Per Ezekiel Elliott's father, it looks as though the star RB's surgery went well. Elliott went under the knife Friday to have some repairs done on his nagging wrist injury, an ailment that already required one surgery last August. It didn't seem to bother him much in season, as Elliott ran wild all over the Big Ten and the College Football Playoff this past year.
Elliott is an early 2015 Heisman Trophy favorite, regardless of who lines up under center for the majority of the Buckeyes' snaps at quarterback. No. 15 amassed almost 1,900 yards on the ground in 2014, helped by his hero-ball performances against Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon, and assuming he's at 100% heading into the fall, there's no reason he couldn't match those numbers again and establish himself as college football's best back.
"Do we have challenges with young people who aren't really prepared the way they should be to attack college education? No doubt about it."
-Ohio State AD Gene Smith, via ESPN
This week has seen the emergence of a document called "A Year of Readiness," which proposes (at least within the Big Ten) the possibility of making freshmen ineligible to compete in college athletics. Proponents of the movement to hold all freshmen out of competition cite a number of reasons for their stance, including increasing academic readiness in the first year, easing the transition to college life and expectations, and making athletes more ready for competition.
Gene Smith is among the camp that acknowledges that the system is somewhat flawed as-is, but is on the fence as the whether freshman ineligibility is really the answer. "I have not been a proponent of freshman ineligibility, but I keep my mind open that maybe it's something we have to consider," Smith said. Michigan State AD Mark Hollis has a similar viewpoint, saying that college sports need to be more than a feeder league for pro sports, but that making all freshmen automatically ineligible is probably not the answer.
Supporters of the proposition include Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, who believes that the "runaway train" of the recruiting process puts a lot of undue pressure and fanfare on young athletes, who then struggle to make the transition to college sports and college life. Maryland President Wallace Loh, meanwhile, believes that the move will improve graduation rates, though he has not made clear how that could happen without also reforming the abilities of underclassmen to enter both the NBA and NFL drafts.
"It was pretty tough and a lot of doctors said I shouldn't have played. But it's the national championship game and it's my senior year, how are you not going to play?"
-TE Jeff Heuerman, via Cleveland.com
Despite a nagging injury that will keep Jeff Heuerman from running at the NFL Draft Combine this weekend, he's hoping that he'll still be able to show teams the kind of toughness that they're looking for. One possible destination from the under-utilized offensive weapon? The Cleveland Browns. There's a decent chance that the Browns will not be able to come to terms with current TE Jordan Cameron, who has alluded to wanting out of Cleveland. Even if the team slaps the franchise tag on Cameron and forces his hand, they'll still need a long-term solution at the position, as Cameron would almost certainly walk after his tag year.
Heuerman, for one, believes he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL, be it in Cleveland or elsewhere. "They're going to get a tough, smart football player, and that's what I've been talking about," Heuerman told Cleveland.com. "I'm a four-down tight end. You see so many guys only catch balls, and guys that only block. I pride myself in being able to do it all," he said. He didn't always get the chance to showcase his catching and route-running skills in Ohio State's up-tempo, speed-oriented offense, but there's little doubt that a team will take a chance on the talented tight end.
"The Wolverines are just 6-8 in conference play and 13-13 overall, likely needing to win the Big Ten tournament to earn a bid to the Big Dance."
The Ohio State men's basketball team hasn't beaten the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor since 2012, dropping three straight in that stretch. But tomorrow's matchup gives them a great shot to get over the hump on that score. Michigan's ordinarily strong program is floundering this year, scraping by at .500 and not looking worthy of even bubble consideration for the NCAA tournament. Their struggles this year include a loss to NJIT, who are easily among the worst of the 350-odd programs in college basketball.
The Buckeyes are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State last weekend, in which a Denzel Valentine 3-pointer buried Ohio State just before the buzzer. That same Spartans team just beat the Wolverines by double digits. While the Buckeyes haven't looked great in Ann Arbor the last few years, they did shellack John Beilein's squad to the tune of 71-52 back in January, and D'Angelo Russell has only gotten better since that meeting. Still, the identity of this Ohio State team still isn't one with sure footing, and the Buckeyes shouldn't sleep on the Wolverines -- they'll need to avoid losses in games like this going forward, with only a few weeks left before the end of regular-season play and the start of the Big Ten tournament.
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