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Why is this news?: John Cooper named recipient of the 2016 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, Tommy Schutt is back

All the big Ohio State news, in one helpful place.

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"Former Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State head coach, John Cooper, has been named the recipient of the AFCA's 2016 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award."

- Ohio State University release

Per the university's release, The award is given to those "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests in football," and will be presented to Cooper at the AFCA Awards Luncheon on January 12 during the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The now 78-year-old Cooper coached Ohio State from 1988-2000, where he won three Big Ten titles, and led the Buckeyes to three bowl wins, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1998 Sugar Bowl.

"I'm very, very excited to receive such a distinguished award from the American Football Coaches Association," said Cooper. "I've been honored as a coach of the year and I've been inducted into several halls of fame, but it doesn't get any better than this, to me. I look at the past recipients who have received this award and I think, ‘Holy cow, what did I do to deserve this great honor?' I'm very honored and thrilled and I'm looking forward to coming to the convention and accepting the award. I'd also like to thank everyone responsible for making this possible: my former players and certainly my coaches and my colleagues."

"The hardest adjustment was really getting used to playing with this cast on and having to deal with that for the rest of the season."

Tommy Schutt, via Austin Ward, ESPN.com

We hadn't seen Tommy Schutt on the gridiron since he suffered a wrist injury in the Buckeyes' 38-10 victory over Penn State October 17. Schutt had surgery fairly soon after the injury happened, and missed the Buckeyes game against Rutgers, gained time in the bye week, and missed the most recent game against Minnesota. Schutt will be making his return Saturday against Illinois, and will be sporting a huge club on his hand to protect the injured wrist.

The Buckeyes defensive line has played well despite Schutt's absence, and Ohio State fans across the nation should be excited for his return. It isn't often you have a defense so special that missing a key player on the defensive line goes without a ton of noise, and the Buckeyes will be that much better with him putting his hand in the turf and getting after the quarterback. He had gotten his first sack of the season in the game that put him out, and he is looking forward to getting back to that.

"One of the most-hyped teams coming into the season, the Buckeyes' defense has found their groove after a tumultuous start."

Luke Mueller, ProFootballFocus.com

Mueller has Ohio State ranked third in his top five defenses in college football behind Michigan at No. 1, and Alabama at No. 2. While Ohio State has a ton of NFL talent on that side of the ball, the consistency has been shaky at times, but overall, if the only defenses ranked ahead of you are Michigan and Alabama, you could be doing a lot worse than that. In fact, Mueller has Joey Bosa as his top graded edge defender, so at the very least, the elite talent is recognized.

Tyquan Lewis is leading the Buckeyes in sacks this season with 5.5, and is trailed by Sam Hubbard, who has 4.5, and Joey Bosa, at 3.5. The Buckeyes have 11 players with at least half of a sack, which is unsurprising when you consider how the Buckeyes seemingly have multiple guys on the ball at any moment on defense. The Bucks also have 3 players with two interceptions, in Vonn Bell, Gareon Conley, and Tyvis Powell. The Buckeyes are talented from the defensive line to the secondary, and in any given game, it's not a matter of when they'll make a play, but a matter of who.

Joe Lunardi has Ohio State as his last team out in his latest Bracketology

Joe Lunardi, ESPN.com

Ohio State has not been a team that you would hear about often in national preseason college basketball talk, but that does not mean that this team won't be fun to watch, talented, or have success. Joe Lunardi has the Buckeyes as the last team out of the NCAA tournament in his latest Bracketology, and while you might not think that's a great sign, the Buckeyes could be a lot worse off.

We got our first glimpse of the new talent that Thad Matta and his staff brought in from the 2015 recruiting class in an exhibition that the Buckeyes won over Walsh, and we saw a lot of good. There is a good group of talented young Buckeyes that will be competing in a Big Ten Conference that is one of the best on a consistent basis every season. If the Buckeyes can win the non-conference games on their schedule that they should win, and string together a few really good conference wins, don't be surprised to see the Buckeyes in the tournament.

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