"Joey Bosa of Ohio State is the No. 1 overall player in the class, and leads the defensive ends."
- Mel Kiper, ESPN on the top NFL Draft prospects for 2016
There are a ton of great players on Mel Kiper's list for the top prospects of 2016, and to no surprise, plenty of them are Buckeyes. Joey Bosa leads the pack as not only the top defensive end in the class, but the top overall player in the upcoming draft. Bosa posted 55 total tackles last season, as well as 21 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. Also on that list on the defensive side comes redshirt sophomore linebacker Darron Lee, who had 81 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, as well as 7.5 sacks last season.
On the offensive end, of course we have Heisman trophy favorite Ezekiel Elliott leading the way for running backs. Elliott rushed for 1878 yards on 273 carries last season with 18 touchdowns. In the final three games of the season last year, Elliott rushed for an astounding 696 yards and 8 touchdowns, literally carrying the load for the eventual national champs. Tight end Nick Vannett joins Elliott on Kiper's best at their position on the offensive end, after a season where he accumulated 19 catches for 220 yards, and 5 touchdowns. If it isn't clear by now, this Ohio State team is absolutely loaded with talent.
"He is one of the most dominant defensive players in the country and the Buckeye who ended Penn State's upset hopes last fall at Beaver Stadium."
- Bob Flounders, Penn Live on Joey Bosa
Flounders has been working on a list of the top 25 players Penn State will face this upcoming season (which is full of Buckeyes), and Joey Bosa lands at No. 2 on that list. Bosa sealed the game for the Buckeyes last season in Happy Valley in a 2OT thriller, when he shook past offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, and drove running back Akeel Lynch into the helpless Christian Hackenburg.
The Buckeyes will face the Nittany Lions in Columbus this season on October 17, and the task won't be any easier for James Franklin's squad. The Buckeyes are returning too much talent for the Nittany Lions to just focus on the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. With the likes of Darron Lee, Joshua Perry, and Adolphus Washington holding down the front seven, as well as Vonn Bell being the last line of defense at safety, teams in the Big Ten will have their hands full with this defense.
"Now that former Buckeye and ex-NFL running back Chris "Beanie" Wells has had the chance to go around, he's learned the reach of Buckeye nation."
Beanie Wells has been out of the NFL since 2012, after the Arizona Cardinals released him at the end of the season. He made one last effort in the league in a 2013 workout with the Baltimore Ravens, only to tear his ACL during that workout. Since Wells has left Columbus, he has realized just how big the Buckeye fanbase is across the country. Wells was at Classic Park for "Ohio night" at the Lake County Captains game, where he was met with not only fans with scarlet and gray gear, but Arizona Cardinals gear as well.
The former Buckeye running back has also been impressed with the transition from Jim Tressel to Urban Meyer. He believes that the Buckeyes should be in the playoff once again next season, and noted that if they weren't it would undoubtedly be a disappointment. Wells, being a former running back himself, is also extremely impressed with Ezekiel Elliott, and said, "There's a lot of playmakers on that team, but he ran 800 yards in the last three games in the season. You do whatever you can to get the ball in his hand."
"[Daniel] Giddens, a consensus top 50 recruit from Marietta, Georgia, should be an immediate upgrade from the departed trio of Amir Williams, Anthony Lee and Trey McDonald."
Daniel Giddens had perhaps some of the best high school basketball experiences that you could ask for in a recruit coming into a school like Ohio State. Giddens played his last season of high school ball at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, VA, known for sending countless players to the NBA. Prior to this, he played at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia, a lesser known school nationally, yet one that has also produced numerous NBA players.
Giddens boasts a 6'10 frame at 220 pounds, which he will fill out over time. He has much development to do, but in his natural skill-set, Giddens is a great defensive talent. His ability to block shots is as great as it could be at this point in his career, and is an excellent rebounder with great athleticism. He plays with an intensity that anybody would want on their team, and can bring a spark at any point, whether it be with a powerful block, or a thunderous dunk. His offensive game is still being worked on, but with his size, little improvements go a long way. Giddens, along with the rest of the Buckeyes incoming recruiting class should make for some great basketball in the future.