"Last summer, we all got together and had Monopoly night. We are grown men playing Monopoly. That's just how we are, we like to hang out and enjoy each other's company. It's fun, we did that a couple times last summer and that is going to happen again. That just shows the guys that we have and coach (Thad) Matta always says it, he's going to recruit high-character guys and he's done that."
The former Ohio State basketball teammates weren't just friends on the court, but off of it as well, and that has continued to this day. Despite different paths separating the likes of Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, Evan Ravenel, Evan Turner and Deshaun Thomas, the group still keeps in touch and comes together every summer to hang out, and work out together at the Schott, where they played their college ball.
Even though Diebler has to come from Turkey (where he plays professionally), Thomas from Spain, and Ravenel from Poland, the former Buckeyes still manage to get together, which is incredibly neat. As Diebler mentioned, Thad Matta does a wonderful job of recruiting great players and having good people in general on the basketball court.
"The Buckeyes are loaded at every position and collectively aren't going to struggle to put up points regardless of how training camp shakes out behind center, but these players could reap individual benefits based on how their own talents complement the guy taking the snaps."
Austin Ward at ESPN took a thought-provoking look at some of the players that could stand to benefit most from whichever quarterback would start for Ohio State this season. With Braxton Miller making the move to H-back, the race between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones is on. But instead of focusing on the battle itself, he pointed to some players that could stand out depending on who started.
With Cardale Jones as the starter, Ward believes running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Michael Thomas would benefit the most instead of Barrett at quarterback. Ward cites the ridiculous postseason that Elliott turned in on his way to three games of over 200 yards rushing in each. Elliott was a large reason why the Buckeyes were able to upend Alabama and then overcome Oregon's fast-paced offense with his bulldozing runs and burst of speed through the holes. Thomas, meanwhile, enters the season as the go-to wide receiver regardless of who starts, and will try to build upon his postseason success as well, where he posted 14 receptions (nine of those going for key first downs).
With J.T. Barrett as the starter, Ward chose tight-end Nick Vannett and wide receiver/H-back Jalin Marshall to most benefit over Cardale Jones. With a hobbled Jeff Heuerman graduating, this season provides Vannett a perfect opportunity to showcase his receiving talent in addition to his improved blocking. Last season, Heuerman and Vannett combined for only four receptions in games started by Jones, but with Barrett (over a course of eight games, to be fair) connected for six combined touchdowns. As for Marshall, Ward notes that it's likely that no matter who starts, Marshall should have another solid year. He does mention, however, that Barrett's quick release and ability to see openings in the defense might provide Marshall a few more opportunities to make plays.
"I believe I can do this. When I work out and when I train to do something, I don't do it just to be OK. I believe in my heart with my God-given ability that I'm going to be the best. That's not being arrogant or cocky. No one outworks me, so I believe in my heart if I put my mind to anything, I can accomplish it. I believe you have to have that edge."
It's been a popular topic in the state of Ohio recently. First, with Terrelle Pryor's stop with the Cincinnati Bengals trying to make it as a backup quarterback, and now on the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver. For some time, different scouts and even coaches have recommended that Pryor switch to tight end or wide receiver, and now that time has come. Pryor is taking it all in stride, though, and is confident that he can get the job done. Provided he receives the opportunity, I think Pryor could be a nice addition for the Browns, even with him at wide receiver.
After all, it's hard to forget the athleticism Pryor has and his natural ability. He's shown flashes before, even at Ohio State. Remember the Fiesta Bowl against Texas in 2008-09? Or when he caught the easy pass from Jordan Hall against Eastern Michigan? With his build, it's not impossible to think he could have some success, especially since he's willing and able. Not to mention the fact that he's been working with Browns quarterback Josh McCown in practices, working on route running and getting comfortable with his new position.
"I think one thing that we're all forgetting is when Braxton Miller announced he couldn't play because of his shoulder, [Cardale] Jones was the starting quarterback at Ohio State and in seven days J.T. Barrett took the job. So when they're both healthy and both competing, I think it's difficult for Cardale to beat J.T. out, he just does so many things well. And as good as Cardale is and as well as he played against the best opponents Ohio State played past year - the rest of the team really played well also."
The quarterback battle is down to just two players, and former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson thinks J.T. Barrett is the one most likely to start the 2015 season. After a sensational freshman campaign when filling in for the injured Braxton Miller last season, Barrett is going toe-to-toe with Cardale Jones, who took over for Barrett in the final three games en route to a national championship. Though Jackson notes that Jones has rapidly improved and showed what he's capable of at the end of last season, he believes Barrett will win out the starting job, even if it's wire-to-wire the whole way.
It's the topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on, and has been discussed to no end for the entirety of the offseason. With only a month or so to go until the opener against Virginia Tech, the competition will continue to rage on. The good news is, regardless of the outcome, Ohio State will have Heisman candidates all over the field (and even one on the bench). Plus, you know, that Urban Meyer guy is pretty all right at coaching.