"The next goal is just to be the best player that I can be. I lost a lot of time with the injury for player development, but in August I've still got two months until the first practice. Those two months are going to be key for me."
Junior forward Jae'Sean Tate has been an improving player for Ohio State over the past two seasons and despite suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder back in February against Northwestern, Tate is still confident he can make up for the time lost to rehabbing his shoulder and continue to progress his game overall. Before the injury last season, Tate was averaging 11.7 points per game (good enough for third on the team) and led the team in steals with 35, all while shooting 52 percent from the field. Even with the shoulder and a lingering ankle injury during the preseason last year, Tate is expected to be fully healthy by August and will be full-go for team activities barring any changes.
With a healthy amount of the team from last season returning in 2016, Ohio State should be a better team than they were in 2015. The Buckeyes finished 21-14, and made an appearance in the NIT before losing to Florida in the second round of the tournament. Tate was out by that point, but will look to help lead the team this upcoming season as Thad Matta tries to get back into contention for the Big Ten.
"Ohio State junior linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Dante Booker were each named to the Butkus Award watch list today."
It's the offseason, which means plenty of watch lists for various awards. Tuesday, the Butkus Award - given annually to the nation's best linebacker - announced its watch list for the 2016 season and surprisingly, Raekwon McMillan wasn't the only Buckeye on the list. Ohio State junior linebacker Dante Booker was also included, despite 2016 being the first season he's expected to start. During his career in Columbus thus far, Booker has made 29 career tackles but with 22 of those coming last season alone. McMillan was the more obvious choice, coming off of a 2015 campaign where he finished as a finalist for the award as a sophomore.
Previous winners from Ohio State include Andy Katzenmoyer in 1997 and James Laurinaitis in 2007. If McMillan or even Booker were to win the award this season, they'd join some pretty impressive company. Last season, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith won the award. Last season, McMillan was named to first-team all-Big Ten and racked up 119 tackles, leading the team.
"I just can't wait until we're actually able to do stuff with him. He's just a great coach. The ceiling is high for us."
Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate spoke to the media about his recovery from injury this summer but also about one of the more recent changes on the coaching staff - particularly when it comes to what the offense will look like in 2016. Tate spoke highly of Chris Jent, who was hired by the team back in April after previously coaching with the Buckeyes in the past. After a few seasons with some dismal statistical offenses at Ohio State the past three seasons (151st, 28th, and 128th in Ken Pomeroy's offensive efficiency rankings), Jent hopes to bring back some of the upper level offenses that he played a role in back in the days of Jared Sullinger, William Buford, and Deshaun Thomas.
Greg Paulus has been the "offensive coordinator" since Jent originally left Ohio State, and the offense, as mentioned above, hasn't been up to par for the Buckeyes. Though some of it may be bad luck and and some struggles with recruiting, Jent will likely add a boost this season. With six of the top scorers last season returning in 2016, Ohio State should be able to have at least a consistent offense that's able to be somewhat formidable.