"The 2004 NFL Draft was well represented by prospects from that contest as both school set records -- Miami for first round picks (six) and Ohio State for total draft picks (14). Fast-forward to the present and Ohio State has a legitimate chance to break both of those marks in the 2016 class."
- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
Ohio State fans surely remember the 2003 BCS national championship game win over Miami, and they probably remember the immense talent on both teams' rosters. The Hurricanes had six first round picks taken in the 2004 NFL Draft and Ohio State had a plethora of players taken as well. But the 2016 NFL Draft provides a great chance for the Buckeyes to break Miami's record, and could see as many as seven players taken in the first round. The potential first-rounders include Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Braxton Miller, Eli Apple, and Vonn Bell. Right now, in the latest mock draft for CBS Sports, those players are projected to go in the first round.
While mock drafts are obviously not completely accurate as to how the draft will actually go, it does often give a good idea as to where players might be taken and what teams are searching for with their picks. The most surprising player to be projected in the first round in this mock draft would be Braxton Miller, after only playing one season at wide receiver for Ohio State. The mock draft has the Cincinnati Bengals (!) drafting Miller for depth at the wide receiver position alongside A.J. Green. As a Bengals fan myself, I approve. Still, it's safe to say it would be slightly surprising if Miller got drafted in the first round despite his obvious talent, though his play at the Senior Bowl and during the practices that week got high praise from plenty of scouts.
"I think that Marc has a tendency right now to hold onto things. We've talked with him about that in terms of playing forward. If you miss a shot -- I got on him the other night, the first shot he took against Wisconsin was a soft shot."
- Thad Matta via Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Thad Matta shares many of the same concerns about Ohio State forward Marc Loving that a lot of fans have this season. Loving has shown flashes of his skill and ability in his three years with the Buckeyes, but has struggled to find consistency. Against Wisconsin, with the Buckeyes down by three late in the game, Loving turned it over and followed it up with an ugly attempt from three that didn't help Ohio State's cause in trying to make a comeback. That game was just one example of Loving's struggles, but the game itself wasn't on Loving alone. As of late, though, Loving has looked unsure of himself with the ball in his hands.
In the last six games, Loving has shot just 25 percent (15-of-28 from the field). What's more is that Loving has been turning it over quite a bit and has even had a couple of games that fans have seen him with more turnovers than points. Now, it's obvious to everyone that Loving is talented. And he's showcased that talent on numerous occasions because when he's hitting his shots with confidence, he's proven to be hard to stop. But for right now, Matta and his staff have to figure out what it's going to take to get Loving out of his funk. The Buckeyes will need him at his best if they want to turn things around for the rest of the season.
"The Buckeyes signed the country's No. 5 recruiting class, and it's a good thing, because coach Urban Meyer said he wants 18 of his 25 signees to play this coming season."
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN
ESPN's Mark Schlabach released his way too early Top 25 for college football next season following the recent conclusion to National Signing Day for the class of 2016. Ohio State finds itself slotted at No. 10 in the ranking. The Buckeyes have eight returning starters (three on offense and defense, two on special teams) from their team a season ago and after the mass exodus of players heading to the NFL, Urban Meyer is expecting plenty of young players to see playing time early. As Schlabach mentions, the best news for Ohio State is that J.T. Barrett is locked in at quarterback for another season and will be looked to as the leader on offense from the start.
The bad news, as Schlabach points out, is that the Buckeyes have tough road games at Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan State. The Sooners, especially, provide a daunting challenge for an Ohio State team that will be entering its third game of the 2016 season. And for what looks like will be a very young team playing on the road, coach Meyer and his staff will have their work cut out for them to get the players prepared for a potential top 10 showdown. The rest of the top 10, in order, includes Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, Stanford, and Notre Dame.
"In a world where Ohio State's football, wrestling, synchronized swimming, pistol and rowing teams won national titles last season, the women's basketball team has stepped forward as another title contender."
- Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group
It was only a year ago at this time that Ohio State's football team was capturing a national championship. Though the Buckeyes didn't get that chance this past season, and Ohio State's men's basketball team hasn't been performing at a high level, there's still hope of a championship run from a team in Columbus. It happens to be the women's basketball team, led by star point guard Kelsey Mitchell. The Lady Buckeyes are the best team in the Big Ten after taking down the No. 5 team in the country, Maryland, and securing their place at the top on Monday. Now Ohio State is not only thinking about a Big Ten championship run, but a shot at making a run in the NCAA tournament.
With the combination of Mitchell and Ameryst Alston, as well as the rest of the balanced Buckeyes squad, Ohio State has a legitimate shot at contending for a Final Four appearance, and perhaps a chance of a title, in late March. The Buckeyes are 19-4 to this point and ranked seventh in the country, but that will likely see a bump up after knocking off a Maryland team to drop its record to 21-3. The Buckeyes only losses are to current No. 1 UConn by 44 in the second game of the season, South Carolina in the first game of the season, Notre Dame in the seventh game of the season, and Northwestern. If you're starved for an Ohio State team to watch and pull for that has a great opportunity to make some noise, women's basketball is that team.
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