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Chicago Connection


MEMBER SINCE   June 10, 2016

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Comment 29 Mar 2020
Injury can always have an adverse impact, but incredible depth minimizes any downside. This looks like a yearly playoff team as the far as the eye can see, and the odds are that playoff appearances with this much talent starts converting to National Championship trophies. Of course, you never know when Penn State or some other team might step up to cause problems in a given year, but the way things are shaping up, that might be more likely to translate to seeing two Big Ten teams in the playoffs vs. OSU being on the outside looking in. To me, it looks like the order of overall program strength in college football might be steadily shifting from Alabama Clemson/OSU to Clemson/OSU/Alabama to OSU/Clemson/Alabama. It's just nice to know that the Great Satans of this world don't always win, and God's plan eventually prevails.
Comment 28 Mar 2020

Great comment, Silver.

Mindset matters (as does the system and mindset of the coach you play for), and Henderson reminds me of J.K.--not just because they both committed to the Buckeyes without visiting campus, but he really seems to have a strong sense of himself, his skills, and knowing what he wants.

I might add, I'm not sleeping on Pryor, either. He just might be more of a J.K. comp per his style of running. Thing is, J.K. was a bit more like Henderson in high school and as a college freshman, darting around a lot more and flashing breakaway speed more often, and while that never exactly went away, he developed more size/muscle mass and rounded out his skills with more of a one-cut style + power. 

Anyway, the combination of Henderson and Pryor gives us unique 1-2 punch--sorta something like having two J.K. Dobbins and Curtis Samuels in the backfield at the same time.

BTW, while I understand a certain degree of skepticism about 1-2 punches ever truly materializing in a way that the sum winds up being greater than the parts (for example, while Weber and Dobbins were both great running backs in their own right, I'm not sure the combination of the two ever added much to the equation, other than depth (on top of which, they rarely took the field at the same time), I think a Pryor-Henderson tandem will be an exception.

To put it another way, putting Weber and Dobbins on the field at the same time didn't really add any particular threat to opposing defenses, whereas I think the skills of Henderson-Pryor are far too complementary--and Ryan Day is far too smart of a tactician--to NOT exploit their potential to put defensive coordinators on their heels. 

When you combine the skills of these RBs with the crazy talent at WR, defenses will be left scratching their heads about who to cover and how, because you simply don't have enough skill to match the offensive talent spread all over the field.

All that Ryan Day needs to do is prove that he can adapt his play calling to the talent on his roster and manage the embarrassment of riches, and so far, he's certainly shown that he's capable of that. 

Comment 28 Mar 2020

Well, Fritzle, it'll be an all-time fizzle (pun intended) if we don't wind up with at least one of these two guys, that's for sure, but they seem far more solid than any of the primary targets at RB last year.

Mind you, I absolutely loved Robinson as a prospect, but I always had my doubts that he'd be a Buckeye, whereas with Pryor and Henderson, they both seem to know what they want, appear to be very level-headed, complement one another really well, and fit exceptionally well into the program, not to mention roster needs.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I'm just not very concerned that either guy will decommit, and I just never felt secure with Robinson. 

Comment 28 Mar 2020

I'm not sure if anybody can clam to be "in the know" about which guy will be better until they start playing (or, better yet, maybe not until after their college careers are over).

In short, IMHO, until proven otherwise, your opinion is as good as anybody else's.

Besides, it's not as if we could even expect the recruiting "experts" to be unanimous about which guy will turn out to be a better player. Plus, there are too many X factors involved anyway, such as who played with a better coach, QB, WRs, and offensive line? Who got more carries? Who stayed healthy?

And so on. 

Speaking for myself, I've been on the record in this forum for saying that the best available RB recruits over the past 10 years have been Ezekiel Elliot, J.K. Dobbins, Bijan Robinson, and now TreVeyon Henderson, so, at least from my perspective, it's pretty amazing that the Buckeyes have signed 3 out of 4 of those guys. 

Oh, and if Pryor turns out to be better than anybody on this list--fine by me. He's certainly got the potential, but as far as what I expect to see, well, it looks like it's gonna be the scariest two-headed monster to fly out of any college football backfield in a long time. 

Comment 28 Mar 2020
Gotta love it--the two best backs in the class (IMHO). The way things are developing, no roster is going to have more collective talent on the offensive side of the ball (including coaching) for the next few years, and the defense is on its way to matching the offense.
Comment 24 Mar 2020

All true, but it'd still be the best haul in OSU history, and while (as you point out)  it technically wouldn't be the best in terms of NCAA history, I included the word "maybe" per how their recruiting rankings might turn out relative to their eventual performance on the field, which, of course, is TBD

IMHO, Chubb and Michel would probably top that chart (i.e., rankings + performance), but Henderson and Pryor have the talent to surpass that tandem, and in fact, it'd make for a nice goal for them and the program.

Anyway, first things first--let's sign Henderson--or none of this discussion will matter.

Comment 17 Mar 2020

The combination of Henderson and Pryor would be an all-time RB haul for the Buckeyes, and when you add that to an unprecedented WR room (and getting better) plus top-notch depth at QB (and getting better)--not to mention coaches that know how to use their tools, well...

The offensive side of the ball looks a promising and secure as, well, heck, it looks better than it ever has.

The very fact that (at least for the moment) this statement can be made without flinching (only one year AFTER a guy named Urban Meyer left the program) means that this is not only a very, very, very good time to be a Buckeye (or Buckeye fan), it's historically good.

The Athletic Department might want to stock up on bulk purchases of Windex and brass polish--or whatever else is needed--to shine up National Championship trophies.

Comment 16 Mar 2020

Great signing (obviously)--and while I'd certainly be happy with Edwards, I've got my fingers crossed for Henderson, which would put the Buckeyes crazy over-the-top vs. any other program, and I'd fully expect them to do a lot of damage even as freshmen.

Comment 13 Mar 2020

Sports concerns obviously take a back seat to health concerns, but for what it's worth, the "scary" possibilities referred to in this article will take place on a level playing field, if not now, then eventually, and who knows if it'll benefit or hurt OSU (or anybody else). For now, first things first.

Comment 12 Mar 2020

Sad but true. That said, I still think the context and circumstances surrounding the results should matter (at least to a degree) in terms of gaining an accurate assessment of how effective or ineffective a recruiter might really be vs. simply having a bad year or two.

Thing is, while we all want to hear verbal commit from great players (or even rumors about a 'silent' verbal commitments), it can actually work against your program if it prompts your other top targets to quickly move on, thinking:

"Well, now, I'm not gonna bother visiting OSU or taking them very seriously because they've already got a commitment from a top-rated player that they must have preferred to me."

As long as your guy signs, who cares, right? Trouble is, if your verbal commit suddenly de-commits on you, it's often too late to get your former targets to reconsider going to your school. Ergo, you come up empty-handed, and as a result, it looks like the coach/recruiter did a worse job than he really might have done. 

Alford seems to have run into a bit of this problem, which likely means that he hasn't "lost it" in terms of his ability as a recruiter.

That said, beyond just plain bad luck or getting mixed signals from a player, the recruiter still needs to be discerning enough to judge how solid any verbal commitment might be, and then adjust his efforts accordingly (maybe even going to far as to discourage a verbal commitment), because at the end of the day, it's the bottom line that matters, which is...

You either recruit players that are good enough to meet your school's standards or else you coach 'em up enough to produce to your school's standards, and if either objective isn't met for a long enough time, you'll be looking for another job.

Comment 11 Mar 2020

I agree with all of the above to different degrees, and that's the thing--much of this is a matter of degrees, so that's it's easy to have a couple of quirky years where things just don't go your way in what amounts to an anomaly, much the same way that things can go the other way and you suddenly score big.

Still, at some point, coaches have to score big at OSU, whether or not it's their "fault."

Stud is a pretty good example of this. He had a couple sub-par years where things didn't go his way, and by all accounts, he was one year away of being shown the door without any improvement. But then, voila!

Suddenly, his efforts paid off, and now he's riding high and knocking down top recruits while fielding THE best offensive line in the country going into the 2020 season. I suspect we'll see similar results with Alford, but he's got 1 or 2 years to make his case, and I'm just curious how much, or how long, Day would tolerate sub-par recruiting and/or productivity?

 

Comment 11 Mar 2020

Sure, I would, hands down. It doesn't mean the other guys aren't good--they're obviously highly rated backs for good reasons, and by no means would I complain if that's who lands on our roster. I'm just saying I think there's a degree of separation between Henderson and the other recruits.

I'm guessing you think otherwise, and if so, I wouldn't criticize your opinion because the other guys look great. For that matter, maybe Edwards and Pryor will be stars while Henderson is a bust. I mean, it's just one guy's opinion, and like anybody else's opinion, it doesn't come with any guarantees.

Still, Henderson is one of those rare "special" backs who stands out from the rest of the pack in a way that only Elliot, Dobbins, and Bijan Robinson have stood out to me (at least to my eyes).

Fortunately, OSU got two of those three guys, and it remains to be seen how Robinson fares under Herman (personally, I expect him to be instrumental in leading the Horns to overtaking this year and threatening a playoff spot).

Comment 11 Mar 2020

It's great to see Javontae Jean-the-Baptiste (head dunker and soul cleanser of wayward QBs) making a big-time surge, because who the heck knows just how good he might be?

Thing is, he was recruited with an eye towards becoming an eventual "retroactive 5-star recruit," that is, he's one of those guys who, in hindsight, looks like he always 'should have been' a 5-star and wasn't, but only because he needed to add enough size and refine his technique and toolkit.

If he continues his ascent, the sky's the limit, and OSU nation might be surprised by how big of a role he plays in the upcoming season.

To put it another way, this guy always had something in the neighborhood of Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison talent--he just didn't have their measurables and skills, but now... who knows?

Just because he was a 215 pound, #219th-rated outside linebacker in his class doesn't mean he can't pull off a Sam Hubbard-like transformation at DE... or better.

As for Jacoby, as many folks here have observed, OSU seemed to be taking a bit of a risk by signing a bunch of local and relatively lower-rated O linemen over the past couple of years, but they clearly saw something in those guys. Were they right?

Well, it's still too soon to say, and they'll clearly need a couple of those guys to pan out to prove they knew what they were doing, and most importantly, help OSU to win games, but so far, so good.

Of course, we already know that Dawand Jones might prove to be THE steal of his recruiting class, but it sure is great to hear another guy is putting in the work and showing results. To that end...

Jacoby struck me as the guy with the most potential to prove he was underrated, and it's great to see him taking Step One in the process of blossoming into a possible future starter, as well as a guy who might (surprisingly) provide some immediate added depth.

Day and Studrawa gotta love it. After all, football coaches and stock market traders always look savvy when they buy low and sell high, whether it's because they recognized an undervalued asset that some other coaches didn't or simply because they developed the asset themselves.

Either way, as long as the gamble pays off, right?

Meanwhile, we can't quite put Kamryn Babb in the same category, since he was such a highly-rated recruit, but in the wake of his serious/persistent injuries, his resurrection in 2020 would count as a major find--sorta like digging up lost or buried treasure in your back yard.

If Babb can become what everyone hoped he might be when he originally committed to OSU, man, the NCAA might have to step in with some new rules to protect defensive backfields across the land.

I'm thinkin' every day is gonna be a Field's Day in 2020.

In any case, this is what Spring is all about--some of the guys that fans (and maybe even coaches) didn't give a second thought suddenly emerge as viable contributors, if not budding stars.

But if it happens, it won't happen by accident, so congrats to each and every one of Mickey Marotti's workout warriors--you've worked your asses off to start flipping the field on the long odds against you.

Rest assured, we're all noticing out here, so NOW...

Take it to the next level, boys!
 

Comment 11 Mar 2020

As for Alford, I say it's definitely too early to pull the plug on him, because he's already proven that he can coach at a high level, and the position has always been highly productive under his tutelage.

That much is indisputable.

However, I'm not sure there's enough evidence to 'conclude' that no matter who's on his roster, he'll be able to maintain roughly the same level of productivity.

The 2020 season will go a long way towards providing Exhibit A that he can coach up lesser rated players to a satisfactory level, although I think the RB room features some underrated star-power (we'll see).

But if the 2020 results are sub-par and drag down the performance of the offense, and then he fails to recruit a top 50 back next year, which is followed by a second straight sub-par year, well...

I'm thinkin' that 4 years of sub-par recruiting + 2 years of sub-par performance = walking papers... it's time for a change.

Thing is, at that point, the program simply couldn't risk a 3rd year of sub-par performance followed by a 5th year of sub-par recruiting. Not at Ohio State.

IMHO, the above standard is pretty fair, and by no means picks on Alford, because ANY OSU coach (including Ryan Day) that produces 2 years of sub-par production in their role + 4 years of sub-par recruiting likewise would be shown the door.

But I'm curious if anybody disagrees?

If so, what measuring stick(s) might you use as to determine whether or not any given coach should be retained on staff or let go?



 

Comment 11 Mar 2020

There's been lotsa talk about lotsa running backs with lotsa names tossed into the ring, but I'd take Henderson by a wide margin. Frankly, I'd rather have him and the best available 3-star back than any other combination of available RBs.

Best prospect since J.K.

OSU needs a home run hitter, and the Budkeyes are way overdue to sign a guy who can be a difference-maker as soon as he steps on campus. This is the guy and he'd be a star as a freshman.

Comment 03 Mar 2020

Man, if Day lands Spindler and Latham on top of Christman and Jackson, that's a star-studded line of top 100 recruits on the O line alone--and he's got a legit shot to pull it off.

Not to be greedy, but all he needs to do now is add a top Center to the equation. Trouble is, there aren't many top 100 or 300 Guards and Centers on the board, but, gee, maybe it's time to go after James Brockermeyer (#102) down In Texas.


Meanwhile, hmm...  I wonder if any team has ever recruited a full suite of top-100 offensive linemen, i.e., 2 Guards + 2 Tackles + 1 Center?

Comment 02 Mar 2020

I love the guy's tape and think he'll be a "stud" at the college level--half-pun intended. I previously thought he'd be a long shot to choose OSU, but now it sounds like there's a real chance.

If his words count and he's saying the same things to everyone, i.e., his comments here reflect his true aspirations--then IMHO, OSU really would be his best choice.

Comment 22 Feb 2020

While nobody's exactly slamming Nicholas Petit-Frere--and I certainly understand all of the excitement about Dawand Jones's and his potential--I think Petit-Frere is being way, way, way underrated and undersold.

Personally, I think he might have the most upside of any of our O linemen given his smarts, athleticism and ability to move, which is saying a lot considering the exceptional level of talent the Buckeye's have.

You might say the same about Dawand Jones, but in reverse, i.e., whereas Peteti=Frere needed to gain some weight and grow into his new body, Jones needs to continue to lose some weight and grow into his new body.

To me, the only thing standing between Pettit-Frere and stardom has been said 'quality' weight gain, and now that he's largely achieved that, his only obstacle is playing time, which I fully expect to happen this year. 

As a basis of comparison, I'll be genuinely surprised if Petit-Frer eis not only considered to be better than Munford in 2020 (which is no knock on Thayer, who I fully expect to be great). but I suspect he'll be seen as one of the best linemen in the nation by the end of the upcoming season.

Sure, I know people will inevitably scoff, "c'mon, man, the guy hasn't done anything yet," and/or "the guy couldn't beat out Bowen or Munford, so slow your roll," but there are valid reasons for him not playing the past two years. Besides, people said the same sorts of things about Myers and Davis before last year (not me), but by the end of the year, they were both being praised as two of the best O-linemen in all of college football.

People also thought of Munford as a low rated recruit with limited upside because the rating services told them so (same with Dawand), but that's not what I saw on tape. I said Munford was easily the most underrated O-line recruit that year, which has largely proven to be the case.

Of course, Petit-Frere was about as highly rated as you can get--all for good reason--but some guys just take a little longer to adapt, such as with weight. Granted, nobody's writing him off as a bust quite yet, and I understand people not being as sold on his potential as I am, but I do think there's a bit of a gap between perception vs. reality with him, or as I see it, a wee bit of misperception vs. reality.

In short, I don't think Petit-Frere is getting his due, but... hey, no matter, we'll soon find out what he brings to the table.

My guess is that he'll wind up being a Second or Third Team Big Ten O lineman in 2020 (even if he deserves better) and then a first round draft pick in the Spring of 2022.

Book it.

 

Comment 12 Feb 2020

Well, not guilty until proven guilty, but, man-oh-man, I can't say it looks good or sounds good, and if true, what a loss--and, of course, in saying that, my first concern isn't about a loss for a football program (to Heck with the program as far as that goes), but more importantly, what an immense loss for the young woman in question (in so many ways).

And what a damn shame if these men didn't lose a damn thing, but more tragically, they chose threw it all away. I mean, sure, I hope they're innocent, yet at the same time, it's not as if I hope the young woman is lying. So... what can I hope for?

For now, I'll just admit the obvious--I wasn't there, and whatever happened, I can only hope that justice is done, whatever that might be.