With spring practice in full swing, there hasn't been a glut of talk about last year's squad, or more specifically, the two workhorses along the defensive line, Johnathan Hankins and John Simon.
Yesterday, the mouth beneath Mel Kiper Jr.'s glorious hair chimed in on the pair of Buckeyes and while there's no question Hank has seen his stock drop over the last few months, both players look to be Day Two selections.
Simon's shoulder surgery wouldn't allow him to participate in the NFL's beauty contest held back in February, but he did post a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.
Comparing him to Mike Vrabel, Mel says Simon is a top-half of the third-round pick thanks to his athleticism and versatility:
"I like the way he plays the game. He’s got a lot of versatility and plays with a lot of energy. He gives you some scheme versatility. A great kid. Tremendously hard worker. Great passion for the game. I think John Simon is solidly in the third round now."
The Draft begins Thursday night, April 25.
THE (DOUBLE) 1 AND ONLY. Pound for pound the baddest dude to ever suit up for the Buckeyes, Antoine Winfield, is reportedly close to signing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Akron product had been rumored to potentially land in Washington, or even re-sign with the Vikings but after working out with the Seahawks on Tuesday, Ed Werder reported the impending deal with Seattle while Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says the Vikes remain very much in the mix.
Regardless of where he lands, consider me an instant fan of that team. It shocks me every time I read he's gone to just three Pro Bowls in a stellar 14-year career.
PLAYERS' COACH. An increasing number of folks connected to college football have been seizing the mic to announce their stance on a possible stipend being floated by conference commissioners, or potentially a sum far greater if the Ed O'Bannon case ends up nuking the NCAA's current definition of amateurism. Bob Stoops is one of the latest and he didn't mince words on the subject:
"You know what school would cost here for non-state guy? Over $200,000 for room, board and everything else. That’s a lot of money. Ask the kids who have to pay it back over 10-15 years with student loans. You get room and board, and we’ll give you the best nutritionist, the best strength coach to develop you, the best tutors to help you academically, and coaches to teach you and help you develop. How much do you think it would cost to hire a personal trainer and tutor for 4-5 years? I don’t get why people say these guys don’t get paid. It’s simple, they are paid quite often, quite a bit and quite handsomely. I tell my guys all the time, you’re not the first one to spend a hungry Sunday without any money."
While it's hard to read such thoughts from a guy that makes over $4 million a year off the same system, I thought he made a little bit more sense when he talked about how the existing benefits of being a player benefited him back in the day:
“I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t a football player at Iowa. To have that experience with Hayden Fry, Dan McCarney, Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Kirk Ferentz—those were all of my coaches there. You think I’m here at Oklahoma without that experience of learning and growing under them? So all these kids I’m coaching now that are getting paid to go to school, they can be in my spot when they’re 51, too—or they could not. They’re getting a background to have a chance to do it.”
Just imagine if he'd been coached by Bollman. Stoops would practically owe college football $4 million for even having the privilege.
HOOPS! (THERE IT IS). The collegiate roundball news continues to come in waves following Louisville's delectable defeat of Michigan on Monday night. As such, I'm coming at you, auctioneer style.
First up, Deshaun Thomas has crept into nbadraftnet's first round, slotted as the 30th pick, headed to Cleveland. Trey Burke is 6th, Cody Zeller is projected 8th, and Victor Oladipo 10th. Assuming they declare, GRIII is 11th, Mitch McGary 18th and Tim Hardaway Jr. 28th. The 2nd round includes Adreian Payne (likely headed back to Sparty), Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe and Brandon Paul, giving the B1G a possible 11 draft picks. Even if a couple return, the conference is going to have a lot of talent to replace.
With a few of the Michigan kids yet to declare, much of the in-conference focus has been on how they might look next year if all four guys bolt, but Indiana will also have plenty of work to do considering Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford will graduate in addition to the early departures of Zeller and Oladipo. BTN's Brent Yarina took a look at the numbers and they likely cause Tom Crean to make that one face that makes him all the more punchable.
The Hoosiers lose 67% of last year's points, 61% of the rebounds, 51% of the dimes, 67% of the steals, and 67% of the made three-pointers. Sure, Crean's got some kids in the pipeline and they could all definitely blossom – many other teams have managed to do it – but those are still some pretty staggering statistics.
Finally, since the list is now growing by the day, here's the most current roster of underclassmen who have declared for the NBA Draft. The early entry withdrawal deadline is next Wednesday.
ALL JAE' LONG. Starring for All-Ohio Red, 2014 Buckeye verbal commit Jae'Sean Tate put on a show last weekend at the NY2LA Sports Swish ‘N Dish tournament.
The 6'5" junior from Pickerington is focused on expanding his game from the paint to all areas of the floor:
They (recruiting services) used to have me as an undersized forward. But I’ve been working this year really on my dribbling, and shooting off the dribble. When I’m on the court, there’s really no position. Basketball is basketball. I’m just out there playing hard. The ratings really don’t matter to me. Out there I’m just trying to get the win. I hate losing. I give 100 percent every time.”
The work on his perimeter skills and his passion for Ohio State should bode well for Thad Matta's 2014 crop:
“It’s like a family. My dad (Jermaine Tate) and high school coach (Jerry Francis) played there. I really liked Michigan too, but it was something about Coach (Thad) Matta. Like, I felt like I connected with everything he was saying. I can’t wait to play there.”
Also of note, fellow '14 verbal commit Keita Bates-Diop went off at the tournament, even squaring off against Tate in the quarterfinals. Bates-Diop led his team to victory with 16 points and reportedly displayed an ability to play much longer than his 6'7" frame, especially at the defensive end of the floor.
THE LAST WALTZ. Some dude's list of the 10 best dunks in college hoops this year... The latest reason I don't swim in the ocean... Columbus: America's 20th best city... A true G-ride... 21 Of The Best Southern Hip Hop Album Covers... Welp, I guess I'll just watch whatever is on this channel (NSFW)... 16-Bit Bar+Arcade Opening Downtown This Summer... Aerial view of Woodstock... 80000kW Ship Engine... I admit I don't follow hockey too closely but still surprised I've never heard of this guy... WrestleMania 29 Marred By Inconsistent Officiating... BTN's Tom Dienhart takes a glance at the football Buckeyes... PSU operating revenue realizes a sharp decline.