Should I stay or should I go, Ohio State not only Big Ten team to bomb in bowl game, and more

Colin Gay

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Today is Tuesday, Jan. 3, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 

It’s that time of year

With Ohio State’s football season officially over after the 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night, several Buckeyes have an important decision to make: Do they continue their career at Ohio State or enter the 2017 NFL Draft? 

For some, the decision is easy. Senior C Pat Elflein knew he would enter the draft in 2017 once he decided after last season he would be back for his final season in a Buckeye uniform.

But on Monday, sophomore S Malik Hooker announced that he would enter the draft early after one year of starting at Ohio State.

On the other side, All-American G Billy Price is following in the steps of Elflein and will stay in Columbus and move to center next season for Ohio State. Also, DE Sam Hubbard announced following the Fiesta Bowl that he will return to Ohio State for the 2017 season.

Now, those are all of the definites. Junior LB Raekwon McMillan, sophomore CB Marshon Lattimore and junior CB Gareon Conley have been projected to go mid-to-late first round in many mock drafts. H-back Curtis Samuel, after a fantastic junior campaign, could make a big impact for any NFL team with his versatility. None of these players have announced yet whether they will declare or come back to Columbus.

No matter who stays or who goes, one thing is certain: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer will have a very different team when the 2017 spring game comes around.

Follow all of the latest NFL Draft news for Ohio State on Land of 10’s Ohio State NFL Draft Tracker.

Malik Hooker vs. Jabrill Peppers: Round 2  

With Hooker declaring for the draft, the argument about whether he or Michigan S/LB Jabrill Peppers is the better NFL prospect is set to heat up. One Bleacher Report NFL draft writer already made his opinion clear.

Why is this the case? First, look at what Hooker did in his only year as a starter for Ohio State. He was third on the team in tackles (74), with 5.5 tackles for loss, including a sack, was third on the team in pass deflections (11) and led the Buckeyes in interceptions (7). That is not to mention that he brought three of those interceptions back for touchdowns.

Second, those interceptions were due in large part to his success in the pro-style defense associate head coach Greg Schiano brought with him to Ohio State. The secondary — not only Hooker but Lattimore and Conley, as well — perfected the ball-hawking style that the NFL thrives upon. These wide receivers on defense proved very difficult for opposing quarterbacks in college and will fit right into any NFL system.

There is no doubting Peppers’ versatility or his defensive ability. However, Hooker may be a better fit and a smoother transition into a pro-style defense. We will see who gets their name called first come April 27.

Big Ten teams struggle in bowls

Ohio State was not the only Big Ten East team to struggle in the postseason.

As a whole, the Big Ten went 3-7 in bowl games, with Northwestern, Minnesota and Wisconsin the only winners.

The conferences that gave the Big Ten the most trouble were the ACC and the Pac-12. The ACC won three of the four games against the conference, all three against members of the Big Ten East: Clemson beat Ohio State, Florida State beat Michigan, and Boston College beat Maryland. The Pac-12 won two of three matchups against Big Ten opponents: Utah beat Indiana and USC beat Penn State 52-49 Monday night in a thrilling Rose Bowl. Minnesota did, however, beat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.

The Big Ten is going to have to perform much better next bowl season to convince people this is the best conference in college football.

Help out Thad Matta 

Every year, college basketball coaches team up with ESPN and Infiniti for the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. Ohio State coach Thad Matta is trying to rack up votes for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.

Ohio State’s social media presence seems to be working: Matta is currently in first place. If Buckeyes fans need any more motivation, Michigan coach John Beilein is not far behind him.

Vote for Matta here.

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