*opens trench coat* Say, friend, just how desperate are you for Ohio State Athletics right now? Actually, don't answer that. I can see you're in a world of hurt from the sweat on your brow and your trembling fingers. I have something that might push you to the finish line.
I know what you're thinking. "The ESPYs? I told my D.A.R.E. officer I'd never get high on the dang ESPYs!"
Sure, the ESPYs are corporate dross, but here's a salient counterpoint: OSU football is up for Best Team, Urban Meyer is up for Best Coach, Cardale Jones is up for Breakthrough Athlete, and Logan Stieber is up for Best Male College Athlete. The show starts at 8 p.m.
Look at it this way: If anybody ever questions your Buckeye fandom, just tell them you once took ESPY resin hits in the middle of July. That should shut down the doubters real quick.
OSU'S HISTORIC DEPTH. Everybody knows Ohio State is stacked with talent, but I still enjoy in-depth looks at that beautiful layered cake, and CBS Sports' NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler is one of the best in the business.
I usually highlight 3-5 prospects for each summer draft preview, but I had trouble narrowing down #OhioState to only 10. The team is loaded.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) July 14, 2015
The #OhioState record for top-100 picks in the same year is 8. This year's roster has the talent to challenge that in the 2016 NFL Draft— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) July 14, 2015
|JOEY BOSA||DE||"... displays dominant traits at a young age that suggest he has potential to be a consistently disruptive player in the NFL."||"... isn't a quick-twitch rusher and has room to improve his pre-snap anticipation."|
|EZEKIEL ELLIOTT||RB||"... runs with natural pad level and fantastic forward lean, using his balance, leg drive and relentless fight to move the chains and pick up every inch he can."||"... needs to become more consistent as a receiver and needs refinement as a blocker.."|
|CARDALE JONES||QB||"... can make every throw and showcases precision when he squares his shoulders and follows through with his delivery."||"... the mental part of the game is very much a work-in-progress and his development... will ultimately determine where he is drafted."|
|TAYLOR DECKER||LT||"... has a large frame and is well-put-together with NFL length to extend and meet rushers with timing and strong hands."||"... displays streaky snap anticipation on film and needs to improve his burst and timing out of his stance."|
|DARRON LEE||LB||"... has terrific range and athleticism with the pursuit speed to close like a runaway train and run circles around blockers."||"... a narrow torso, lean build and skinny limbs."|
|ADOLPHUS WASHINGTON||DT||".... has a tall, long, moldable frame and is a limber big man who can easily throw his weight around and make stops away from the line of scrimmage."||"... needs to do a better job looking through blockers to better track the ball without surrendering the point of attack.."|
|MIKE THOMAS||WR||"... solidly built for the position to work the middle of the field, displaying the light feet, toughness and dependable ballskills to line up inside or out wide."||"... doesn't have the same vertical prowess as [Devin] Smith..."|
|VONN BELL||FS||"... showcases NFL range and vision, seeing plays unfold quickly with the reactive athleticism to read his keys and explode to the contact point..."||"... only average build and growth potential..."|
|JOSHUA PERRY||LB||"... his combination of steady play on the field and coachable attitude off of it will earn him draftable grades around the league.."||"... only knows how to play one speed with a nonstop motor and aggressive approach that takes him out of plays at times..."|
|BRAXTON MILLER||QB||"... gifted athlete with exciting open field abilities and outstanding speed, forcing defenses to respect his mobility.."||"... needs to tweak his mechanics, better anticipate coverages and improve his touch, tossing too many fastballs and rushing the process..."|
The preview is worth your time in full, even if you think the idea of a Buckeye player having weaknesses is preposterous. And in case you're thinking about sprinting to the comments to sound off about a snub:
Pat Elflein is terrific, had to cut off the list at 10. Hated leaving him, Eli Apple, Nick Vannett and others off https://t.co/CAjmq5fbAQ— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) July 14, 2015
Remember: He usually only highlights 3-5 players. If Urban keeps this up, I'm afraid he might run afoul of some United Nations weapons treaty.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT JUST GETTING STARTED. *looks at watch* It's preseason profile season, isn't it? *hears train coming down the tracks right on time*
One of Elliott’s many pursuers was [new RB coach Tony] Alford, who was still at Notre Dame at the time. The coach says his mouth was agape when watching 2014 OSU game film, although he always expected Elliott would be successful because of his family dynamic.
“When I watched Zeke and his family and they would sit on the couch, his mom would reach over and she would pat him on his knee,” Alford says. “He would turn and hug his dad. He would goof around with his sisters. That shows you they had a lot of admiration and love and respect in that household.”
That makes for a good read, but perhaps you're a visual learner? I got you covered. Josh Norris, an NFL Draft writer for NBC, took a look at some of Elliott's film yesterday:
15 yard gain. 3 broken tackles. Ezekiel Elliott versus Cincinnati. https://t.co/OiUdI72ceZ— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 14, 2015
Ezekiel Elliott turns a six yard gain into a 13 yard gain by finishing on contact and finishing along the s... https://t.co/e4nTU9bg0I— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 14, 2015
RG Elflein has inside position. Armstead's swim alters balance. Elliott seamlessly reads it and reacts. https://t.co/ykHpZ5TH4h— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 14, 2015
Really appreciate Ezekiel Elliott's willingness to chip in pass pro. Consistently attacks the rib/chest area. Prevents illegal chop blocks.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) July 14, 2015
Watching those highlights makes me feel like a proud dad, which is weird, because I would probably be arrested for becoming a dad.
(Side note: Doesn't that time Elliott turned Purdue returner into red mist seem like it happened yesterday?)
GOOD GUY BRYCE HAYNES. Ohio State is so deep its long snapper is on a preseason watch list. As it turns out, Bryce Haynes is even better off the field.
On top of being a scholar-athlete, a devout doer of community service, and preparing for the MCATs, Haynes researched a cure for prostate cancer.
The next day, Haynes drove home to Georgia to begin a three-week job at the prestigious Emory University prostate cancer research lab. Haynes worked on replicating and tagging mitochondrial DNA of a specific mutation for a particularly lethal form of the disease.
“It was really awesome stuff,” Haynes said. “You hear about it in textbooks, but I never had full grasp of it until I went down there and did it. It’s all about finding a link between this mutation and prostate cancer.”
The urologist in charge, Dr. John Petros, has done federally funded research for 22 years. He said that Haynes worked on Petros’ most important project and that the experiments Haynes performed provided a small but crucial advance in the research process.
If they could straighten out this prostate cancer thing before I reach the age where I get digitally penetrated by a doctor... that'd be nice.
A.J. HAWK WILLING TO KILL AGAIN. Remember that time A.J. Hawk speared a drunk bro at a celebrity golf outing? He's totally down to kidney shot that drunk bro again at this weekend's American Sports Championship.
From NBCSports.com, via reader Greg Wiley:
A.J., if the guy is at the 7th hole again this year and asks you to tackle him, are you going to do it again or are you going to hold back this year?
A.J. HAWK: I have no problem doing it again. But I was talking about it with my brother who’s been my caddie every year I’ve played in this. We got to find a way to make it better.
Last year, like I said, it was one of those things that all kind of came together and everything worked out great. And I feel like it’s hard to duplicate that. So if those guys are there and they have a better idea, they’ve really been brainstorming, I’m very open to anything that they have that is legal and fun and nobody gets hurt. Yeah, I’m very open to it.
And another question is, so you’re now with the Bengals. What are your feelings on getting back into your home state there and playing?
A.J. HAWK: It’s been great being back in Ohio. I spent nine seasons in Green Bay. Nothing but great things to say and great memories there and was able to win a Super Bowl. And I love everybody there, from the front office down to all the fans. So it was a very special time for myself and my family.
And I knew once I realized I wasn’t going to be in Green Bay anymore, I definitely wanted to try to find a way to get back to Cincinnati.
The homecoming honeymoon will be over as soon as Hawk finds out he's on the hook for a holographic replay machine, should the technology be invented. (I grew up in Marion, and even I'm in awe of how much of a swindler Mike Brown is.)
STAY FROSTY, SILK. D'Angelo Russell signed a reported $23,000,000 contract on Monday, which is no doubt impressive for a 19-year-old. However, it's not all gravy:
How bad has it gotten? Heard TMZ is following around Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell trying to catch him messing around in Vegas #crazy— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 15, 2015
I cringe to think what TMZ would've caught me doing as a #teen millionaire in Vegas. Given my distaste for paparazzi and my overall general incompetence, there's no doubt it'd involve a bungled murder-for-hire plot.