"As expected, much of the national college football conversation in advance the national championship has centered around Ohio State. It's just not about the actual national championship."
- Matt Brown, Sports on Earth
The discussion would be much more enjoyable for Buckeye fans across the country had the conversation been surrounding the team playing in the national championship. Yet here we are, talking about how one of the best group of Buckeyes to go through Ohio State, will be going pro as opposed to playing one more game on January 11. A total of nine underclassmen will be taking their shot at a career in professional football, and they are all expected to succeed.
As Brown mentions, it's what made Ohio State such a favorite. Really, this team wasn't the first unanimous preseason No. 1 ranked team for no reason. From top to bottom, on both sides of the ball, this team had the makings of an all-time team. It just didn't pan out. Brown describes in detail what each player that declared brought to the table for the Bucks, but also notes that the return of Pat Elflein is great for the team. But the Buckeyes have tons of potential waiting their turn, and won't have a quarterback controversy heading into this next season. 2016 should be fun.
"[Deshaun] Thomas was asked which current player he thought was the next superstar in waiting. Without hesitation, Thomas offered up Kam Williams."
- Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch
Deshaun Thomas was one of the greatest scorers we have seen out of Ohio State. The Indiana native could score in bunches, and made for some exciting years during his time in Columbus. So when he has something to say regarding another player's ability, you tend to listen to people like that. Adam Jardy says without hesitation, Thomas brought up redshirt sophomore Kam Williams. Thomas points out that while Williams is perhaps best known for his shooting, he is also a good defender.
Jardy points out that Williams' numbers have gone up since the departure of freshman Austin Grandstaff. While the team has played better as a whole since then, Williams has really come into his own, and has begun to fulfill the expectations we had of him coming into this season that had seemingly so many uncertainties, but tons of potential. He's been key in the Buckeyes current six game win streak, and a contribution from him tonight against Northwestern will be needed in keeping the Buckeyes hopes for a tournament bid alive. Thad Matta even had high praise, telling Jardy, "He's getting everything really he was hoping for and I couldn't be happier with the way he's playing right now."
"A few days before Ohio State's 44-28 win in Fiesta Bowl, Johnnie Dixon was flying all over the practice field looking like he could be the Buckeyes next great wide receiver. That was a good day."
- Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group
It's no secret, Ohio State had some issues at wide receiver this season. A huge part of that can be attributed to the knee surgeries that he has had on his arthritic knees. But according to Wasserman and talking to Dixon, he's been doing better, although he says he did take a bad step and reinjured a knee in a practice for the bowl game against Notre Dame. But Dixon thinks that it's still a possibility that he can still become a great wide receiver at Ohio State, and fans will take that.
Ohio State needs Johnnie Dixon next year. He, along with other receivers like Noah Brown, Terry McClaurin, Parris Campbell, and possibly Torrance Gibson will have to fill the void and carry the weight for the Buckeyes next season. But the first step for Dixon is getting healthy, and considering the potential that he has, we would like to see that for him much sooner rather than later, if he is able to overcome it at all.
"The scar starts at the edge of Drew Mehringer's temple and curves along the left side of his head, covering about five inches. It serves as a reminder of a freak accident, a near-death experience and, ultimately, a life-changing event."
- Dan Duggan, NJ.com
Former Ohio State assistant, Drew Mehringer, is now the offensive coordinator on recently departed Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash's staff for Rutgers. Mehringer suffered a head injury eight years ago that left him in a coma for a few days after having brain surgery. Mehringer and his friend Will Shoppa were sprinting through a parking lot to catch a train, when Mehringer hit his shin on a chain, and tripped running full speed. His head went straight into the concrete as a result. There were no visible signs of injury, but Shoppa knew something was wrong, and pulled on the emergency chain to stop the train after the two got on after his fall. It saved his life.
Per Duggan, his father described it as "10 days of pure hell." Mehringer's parents went 65 consecutive hours without sleep, and on the eighth day, doctors told them their son would be fine. Miraculously, Mehringer came out of the accident completely healthy. Considering the circumstances, Mehringer has an extremely positive outlook on the situation. He told Duggan, "It was a tremendous learning experience for me. Obviously it's not the way you want to learn anything, but it was a very cool moment in my life to realize how short life is and you're not promised tomorrow at any moment."
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