Private Jet Not Needed for Buckeyes Newest Commit

Do you remember when Quinn Nordin recently announced his commitment to Penn State? Lucky for you I have the tweet to help you.

Why am I telling you about Quinn? Apparently he is the highest rated kicker of the 2016 class that had a ton of offers but non from Urban and company. Something already doesn’t smell right here, no Buckeye offer and your the top then commit via private plane and music. That’s not what Ohio State is about. Don’t need a hashtag #WeAre when #WeAreUndisputedNationalChampions.

Last night was the Friday Night Lights Camp and coach Meyer found himself a kicker. According to Bill Landis of

Blake Haubeil stood at the 45-yard line looking into the north end zone of Ohio Stadium.

He was surrounded by a gang of Buckeyes, a group that included Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, and just behind them was the entire collection of campers at Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp.

While the campers got a speech from Luke Fickell, Haubeil was trying to bang 55-yard field goals with Meyer in his ear. Haubeil missed a couple, getting a smattering of applause from the few hundred fans in attendance just for the effort. Then he nailed one, and Meyer threw his hands in the air.

Urban Meyer has a thing for special teams and he has a knack for finding talent. Not offering a top kicker who seemingly is enjoying the “its about me” aspect seems right. Coach going after a hungry kid that’s a diamond in the rough is what seems to work better especially for the Scarlet and Gray.

Buckeye Nation welcome your new kicker for the 2017 class. Blake Habeil a 6’3″/200lb young man from Canisius High in Buffalo, NY.

Habeil committed after Friday Night Lights seems this he enjoys pressure and isn’t backing down from it. Love he committed with a picture of his family by his side, looks like he gets it at such a young age.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Links

Good morning Buckeye Nation.

T. V. Time: The Big Ten Network made a couple of announcements with regards to Ohio State Women’s Soccer and the Buckeyes Women’s Field Hockey teams.

The Big Ten Network will televise the regular season final match between the Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats being played in Evanston, Ill on November 1st at 3pm. Ohio State will be having seven returning starters and seven newcomers on this years squad. They report for practice tomorrow and have a scrimmage against Miami at 4pm August 22 at Buckeyes Varsity Field.

The Buckeye women’s soccer team who begin season play on August 23th against Morehead State in Columbus will have three matches televised on BTN. The games against Indiana at 3pm on September 26th, at Wisconsin at 12:30pm October 6th and a 3pm match at Penn State on October 17th. The Buckeyes will have seven returning starters from a team that finished second in Big Ten regular season play last year and they also won the B1G tournament. You can see the women’s soccer team play an exhibition game against Miami on Friday in Columbus.

Rankings: The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coaches preseason Top 25 poll came out yesterday. The Big Ten has the most teams in the current rankings with your Ohio State Women’s Team having a presean ranking of 23. The conference looks to be very strong this season with Penn State (2), Minnesota (6), Michigan (7), Nebraska (10), Michigan State (14), and Purdue (16) all in the Top 25. The Buckeyes open the season at the NIU Invitational August 30-31st in Dekalb, Ill.

August Starts: Other Ohio State sports that will begin this month besides The Ohio State Football who open the season on August 31st at the ‘Shoe against Buffalo at 12pm is the Men and Women’s Cross Country teams. The Buckeye runners will take part in the Flyer 5k Challenge in Kettering, Ohio. Also the Men’s Soccer team will have three exhibition matches this month with the first one in Morgantown West Virginia against the Mountaineers on the 18th at 3pm.

Getting excited to see all the various teams wearing the Scarlet and Gray starting their action in their respected sports. Good luck to all the Buckeyes hope everyone has a great and safe season.

Until next time Buckeye Nation…

Three Yards and a Cloud of Links

OSU FootballMorning Buckeye Nation!!

First off I would like to thank MotSaG adding me to their staff. It is great to be a part of the Buckeye Nation. Thank You to all our readers for taking the time to be a part of our family. I hope to keep you entertained and informed as we go forward.

That being said these are going to be the longest weeks in college football. I mean the coaches are going on vacation, players working out getting ready for camp approximately a month away. Recruiting slows to a crawl and its my job to find Buckeye info to share with you.

Awards Watch lists: The Maxwell Football Club has released their Maxwell and Bednarik Award preseason watch lists.

The Maxwell award is given to the best player in college football. No surprise but Braxton Miller is one of the Buckeyes offensive weapons that made the list. Also making the list is Carlos Hyde who has the chance to become Urban Meyers first 1000 yard rusher.

The Bednarik Award is given to the top Defensive player. Three Buckeyes made this list. C.J. Barnett, Bradley Roby, and Ryan Shazier.

I know preseason awards don’t mean much but it goes to show that the Buckeyes have some great players on both sides of the ball. The biggest question mark is going to be the Front Seven of OSU’s defense. Having Barnett, Roby, and Shazier as your leaders is going to help the young front. The Buckeyes might have one of the best secondaries in the nation this year. It’s going to be fun watching these players grow and get better each week.

New Uniforms for Sale: The Buckeye Room Tweeted about new Buckeye Uni’s on sale now

No official word if these will be the same as the players wear. Nike has added seven Golden Leafs on the back collar representing the Seven National Championships. I know Ohio State has seven Heisman Trophy’s too. If you want one and have 120 dollars I would get with the Buckeye Room before they are gone.

Mascot Love: Chomps the Browns mascot tweeted a picture of him and Brutus together playing in a mascot soccer game at Columbus Crew Stadium.

M*ch*g*n wins in football: Hahaha not really just a poll for the best B1G uniforms. We all know the Scarlet and Gray have the best uniforms but I guess we can be nice and let them win something. You know its not going to be on the field anytime soon!!

Beat M*ch*g*n: This is a story that even M*ch*g*n fans are embracing. A young Grant Reed was diagnosed with life threatening brain tumor 2 years ago. His parents, both former members of The Best Damn Band in the Land and die hard Buckeye fans, instilled the values of being a Buckeye which lead to them calling the disease “M*ch*g*n”. He has beaten Blue. He has been visited by Urban Meyer and his story is inspirational. There’s a chance it can come back but Buckeye Nation stands behind this young man.

Grant, from one cancer survivor to another, I say congratulations. You are an inspiration to so many.

Well Buckeye Nation until next time.

The View from Rutgers: Conference Re-Alignment, UFC, Recruiting and Other Matters of Amateur Athletics

b1g_icon“The campus is alive—people can tell you much more about the 2014 football schedule than they can about the 2013 schedule” says Scott Goodale, coach of the Rutgers wrestling team. Starting fall, 2014, the Scarlet Knights will begin competition in the Big Ten which will then expand to 14 members with the addition of Rutgers and ACC charter member Maryland. For the record, in 2014, Rutgers football will receive visits from Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin and will go on the road to play Ohio State, Nebraska and Maryland (by contrast, in 2013, the last season before Big Ten play, the Scarlett Knights play the likes of Arkansas, Houston, Louisville, Cincinnati,  Connecticut, Central Florida and South Florida).  The renewal of their long-time rivalry with Penn State has to be particularly exciting given that the two programs have not played since 1995—shortly after Penn State ceased being an independent power by joining the Big Ten.

While some treat this affiliation as a big yawn, one only has to dig a little deeper to appreciate why this could well be a move where the sum is much more significant than its parts.  I had a chance to sit down with Coach Goodale, who happened to be in my adopted home, Carlsbad, CA on a recruiting visit.  I was struck by how a wrestling program at a school like Rutgers now sits right in the middle of some of the big amateur sports and Olympic issues of our day.

Rutgers has certainly enjoyed football success, and much of it in the last decade, but few would pretend it has cracked into the level of consistently being an elite program, despite being a major football playing power in the talent rich Atlantic seaboard region.  While one always has to be careful about comparing football, which is species unto itself, to other athletics programs, in this instance Rutgers wrestling may be a useful comparator as it also sits in a talent rich region.

“The problem we have is that if a wrestler is interested in us, he is probably also interested and capable of getting into Princeton, Harvard, etc., so we often lose that wrestler. If he is capable of wrestling at a higher level, he often chooses the Big Ten, so we are somewhat caught in the middle.”  One suspects football is much the same—the Big East is typically not the recruiting draw that other conferences are for top tier talent, and while Rutgers may not have to compete with the Ivies for the next level of high school football talent, they still have to share that talent with a number of competing programs such as Boston College, West Virginia, Connecticut, Temple to name just a few.

Thus, at least for football, wrestling and many other sports, one suspects, the move to the Big Ten has to be seen as a recruiting bonanza, a point directly underscored by Coach Goodale.  There are some exceptions—while Rutgers may in fact be able to amp up the basketball excitement for moving to the Big Ten, the Big East was of course among the elite of basketball conferences (underscore “was” as the Catholic seven bolt from the rest of the old Big East—even retaining the name). Some sports might actually have a tougher go—men’s soccer for example where four current Big Ten teams do not sponsor a team (Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue).  Despite the overall prestige of the Big Ten, it might be tougher to recruit soccer players into a conference where less than all members are enthusiastic—one can only imagine how men’s lacrosse recruits in lacrosse-mad Maryland view the move to the much less lacrosse serious Big Ten (though the addition of powerhouse Johns Hopkins as a Big Ten lacrosse member does provide a powerful counter for that particular concern).

Obviously of course, the new money that will funnel through to Rutgers because of the move to the Big Ten will be felt across the board as the annual take, while uncertain at this point, will be millions more than it enjoyed before the move.  While football recruiting will not be affected at least in terms of scholarships, facilities will doubtlessly improve and recruiting in other sports will improve.  Wrestling was already fully funded in that the full NCAA allotment of 9.9 annual scholarships is provided at Rutgers—however, the dollar amount is based on in-state tuition, meaning it is quite a bit tougher to recruit out of state kids who typically have to pay a portion of tuition at out of state rates.  The increased budget as a result of joining the Big Ten is likely to allow filling those scholarships with out of state rates—a significant new bonus for the non-revenue sports.

Indeed, for 2014, the first recruiting year in which the jump to the Big Ten has had an effect as a recruiting tool, Rutgers has seen an impressive bump in the rankings of its commitments, highlighted so far by the overall number 60 ranked high school wrestler, Anthony Giraldo, ironically from nearby North Bergen NJ.  “Last year I would have been basically limited to driving around New Jersey looking for athletes. This year I am talking to you in Southern California as I recruit the best kids in the country—kids that know that by the time they arrive on campus they will have the chance to compete for a Big Ten title,”  says Coach Goodale.  With no disrespect whatsoever to the proud and successful Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, where Rutgers participates through the 2013-14 season, it is quite a step up to be able to tell recruits they will compete for their entire careers in the Big Ten—a conference that produced six of ten 2013 NCAA champions.

Football recruiting seems to be off to a similarly stalwart start.  College football recruiting rankings, inherently suspect, are even more specious when it comes to mid-year snapshots.  Nonetheless, after finishing 45th in the Yahoo/Rivals 2013 rankings, Rutgers football is up to 16th in the latest 2014 rankings (as of now, Maryland has not enjoyed a similar bump).

One also suspects this change in the state of Rutgers recruiting reflects an expanded travel budget in anticipation of Big Ten riches as much as it does the prospect of offering recruits the opportunity to wrestle in the dominant wrestling conference in the country once they arrive.

I was surprised to learn from Coach Goodale that the there is not a lot of buzz within the college wrestling community about the Ed O’Bannon case and its impact on collegiate sports.  It might be that wrestling is fighting too many other battles right now to worry about the speculative effect of what that case might bring.  Wrestling, which has been devastated perhaps as much as any sport because of Title IX, now worries about how the impact of a potential loss of wrestling in the Olympics might further erode its brand appeal with young athletes.  Since February when the Olympic executive board recommended dropping wrestling after the 2016 Olympics, many feel the battle being waged for permanent Olympic reinstatement September is being won.

It is ironic that one of the adjustments made by US and International wrestling to save wrestling in the Olympics has been to further embrace women’s wrestling.  One wonders, as Title IX continues to chip away at wrestling (for example, proponents were saddened to learn of Boston University’s recent decision to drop wrestling), could women’s wrestling not only help on the Olympic level but on the collegiate level as well? Wrestling is not a capital intensive sport—if a college can adopt a women’s program, the same facilities could of course support a men’s team.  And if the O’Bannon case does shrink the dollars available for non-revenue sports, could a sport like wrestling address Title IX and still restrain costs in a post-O’Bannon era? While women’s wrestling is still not on the shortlist yet of programs to be added by major universities, the list of smaller colleges adopting wrestling programs is impressive and growing.  Coach Goodale could not speculate on the future of women’s wrestling except to indicate there is a palpable buzz that did not exist in prior years and added: “if you watch women wrestlers at the highest level, it is really impressive how far they have come in just a few short years.  If this catches on, I could see women’s wrestling becoming a major force.”

Among the changes that wrestling adopted to save its Olympic cache was a revamp of bizarre and almost random scoring rules.  The most hated was a “ball drop” to decide a tie where one wrestler was awarded a starting position that led to a win nearly 90% of the time.  For the most part, fans and wrestlers have applauded the move to the new rules which penalize passivity and end a lopsided match more quickly.  Coach Goodale thought some of the new freestyle rules could have a beneficial effect at the collegiate level, especially the passivity rule which, if there has been no score for a set period, the referee declares one wrestler as the passive wrestler.  If no one scores in the next 30 seconds, the non-passive wrestler is awarded a point.  “I also like the one point awarded on a push out—make them wrestle in the middle.” Continuing, Coach Goodale adds, “and recently, someone suggested awarding three points for just the first takedown—that might make things more exciting too if a premium was put on early aggression.”

Despite potential challenges on the horizon for wrestling, in some respects the future of wrestling has never been brighter.  As the key building block for the immensely popular MMA/UFC, wrestling has an opportunity to reach a young, excited and huge audience–a genuine opportunity for mass appeal. Former Buckeye wrestling star Tommy Rowlands has been one of the most active persons in linking the popular consciousness of MMA to its wrestling roots.  Some of the most dominant fight names are and have been collegiate wrestlers, including Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Chael Sonnen, Phil, “Mr. Wonderful” Davis and Buckeye strongman and pioneer Kevin Randleman.  Wrestlers watched former Hofstra star Chris Weidman rock the world by ending the seven year reign of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva.  The night was particularly sweet for the Rutgers wrestling community, Coach Goodale and his close friend,  volunteer Rutgers coach Frankie Edgar, former featherweight champ (currently ranked No. 3).  Edgar, one of the most popular UFC fighters of his era, shared the card with New Yorker Weidman and won an exciting and decisive bout against physically imposing up and coming Charles Oliveira.  Wrestlers now have exciting options beyond coaching—and the potential to earn enormous income.  “You see a great guy like Frankie Edgar, how much he means to the UFC and how much wrestling has meant to him.  He works out with our team as one of the guys–it is exciting to the kids, but you can tell Frankie gets a lot out of it too in terms of his own fight preparation.  I would never want to get hit in the face, but these guys come out of college, and they are so tough, and they have mastered the art of close contact and precise maneuvers.  For most of them, picking up boxing and cementing the other pieces is actually pretty easy given what they have already mastered, and before long, they are the ones dishing out the punishment. This fight game has gone way past boxing, and it is exciting that our young men are so much a part of it” observes Coach Goodale.  Then, siting back with eyes on the horizon, he added, “and hey, young women too. It’s an exciting new time, and I’m glad I’m a part of it.”

Indeed it is.  Welcome Scarlet Knights.

Indiana Preview

March has arrived. Two huge tournaments loom for the Buckeyes as the Madness draws near. Indiana poses a major challenge for the Buckeyes today, and will be a preview of what to expect come Tourney time. Ohio State needs to step up to the challenge in order to gain ground in the conference standings, but also to boost confidence heading into the last game of the regular season.

Tonight’s 9 p.m. matchup is the second-last regular season contest for each of the two contenders before the Big Ten Tournament begins on March 14. Both teams could use some momentum heading into the postseason, especially the Buckeyes. #2 Indiana (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) needs a win to assert its dominance and prove that the Hoosiers are the top dog of the league. Following an upset loss on the road to Illinois on February 26, Indiana looked a bit vulnerable. Though the Hoosiers easily handled Iowa a few days later, Indiana would love to have some positive energy heading into the team’s season finale with Michigan and then the Big Ten Tourney. Still, #14 Ohio State needs the “W” even more.

The Buckeyes (21-7, 11-5 Big Ten) have won their last three matches, snagging victories over tough opponents Minnesota, Michigan State and Northwestern. But the Bucks lack a significant, defining road win this season. Against ranked opponents on the road, OSU owns an unappealing 0-5 record. The most recent road game against a ranked opponent resulted in an embarrassing 71-49 loss to Wisconsin on February 17. For OSU, picking up its first big victory away from the Schottenstein Center will not be a simple task. Assembly Hall is not an easy venue to play in as the road team. As OSU’s Deshaun Thomas told The Lantern, “It’s one of the loudest places I’ve been at, besides Kansas.” Head coach Thad Matta agreed: “It’s proven over time it’s one of the toughest places to play in.” Indiana boasts a 17-1 record on its home court this season, with the lone loss coming against Wisconsin in mid-January.

But if Ohio State wants to claw its way to the top of the pack past Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin, all tied with OSU for the second spot, the Bucks need to find a way to win tonight. The key to doing so is defending Indiana’s top scorers better than last time and coming up with secondary scoring. The last time the squads paired off on February 10, the Hoosiers trounced Ohio State, 81-68. Indiana playmakers Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo ran rampant. OSU’s defense could not stop the dangerous pair, as Zeller finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Oladipo collected a career-high 26 points and eight boards.

Ohio State has improved since it suffered a beating to Indiana. The Buckeyes have drawn more fouls and seen more scoring from Lenzelle Smith Jr. The junior guard led the team in scoring in OSU’s last game on February 28, putting up 24 in a 63-53 triumph over Northwestern. The defense has also looked stellar as of late, limiting opponents to 60 or fewer points in four of the past five games. Indiana head coach Tom Crean agrees that this is a much-improved OSU team. “They’re better from when we played them the last time, because they are getting fouled a lot more,” Crean said. “In the last five games, they’ve made more free throws than their opponents have taken. Deshaun Thomas is way up in his free throw shooting; Lenzelle Smith is shooting the ball at a high rate. They are rebounding the ball well, they’re getting fouled, they’re winning games and they’re really good. There’s no doubt in our mind that it’s going to be an incredible battle.”

For it to be an “incredible battle,” Ohio State has to keep the score low. The Buckeyes excel in low-scoring affairs but often falter when games require the winner to score more than 70 points. Four of the team’s five conference losses occurred when opponents posted over 70 points. The Bucks have simply lacked the secondary scoring needed to keep up with high-flying offenses. Aaron Craft and DeShaun Thomas can only carry the team so far. Though Smith, Sam Thompson and Evan Ravenal often provide some support, it is not enough to consistently score 70 points a night in the Big Ten. Thus OSU has to rely on its defense to help carry the team.

Against Indiana, that starts with defending a National Player of the Year candidate in Oladipo and an ever-dangerous playmaker in Zeller. But stopping Christian Watford must also be a focus for Ohio State. The senior forward hurt the Bucks for 20 points in the last meeting, connecting on four of five shots from behind the arc. You can’t forget Jordan Hulls either, as the senior averages 10.7 points per game and likes to shoot from deep. Overall, Indiana averages a whopping 81.9 points per night. Facing the Hoosiers offense compares to Luke Fickell’s defense taking on AJ McCarron, Eddie Lacy and the Alabama offense of last year. Thad Matta’s defense will have a tough time tonight. His team is known for playing stout D, but Indiana’s offense is a whole different beast. The Buckeyes need to turn up the knob another notch if this game is going to be close.

On offense, Thomas obviously needs to have a big night. The junior forward (19.9 ppg) is the heart of the offense, and without him to lead it, the unit sputters. Craft also plays a critical role, as he is the quarterback of the offense and the soul of the team. The junior point guard must show his well-known tenacity and aggressiveness if the rest of the team is to follow suit. Smith, Ravenal, Thompson and others must also put up significant figures. Coming off the bench, look closely at LaQuinton Ross, Shannon Scott and Amir Williams. If one or more of these three men can step up and give the team quality minutes, as well as some points off the bench, the Bucks will be in much better position.

As a whole, the OSU offense needs more explosiveness than it has shown in the past five games, when the team has shot just 41.9 percent. The Buckeyes need to shoot the ball better than that tonight. Defense will only take you so far against the Hoosiers. Defense may keep the game close, but to put away the troublesome Hoosiers, you need to have the hot hand down the stretch.

Indiana is no easy foe to face on the road, especially on an emotional Senior Night for three Hoosiers. There is a reason Ohio State has not taken down a ranked Indiana team in Assembly Hall since 2000. But the Bucks do have a chance to topple the giants of the Big Ten. Though the odds are stacked against OSU, with a combination of stellar defense and secondary scoring, the Buckeyes can capture a crucial road victory heading into Tournament season.

Breaking Down the 2013 Ohio State Draft Class

Ohio State has a long-standing tradition of producing quality NFL talent. Since 2000, the program has produced more NFL draft picks than any other school, as 83 Buckeyes have had their names called by NFL teams since the new millennium. Though the program is not graduating any players who will be drafted in the top ten, a number of Buckeyes might be receiving phone calls before the name of Mr. Irrelevant is called on Saturday, April 27.

Below is a rundown of the ten Buckeyes who have a legitimate shot to be drafted or signed as a free agent soon after. Each player saw significant playing time at Ohio State, and has a chance to make an impact, to varying degrees, in the NFL.

Jonathan Hankins: Leading this year’s Ohio State draft class is Jonathan Hankins. The defensive tackle decided in December that the grass was greener in the NFL and bypassed his senior year for a chance to play in the pros. According to Dane Bugler of, Hankins is a lineman with a “rare combination” of size, foot speed and strength. Hankins had a stellar junior year. In his second year as a starter, Hankins racked up 55 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack. Big Hank was versatile at the position, demonstrating that he can fit into either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme in the NFL. He defends the run well and possesses good awareness and instincts. He will most likely be picked towards the end of the first round or at the start of the second. Hankins is not the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft class, but will make a nice prize for the team that chooses him.

John Simon: Few fans of the Scarlet and Gray can forget John Simon. The dedicated Buckeye who plays with passion and drive, Simon made a reputation for himself in Columbus. He was a consistent playmaker at OSU who could be relied upon for energy and big plays. Despite all of Simon’s positive qualities, he faces a challenge in the NFL. Too small to play defensive line and too big to play linebacker, he has already been deemed a “tweener.” In spite of this, Simon is an intriguing prospect for NFL scouts. Simply looking at his stats during his senior season could give a quarterback a case of the jitters. Simon totaled 44 tackles, nine sacks (first in the Big Ten), and 14.5 tackles for loss. He garnered the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year awards for his efforts. The intense lineman also earned All-Big Ten and 3rd team AP All-American honors. Over the course of his career, he started 37 consecutive games over three seasons before suffering a minor knee injury in the week prior to the Michigan game.
Known for his non-stop motor, Simon is a great tackler with “excellent recognition skills.” A relentless player, Simon is dedicated on and off the football field. Head coach Urban Meyer compared the talented athlete’s work ethic to that of the coach’s well-known quarterback at Florida– Tim Tebow. But as stated before, Simon is too small to play defensive line as he did as a Buckeye. This will hurt his draft stock. He will get used to sitting back in coverage and running one-on-one with backs and tight ends. This will be a major adjustment. In Pro Bowl practice, he looked like a “fish out of water,” according to Bugler. Simon doesn’t yet have the footwork needed to succeed at linebacker. He will need coaching to become a mainstay at the position. Regardless, Simon’s remarkable work ethic and motor will likely earn him a spot on an NFL roster. He is currently projected as a third rounder.

Etienne Sabino– Many thought when Sabino chose the Bucks that he would join a long line of great Ohio State linebackers. But the five star recruit out of high school never seemed to put it all together in college. Not to say that Sabino didn’t have a solid career, but he didn’t become the all-star he was projected to be. He also missed much of his senior year with a broken fibula. Sabino did manage 45 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble and two interceptions in eight games, though. There are many NFL greats who didn’t shine in college. Sabino has the raw athletic ability to succeed in the pros. The linebacker “flies all over the field” and blitzes well downhill. Though he has to improve at processing information and taking good angles, Sabino will likely be taken around the fifth round.

Reid Fragel– The most memorable characteristic of Reid Fragel is his height. Standing at 6’8 and 310 pounds, Fragel is an imposing figure. A converted tight end, the Grosse Point Farms (MI) native played offensive tackle during Meyer’s inaugural season at Ohio State. Fragel recognized that tight ends don’t usually play a large role in Meyer’s offensive scheme, so Fragel made the transition to offensive tackle. He added 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, bulking up while keeping his quickness. The switch was ultimately successful, as he provided a solid senior presence on the offensive line. Fragel performed well this season, never relenting his starting role. But going into the NFL, he is at a bit of a disadvantage. As one would imagine, his technique at the offensive tackle position is not refined to a professional level. But with time, Fragel can develop into a solid offensive tackle. One potential worry is an undisclosed injury that held him out of the Senior Bowl, but Fragel probabaly will still go off the board around the fifth or sixth round.

Zach Boren– Another player who flip-flopped positions his senior year, Zach Boren established himself as a leader at linebacker as the season wore on. Originally a fullback, Boren transitioned to linebacker early in the 2012 campaign, as Meyer’s offense doesn’t typically call for a bruising back. Since Boren played linebacker in high school, he soon readjusted to the position. He became a mainstay of OSU’s talented defense, growing into a fearless inside linebacker. Boren showed good awareness and agility at the position, posting impressive stats. He racked up 50 tackles, a sack and five tackles for loss en route to being named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Due to his late switch, it is unlikely that Boren will be drafted until the later rounds. At the very least, Boren should get a chance with an NFL squad as a special teams player, thanks to his tenacity and drive.

Jake Stoneburner– Though he did flirt with other positions, Jake Stoneburner was mostly used as a tight end at OSU. A tall, athletic player talented at catching and blocking, Stoneburner saw time as a tight end, H-back, fullback and wide receiver at Ohio State. While he didn’t rack up monumental stats his senior year (16 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns), Stoneburner displayed a number of good qualities, such as “smooth” footwork, “tenacity” as a blocker and “excellent” body control. He had a good enough career as a Buckeye to at least earn a chance with an NFL team as a late-round flier. But repeated holding penalties and limited stats will hinder his draft stock. Right now, he is projected as a sixth to seventh round pick.

Travis Howard– A cornerback with some definite talent but some significant shortcomings, Travis Howard is a player who has the talent to play in the NFL but needs some work. Howard enjoyed a solid career with the Bucks, especially during his senior season. He recorded 40 tackles, six passes defensed and a Big Ten best four interceptions, earning him Honorable All-Big Ten honors. As he displayed in 2012, Howard has good ball skills and foot quickness. Though a bit lean for a cornerback at 6’1 and 198 pounds, Howard makes good reads and is aggressive in run support. But the playmaker has to work on his timing, positioning and discipline. He has the potential to be a contributor in the NFL, but must fix these areas of his game. Howard looks to be a third day pick, as he will likely go in the seventh round.

Nathan Williams– A defensive line/linebacker hybrid, Nathan Williams is, in a way, a lesser-known version John Simon. Williams is a physical tackler who plays with a lot of energy just like Simon, though Williams struggled with a knee injury during his time at Ohio State. He missed the 2011 season because of his knee, but worked his way back into the lineup in 2012. By the end of his senior campaign, Williams looked fully healthy. He certainly played like it, notching 40 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss on the year. Scouts may doubt about his ability to stay healthy, but Williams could improve his draft stock with a good Combine. As of now, he is projected to either be picked in the seventh round or go undrafted.

Orhian Johnson– A versatile safety who had to fight for playing time at Ohio State, Orhian Johnson is an intriguing prospect. During his career as a Buckeye, he not only played both safety positions, but also spent time at outside linebacker and cornerback. Though he often had to battle for playing time with higher-ranked recruits, Johnson always found a way onto the field. His size and athleticism certainly had something to do with that. With the talent he displayed at OSU, he could be a solid special teams player in the pros. But Johnson has some obstacles to overcome if he expects to play on defense. He needs to add some muscle, eliminate the “dumb” penalties he has been known to incur and also take better angles in run support. Still, Johnson should earn a spot on an NFL roster, whether he is taken very late in the draft or signed as an undrafted free agent.
Garrett Goebel– As a defensive tackle for the Bucks, Garrett Goebel posted impressive stats. During his senior season, he compiled 86 tackles, two sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Goebel flew under the radar, though, as he was not well-known as a Buckeye. He has not been noticed too much by scouts, either. Though he started every game of his junior and senior seasons, Goebel will most likely not be drafted. He still has a shot to be picked up by a team via free agency, though. Goebel will have to establish himself on special teams or on the practice squad before he gets a major opportunity with an NFL team.

Information from, and was used in this article. Phrases in quotation marks are words used by Dan Bugler of