The Wake-Up Call: Dontre Wilson’s last shot, Ohio State’s scholarship crunch and more
Welcome, friends, to The Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.
We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – six days a week – 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 and we look forward to sharing it all with you.
Let’s get started.
Can a healthy Dontre Wilson star for OSU?
Once billed as the future of the Ohio State offense under Urban Meyer, Dontre Wilson has been more of an afterthought the past two seasons because of injuries.
The Texas native put together a decent debut season in 2013 during which it seemed he was perpetually one step away from breaking loose for a big score, but a broken foot in 2014 against Michigan State cut short his season, and nagging injuries prevented him from making much of an impact in 2015.
With one season of eligibility left and other H-backs like Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall no longer present to take away touches, Wilson is looking to go out with a bang. Via Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News:
“From my freshman to my sophomore year, it was every week going up and up,” Wilson said. “The injury, that’s something you can’t control. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better. This summer was pretty much different from all my other summers. I worked a lot harder, practiced on a lot more things, pretty much just perfected my craft, getting my game right for the season.
“I feel this year y’all probably will finally get to see me for who I really am.”
Ohio State has a numbers problem
With fewer than 10 scholarship seniors and 16 commits in the class of 2017, there’s no secret that Ohio State is creating a numbers problem for itself at the rate it’s recruiting. Sure, there will be attrition from injuries, transfers and underclassmen leaving for the draft, but Ohio State doesn’t know what those numbers will look like.
What it does know is that it probably won’t be 15-20 players that fit into those three categories, which is what makes recruiting the current class — a historically great one — so difficult. As Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com notes, the Buckeyes are already having to walk away from some recruits that they’d jump at in most years because they simply won’t be able to fit 25 players in this year’s class.
If saying no to elite-level prospects is already happening, that’s how Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class is paying the piper for the numbers crunch. The country’s 2017 class is perhaps the deepest class talent-wise in the history of recruiting, and the Buckeyes are restricted from signing 25 or more guys like it usually does because of the numbers. That definitely hurts.
Ohio State’s not done recruiting, though. And from this point forward, every commit Ohio State accepts into its 2017 class is being taken without knowing where the spot is coming from. That spot has to be freed up somehow, and it’s such a difficult game to play, to take a commitment now only to figure out how things fit later.
Barrett makes SI’s players to watch
Sports Illustrated released a list of 10 players to watch in the Big Ten, and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett made the cut.
He was the only Buckeye on the list, with other candidates like center Pat Elflein and linebacker Raekwon McMillan unable to garner a mention. Michigan was the only school to have two players make the cut, with both Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers checking in.
SI believes the lack of a quarterback battle will pay off for Barrett and the Buckeyes this season.
After splitting time with Cardale Jones last season, Barrett will finally have the quarterback position to himself for the first time since he helped get the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2014. He only threw for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns in all of last season after throwing for 2,834 yards and 34 touchdowns in ’14.
Larry Johnson will have you ready to suit up
Ohio State has been releasing daily videos of assistant coaches mic’d up at practice, and Wednesday’s was a doozy.
With a theme of The Edge this year, Larry Johnson Sr. gave a talk to the team about what it takes to be elite instead of average. If you excuse me, I’m going to go watch this speech again before transcribing some quotes.
Very lucky to have a coach like Larry Johnson on this staff to push our team past THE EDGE to become ELITE pic.twitter.com/9eD0FiEd0i
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) August 17, 2016
Jim Harbaugh is getting paaaaaaaaaaaaaid | Wisconsin’s running back situation is taking shape | Rashan Gary’s Michigan teammates dish out praise for him | Nebraska coach Mike Riley likes his team’s attitude | Indiana could have its own place in the Olympic medal standings | Penn State freshmen OL draw rave reviews