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Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award

The redshirt freshman punter has yet to have one of his 29 punts this year returned.

Ohio State Athletics

After punter Cameron Johnston graduated last season, it would have been understandable if Ohio State saw a significant drop from the punter who was tasked to replace the Aussie. Drue Chrisman was the punter tabbed to replace Johnston, and the redshirt freshman from Indiana has more than held his own this year.

Today Chrisman was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s best punter. Last year Johnston was named a finalist for the award, but fell just sort of winning the honor, which was awarded to Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky, who is once again a semifinalist for the award.

While Chrisman’s stats of 43.8 yards per punt on 29 punts this year are impressive enough on their own, even more noteworthy is none of Chrisman’s punts this year have been returned by an opponent, making Ohio State the only school to have not allowed a punt return in 2017.

It will likely be tough for Chrisman to dethrone Utah’s recent string of dominance when it comes to the Ray Guy Award, with the Utes winning the last three years, and having Wishnowsky in the mix again, this won’t be the last year in which Chrisman is a semifinalist for the award. Ohio State doesn’t punt often, but they make the most of it when they are forced to because of Chrisman’s pinpoint accuracy.

The uniforms Ohio State will be wearing for next weekend’s PK80 in Portland have been revealed. The Buckeyes will play three games in the tournament, opening up with Gonzaga on Thursday night, either Stanford or Florida on Friday, and an opponent to be determined on Sunday.

The PK80 is a tournament designed to celebrate the 80th birthday of Phil Knight, the co--founder of Nike. The 16-team tournament features a number of traditional college basketball powerhouses, including Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan State.

“I think it’s dope, though. It’s something they though of. So we can’t take their idea, but I like it.”

Ohio State defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle on Miami’s turnover chain via Tim Bielik, Northeast Ohio Media Group

Over the last few weeks, Miami’s turnover chain has taken the college football world by storm. With many schools coming out with alternate uniforms and other items to try and not only inspire players, but also to woo recruits, the turnover chain is just the latest fad in college football.

So could a turnover chain be on the horizon for Ohio State? Don’t bet on it. It isn’t like the Buckeyes don’t have their own system for recognizing players for big players. Ohio State has been using Buckeye Leaf helmet stickers for motivational purposes for nearly 50 years. Unlike at Miami, where the turnover chain often just goes to defensive players, the Buckeye Leaves get everybody involved.

Although it is fun to think about Ohio State having a turnover chain like Miami does. Imagine if they had one last year. Malik Hooker pretty much would have never taken the turnover chain off!

“The real value gets added when you can guard multiple positions as well. I think certainly Keita is exhibit ‘A’ on that. I think you need a point guard that can run your team and run your system and then beyond that it can be pretty interchangeable, really.”

Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann on Keita Bates-Diop via Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

If Keita Bates-Diop continues playing like he has in Ohio State’s first two games of the season, new head coach Chris Holtmann’s first season with the Buckeyes will go a lot smoother than many have anticipated. The junior forward redshirted last season after he missed most of the year due to leg injuries. The loss of Bates-Diop showed on the court, as the Buckeyes struggled for most of the season.

Not only does Bates-Diop give Holtmann’s young squad a lot of veteran leadership, but the redshirt junior has the ability to play multiple positions, which helps a Buckeye team that doesn’t have much depth. It also helps Bates-Diop is putting up some big numbers early on in the season, as he has recorded double-doubles in each of Ohio State’s first two games. If Bates-Diop can continue to play at such a high level, the Buckeyes will surprise a lot of people the rest of the season.