COLUMBUS, Ohio — At Ohio State, the news cycle keeps on spinning.
The Buckeyes just welcomed nine early enrollees and set a date for the 2017 spring game. It’s never too early to start thinking about next season, and this week’s questions show that.
Let’s get to the mailbag.
@rmginn what wide receiver has a breakout year this upcoming season?
— Mr. Ramone T Conley (@ramonetyrelle) January 18, 2017
Good question, as there is certainly no shortage of options. Off the top of my head, two names come to mind — Binjimen Victor and K.J. Hill. I think Hill’s been a bit underutilized during his career. He probably should have played in 2015, and I think he should have been targeted more in 2016.
If I had to choose one I’ll give a slight edge to Victor. He’s going to be a guy who everyone ends up wishing would have played more last season. His combination of size and athleticism is going to be lethal, especially after he spends a full offseason at Ohio State. (He wasn’t an early enrollee and was rail thin coming out of high school.) It’s pretty easy to envision him being dominant in the red zone, but I think he’ll torment defenses from any spot on the field.
@rmginn 2/2 the O line was a problem last year. Will existing players or incoming players or coaching impact it most?
— Jessica (@Buckeyetxgirl) January 18, 2017
That’s a position where experience is huge, so I’ll say the Buckeyes will be most helped by existing players. All-American Billy Price will move to center, so that’s one crucial spot taken care of. The entire left side also should be free of worry. Jamarco Jones didn’t get a ton of credit for a great season, but he should. Furthermore, look for him to make the second year left tackle leap that made Jack Mewhort and Taylor Decker a lot of money. I think people also might not have realized what they had in Michael Jordan until he had to leave the Fiesta Bowl. Now imagine him what he’ll do when he’s no longer a true freshman.
Isaiah Prince didn’t hold up very well against the best defensive lines (understatement of the year), so that will have to change. I think at the very least it’s reasonable to have some optimism. He’s built like an elite tackle, and he’ll have a year of experience under his belt and an entire offseason to improve. Plus, Malcolm Pridgeon should be healthy and back in the mix to push him.
Right guard could be a concern based on what we saw when Jordan was injured. To me, the best bet is that either Matthew Burrell steps up this season or either Wyatt Davis or Josh Myers plays well enough to win the job as a true freshman. Starting true freshmen in back-to-back seasons on the offensive line isn’t ideal … but neither is the depth situation at that position.
— Man in Black (@614president) January 18, 2017
You’ve answered both of your questions quite well. To me, the expectation at Ohio State will always be something along the lines of “compete for a conference championship and playoff spot.” As we’ve learned the last three years, the playoff spot can really go either way depending on when you lose and who it’s against. Ohio State should always expect to be in the playoff picture, though. On top of the immense talent on the field, there may not be a better head coach-coordinator trio nationally than Urban Meyer, Kevin Wilson and Greg Schiano.
As mentioned above, Victor and Hill are two names to watch. If healthy, true freshman Trevon Grimes could also make an impact. And yes, I also think Austin Mack will find his way onto the field more regularly. I’m not overly optimistic that the upperclassmen will show anything more than they have already. Wide receivers are what they are by Year 4 in the program.
@rmginn Does Lynn Bowden end up in the class
— Young Hot Ebony (@JayCallo) January 18, 2017
I don’t think so, which is a bit disappointing. I think he’s good enough to play at Ohio State. However, I tend to believe that the recent pursuit of out-of-state receivers like Ty Jones and James Robinson shows the coaching staff’s mind is made up on the in-state guys.
On the bright side, I watched his highlight video Tuesday and the motivational speech overlaying it will have you doing a week’s worth of work in a day and searching for ways to change your life. It’s occasionally interrupted by play-by-play but still worth the listen.
@rmginn who has inside edge on backup qb?
— nathanba champs (@crabdribbling) January 18, 2017
I’m going to go with Dwayne Haskins, but I think it’s a mistake to sleep on Joe Burrow. He looked great in the 2016 Spring Game, the only time he’s gotten extended playing time. There’s no doubt in my mind he can play. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the way teammates and coaches have been talking about how Haskins has looked in practice. For that reason, I’m giving him the edge right now.
— Jackson Schultz (@Jackson_Tyler20) January 18, 2017
Not very good, but only because this class is historically great. Depending on how the final rankings from recruiting services shake out, the 2017 Ohio State class could tie the record for most 5-star commits in one class during the internet era. Meyer will either land more or as many 5-star prospects in this class as the rest of his Ohio State tenure combined. Those classes weren’t too shabby, either.
This class is truly the fruits of Ohio State’s 2014 national championship. When all these players were first being recruited, Ohio State won a national championship and put together a 23-game winning streak. Recruiting will never fall off with Meyer in charge, but it’s hard to imagine replicating something like this.
Non-Ohio State Question of the Week
@rmginn are you taking Saturday off work
— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) January 18, 2017
Yes … I’m getting married!