So, anything interesting happening in the world of Ohio sports today?
Yeah, I know it was a long holiday weekend and now there are some major rumblings that a huge homecoming could give folks even more to celebrate than America’s birthday, so how about we get all caught up on what happened while you were out watching fireworks and grilling, shall we?
The Heart of It All:
How could this be anything but the ever-moving free agency of one LeBron James, the best basketball player to come out of Ohio in the past 50 years and and probably ever?
With the uniquely college football topic of claimed national titles in the news recently, I got to thinking about whether or not Ohio State football could or should give itself credit for more than the seven it lists in its official records. The result was this story at BuckeyeSports.com (below), but it is worth noting some of Ohio State’s best arguments for a potential national title fall outside this “To claim or not to claim?” debate because no one, legitimate or not, has tagged them No. 1.
I guess it just goes to show in the Bowl Alliance/BCS era, the problem shifted from being overlooked to more often simply left out. Continue reading →
Bill Connelly’s previews at SBNation using Football Outsiders numbers are an annual must-read for college football fans, and he finished up the Big Ten today with Ohio State.
Of course, I recommend as strongly as possible you read the whole thing, here are a few things I gleaned from my reading of the piece. Some are surprising while others probably are not so much: Continue reading →
Ohio State had six players chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft, including a pair of first-rounders after only having a total of one first-rounder in the previous four drafts combined.
The draft marks the end of the line for the 2009 recruiting class, which became the second Ohio State recruiting class since 1999 to produce zero first-round picks, joining the ’08 class. Both of those were rated top five classes by Scout.com. The ’09 class, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation, can brag of more overall draft picks (six — Reid Fragel, Carlos Hyde, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Jonathan Newsome and John Simon) than the ’08 class (Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor), which was ranked No. 4.
Newsome, a four-star recruit from Cleveland Glenville, transferred to Ball State and as near as I can tell is only the second player to sign with Ohio State since 1987, transfer out and still get drafted. Brandon Underwood is the other. Underwood signed in 2004 and finished his career as a Cincinnati Bearcat. That is out of 75 players.
The 2010 and ’11 classes are already assured of avoiding the fate of the two groups that immediately preceded them as they were represented respectively this year by Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier.
After a two-year drought, Ohio State had two first-round picks in the 2014 NFL draft as Ryan Shazier went 15th to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bradley Roby went 31st to the Denver Broncos. The last time two Buckeyes were taken in the first round was 2009, when Malcolm Jenkins went to the Saints and Beanie Wells went to the Cardinals.
Shazier is 21st Buckeye picked by Steelers and the fifth in the past five years.
Last: Mike Adams, OT, 24th pick of the second round (56th overall). Other recents: DE Cameron Heyward, DE Thaddeus Gibson (who moved to LB) and DE Doug Worthington. Four of the five play on the defensive side of the ball, where former Ohio State star halfback Dick LeBeau is the long-time coordinator. First: Jack Dugger, end, 1st pick of second round in 1945.
Shazier is the 48th linebacker from Ohio State chosen in the common era (1967-present). First: Nick Roman, Bengals, 10th round 1970.
He is the ninth Ohio State linebacker picked in the first round. First: Rick Middleton, who went 13th overall to the Saints. The Broncos picked Randy Gradishar one pick later.
Shazier is the first player drafted from Jim Tressel’s last recruiting class, signed in 2011 and ranked No. 3 in the nation. He was the 13th Tressel Ohio State signee to be picked in the first round. Continue reading →
Ohio State held it’s annual Student Appreciation Day in conjunction with an open spring football practice today, and assistant coach Kerry Coombs jumped in on the action as students raced for the right to take on the speediest Buckeye football player at next weekend’s spring game.
He’s the one in gray in the middle, and it looks like his participation got some of his guys fired up.
Stanford’s win over North Carolina in the second regional final game played Tuesday night means a fourth Final Four in five years for Beavercreek’s Mikaela Ruef, who redshirted because of a foot injury early in her career.
Ruef joins Malina Howard (Twinsburg) and Chloe Pavlich (Cincinnati Sycamore) of Maryland as the three players from Ohio to earn a trip to Nashville.
Meanwhile, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is headed to her 11th Final Four with the Cardinal since leaving Ohio State after the 1985 season, when she led the Buckeyes to the Elite 8.
VanDerveer coached Ohio State as women’s basketball became an officially sponsored Big Ten sport and led the Buckeyes to the first conference title.
Her top assistant at Stanford is Amy Tucker, the captain of the 1982 Ohio State squad that played in the first NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Ohio State came in second for Ruef, who has family on the West Coast and was also swayed by the opportunity to get a Stanford education. Interestingly, back then Ruef’s father told me VanDerveer talked to them about what great memories she had of her time at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes also went hard after Howard, who was ESPN’s No. 1 center prospect in her class two years ago, but she did not have Ohio State among her finalists when she chose the Terrapins.
In case you were wondering, Nick Saban is still the worst secondary coach in Ohio State history – at least statistically.
The 2013 Buckeyes came close to setting a record for most passing yards allowed per game at 268.0 but fell short of the mark of 273.1 yielded in 1981.
Saban was Ohio State secondary coach that season as well as in 1980, when the Buckeyes allowed a school-record 621 yards passing in a game to David Wilson of Illinois. The only other 500-yard passing game by an Ohio State opponent also happened under Saban’s watch in ’81 at Purdue via quarterback Scott Campbell.
Head coach Earle Bruce fired Saban (along with defensive coordinator Dennis Fryzel and line coach Steve Szabo) after the ’81 campaign, but the Kent State graduate recovered nicely, as you may have heard.
He got his revenge on Ohio State in 1998 when as head coach at Michigan State he led an upset of what for my money is the best Buckeye team of the past 25 years at least. Oh yeah, then he won a total of four national championships at LSU and Alabama. Saban also was head coach at Toledo and served four seasons as defensive coordinator of the Browns before becoming the big boss of the Spartans.
As for his time in Columbus, Saban told the American Football Coaches Association convention last month the most memorable victory of his career was the Buckeyes’ 14-9 upset of No. 7 Michigan in 1981. Saban’s secondary was key in that victory as safety Todd Bell’s late interception prevented the Wolverines from adding to a 9-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Art Schlichter then engineered the game-winning touchdown drive for the Buckeyes.