"Perry is a highly respected individual in the Ohio State program and has the skills to be an every-down linebacker in the NFL."
When discussing the top defensive players on Ohio State's team, Joshua Perry is not one of the first couple of names that are thrown out. But Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com says that he should. The senior linebacker has had an excellent career at Ohio State and has been one of the many leaders for the Buckeyes on the defensive side of the ball. Playing alongside big names such as Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, Darron Lee, and Raekwon McMillan, it makes sense that Perry doesn't immediately come to mind. But his impact has been just as large, if not more.
Brugler states that Perry not only has all the tools to be an every down linebacker in the NFL, but that the senior also has a skill-set that in a diverse defensive scheme, is extremely valuable to NFL teams. Already a sure-tackler, Perry is also efficient in coverage, as you might have noticed against Minnesota, when defending a receiver one-on-one and breaking up a pass that otherwise might have been a big play or even a touchdown. And Vonn Bell's interception for a touchdown? You can point to Perry's rush of the quarterback that helped force the key turnover.
"Being able to make the right plays and do the right things and make the right decisions as a point guard, I think I failed tremendously at that. Just in some game-time situations, I don't think I made the right decisions as a player, as a point guard."
Ohio State sophomore Kelsey Mitchell had a ridiculous freshman campaign playing for the Buckeyes last season. The first freshman in NCAA history to ever lead the nation in scoring was phenomenal and helped lead Ohio State to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. Not to mention she accomplished this against the 19th toughest schedule in the country last season. An All-American, averaging 24.9 points a game, Mitchell comes into this season with high expectations. But while everyone else has been praising her performance thus far, Mitchell says that there's quite a bit for her to improve on.
With her teammates finally healthy, Mitchell is prepared to try and lead the team - not just in scoring - but on and off the court as well. Ohio State will need her and the rest of the women's basketball team to be at their best right out of the gates. The Buckeyes open the season with a blistering two games as they travel to No. 2 South Carolina on Friday and then return home to host No. 1 Connecticut on Monday. You can catch the latter on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
"It was a devastating injury, period, no matter who has it done. But specifically, the transformation he made and the work he put in to have the camp he was having, he was probably going to be one of our top two or three wideouts. I was so excited to see him play in a game."
On the surface, Noah Brown's injury earlier this year might not have raised too many eyebrows to even the most knowledgeable Ohio State fans, but when you look at the entire picture it becomes quite clear the impact that the loss had on the Buckeyes' receiving core. Brown suffered a broken leg at the end of training camp, and was ruled out for the season. The sophomore wideout was primed for a breakout season as a major threat for Ohio State, and most of the defensive backs on the roster can attest to that.
Starting cornerback Eli Apple said himself that early in training camp nobody on Ohio State could cover Noah Brown because of his physical play style and his proficiency with his hands. With the Buckeyes' receiving core missing a large chunk of their roster (five of Ohio State's top nine receivers), it's obvious that not having Brown available hurts even more than when the news initially broke. The position is certainly one of the most depleted units on the team, but has managed to continue producing, led by Michael Thomas. Jalin Marshall, Braxton Miller, and Curtis Samuel have done an excellent job at wideout as well, but you can't help but wonder what could have been.
"It sucks that you don't really get to see him a lot. I think about that every now and then. I wish he was out there on the field with me because it's a lot of fun. You want to see a guy with a lot of energy? Man, you have to see Chris Worley."
There's a good chance that many of the stars you see on defense this season won't be here in the next season. In addition to losing Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, and Joshua Perry, there are key playmakers that have the option to opt to try their skills on the next level. Players like Darron Lee and Vonn Bell could decide to make the jump to the NFL, especially considering the performances they've had over the past two seasons. But Lee says Ohio State has nothing to worry about in terms of replacing talent. In fact, Lee said himself that the player backing him up at linebacker, Chris Worley, is just as good as him.
If Lee were to sit on the sideline for a game, he's more than confident that Worley would not only get the job done, but essentially make it seem like Lee never left the field. Worley is a sophomore and went toe-to-toe with Lee for the starting linebacker job a season ago as the two battled it out in training camp to see who would replace Ryan Shazier. Worley was narrowly beaten out by Lee, but it could have been flipped just as easily. Worley still has two years of eligibility after this season as well, so it's finally his time to shine.