The Wake-Up Call: Herbstreit tabs Buckeyes for playoffs, a future Buckeye focuses on the present and more
Welcome friends, to The Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, Aug. 23, 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 look forward to sharing it all with you.
It was wild a Monday around the Buckeyes football program so let’s not waste time talking about the little things, OK?
Let’s dive in.
Breaking down a busy Monday as 2016 fall camp ends
There was a lot of stuff going on Monday and almost – without exception (at least, if you’re a Buckeyes fan) – it was good news. Let’s review the key parts of the day.
- Ohio State’s top-ranked 2017 recruiting class added two 5-star wide receivers. The nation’s third-ranked wide receiver, Trevon Grimes, brings a big, skilled outside threat to Urban Meyer’s offense while the country’s fifth-ranked wide receiver, Tyjon Lindsey, is a true slot receiver that Ohio State has not recruited since 2014. After the announcement, a number of Ohio State commitments commented on the big additions.
- Moments later, the media had a chance to meet with Urban Meyer, Zach Smith, Kerry Coombs and a handful of Ohio State players. Meyer’s press conference was short, but he did take a little time to break down the Buckeyes’ depth chart with less than two weeks before the season, among other topics:
- The week is all about getting “game ready” for the Buckeyes in order to determine who the starters will be.
- Wide receiver Torrance Gibson, it was revealed, had been dealing with a hamstring issue and missed almost two weeks of practice.
- Dwayne Haskins, Jr., a true freshman quarterback, is “pushing” Joe Burrow to be Ohio State’s backup quarterback.
- Three more Buckeyes – freshman linebacker Keandre Jones, freshman defensive back Jordan Fuller and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Josh Alabi – had their black stripes removed.
- Meyer called junior running back/wide receiver Curtis Samuel the best playmaker on the Buckeyes roster.
- Meyer wants Ohio State to be more balanced on offense, just like in 2014.
- Corey Smith has changed his life around, says wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
- Cornerbacks coach/special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs says one starting cornerback spot is up for grabs.
- Get to know more about Ohio State freshman defensive back Rodjay Burns.
Josh Myers focusing on senior year not future at Ohio State…kind of
One of Ohio State’s six 5-star 2017 commitments, Miamisburg (Ohio) offensive lineman Josh Myers, will enroll in January, so he is obviously aware that high school is ending soon. Yet, he’s trying to remain focused on his senior year with the Vikings.
“I’m leaving in January so I don’t have a whole lot of time left in Miamisburg,” Myers said. “I’ve grown up here and my whole family has played at Miamisburg. There’s just a whole line of us. It means a lot to me. I’m so excited for this season, and I love the guys we’ve got. We’re so close.”
Myers, committed to Ohio State for the past 18 months, has not visited other schools – and has no intention to do so. That doesn’t mean he’s been unable to travel, though.
In July, Myers attended an invitation-only football camp at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. He attended, but didn’t participate in, an annual Friday Night Lights at OSU for Buckeyes prospects who hadn’t yet earned an offer.
In between, Myers has bonded with future OSU recruits and envisioned his future with both the Vikings and Buckeyes.
“It’s been a great summer,” he said. “I was extremely busy. I got to spend a lot of time with our team and it’s been kind of surreal, this whole thing. I’m getting ready to leave in four months so I’ve been soaking in everything I can.”
The highest-ranked member of Ohio State’s recruiting class, Myers checks in as the country’s 10th-best overall prospect. Pendleton says Myers has caught the eye of a rival head coach, Trotwood-Madison’s Jeff Graham, with Ohio State connections.
“The biggest thing is I love that he’s from our area,” said Graham, a former Ohio State University standout receiver. “Sometimes, you don’t get a lot of recruiting going on from (OSU) close to Dayton. I’m so glad and happy for him and his family. He has the size. You watch film on him and he’s moving everybody out of the way.”
With true freshman Michael Jordan getting ready to put his stamp on a starting spot at guard, is Myers in a position to do the same in 2017 when Ohio State replaces three-year starter Billy Price?
Is replacing Darron Lee the biggest challenge for the Buckeyes?
When you take a look at the sheer talent that the Buckeyes are tasked with trying to replace from last year’s uber-talented roster, you might get a little dizzy trying to label one guy as the most important to replace. Ezekiel Elliott? Good choice. Joey Bosa? Absolutely a monster talent. Mike Thomas? Sure, he was great, too.
But according to Kyle Jones of elevenwarriors.com, the toughest player to replace is Darron Lee.
Lee was an ‘every-down player,’ meaning he never came off the field despite the situation. Against straight-ahead running teams like Michigan, who often featured multiple tight ends and a fullback, Lee lined up inside like a traditional linebacker and showed a desire to stick his nose into the most physical situations.
Of course, Lee’s immense physical talents helped him be that guy, so how can you expect to replace him? Obviously, you can’t do it with just one guy, but Chris Worley and Jerome Baker, both Cleveland natives, will try.
“Obviously, Darron is unique in his own right. Chris will have his strengths that aren’t the same and every guy has a little bit different. The reality for Chris is he’s gotta focus on being the best version of himself when focused on his strengths.”
According to Worley, the chance to work alongside Lee will help him stay focused on those strengths.
“I pushed Darron every day to try to get on the field. Coach Fick can vouch for that,” Worley said last March during spring drills. “My biggest thing was I was never competing against Darron. I was competing against myself. I was just trying to get myself better every day. If I take care of myself, then I’ll put myself in a good position to play.”
Kirk Herbstreit picks Buckeyes for CFP playoff
Disclaimer: Just because Kirk Herbstreit went to Ohio State, and was a captain at Ohio State, doesn’t make him beholden to Ohio State’s interests.
That said, it appears Herbstreit, the venerable ESPN analyst, is a pretty big fan of this year’s Buckeyes team, thanks mostly to veteran quarterback J.T. Barrett. Speaking with ESPN, Herbstreit gave his predictions for this year’s college football playoff. Ohio State is firmly in his mix.
“I think Ohio State still comes out of the Big Ten. I think J.T. Barrett, despite all their losses, will be able to allow Ohio State to maneuver through their schedule and get there to win a Big Ten Championship.”
Alongside the Buckeyes, Herby has Alabama and Clemson as teams he feels “pretty good about,” and he said he’s leaning towards TCU as the final team to join them.
Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach is paiiiiid | Michigan suffers a key decommitment in their 2017 class…and their 2018 class | Sparty names a starting quarterback, and so does Rutgers and so does Purdue | Nebraska’s “Boneyard Bash” welcomes students to Memorial Stadium | DJ Durkin comes from coaching royalty and is looking to turn Maryland into a winner | How to make Penn State fun again