Skull Session: Buckeyes Among the Top 100 NFL Players, Joe Burrow's Toughness, and Liam McCullough Hype

By Kevin Harrish on July 17, 2019 at 5:59 am
Ohio Stadium is ready in today's skull session.

As the law states, I am obligated to share with you any online video I've watched more than five times.

And folks, we're wayyyyyy past that point with these.



Word of the Day: Dern.

 TOP-100. When you pump players into the NFL at the rate Ohio State has over the past few years – especially in the first round – eventually the entire NFL starts to have a Buckeye flavor.

And folks, that's exactly what we've got.

Jared Dublin of CBS Sports put together a list of the top-100 players in the NFL heading into the 2019-20 season, and six of those players used to wear the Scarlet and Gray.

13. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

Thomas had 92 catches for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, and has somehow only managed to get better since then. Last season, he led the league with 125 grabs -- catching a completely absurd 85 percent of the passes thrown in his direction. A First Team All-Pro last year, Thomas should continue to be the top receiving option for one of the best offenses in football. 

24. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott has been in the league for three seasons. He has led the league in rushing yards twice, and led the league in rushing yards per game in the other season. (He was suspended for six games due to a violation of the personal conduct policy in 2017.) Last year, he finally tapped into his skills as a receiver as well. With a new offensive coordinator it's possible he could be used in even more creative ways and become even more productive. 

T-46. Joey Bosa, EDGE, Chargers

Bosa began his career with a holdout and an injury but has been about as good as you could possibly ask a player to be ever since. He had 10.5 sacks in 12 games as a rookie, 12.5 in 16 games as a sophomore, and 5.5 in seven games after returning from injury last year. As long as he's on the field, he's an elite edge defender.

78. Cameron Heyward, DE, Steelers

Coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, Heyward appears to be at the top of his game right now. He's got 20 sacks, 40 quarterback hits, and 26 tackles for loss over the past two years, numbers that rank second, fifth, and third among defensive tackles leaguewide. 

T-95. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Saints

Lattimore was not quite as spectacular as a sophomore as he was during his rookie campaign, but in all fairness, it would have been difficult for him to be so. He was still very good for a quality Saints defense, intercepting two passes, forcing four fumbles and recovering three; and among the 73 corners who played at least 600 snaps, Lattimore was one of just 27 who allowed two or fewer touchdowns. 

100. Malcolm Jenkins, S, Eagles

Jenkins has made the Pro Bowl in three of the past four seasons and graded as the NFL's sixth-best safety last year, per Pro Football Focus. He's strong against both the pass and the run, and most importantly for a defense that has routinely dealt with injury issues in the secondary, he has not missed a single game during his five years in Philadelphia.

Four of those six players have only been in the league three seasons or less, and I've got a strong hunch a few more Buckeyes will be joining this group in a season or two. So this list could get just a little crowded with familiar faces.

 TOUGHEST QB IN THE COUNTRY. My favorite thing about SEC Media Days has been the Internet's utter fascination with Joe Burrow.

From his road runner socks (which he wears because he's "too fast), to his long-winded response about food when asked to compare Ohio and Louisiana, to whatever he hell this is, everyone loves Joey B.

And they love him in the fall too because as interesting and quirky as he is off the field, but he might be the toughest quarterback in the country on it.

From Ross Dellenger of

HOOVER, Alabama — Joe Burrow remembers tucking a stool into his locker and then collapsing onto the floor. He’d never passed out before so this was all new. His body was devoid of nutrition after one of the longest games in college football history, LSU’s seven-overtime, five-hour marathon loss at Texas A&M in which Burrow attempted 38 passes and ran 29 times. One minute, he lay on the visiting locker room floor. The next, he was on a table with an IV in his arm and trainers feeding him cookies and applesauce. And then he saw his parents, ushered inside by team personnel for one of the scariest sights any parent could see—their son a literal example of a human body giving out after a football game. The issue was serious enough that it delayed the team from departing Kyle Field that night, trainers tending to the Tigers’ star quarterback before finally helping him to the bus. “To see somebody put that kind of effort, desire and passion in a game,” longtime head LSU trainer Jack Marucci says, “it’s probably one of the first times I’ve seen anyone get into that kind of state of fatigue.”

Eight months later, toward the end of his five-hour twirl through SEC media days Monday, Burrow says of the episode, “It’s not my favorite memory of the season.” But isn’t it the most Joe Burrow thing of the season? He is, after all, heralded as the tough guy with gobs of grit, a player who seeks collisions and refuses to slide, who as a backup quarterback at Ohio State begged Urban Meyer to play on the kickoff team. What’s more Joe Burrow than collapsing onto the locker room floor after a football game? “He literally,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron says, “left it all on the field”—almost too much of it.


But back to that tough side of Joe Burrow, the one that had him collapsing after a football game. “He’s a competitive guy, the tough guy, the Midwest kid you want,” Marucci says. “One thing you don’t have to teach him is grit.” Burrow’s junior season highlights are compiled in a YouTube video post titled “Toughest QB in College Football,” and it has more than 15,000 views. There’s the clip in which Burrow drags a Florida defender a few yards on a QB keeper, and the one where an Ole Miss defender pummels him to the ground at the goal line. There are some from the pocket, where he stood upright in the face of pressure to deliver a couple of significant third-down completions in the big win at Auburn last September. How about the clip of him stiff arming a Georgia defender in a move that resulted in 30 more yards?

I think Ohio State's quarterback situation played out just fine last season with Dwayne Haskins making paper snowflakes with Ohio State's passing record book, and it will continue to play out just fine with the highest-rated prospect in program history taking over behind him.

That all makes it reallllllllllly easy to earnestly root for Joe Burrow every time the Tigers are on my television in the fall. And based on the fan support he still receives even at Buckeye football games, I think most feel the same way.

 QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD. It looks like the most famous lawyer in College Football is going full Calvin Johnson and getting out of the game while he's still at the top of his game.

Mr. Mars carved out a unique niche for himself with his undeniable ability to win those cases, but the thing is, he never asked for that. It sounds like he basically just got tired of it, which is totally fair.

I mean, what a strange world we live in that I'm now blogging about a specific lawyer's career move on an Ohio State sports website, and y'all are going to be legitimately interested.

Godspeed, Tom.

Not only did he give us Justin Fields, he helped us avoid an entire offseason of bitching from Michigan fans insisting the latest beatdown would have been different if Shea Patterson was eligible.

 BEST DAMN LONG SNAPPER IN THE LAND. Tell me, at any point in the past three seasons, have you ever had to care about Ohio State's long snapper? That means Liam McCullough is doing a damn good job.

More than that, for the second-straight year, he was basically the best snapper that wasn't on an active NFL roster.

So basically, McCullough could have been in the NFL after his redshirt sophomore season, because that's when he was outperforming everyone else.

It would have been my absolute favorite thing to see a redshirt sophomore long snapper leave early and inevitably find his way onto an NFL roster, but I'm glad I stayed. I mean, he's on an All-American watch list.

But when he does head to the professional ranks of life or football after this season, the job will stay in the family. Ohio State will just pass long snapping duties to his brother, Roen.

 SEE COVELLI. We gave y'all a nice little sneak peak at the Covelli Center about two months ago, but now you can see it with your own eyes if you so desire.

Ohio State's opening up the doors to the brand new wrestling/volleyball/gymnastics/fencing facility to anyone who wants to check it out.

The event is from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday. It's totally free, though parking is $5 and food will be available for purchase from The Iron Grill BBQ food truck. There will also be activities for children, tours and an opportunity for a meet-and-greet with Tom Ryan.

I personally am a huge fan of behind-the-scenes tours, because it makes me feel infinitely more important than I really am, so I advise everyone go.

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