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- Ohio State's players supported Urban Meyer's decision to retire.
- The Buckeye defensive line hopes to go out with a bang.
- With a strong performance in the Rose Bowl, Dwayne Haskins finish with 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
- A recruiting notebook ahead of the early signing period.
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Word of the Day: Austere.
BUCKEYES AT THE TOP OF THE BOARD. We're never really outside of mock draft season for the fine folks who produce and consume mock drafts, but with the college regular season behind us, they now make sense for the rest of us, too.
Mel Kiper put out his most recent update, and he's got both Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins in his top 10.
From Mel Kiper of ESPN.com:
1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
I don't expect the core muscle injury that ended Bosa's Ohio State career to affect his draft stock. He could go wire-to-wire as my top-ranked prospect. The last guy to do that? All the way back to ... 2017, when pass-rusher Myles Garrettended up going No. 1 overall. Bosa is an elite pass-rusher who is advanced for his age in his technique -- you can probably thank his brother, Joey, and dad, John, both former first-round picks. He'll finish his Buckeyes career with 17.5 sacks in two-plus seasons, most of which were in a loaded line rotation.
7. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
There's a lot to like about him as a prospect: has has a big arm, shows great anticipation on his long throws, takes care of the ball and has solid athleticism (though he's not a great runner). The high ceiling is there, and that's what NFL teams want. With 46 touchdown passes and just eight picks -- plus an utter domination of one of college football's best defenses in Michigan -- Haskins has first-round potential, and he is right behind (Oregon's Justin) Herbert on my board.
Kiper also has Parris Campbell as the No. 2 receiver in the draft, Michael Jordan as the No. 3 center, Dre'Mont Jones as the No. 9 defensive tackle and even gave Drue Chrisman some love, listing him as the No. 5 punter/kicker in the draft.
It's looking like draft could be another Buckeye Football Public Service announcement.
BILLY DAVIS STAYING? I think it's been widely assumed that there would be some major shakeups in the coaching staff this offseason, particularly on the defensive side of things.
But that's not exactly how things seem to be trending at the moment.
From Jeremy Birmingham of Lettermen Row:
“It was a major surprise to me,” he said. “[Ohio State linebacker coach Bill] Davis said that they will still be recruiting me and nothing is going to really change.
“He said the recruiting process is getting further along. He came up to the school last week and was telling me about the Urban Meyer situation.”
Ohio’s 31st-ranked 2020 prospect has not had a chance to meet Ryan Day, but he’s been kept informed of the lack of major changes so far at Ohio State — including with the role as linebackers coach for Davis.
“I haven’t met Coach Day yet, but you don’t become the head coach at Ohio State if you’re not a great coach,” he said. “And Coach Davis said he would be staying.”
That's certainly... Something.
And with Greg Schiano missing out on that Temple head coaching job, there aren't many more potential landing spots for him, either.
We'll see how this all plays out, but keeping the entire defensive staff intact after statistically the worst defensive season in program history seems a tad ill-advised. But again, I'm just a fellow with a laptop and all of this is far from final anyway.
URBAN MEYER HAVING FUN AGAIN. This has not been an extremely fun season for Urban Meyer, but you can best believe his enjoying his last few weeks still being head coach, but with no stress attached.
From Mitch Stacy of Associated Press:
"Usually coach Meyer is really tough on us, but it brings the best out of us," running back Mike Weber said. "But lately it is good to just see him smile and joke around and everything is not always about football. You get to enjoy him kind of like a father figure, just enjoy having normal conversations and see a different side of him."
"Seeing a smile on his face brings a smile to your face," receiver Johnnie Dixon said, "because you see nothing but joy and know he's at peace right now."
Despite emerging with an 11-1 record, a second-consecutive Big Ten championship, Rose Bowl berth and No. 6 ranking, this season was a rough one for the seventh-year Ohio State coach.
It's crazy how when you remove a mountain of pressure and stress from someone, they immediately start to enjoy life a little more. Unfortunately, in this case, walking away means giving that mountain to someone else.
BEST IN THE LEAGUE. I honestly did not believe he would keep up this pace, but here we are with just a few games remaining in the season and Michael Thomas is still the top receiver in the NFL.
Michael Thomas is the NFL's highest graded receiver in the NFL so far this season. pic.twitter.com/ROzozDoHEV— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 13, 2018
I should feel pleased by this, but instead I feel pain and remorse at what could have been.
I'm going to be rolling around in my grave, eternally tormented by the fact that a Hall of Fame receiver came through Ohio State and he was underutilized so badly that he was just third-team All-Big Ten his final season.
Third-team All-Big Ten.
Talk about the offense neglecting Zeke all you want, but honestly, he got his when he was at Ohio State. But the guy who is literally the best-performing wide receiver in the NFL – and by extension, the world – was just third-team all-Big Ten.
That offense should have scored 90 points a game.
But at least we'll always have this:
THE ULTIMATE RECEIVER HIGHLIGHT TAPE. Shifting gears, we move to a completely different – but arguably more impressive – highlight from Johnnie Dixon.
PSA: If someone told you that you need the ball to make a highlight, you were lied to!— Keenan Bailey (@CoachKeeOSU) December 13, 2018
Every rep is a chance to impress..
just watch @YoungKing_JD5 respond to two bad plays...
Covering 70 yds after an INT shows as much as his 1k yds / 15 TDs in 2 seasons does! #BeDifferent pic.twitter.com/cevtjSl2oJ
That tape is absurd. In the second clip, he gets knocked down once, and blocked multiple times but still fights to make the tackle. And he's a wide receiver.
Ohio State's going to miss this kind of stuff from their veteran receivers next season, but the way Urban Meyer talks, it seems like they've had such an impact on the younger guys that culture's going to carry on for years.
And that seems to be a theme. I didn't think Ohio State would ever find another Evan Spencer, and then Terry McLaurin came along. The guys coming in know that's the standard, and they'll carry it.
And it's not like it missed a beat when Brian Hartline took over. The culture's the same as it's always been, but honestly the execution and development is at a new level.
FRIENDSHIP TEST. Billy Price and Sam Hubbard were Buckeye starters together, Ohio State captains together, and now they're Bengals rookies together.
They're pals, and they decided to prove it.
Sam gets the obvious L for guessing that "William" – which is shortened to "Bill" – was his middle name. Though Billy Bill Price would be one hell of a name.
I also love that Sam put down Pat Elflein for Billy's sports idol, mostly because that's not a bad guess at all.
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