Skull Session: PFF Grades Regular-Season Performances of Ohio State's Starters, Jeremiah Smith is “The Best of His Generation” in Florida, Pierre Agostini and The Crew Bring Glory to Columbus

By Chase Brown on December 11, 2023 at 5:00 am
O-H-I-O at the Nobel Prize ceremony
Ohio State News/Fanny Staveby Widinghoff

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Troy Smith took a picture at the Heisman ceremony.

Let's have a good Monday, shall we?

 REPORT CARD SZN. Ohio State's roster featured several standouts in the regular season, as the Buckeyes had 21 offensive, defensive and special teams players receive All-Big Ten honors for their performances in the team's 12 games.

Now that Ohio State has shifted focus to the Cotton Bowl, where Ryan Day and Co. will meet the No. 9-ranked Missouri Tigers on Dec. 29, it's the perfect time to reflect on the all-around efforts of those standouts.

To do so, let's look at the top-10 Pro Football Focus grades for players on Ohio State's offense and defense:

*Note: PFF grades on a 0-100 scale. According to NFL DFS, 100-90 is Elite. 89-85 is Pro Bowler (or All-American for college). 84-70 is Starter. 69-60 is Backup. 59-0 is Replaceable. A minimum of 100 offensive snaps during the regular season were required to make the lists below.


  1. Marvin Harrison Jr. - 89.9
  2. TreVeyon Henderson - 89.4
  3. Cade Stover - 77.8
  4. Kyle McCord - 76.4
  5. Josh Fryar - 76.4
  6. Chip Trayanum - 73.4
  7. Emeka Egbuka - 72
  8. Xavier Johnson - 69.3
  9. Donovan Jackson - 69.2
  10. Carnell Tate - 68

Honorable mentions: Josh Simmons (68), Miyan Williams (66.3), Julian Fleming (61.4), 


  1. Jack Sawyer - 90
  2. Jermaine Mathews Jr. - 86
  3. Josh Proctor - 81.2
  4. Tyleik Williams - 81
  5. Denzel Burke - 79.1
  6. Mike Hall Jr. - 77.5
  7. JT Tuimoloau - 77
  8. Sonny Styles - 76
  9. Ty Hamilton - 75.3
  10. Cody Simon - 74.8

Honorable mentions: Jordan Hancock (74.1), Lathan Ransom (74), Davison Igbinosun (71), Caden Curry (69.8), Steele Chambers (67.3)

As for me and my house, we will round up PFF grades.

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jack Sawyer → Elite.

TreVeyon Henderson and Jermaine Mathews Jr. → All-Americans.


I love it when Ohio State has dogs.

 “THE BEST OF HIS GENERATION.”  Chaminade-Madonna Prep star wide receiver Jeremiah Smith is the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2024, according to the 247Sports composite. In nine days, the Ohio State commit is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent and become a Buckeye.

Last week, The Athletic's Manny Navarro searched for better detail about Smith's dominant high school career, so he collected opinions from coaches and players who tried — and, more often than not, failed — to slow him down, as well as some veteran recruiting analysts in Florida. I've included a few of those opinions below.

50-Year Florida Recruiting Analyst Larry Blustein

“High school level in-state? He’s top three all-time. Andre Johnson was pretty good. Wes Chandler was elite. Ron Sellers dominated. I never use the word the best when it comes to comparing players in different eras. Different generation. Different times. Smith is the best of his generation. One hundred percent of the people covering or watching football now never watched the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s, so it really becomes subjective. But he is definitely the best of his generation.”

American Heritage Coach Mike Smith

“He’s a freak show. The size, the speed that he has, you see it in track, too, with the 110 hurdles. He runs over them like they’re not even there. ... He’s one of the top guys to ever come out of South Florida. ... He’s a matchup issue. Even when you think you’re doing a good job, you’re really not. He makes one play and blows the whole game open. You can scheme him all you want, bracket him, he’s still going to make plays because he’s so talented. That’s how you know he’s a special player. Everybody knows the ball is coming to him, and he still makes the play.”

Cardinal Gibbons 2024 Three-Star DB Guy Edmond

“His body plays a big part. ... He runs every route in the route tree. You must respect the go-ball, post or fade when he’s out there, which makes it so tough. This year they did a lot more with him at Chaminade. They didn’t just throw it up to him and say go get it. ... For me, it’s not just the body that makes him special. It’s the strides. He ran track, did hurdles, and you can see the difference. Once he picks his knees up, it’s hard to keep up."

Miami Central 2026 DB l J’Vari Flowers

“I figured some things out on film. He’s got a tendency to release outside leverage. So, I took it away from him. He still got me on one play. I bit and he got outside and got me. He’s big and physical. You can’t be overaggressive with him. ... "He was always one of the best. ... But when he hit his growth spurt, he hit another level. What really helped him was his growth spurt in the ninth grade. Jeremiah Smith is a dog. He’s never going to say too much. He’s just going to get his job done.”

Wait... so is he... good?

(I know he is good).

This season, Smith collected 88 receptions for 1,376 yards and 19 touchdowns in 14 games, according to MaxPreps. From 2021-23, Smith made 35 appearances for the Lions, recording 177 receptions for 3,030 yards and 45 (!) touchdowns.

In Smith’s final high school game on Thursday, he went off with 11 catches for 170 yards and one score. Chaminade-Madonna, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation according to MaxPreps, rolled to a 56-0 win over previously unbeaten Clearwater Central Catholic on the campus of Florida A&M to win its third straight state championship.

As Flowers said, Smith is a dog, and as I mentioned earlier, I love it when Ohio State has dogs – especially in Brian Hartline's wide receiver room.

Get this man on campus!

 A NOBEL O-H-I-O. On Sunday, Ohio State emeritus professor Pierre Agostini received his Nobel Prize in Physics in Stockholm, Sweden for his generation of attosecond pulses to study electrons.

He was 4,200 miles from his friends, researchers and students in Columbus.

The distance didn’t make a difference, however. 

Before the Nobel Prize ceremony started, those close to Agostini at Ohio State gathered in a lecture hall at the Physics Research Building and turned on the event’s live stream. When Agostini walked on stage with his co-winners, Ferenc Krausz (Max Planck Insititute of Quantum Optics in Germany) and Anne L’Hullier (Lund University in Sweden), the room erupted with applause and cheers.

Here are a few quotes from those friends, researchers and students about Agostini and his Nobel Prize, courtesy of Ohio State News.

Ohio State acting president Peter Mohler

“Being awarded the Nobel Prize is the pinnacle for a researcher’s career. ... Ohio State is so proud of professor Agostini and his achievements, and we look forward to seeing his lab and the Department of Physics continue to expand on his groundbreaking work.”

Ohio State graduate student Dan Tuthill

“Pierre is just such a deserving person. ... It is a great triumph for a very long line of work. ... (He is) a wonderful person to work with. Just extremely knowledgeable. ... You’ll give a presentation and three hours later he will come find you and say, ‘I’ve been thinking about this – let’s talk about it.’”

Ohio State dean's advisory committee member Sherry Chan

“It is a culmination of a lot of work here. ... Ohio State always had the knowledge and the research, and now we are recognized on an international stage.”

After Agostini accepted the award with Krausz and L’Hullier, he walked toward the back of the stage, where he created an O-H-I-O with Ohio State chair of physics Michael Poirier (left), professor of physics Lou DiMauro (middle right) and dean David Horn (right).

Nobel Prize
Photo: Fanny Staveby Widinghoff

That rocks.

Congratulations to Agostini and his colleagues.

THE Ohio State Buckeyes remain World Famous!

 GLORY TO COLUMBUS. On Saturday, the Columbus Crew secured its third MLS Cup in 28 seasons with a 2-1 win over LAFC at Field. A goal from Yaw Yeboah in the 37th minute made the difference in the championship match, as THE black and gold team held off a ferocious second-half comeback from the other black and gold team to claim the league title.

While I am not a diehard Crew fan, I was overwhelmed with Columbus pride as the Hometown Team™, head coach Wilfried Nancy – the first Black head coach to win the MLS Cup – and captain Darlington Nagbe lifted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy in the stadium, which remained packed with Columbus supporters for hours after the final whistle.

I think Ohio State general manager Mark Pantoni shared the same sentiment. 

Cheers to the Crew.

Note: For those interested, the Crew will hold a championship parade on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. The procession will start at 3rd Street and Nationwide Boulevard near Huntington Park and Nationwide Arena and will end next to Field, where a celebration and rally will occur.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Mariner Boy” - Amble.

 CUT TO THE CHASE. Thousands descend on NYC for the annual Santa-themed bar crawl SantaCon... Californian passes state bar exam at age 17 and is sworn in as an attorney... Extremely rare white alligator is born at a Florida reptile park... Nebraska had a rare 4.2 earthquake Sunday. Here's what locals felt... Humanoid robots are doing some lifting in Amazon's warehouses.

View 66 Comments