Ohio State’s unique recruiting success, Joey Bosa lauds Zeke while Buckeyes’ new NFL prospects stand tall in pre-draft rankings

Jeremy Birmingham

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Today is Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.


How unique was the 2017 Ohio State signing day haul?

It’s been a week since signing day but the superlatives coming out about the group of young men signed by the Buckeyes hasn’t stopped.

Yes, the class was talented — as the second-ranked group in the country, that’s not a surprise — but just how unique it was is hard to quantify.

Mike Farrell of Rivals.com found a new way to try, though:

Never in the history of Rivals.com has a program landed a top-five prospect from each of the big three states — California, Florida and Texas — until 2017. Ohio State has made history by pulling this off. Alabama and Florida State came close this year as the Tide had two of the top five in Florida and Najee Harris in California, but no one in the top five from Texas, while the Seminoles had Josh Kaindoh in Florida and Marvin Wilson from Texas but no one from California. The Buckeyes landed No. 5 in Florida (Shaun Wade), No. 3 in California (Wyatt Davis) and Nos. 3 and 4 in Texas (Baron Browning and Jeffrey Okudah). This is simply amazing.

When all was said and done, the Buckeyes signed players out of nine different states in 2017.

It’s a good time to be Ohio State.

Brothers don’t shake hands … brothers gotta hug

Considering they were teammates — and roommates — at Ohio State, it’s not unexpected or unusual that Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott are saying nice things about each other. After bursting onto the NFL scene during the 2016 season, Bosa and Elliott have become two of the league’s most marketable and high-profile young stars.

During Super Bowl weekend, the NFL’s newly minted Defensive Rookie of the Year raved about his good friend during Super Bowl weekend.

From Brandon George of the Dallas News:

“He’s a superstar and I love what he’s doing,” Bosa continued, “and I’m really proud of him and he’s going to have a lot of great years in the NFL. Everything is true what you guys think about him. He’s a monster.”

Though Elliott fell short of winning the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award — losing out to his teammate Dak Prescott — even Bosa is surprised by the huge rookie year the running back had for the Cowboys.

“Just seeing him take over the league like he has,” Bosa said, “is unbelievable.”

Ohio State’s 2017 NFL Draft prospects

If you’re expecting another Buckeye wash of the NFL draft in 2017, you shouldn’t. Yes, Ohio State dominated the 2016 iteration and yes, the Buckeyes lost a handful of players early to the league again. But five first-round picks again is unlikely.

Three, though? That could happen. At least that is how Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller sees it. His constantly changing evaluations currently have three Ohio State prospects inside the Top 20 of his pre-draft player rankings.

  • No. 5 — Malik Hooker
  • No. 12 — Marshon Lattimore
  • No. 18 — Gareon Conley

And it doesn’t end there for the Buckeyes. Miller includes six total Ohio State stars, including the aforementioned three, in his Top 75.

  • No. 63 — Raekwon McMillan
  • No. 67 — Curtis Samuel
  • No. 71 — Pat Elflein

If you’re wondering, Miller has Michigan utility man Jabrill Peppers at No. 23 as a safety.

Matta, Buckeyes searching for right combo

If Ohio State’s basketball game is going to make the NCAA NIT sure that Thad Matta wins 20 games this season — he’s never not won 20 — then the Buckeyes (14-10, 4-7 Big Ten) are going to have to rip off a handful of wins in a row. They host Rutgers on Wednesday night and are coming off a big win at Michigan last Saturday night.

So now it’s time to do something they’ve failed to do over the last few seasons: be consistent. To do that, they’ll need to find the right mix of starters and minutes — and that’s where the Ohio State focus is for Wednesday’s game.

From Tim Shoemaker of elevenwarriors.com:

“I think guys getting better and understanding their roles and getting more comfortable out there obviously helps that,” Matta said Tuesday ahead of the game against the Scarlet Knights. “I think that’s ultimately what you want is everybody has a real good understanding of what they need to do to help the team play better.”

Playing better leads to confidence and that’s what Matta needs from his basketball team if it hopes to stack up some Ws. That’s been easier said than done during an up-and-down season.

“I want to see us string something together,” Matta continued to elevenwarriors.com. “I think for this team to have confidence is not probably a good thing for them because we’ve still got a lot of work to do. I think we’re playing better in the last week but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

B1G Happenings

• Was Shaun Wade the biggest recruit yet for Urban Meyer and Ohio State?

• Win the Super Bowl, lose the ball. That’s never a good idea

• Penn State gives back to former player Devon Still’s foundation

• Caleb Swanigan earns two national players of the week awards