now a first NCAA wrestling title is in sight. Tonight ill reveal much about where that dream stands.

From earlier:

Friday Morning

The Ohio State Wrestling Team suffered some setbacks but had a strong enough day to lead after the first full day of competition at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis’ Scottrade Arena. The story of the tournament so far is unseeded Kenny Courts who will join four others this morning in the championship bracket quarterfinals. In total, the Buckeyes have a tournament leading eight wrestlers still going, and all are going strong. Here is a repeat of the first session and a summary of the second session.

First Session:

The Ohio State Wrestling team had a very pleasant surprise, a close loss to a seeded wrestler and a genuine heartbreak. Badly injured Hunter Stieber gave it a go. Without a single usable arm he nearly missed a dramatic comeback. He looked pretty good on his feet but probably was not healthy enough to escape from the bottom in the second. That led to him getting put on his back. Although he valiantly held off a pin, the period rideout cost him the point he could have used as he gamely came back. A near takedown at the end fell short, sending the hurt fighter to the long wrestle backs, likely against last year’s NCAA runner-up Josh Kindig, who is also hurt.

On the bright side, the Buckeyes send a tournament leading seven wrestlers to the second round as they picked up bonus points on two pins (Tomasello ad Jordan), one tech fall (Logan Stieber) and one major decision (Snyder). Even better, Kenny Courts nailed an overtime takedown to score an upset over a six seed. Kennny’s would be opponent, the eleven seeded Pfarr from Minnesota was also upset, opening the possibility that the very talented but enigmatic Kenny could end up in the quarters with a win tonight.

The Buckeyes did encounter a tough loss at 174, but Mark Martin can redeem himself in the wrestlebacks. He still stands a decent chance of making the All American brackets.

The Buckeyes finished the first session in first place in the team standings. Even better, their main challengers, Iowa and Missouri had significant setbacks. Iowa, in particular lost five (141) and three (285) seeds and have only five wrestlers into the second round. Mizzou fared a little better. Although they scored two minor upsets, they also suffered one minor and one major upset when four seed Eblen lost at 174. Mizzou also sends seven to the second round but will have at least one tough match when three seed Lavion Mayes goes against Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.

The Buckeyes have particularly critical matches at 133 (Johnni DiJulius vs 17-1 thirteen seed Cody Brewrer of Oklahoma), 157, (Josh Demas v. eleven seed Brian Murphy, Michigan) and 184 (Kenny Courts v. unseeded Scott Patrick, Davidson). This is potentially a big night for the Buckeyes, who historically go on a nice run in the first evening session. Buckle up.

Second Session

The Buckeyes continued their roll by picking up a second win by Kenny Courts who dominated Davidson’s Scott Patrick at 184. Coach Ryan said he never gave up on Kenny despite a disappointing effort for much of this season. “Kenny just kept believing and now he has a huge match that he has to win this morning.” Coach Ryan allowed that a higher force is perhaps at work. Not only did Kenny knock off the sixth seed in the first round, but Patrick managed to bump off the eleven seed as well. Now he takes on 14 seed Mathew McCutcheon who beat third seeded Blake Stauffer of Arizona State. A win would put Kenny, incredibly, in the semis, something very few would have predicted.

The Buckeyes lost at 133 and 157. Johnni DiJulius was mauled for a major decision loss to Cody Brewer of Oklahoma. At 157 Josh Demas toyed agonizingly with the winning takedown over Brian Murphy of Michigan but just could not finish it off, suffering a tough one point loss. The good news is that both DiJulius and Demas have a chance to make a strong push through the wrestlebacks later this morning.

Mark Martin scored a nice win in his first round in the consolation bracket. He also has an opportunity to advance to the medal rounds as he would likely face no higher than a seven seed for several matches.

Kenny Courts will be joined in the quarters by the usual Buckeye suspects, Nathan Tomasello at 125, Logan Stieber at 141, Bo Jordan at 165 and Kyle Snyder at 197. Tomasello won a major decision in his backyard brawl with Ben Willefort of Cleveland State, while Stieber walked away with a pin and Snyder managed a 14-5 demolition of Shane Woods of Wyoming. Bo Jordan ground out a 6-2 win over Dylan Palacio of Cornell and now finds himself against thirteen seed Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa. Moore knocked off four seed Nick Sulzer of Virginia, who some experts (me not included) projected to knock off the fifth seeded Jordan.

The heartbreak continued for Hunter Stieber who made a go of it with no usable elbow. His coach mercifully threw in the towel in the middle of a match with a gracious Clayton Ream of North Dakota State. As the Ohio State partisans rose to their feet in admiration and tribute, Hunter left the mat knowing double elbow surgery awaits him next week. Hunter gave every ounce of effort his pain wracked body could offer.

At heavy, Nick Tavanello once again gave up a last second takedwon to Brooks Black to become the second Buckeye eliminated from contention.

The team scores show Ohio State in the lead at 23. Iowa trails by two points. Although they also have five wrestlers in the quarters, three of them face long odds: Thomas Gilman goes against third seeded Joey Vance of Virginia Tech at 125; Sam Brooks faces number one seed Gabe Dean of Cornell at 184 and Nathan Burak faces third seeded Kyven Gadsen of Iowa State at 197. What is more, Mike Evans may be third seeded at 174 but he goes against sixth seed Logan Storley of Minnesota who beat Evans for third at the Big Ten two weeks ago. Corey Clark faces a pretty tough sixth seed Earl Hall of Iowa State at 133 as well.

Missouri suffered a number of setbacks but still has all three number one seeds going. Assuming Ohio State can win this morning at 125 and 197, that could set up two titanic matches in the semis tonight as Tomasello would go against Missouri’s one seed Alan Waters and Kyle Snyder would go against Missouri’s defending national champ J’Den Cox. Before that though, Snyder will once again need to beat the very tough fifth seed, Scott Schiller of Minnesota.

2015 Ohio State Spring Football Questions: Who Will Emerge At Right Offensive Tackle?

On March 10th, Ohio State began spring practice, and had fifteen spring football practices available before the conclusion of spring practice on April 18th in Ohio Stadium. Over the next few weeks, I will rank the top ten questions facing Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff as the Buckeyes retake the football field after concluding the 2014 season as the national champions.

These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.

Two practices in, with the week of March 15th-March 22nd off as the players can enjoy the Ohio State spring break period. After March 22nd, Ohio State has thirteen remaining practices, including the April 18th spring game, to evaluate where the football program stands before fall camp begins.

Up until this point in the series, my questions and focus has been upon emerging players at backup positions, a clear testament to Ohio State’s depth across the board. From here on out, these questions will focus upon position areas where Ohio State has lost a player(s) to graduation or eligibility, which is why I have ranked these position groups higher in terms of importance.

5. Right Offensive Tackle

Key Players/Contributors Lost: Darryl Baldwin (eligibility); Kyle Dodson (injury); Antonio Underwood (eligibility)

Key Players/Contributors Returning: Chase Farris (Redshirt Senior), Jamarco Jones (Sophomore), Marcelys Jones (Sophomore), Evan Lisle (Redshirt Sophomore), Brady Taylor (Redshirt Freshman), Kyle Trout (Redshirt Freshman), Grant Schmidt (Freshman).

What a difference a year makes. At the conclusion of spring practice in 2014, I had major concerns about the Ohio State offensive line, having replaced four starters. Unfortunately, my concerns were legitimized when Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech in the second game of the 2014 season, casting major questions about Ohio State being able to rally from the loss and still qualify for the College Football Playoff. (I won’t bore you with the rest, because I know you are still basking in the glow of the events of January 12, 2015).

From left to right, Ohio State returns starters in Taylor Decker, Billy Price, Jacoby Boren, and Pat Elflein. The lone starting position that is up for grabs is at right offensive tackle, which has been vacated with the departure of Darryl Baldwin.

Baldwin was a converted defensive lineman who earned the starting right offensive tackle position last fall. It would not be surprising to see Baldwin selected in the later rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft, especially after Ohio State’s offensive line was the primary reason for the dominant offensive performances by the Buckeyes down the stretch run of the season.

With one spot open, and so many players waiting in the wings, how will this all shake out?

After the first two practices, Chase Farris was getting the starting nod at the right offensive tackle spot. Like Baldwin, Farris has been converted from defensive line, and has battled for a starting position along the offensive line over the last three seasons.

The position will not be won without a fight. Jamarco Jones, a heavily recruited offensive lineman from the 2014 recruiting class, has been mentioned as a possible contender. It is entirely possible that this battle will go on beyond spring practice, and into fall camp.

While Ohio State has an abundance of talent in the wings, and even more reinforcements arriving this summer with recruits from the 2015 class, a word of caution to Ohio State fans. While there are players on the depth chart, and reinforcements on the way with the 2015 recruiting class set to arrive this summer, keep in mind that Ohio State’s offensive line will undergo a metamorphosis next spring in 2016 similar to the beginning of the 2014 season, with multiple starters departing. It will be in the coaching staff’s best interests to play as many offensive linemen as possible during the 2015 season to avoid starting out 2016 like Ohio State did versus Virginia Tech in 2014.

Buckeyes Have Strong Opening Session at NCAA Wrestling

The Ohio State Wrestling team had a very pleasant surprise, a close loss to a seeded wrestler and a genuine heartbreak. Badly injured Hunter Stieber gave it a go. Without a single usable arm he nearly missed a dramatic comeback. He looked pretty good on his feet but probably was not healthy enough to escape from the bottom in the second. That led to him getting put on his back. Although he valiantly held off a pin, the period rideout cost him the point he could have used as he gamely came back. A near takedown at the end fell short, sending the hurt fighter to the long wrestle backs, likely against last year’s NCAA runner-up Josh Kindig, who is also hurt.

On the bright side, the Buckeyes send a tournament leading seven wrestlers to the second round as they picked up bonus points on two pins (Tomasello ad Jordan), one tech fall (Logan Stieber) and one major decision (Snyder). Even better, Kenny Courts nailed an overtime takedown to score an upset over a six seed. Kennny’s would be opponent, the eleven seeded Pfarr from Minnesota was also upset, opening the possibility that the very talented but enigmatic Kenny could end up in the quarters with a win tonight.

The Buckeyes did encounter a tough loss at 174, but Mark Martin can redeem himself in the wrestlebacks. He still stands a decent chance of making the All American brackets.

The Buckeyes finished the first session in first place in the team standings. Even better, their main challengers, Iowa and Missouri had significant setbacks. Iowa, in particular lost five (141) and three (285) seeds and have only five wrestlers into the second round. Mizzou fared a little better. Although they scored two minor upsets, they also suffered one minor and one major upset when four seed Eblen lost at 174. Mizzou also sends seven to the second round but will have at least one tough match when three seed Lavion Mayes goes against Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.

The Buckeyes have particularly critical matches at 133 (Johnni DiJulius vs 17-1 thirteen seed Cody Brewrer of Oklahoma), 157, (Josh Demas v. eleven seed Brian Murphy, Michigan) and 184 (Kenny Courts v. unseeded Scott Patrick, Davidson). This is potentially a big night for the Buckeyes, who historically go on a nice run in the first evening session. Buckle up.