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

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Second Round

Credit: Naperville-lib.org

In the second round of the West Region, eight teams remain standing. With a couple of upsets and hard-fought battles along the way the tournament gets a little more hectic as the games come underway. So far, the top three seeds remain in the fight to advance in the region and the rest of the field consists of lower rated seeds with a couple of cinderella teams still in the tourney. Can they continue their run to the big dance?

The first matchup pits top-seeded Gonzaga against LSU. Petrusev, Kispert and Tillie goes up against Mays, Watford and Williams in a battle from the get-go. A back-and-fourth game in the first half turned into a more efficient game down the stretch for Bulldogs in the second. In a defense-to-points stretch in the final 4 minutes of the half, Gonzaga puts it away for good with a pair of free-throws, a steal and a layup in the waning minutes to seal it as they advanced 74-70.

In the battle of the cinderella’s, Yale and New Mexico State face-off to continue their dream runs. Yale and Atkinson came ready to play while New Mexico State came out flat and uninspired after their huge win over #4 Oregon. Queen tried to spark a comeback to no avail as the game got out of hand early as Yale closed the game out on a 16-0 run. Yale advances 68-52.

The third matchup has BYU against Seton Hall. Seton Hall took control early with a 10-0 run and the momentum carried into halftime as they led 45-33. A halftime speech for the ages ensued and BYU came out on fire bombing three after three until the waning minutes of the contest as they overcame the halftime deficit and defeated Seton Hall for the only upset of the second round. BYU wins 69-66.

In the last game of the region, Texas Tech faces off against San Diego State as this game became an instant classic. Malachi Flynn and Jahmi’us Ramsey duel until the bitter end. Back-and-fourth, both teams make key defensive stops for the duration of the game. Flynn makes a key play as he ripped the ball from Ramsey and too in all the way to the rack. Ramsey responded with a clutch three to take the lead 54-57. Flynn, not to be outdone hit a three in response to tie the game at 57 each. In the waning seconds Ramsey calls his shot and takes it down to .3 seconds left to try to win it, but it clanks off the rim. Overtime ball! Flynn took control despite Ramsey’s late game heroics. A steal from Ramsey and a clutch basket tied the game once again at 66 each, but Flynn responded by taking the clock down to nothing and setting up a pick-and-pop play where he fed Wetzell in the paint for a game-winning layup. San Diego State advances 68-66 in a thriller.

And there you have it! Round two in the books with a pair of memorable games coupled with a couple of duds. The cinderella of the west, Yale continues their run into history, but they will be tested more throughout. The next round on its way and we have some great matches ahead of us. Gonzaga versus Yale and BYU Versus San Diego State. Someones run has to end, but until next week folks!

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!

MOSTAG Pretend March Madness: West Region

Credit: Channelguidemag.com

In the first game, the top-seeded Gonzaga will take on #16 Prairie View after a successful play-in game against NC Central. Filip Petrusev led his team to a convincing victory against an outmatched Panthers team. Devonte Patterson led the team but fell well short of their goal to advance as the Panthers are the first to exit the tourney with a final score of 67-54.

In the second matchup #8 LSU and #9 Oklahoma clash against one another. Skylar Mays orchestrates the offense and keeps the game interesting as both teams go back and fourth throughout the game. Kristian Doolittle is also doing his part for the Sooners as they chip away at Mays double-digit lead, but they fell short on a last second half-court heave for the win. The Tigers advance 69-67 in a thriller.

The third game of the tourney pitted The #5 Michigan Wolverines against Ivy League representatives #12 Yale. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske make their presence known and immediately overpower the Yale Bulldogs in the early portions of the contest. At the half, the Bulldogs are down 31-48 and a scorching half-time speech put their minds at ease and the trio of Paul Atkinson, Eric Monroe and Jordan Bruner began to work and chip away at Michigan’s halftime lead. With a team effort, they forced turnovers and played hard defense as Simpson’s brilliance turned into a frenzy of bad shots and turnovers. The lead dwindled the Wolverines found themselves on the bad end of a game-winner from three–the first for the tournament. Atkinson’s three with .2 seconds left sealed the first upset of the West bracket as Yale advances, 77-75.

Next, #4 Oregon faces #13 New Mexico State. Payton Pritchard versus Trevelin Queen. Both teams game out flat, especially Oregon as they felt as if this was not going to be a competitive contest. Queen executes and makes timely play after timely play as the Aggies go into halftime tied at 45. Pritchard goes into the second half and is lights out, but at every step of the game, Queen responded time after time up until the clock hits zeroes. Queen puts the game out of reach with two clutch free-throws to seal the game 71-69.

#6 BYU and #11 Indiana start the next round. Jake Toolson and Trayce Jackson-Davis lead a high-paced attack on offense. Fireworks begin to happen and the game steadily increases the drama on the court with both teams fighting to advance. Jackson-Davis did all he could do as the Cougars built an insurmountable lead with a combination of effective defense and with deadly shooting. BYU advances 70-59 in the first blowout of the tourney in the West Region.

#3 Seton Hall goes up against #14 Eastern Washington. Myles Powell and his team were too much for the Jacob Davidson’s squad. An offensive onslaught accompanied by tough defensive possessions were like a lightning rod of momentum for the Pirates. Seton Hall led from start to finish, in what was a mostly one-sided game. Seton Hall looks like a team that could pull off a deep tourney run en route to a dominant 81-60 victory against Eastern Washington.

#7 Arizona slept walked into the game against #10 Texas Tech and it cost them a chance to advance. Jami’us Ramsey came out motivated and ready to make some noise. Zeke Nnaji tried everything in his power to motivate his teammates, but to no avail. Ramsey came up big time after time, and his play throughout the game snuffed out any chance at leading in the game. Red Raiders advance 60-52.

Lastly, #2 San Diego State and #15 UC Irvine clash for the last game of the first round and it was closer than most people expected. Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzel got more than they bargained for as they faced a scrappy Anteater team led by Collin Welp and Brad Greene. Shellshocked, Flynn and Wetzel fire up the team at halftime despite a six-point lead. This translated to a back and fourth second half with San Diego State surviving on a clutch basket from Flynn and a pair of Wetzel free-throws to seal the game 72-68.

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.

Thank You Buckeyes by Ben Van Ooyen

Thank you Buckeyes

Thank you Seniors Damon Arnette, Jordan Fuller, Binjimen Victor, Jashon Cornell, Austin Mack, Rashod Berry, K.J. Hill, Malik Harrison, Davon Hamilton, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, Jonah Jackson, Brandon Bowen, and C.J. Saunders.  

Thank you Juniors J.K. Dobbins, Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade

Last night was a hard pill to swallow. I watched like the rest of you as the Buckeyes roared out to a nice 16-0 lead with the intensity that they played with all season.  I watched as after that 16-0 lead the Buckeyes had a 3rd and 5 with a chance to get the ball back when Shaun Wade came on a blitz and lowered his body to sack Trevor Lawrence. The Buckeyes were going to get the ball back with around 5 minutes left while still keeping Clemson scoreless in the first half. That is when it all shifted. The call on the field of a sack and a 4th down punt got sent to the review booth to look at targeting. After a few minutes of deliberation with the review booth it was determined that Wade lowered his head and hit with the crown of his helmet while Lawrence ducked as he knew the sack was impending. Was it targeting? Some will say yes, and others will say no. I know that Wade did not go for that hit with the intent of targeting Trevor Lawrence. He had a clear sack and wanted to wrap up and make sure he took the 6’6” gunslinger to the ground. He accomplished that goal and got thrown out of the game because of it. There are pictures and videos out there of different angles and Chase Young getting a fist in the face during that same play, but nonetheless it was called and the game shifted. Clemson then took advantage of Amir Riep who came in for Wade getting a pass interference call and went down and punched in the touchdown. 

The Buckeyes got the ball back and immediately went three and out, and Clemson got the ball back with all the momentum and broke off a big play. We hadn’t seen the big play go against this defense much this season, but Lawrence juked Josh Proctor and took it 67 yards to the house to make it 16-14 at the half.

Clemson would get the ball to start the half, riding a 14-0 close out to the first half. The Buckeyes were without one of their leaders on defense in Wade, and J.K. Dobbins was favoring his ankle and it looked likely he wouldn’t be able to continue the amazing first half he had. Speaking of people not being able to continue, I am not sure how a guy who is held out of the rest of the first half after he hit his head, is able to all of a sudden come back in the second half as if nothing happened. I’ve never had a concussion, but I am assuming that if the doctors keep you out as a precaution then you probably shouldn’t be on the field again. 

The second half started and the Buckeyes forced the surging Tigers to go three and out giving the Buckeyes the ball with a chance to extend their slim margin. Master Teague was now the feature back as Dobbins worked on his ankle. The Buckeyes drove down to the 45 and were stopped forcing a punt by Drue Chrisman who knocked a pretty punt down to the 1. 

The defense again came out and it looked like they were going to get themselves off the field and the Buckeyes would get the ball back in great field position. On 4th and 6, the punt unit for Clemson came out and Cameron Brown came off the edge on what looked like a punt block attempt. He didn’t make it there in time and ran into the kicker for Clemson who I might say did a pretty good job of grabbing onto Brown and making the hit look way worse than it was. If you watch the play again, you can see Brown slowing down and hitting the kicker, but to call that roughing seemed a bit much. Clemson keeps the ball, and marches down the field and takes their first lead at 21-16. 

The Buckeyes thought they had taken the lead when a Lawrence pass to Justyn Ross was completed and Jeffery Okudah knocked the ball out after Ross took three to four steps with the ball. Jordan Fuller picked up the loose ball and took in the distance giving the Buckeyes an apparent 23-16 lead. The call on the field was a fumble and after another quick review it was determined that Ross never had possession of the football during the catch and it was determined to be an incomplete pass. Someone tweeted that if that catch had been in the endzone it would have been called a touchdown, and I don’t disagree. Another stomach punch to the Buckeyes late in the game. 

After that punt, Justin Fields threw his second interception of the season. The Buckeyes quickly got the ball back with a little over a minute left in the 3rd quarter.  Dobbins was back from his ankle injury, and the Buckeyes marched the ball down the field in a little under five minutes. Fields hit Olave with a beautiful pass on 4th and 1 and the Buckeyes again had the lead. 

The Buckeyes forced Clemson to punt on their next possession and looked to be driving down the field again to make the lead two scores, but after getting stopped on 3rd and 5 for a one yard gain, Ryan Day punted and Chrisman knocked another one down inside the 10.  Four plays later Travis Etienne was again in the endzone and the Buckeyes found themselves down 29-23 with 1:50 left on the clock. 

Fields hit Dobbins for two quick passes to start the drive and then K.J. Hill for another to get the ball to the Clemson 40 with a little over a minute left. After another completion out of the backfield to Dobbins, Fields missed Mack and set up a 3rd down which he converted with his feet. 1:04 on the clock and the Buckeyes had the ball with a first down on the 31 yard line. Another run by Fields for three, and a timeout for the Buckeyes. The play call looked very similar to the 4th down play that was scored on earlier in the 4th, but Chris Olave broke off his route thinking that Fields was scrambling and the throw was intercepted by Clemson sealing the Fiesta Bowl in their favor.  

The Buckeyes were the better team last night and probably deserved to win. I said it last night, and I will say it again, I am not going to say the officiating cost us the game as they had plenty of chances to score, but the amount of very judgemental calls certainly did not help either.

This Buckeye team ranks pretty high for me on a best team I’ve watched play in my lifetime scale. We dominated nearly every game from start to finish all year, and had three of the top six Heisman vote getters. Chase Young set records on defense, and J.K. set records on offense. I assume that next year we will see them suiting up on Sunday along with about 50 other Ohio State Buckeyes in the NFL. While we will be losing a lot of talent to the draft and graduation later this year, we are also bringing in a very highly regarded recruiting class next summer/fall. 

The future is still bright at Ohio State. 

Thank you Buckeyes!

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?

Parallels and Similarities: A Buckeyes Call To Arms

#2 Ohio State vs #3 Clemson, CFB Playoffs 2019 semifinals at Glendale, Arizona on December 28, 2019. Credit: SI.com

When I sit back and try to enjoy sports shows, I can’t help but feel disrespected as a die-hard fan of the Buckeyes. Every show that I have put on, there are analysts spinning the story of the Buckeyes being just another unmatched team in the way of the reigning champs, Clemson Tigers. They are giving the Buckeyes a slim shot to defeat them and their reason? The 31-0 beatdown in Arizona, three years ago.

Clemson’s defensive front swarming JT Barrett in CFB Playoffs semis in 2017. Credit: Buckeyeswire.usatoday.com.

Yes, we all remember the last time these two teams played each other, the 31-0 blowout in the same field where they will meet on the 28th, and that was the last time they Buckeyes got invited to the big dance. It is also coincidentally where the “when was the last time the Big Ten scored” joke was born, with the conference no-showing 2 out of the last 3 years. In 2017 the Buckeyes fell to this years opponent at the same venue 31-0 and in 2016 the Spartans fell 38-0 against Alabama.

Derrick Henry rumbling through the Spartan defense in the 2016 CFB Playoffs semis. Credit: Sbnation.com

As irritating as the joke is, it is true and both Ohio State and Michigan State had lost for a combined score of 69-0 and an 0-2 record. This acts as a black eye to the conference and its fans. And changes need to happen and they have to right the ship against Clemson this year! The Big Ten has been waiting for this moment and the Buckeyes have been licking their chops to avenge their last loss and restore their image as a College Football blue-blood and one of the heavy hitters in the nation to go alongside the Clemson’s, the Alabama’s and the LSU’s of the world. As much as I need this, the Buckeyes need this as well. They have been disrespected so much and with them dropping to #2, it might add that extra edge to their argument.

The edge is already there, but the media has sharpened it just in time for the contest against Clemson. A lot of talk is made and I think this team will do the talking on the field, whether it’ll be in a blowout win or a close one, they will be ready. Think about it for a second. Ryan Day doesn’t show up to the ESPN College Football Playoffs special to recruit for the future. I think it actually is deeper than we think. I might be over-analyzing it, but what if he feels disrespected after saying “if there’s a better team than ours for #1” after that epic comeback win against Wisconsin? He might feel slighted and his team will reciprocate that feeling and are we gonna see a Buckeye buzzsaw as a result?

The Buckeyes felt disrespected after they were selected for the #4 seed in the inaugural CFB Playoffs, and even though they were down at the half, they came back against the Tide and won it all. I sense that kind of vibe from this years team. Dobbins will be Elliott, Olave is Thomas, Young is Bosa and Harrison is Lee. Think about the similarities and parallels of those two teams. Add in a healthy Justin Fields, with his ability to scramble around and the BIA squad with Okudah, Arnette, and Wade? This team has the weapons on both sides of the ball to win and compete and this might be the year.

Remember, the last time the Buckeyes scored in the playoffs was during the inaugural College Football Playoff run where they won it all. They came back and defeated a good Alabama squad 42-35 and they steamrolled a Mariota led Oregon squad 42-20 to win the first ever CFB Playoffs. 84 was the last points scored and they need to break the streak to gain the respect of the nation and these talking heads that spew nothing but hatred for the Buckeyes.

I might be paranoid, but I have high hopes for this team. I might be too positive, but I expect this team to shine when the light looks like it is fading. The Buckeyes will find a way to win and I will die an idiot or a scholar by the waning moments of the 28th, but for now, no predictions or previews. This is just a fun article for me about how I feel about this team. This team and the 2015 squad have similarities across the board, but for now let’s see how many of you think like me and us here at the Men of the Scarlet and Gray.

#GoBucks

#MotsagRising

Recruiting Targets: Hits & Misses

With the season winding down, we at Men of the Scarlet & Gray have been scrambling to find new and innovative ways to last through the College Football offseason. My colleagues have individually brainstormed and my site content will consist of something that has kept my interest, but it has been exhausting, yet exciting.

Once the season concludes or even sooner, I will be churning out weekly content every Tuesday called Tuesday Targets: Hits & Misses. This would cover recruiting battles that have captured the attention of the nation, that specifically affected Buckeye Nation. I have been paying attention to recruiting for a long time and if you haven’t followed it, you should.

The drama and the suspense can become taxing and it could be pure nirvana–you just don’t know until a decision is made. Doors close and some remain cracked. Some remain open and once the choice has been made, it could shock the nation and rattle some cages in the process. The cult-like feel to recruiting has been a staple and it is the lifeblood of all College Football Programs and we have seen how that could play out.

Let’s start with this years recruiting class and work our way back. The advances and the exposure of recruiting websites is key to a recruits success and with multiple showing at camps and all-star games, it makes the pageantry of college football great and it adds another layer to what catches our intrigue. Here is a small sample of what is on the horizon. Enjoy!

Garrett Wilson. Credit: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com

Hit: Garrett Wilson, WR

The most obvious hit for the 2019 class is already tearing it up this season. A highly touted recruit out of Texas, Wilson was highly sought after by all teams, especially the home state Texas team that was in need of a playmaker at that position. Wilson has been a stud so far this season, but he has made some mistakes that almost cost the Buckeyes against the Wolverines a week ago, but he was resilient. He finished the game with 3 catches for 118 yards and a highlight score during Justin Fields’ Heisman moment.

So far in 2019, Wilson has 24 catches for 368 yards and 5 TD’s and he is averaging 15.3 yards per catch. He is the playmaker and he has been as good as advertised. The special part about this is he broke out during The Game just like Chris Olave did and if the is any indication of his talent, he will be a beast next year alongside Olave. Factor that, along with the incoming freshmen in Scott, Jaxon-Njigba, Cooper, and Fleming, we can safely say that Coach Hartline’s players will try to outshine Olave and Wilson for next years contest.

Harry Miller with the family. Credit: Lettermen Row.

Hit: Harry Miller, T

Harry Miller is another key cog on the offensive line and he looks the part so far this season. Although Miller plays during mop-up duty, he makes the best of it and he earned the role of backup Center behind Josh Myers. He is a true freshmen with loads of potential and he is also a talented prospect that nearly backed off of his commitment to Ohio State when the news broke out where Coach Meyer would step away from the game upon completion of the 2018 season.

Georgia came calling and he did visit, but his commitment to the program won out in the end. He has played sparingly, but he has to wait it out. Waiting for your time has been a yearly tradition for the Slobs, but like a fine wine, it’ll take time to develop and it will be worth the wait.

Jordan Battle at St. Thomas Aquinas. Credit: Hudl

Miss: Jordan Battle, S

To begin, Jordan Battle was one of the biggest names in the nation and at one point, the Buckeyes had him in the bag. Following a drama-filled season where we saw Urban Meyer get suspended for three games after Brett McMurphy dropped a bombshell leveling allegations against a coach on his staff, Zach Smith. This caused friction between the head coach and his leadership, which ultimately resulted in a Buckeye legend him stepping away which directly affected his 2018 class.

A recruit from a well-known pipeline, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was a should have been an addition to the 2019 class, but the news of Meyer Calling it quits caused him to look around. He was on flip watch from what I can recall and he eventually flipped and signed with Alabama. He is a small cog in the Tide defense and he has played in 11 games this season and he has logged 26 tackles (16 solo, 10 assisted) with one fumble recovery, one interception and a sack. He is young but a playmaker and that is what the Buckeyes saw and tried to keep, but it happens in recruiting.

Miss: Dax Hill, S

The recruitment of Dax Hill, an Oklahoma native at powerhouse Booker T. Washington High School. The Buckeyes lost the battle to their bitter rival, but besides losing out, they had starters with eligibility remaining in Jordan Fuller and Brendan White. This is not to discredit his skills and the need because it was evident that they needed to bolster the depth behind those two. Dax Hill was a heavy favorite to become a silver bullet, but it was not meant to be. The momentum swung in Michigan’s favor and with the uncertainty at head coach looming over the program, the best possible move was to sign with them in the end.

A playmaker in the back-end of a defense, he was and he would have been perfect in Hafley’s system. He is aggressive, but he is also young and the Buckeyes picked on him last week for a little bit of fun. Love it or hate it, he made the move for himself and we shouldn’t blame him or his family. It would’ve been amazing to have him, but it will also be fun seeing if he can develop into a stud and we will look forward to seeing him every year.

Positional Substitutions: Ronnie Hickman (S) and Bryson Shaw (S); Craig Young (Ath)

With Battle and Hill out of the 2019 Class, the Buckeyes scrounged what they could and they have some potential gems in the process. Hickman and Young are dynamic prospects. Shaw has hit a growth spurt and could blossom into a Pete Werner type of play with his frame. The class still has time to develop, but the future is still bright.

Doug Nester Army All-American Game. Credit: 24/7 Sports

Miss: Doug Nester, OT

Doug Nester, another longtime Buckeye commit was also in the bag and once Urban Meyer announced his retirement, a few commitments began to unravel and they found themselves looking around. Like Battle, ditto for Nester. Urban’s last class had potential and Nester was another staple to the future, but it was not meant to be and he ended up signing with Virginia Tech, which is close to home and not too far away.

Nester has not played this season and a redshirt may be in effect or it will be in his future. He was most likely behind the eight ball or he suffered an injury, but blessings to him and his future as a Hokie.

Positional Substitutions: Ryan Jacoby (T) and Dawand Jones (T); Enokk Vimahi (OG)

Both Jacoby and Jones have potential as big-bodied shields for the Buckeye signal-callers. After losing out on Nester, they stocked up on Slobs. Jacoby is 6-5, 270 and Jones is 6-8, 360. The Buckeyes came in late and snagged Vimahi to fill the class. Vimahi is 6-4.5, 263 and he could be a key cog in the offensive trenches in the future.