"It's a gradual move toward commercializing the sport. As the demarcation between amateurism and professionalism further erodes, you're going to see these guys get even more savvy about branding matters."
After Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott set himself up for a Heisman Trophy run this year by rushing for 200 yards or more in Ohio State's final three games last year, earlier this month he filed five trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Two of the trademarks, "Zeke" and "Eze", are easy to figure out since they are his nicknames, but the other three are a little more creative. While the NCAA has cracked down on Elliott's ability to wear the crop top shirt he became famous for, it didn't stop Elliott from trademarking "Hero in a half shirt", "In crop we trust", and for the restaurant name "Zeke's Crop Top Bar & Grill".
The trend of college athletes acquiring trademarks has been on the rise lately, with the most notable occurrence coming in 2013 when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel trademarked "Johnny Football" during a legal battle with a company that had been selling shirts using that nickname. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott had a similar situation last year, and was able to force a t-shirt manufacturer to stop producing t-shirts with his name after acquiring a trademark. As the years continue it won't be surprising to see more and more college athletes apply for trademarks to try and cutdown on lengthy and costly battles against "trademark poachers".
"If you just look at his highlights, what he can do when he gets the ball, he's just an exceptional athlete. I'm just so proud of him. You don't see a lot of athletes like that humble themselves by changing positions. That was very big of him. He's always done everything the right way. He's graduated. He's working on his master's. You never hear of him getting in trouble, which is easy when you're a high-level player like that."
- Former Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller on Braxton Miller via David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News
Even before he has played a down at wide receiver for the Buckeyes, Braxton Miller is getting some high praise from a former Ohio State wide receiver from west of Columbus who shares his last name. 20 years ago Dee Miller began his Ohio State career after redshirting in 1994 and by the time he was done he had hauled in 132 catches, which ranks eighth in school history. Since he only will be playing receiver for the Buckeyes for a year, Dee won't have to worry about Braxton surpassing his career numbers, but he knows the Wayne High School graduate can make a serious impact for Ohio State this fall.
Growing up just a few doors down from Braxton's father and getting see the former Ohio State quarterback grow up, Dee knew early on just how special of a talent Braxton was. The former Buckeye receiver knows Braxton will have a bit of a learning curve at wide receiver, since it takes years to learn how to run routes, but with his experience at quarterback, along with his athleticism, it should help Braxton to make an immediate impact at his new position. Even though graduated back in the late 1990s, Miller still lives in the Columbus area, working as an insurance agent, as well as making weekly appearances on "The Fifth Quarter" on 97.1 FM on Sundays during the fall.
"Ohio State. Best O-line. Best QB group. Ezekiel Elliott. Best linebacker crops. Best head coach. This team is loaded and Urban Meyer has a great chance to do something he's never done in his illustrious coaching career: repeat."
With the start of the college football season inching closer, more and more predictions for what fans can expect are being released. Earlier today Fox Sports college football experts Bruce Feldman, Stewart Mandel, Joel Klatt, and Clay Travis weighed in with how they think the season is going to shake out. The four panelists all had Ohio State as the top seed in the College Football Playoff, with Joel Klatt being the only one not predicting the Buckeyes to win it all. There wasn't quite the consensus on who is going to win the Heisman Trophy. Feldman predicted J.T. Barrett and Klatt picking Ezekiel Eliott to win the trophy, while Mandel went with Trevone Boykin and Travis tabbing DeShaun Watson.
Not to be outdone, earlier today ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit released his Herbie Award nominees and winners. Ohio State players won four of the individual awards, and the team was picked by the Ohio State alum to win the College Football Playoff. Defensive end Joey Bosa was the only player to win multiple Herbie Awards, taking home the honors for Best Pass-Rusher and Throwback Player. Linebacker Darron Lee was named "The Enforcer" by Herbstreit, while running back Ezekiel Elliott rounded out the individual honors by being named Ultimate Game-Changer. Elliott was also Herbstreit's pick to take home the Heisman Trophy. Herbstreit picked LSU, Oklahoma, and Arizona State to join the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff, but in the end doesn't see any of those teams being able to top Ohio State for the title.
"For this weekend we really want to go 2-0. I think that will be a great start for us. Last year we kind of stumbled a bit. We had a couple ties, so getting a few wins will really help us move forward."
While most of the attention at Ohio State is on the football team kicking off their season in a little over a week, the men's soccer team starts their season of this weekend with the 10th annual Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic this weekend. The Buckeyes have won the Wolstein Classic six times, but only twice in the last five years. After Binghamton and Wright State kickoff the classic on Friday at 5 p.m, the Buckeyes will take on Cal State Fullerton at 7:30 p.m at the Bert. L & Iris S. Wolstein Field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. On Sunday the action will continue with Wright State and Cal State Fullerton squaring off at noon, followed by the classic wrapping up with Ohio State and Binghamton playing at 2:30 p.m.
Last year the Buckeyes went 9-8-5 during the season, but fell to Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With nine starters returning, as well as a recruiting class that was ranked ninth in the nation by College Soccer News, the Buckeyes hope to improve on last season's campaign. The Buckeyes sit just outside the top-25 in the NSCAA Division I Preseason Poll, receiving 30 votes. With seven of their 2015 opponents in the top-25, the Buckeyes will be hoping to set the tone early with a couple strong performances. After the Wolstein Classic, the next home match for the Buckeyes will take place on September 20th, when they host 23rd-ranked Penn State.
STICK TO SPORTS:
- Repairs to the Buckeye Lake Dam aren't expected to be completed until 2019.
- OSHP is in the running for "best looking cruisers".
- "Beer o'clock" is one of the newest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Let this be a lesson: Never try to take a selfie with a rattlesnake.
- A Segway is the only thing in the world that can slow down Usain Bolt.