"I've always been a guy who was overlooked, so I respect my work ethic. (The Lakers) are not used to getting a top-five pick, so the expectations are high. I'm happy. My mentality is, learn from the best and just keep working and grinding."
- D'Angelo Russell via The Columbus Dispatch
It's been almost a week since former Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second-overall pick in the NBA draft, but the excitement level is the same. With his introduction as a Laker and his taking the number one jersey, Russell is ready to start making waves as a rookie in the NBA. Russell is confident that he's the top player in the draft, and now he'll get the chance to prove it with some help from Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott.
Though there have been rumors of the Lakers potentially looking to trade for Demarcus Cousins, I hope Russell stays in Los Angeles. With Bryant nearing the end of his career, he could be a great mentor for Russell, who shows enormous potential and has the mentality that all rookies should have entering their first season in the NBA.
"And if [Michael] Thomas is truly just hitting his stride now and living up to all the promise, he could easily stamp himself as the best in the Big Ten."
- Austin Ward, ESPN
The Big Ten has quite the array of talent that is showcased on Saturday afternoons. ESPN has been breaking down some of the top players at each position in the conference, and for wide receiver, the general consensus was reached that Rutgers wideout Leonte Carroo is the top receiver in the conference. Carroo had 55 receptions for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the Scarlet Knights. The goal of the roundtable was to discuss who might be the second-best receiver in the Big Ten. Austin Ward gave his vote for Ohio State's Michael Thomas, who is entering his junior season.
Last season, Thomas became a reliable target for both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, as he seemed to play better as the season progressed. In total, Thomas produced 799 yards and nine touchdowns from 54 receptions. He also was the thunder to Devin Smith's lightning as the "possession" receiver while Smith hauled in the deep passes. Thomas had his fair share of highlight plays too, including an incredible touchdown catch against Maryland, a 79-yard slant route touchdown against Michigan State, and he was the recipient of the reverse pass from Evan Spencer against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl during the College Football Playoff.
"If the Buckeyes are going to beat up on an FCS team early in the year, the game might as well have some Ohio pride on the line. Pelini is a former Buckeye, and his boss' boss might have some vested interest in Columbus, too."
- Dan Murphy, ESPN
The nonconference slate for college football teams has always been a heavily-debated topic, but in a lighter tone, ESPN's Dan Murphy wrote up a wishlist of sorts with what teams he'd like to see the Big Ten play in the future. For Ohio State, Murphy suggested a matchup with in-state foe Youngstown State. For one, the two haven't played since 2008, when the Buckeyes cruised to an easy 43-0 win (though they lost Beanie Wells to a turf toe injury for the next three games near the end).
A rematch might be nice to revisit, with former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini taking over as the head coach for the Penguins. Plus, former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel might like to see the Buckeyes as Youngstown State's university president.
While it might not happen, it is an interesting matchup in the factors outside of the game itself. Some of the other games making the wishlist were Michigan vs. Alabama, Northwestern vs. Northern Illinois, and Nebraska vs. Oklahoma.
"Boykin was fourth in the Heisman voting last year, one spot ahead of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, but still well short of winner Marcus Mariota. That means Boykin was the second highest quarterback in the Heisman voting."
- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
The countdown for the top 10 threats to Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman trophy run continued with number two on Tuesday. In the slot was TCU senior quarterback Trevone Boykin, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting last season and was one of the most electrifying players in college football. In 2014, Boykin led the Horned Frogs with 3,901 yards through the air on 301-of-492 passing while tossing 33 touchdowns. He also made plays with his feet, as he rushed for 707 yards and eight touchdowns on 152 carries.
Boykin elevated TCU to a 12-1 record as the Horned Frogs were co-champions with Baylor in the Big 12. Many have speculated that the Big 12 not having a championship game ultimately led to both TCU and Baylor being left out of the College Football Playoff, where Ohio State was able to land the fourth and final spot. After finishing as a Second-Team All-American and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (in addition to being fourth in the country in total offense), Boykin looks to not only take TCU to the playoff, but is also eyeing the Heisman trophy.
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