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Why is this news?: Ohio State has optimal setup for title run; JHU women's lacrosse added to B1G

The Big Ten expands again, and Ohio State is looking good for a few more titles

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

"Now, with seven returning starters entrenched on both sides of the ball, talent in all areas and a title under their belts, the Buckeyes’ challenge is to find a way to maintain an edge. Fortunately, they’ve got one of the game’s top motivators under the headset."

-Athlon Sports

Ohio State is loaded as they head into the 2015 football season. Coming off a national title run and losing only a handful of starters, the Buckeyes are poised to repeat.

A potent office, led by one of three outstanding quarterbacks, is typical of Urban Meyer’s squads in its high speed and opportunities to score. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is already considered by many to be a Heisman Trophy candidate, and combined with sophomore Curtis Samuel and incoming freshman Michael Weber, the rushing attack is nothing short of terrifying for opposing defenses. Receivers like Michael Thomas also spread the field. Moreover, unlike last season, the Buckeyes are returning four starters on the offensive line, a group that showed massive improvement last year.

The defense is also in a great position. Defensive end Joey Bosa is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The only loss to the linebackers was senior Curtis Grant, but his backup, Raekwon McMilllon, saw significant playing time last year and is one of the biggest hitters on the team.  The secondary is also secure, though someone will need to step up to replace departed corner Doran Grant.

As for special teams, the Buckeyes are returning their starting placekicker and punter in Sean Nuerenberger and Cameron Johnston, as well as the ever elusive Jalin Marshall on returns.

Who will have the top 2016 recruiting class in college football? 247Sports evaluated current prospects to predict which school will come out on top come National Signing Day next February.

LSU landed the top spot, with 314.11 team rankings points, which would beat out Alabama’s score of 311.08 last year. LSU is now ranked No. 3 nationally with 251.86 points. George would move up five spots to No. 2 overall, according to the projections, with a score of 301.52.

Currently, Florida State has the top 2016 recruiting class with 18 commits, three of whom are five-star recruits. In the 247Sports projections, however, the Seminoles would drop to No. 3 with 293.88 projected points. Alabama has had the No. 1 recruiting class for the past five years, but ranks fifth nationally according to 247Sports’ projections with 280.76 points.

Ohio State comes in at No. 4 in the projections with 283.58 points, but is currently ranked No. 2 with 16 hard commits and 254.06 points. The Buckeyes’ top-rated projected addition is five-star defensive end prospect, Nick Bosa (Joey Bosa’s little brother).

The 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings combine components of major media outlets and recruiting services into one score to provide a comprehensive analysis of each player and team.

"We are excited to add another strong program from a premier institution with a passionate fan base to continue growing the sport of lacrosse both in the conference and on the national scene."

-Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney

Johns Hopkins women’s lacrosse was accepted as an affiliate member of the Big Ten Conference, according to an announcement by the Big Ten Wednesday. With the addition of Johns Hopkins, the Big Ten will have seven women’s lacrosse teams in competition starting in the 2016-17 academic year. Currently, Maryland, who won the NCAA tournament this year, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers all compete in the Big Ten.

Starting in 2017, the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will be in the same conference for the first time in their program histories. The men’s team had always been an independent prior to joining the Big Ten.

The Blue Jays have been in division I since 1999, though they have been playing lacrosse for 40 years. Last year, they made the NCAA tournament, losing to Penn State in the first round. They competed in the American Lacrosse Conference until 2014, when the conference dissolved and they began competing as an independent. The women’s team had previously competed against Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State in the ALC.

The men’s team from Johns Hopkins participated this past season in the first year of Big Ten lacrosse. He Blue Jays won the Big Ten Tournament and a share of the conference title, ultimately losing to Maryland in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

Ohio State named its 2014-15 athletes of the year yesterday. Senior wrestler Logan Stieber won the men’s honor, while Ashley Bauer, from the women’s rowing team, earned the women’s title. The two will go on to compete at the conference level, with the winners being named at the end of the month.

Stieber capped his career at Ohio State by winning his fourth national title, only the fourth wrestler in NCAA history to do so. He also won the Male Athlete of the Year honor last year for Ohio State.

Bauer led the women’s rowing team to its third consecutive national title, and is also the third-straight rower to be awarded the Female Athlete of the Year honor. She also earned the 2015 Big Ten Rowing Athlete of the Year and First Team All-American honors this past season.