"I think the thing that sets me apart is just my versatility. I'm a guy that can play three downs. You don't have to take me off the field. I value blocking more than anything. I obviously love to run the ball, and I think I have great hands out of the backfield."
Ezekiel Elliott did it all in his time as a member of Ohio State. The running back carried the load in some of the Buckeyes' biggest games and was one of Urban Meyer's top playmakers the past two seasons. With 592 carries in his college career, Elliott rushed for just under 4,000 yards and had 43 touchdowns. In 2014 and 2015, Elliott also hauled in 200+ receiving yards for each individual season and provided numerous bone-crushing blocks for his teammates, proving his versatility. Elliott's skill set may just be the difference when NFL teams are making their selections in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Elliott is confident that his versatility sets him apart from the other running backs in the draft and is confident that he doesn't need to be taken off the field. He wants to be an every-down running back in the NFL, something that isn't as common as it used to be. Most teams these days seem to use a running back by committee approach, but Elliott could provide the opportunity for a team to rely heavily on the skilled rusher. Though there isn't any guarantee, Elliott does have the capability to be an every down back and that in itself could be the key to Elliott being drafted relatively high.
"As you guys know, this season isn't exactly the way we pictured it. To get a win like this is kind of like back when we played Kentucky, it's great. It was a crazy atmosphere. We fed into the energy, and it's just fun when you win."
Thad Matta's Ohio State basketball team may not make the NCAA tournament this season, even after an epic win over an eighth-ranked Iowa team. But the Buckeyes are making the most of their win and living in the moment. The team is well aware of the disappointment this season, but there is still basketball to be played. Considering Ohio State just lost Jae'Sean Tate just a week or so ago, the fact that the Buckeyes were able to pull off the upset on the Hawkeyes should greatly increase their confidence over the course of the remaining schedule. Of course, Ohio State isn't completely out of the tournament just yet. If the Buckeyes can somehow knock off No. 6 Michigan State or make a conference tournament run to the final, then Thad Matta's team could find themselves in the NCAAs after all.
The odds of either of those things happening are probably pretty slim. Still, it's a slight glimmer of hope for a team that hasn't had much to be hopeful about all season. Beating Iowa without even playing at their best at least shows that the Buckeyes can compete and after all, it is March. A little madness could do Ohio State some good these last handful of games. If not, the NIT would at least give the Buckeyes a chance to build momentum heading into next season.
"The Buckeyes lose a lot all over, including linebackers Joshua Perry and Darron Lee. But Raekwon McMillan is back to anchor the defense from its most important position in the heart of the unit."
ESPN broke down the top position groups for each team in the top 25 (according to March Schlabach's way-too-early top 25), and for Ohio State, the linebackers stand out as the top position group. At first glance that may be a little surprising when you see Joshua Perry and Darron Lee departing from the team, but taking a closer look it's pretty clear that the Buckeyes are reloading at the position. Raekwon McMillan returns at middle linebacker and will be an unquestioned leader heading into 2016. He had a very solid season as a first time starter and will look to have an even bigger impact next season.
Replacing Perry and Lee could be a couple of players, but it's likely that Chris Worley and Dante Booker are the favorites to emerge on the outside spots. Both players saw a decent amount of action in 2015 and there's been plenty of good things said about Worley the past few seasons during the offseason and fall camps. Now is his time to prove what he's capable of. The Buckeyes also have talented young players for depth. Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, and Nick Conner are all on the roster and will look to make their moves vying for the starting spots.