Jeremy Birmingham/Landof10
Former Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel

Bye, bye to Brooklyn, Pat Elflein is getting ripped, Jared Sullinger is getting traded and more

Jeremy Birmingham

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.


Curtis Samuel, we officially bid thee adieu

As they’ve done all week, the Buckeyes social media team is spending some time celebrating recently departed Ohio State football players as they prepare to show out at the NFL Combine. On Thursday, the player of record is junior running back/wide receiver/all-around athlete extraordinaire Curtis Samuel.

These videos are a cool way to say goodbye to the kids we’ve grown accustomed to watching. I felt that Samuel, as explosive as he was in 2016, wasn’t ever given the chance to really shine in Columbus, and I think that was on the docket for 2017, really. Imagine how much different his career – and Heisman expectations heading into 2016 – might have been had Braxton Miller not transitioned to wide receiver and taken some vital reps from Samuel as a sophomore in 2015.

 Elflein is jacked

The human body is crazy, isn’t it?

Think about this: After five years in the Ohio State football program, Pat Elflein was in pretty “good shape” as far as people go. He’s an offensive lineman so he’s got a little girth, of course, but that’s expected and needed. That’s especially true when you spend five years doing weight training and nutrition with Urban Meyer’s right-hand man, Mick Marotti.

So consider all that, OK? Then consider that in just about six weeks, Elflein has had his body completely transformed, this time by former Buckeye and NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley.

Now the other side!

In the last six weeks, I’ve managed to get my hair cut once and I’ve shaved, I think, three times. Pat Elflein has gotten himself ready to be a certified NFL badass.

Save me, LeChuck.

Jared Sullinger gets a fresh start

Do you remember Jared Sullinger? The former Ohio State hoopster was the centerpiece of Thad Matta’s last real good teams at Ohio State and spent two years with the Buckeyes after winning all kinds of state honors at Northland High School in Columbus.

A former top 10 NBA draft pick, Sullinger had three solid seasons with the Boston Celtics (averaging 12.6 points and eight rebounds a contest) and last July signed a one-year free agent contract with the Toronto Raptors worth $6 million.

Then injury struck — a foot injury sustained in the preseason — and Sullinger has played just 11 games for the NBA’s Canadian ambassadors. Now Sullinger will get another new start. He was traded Thursday to the Phoenix Suns.

Here’s hoping that Jared is able to get back to 100-percent health and make the most of his time in the Valley of the Sun. He’s got just a few months to prove that he’s worth a big deal for another team this approaching offseason.

Salty or not salty: you decide

It’s been more than four years since Toledo native Nigel Hayes decided to commit to Wisconsin over a scholarship offer that came – probably too late – from the Buckeyes. Ohio State had focused its in-state efforts on Marc Loving in the 2013 recruiting class (Kam Williams was the only other signee). Hayes, the state’s fifth-best prospect (Loving was No. 2) decided his relationships with the Badgers, and the way they ran their offense, made more sense for him and off he went to Madison.

On Wednesday, Thad Matta recalled the recruitment with the Toledo Blade’s Nick Piotrowicz:

“We recruited the heck out of Nigel,” Matta said. “We tried to get him the best we could. I thought he was going to be a great, great player.”

Apparently Hayes doesn’t remember it that way.

After beating the Buckeyes last season, Hayes fielded a question about Wisconsin’s players from Ohio — now up to four — and said “I mean, (Ohio State) got the guys they wanted. I’ll take my two Final Fours and my wins and I’ll carry on my merry way.”

Then he gently tipped over the microphone and said “Mic drop” to laughter in the media room.

Both Hayes and senior Vitto Brown (from Bowling Green) said they have no hard feelings toward Ohio State. Their careers blossomed at Wisconsin and they believe their success speaks for itself.

“Freshman year (if) you asked me this, probably double fist clench, you know, high blood pressure talking about how I thought I was good enough to go there and I’m mad,” Hayes said.

“Now — everything happens for a reason — I’m where I’m at.”

Hayes has become one of the biggest stars in college basketball and one of the game’s most outspoken and well-known players. I don’t know if he’s really “over” the perceived slight from the Buckeyes, but it’s clear he’s still using it as motivation to beat up the Scarlet and Gray when he gets the chance. Too bad for Nigel that he fell short in his last game at Ohio State on Thursday night.

Either way, Hayes – like a number of in-state players Ohio State has passed over in recent years – has had a great career and developed into a sensational player. Maybe that’s why Matta and the Buckeyes have changed their recruiting approach in recent years to focus on Ohio-based players first?

B1G Happenings

• Nebraska wants to go head-to-head with Ohio State, Michigan in recruiting

Koenig breaks Badgers record in loss at Ohio State

• Michigan State beats up Nebraska on the hardwood

• Another day, another chapter in the weird Jim Harbaugh/Paul Finebaum romance

• Michigan WR has pretrial for alleged assault pushed back to March 16