“It’s much better (now). They’re doing a much better job, the NFL, working with the colleges and working with these players, and now they’re allowed to evaluate these underclassmen.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer via Dan Hope, Eleven Warriors
There are a few Ohio State Buckeyes who currently are mulling over their decision on whether to return to Columbus for another year after the Cotton Bowl, or to declare themselves eligible for the NFL Draft. Sam Hubbard and Denzel Ward are the key Buckeyes who will have to decide on whether to go to the NFL, with decisions also needed from Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Weber, Jerome Baker, and Parris Campbell.
Players leaving for the NFL is nothing new to Urban Meyer, as he has had plenty make that jump during his college football career, but he likes to tell his players to take their time in making such a big decision. Meyer charts the players with the decision to make on whether to enter the draft or not, but he says every year he is surprised by at least one of the decisions.
At least if some of Meyer’s players are going to move on to greener pastures, the process of evaluating where those players might be drafted is a lot better than it was a decade ago. With the new evaluating process the NFL has worked on for underclassmen considering the move, it can help them make the best possible decision for their future, whether that means taking a chance in declaring for the draft, or returning to school to work on their skills for another year.
“For us, the end game is get better today, that’s really the end game. We’ll have some goals in terms of specific measurements we want to hit, but at least in my experience, thats when I feel like teams I’ve coached have been able to reach potential.”
Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann via Jon Richardson, BT Powerhouse
On Saturday, Ohio State will square off with North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic, and a win over the Tar Heels would continue to build some momentum for the Buckeyes as they work back towards Big Ten play. The last time Ohio State played a talented opponent on a neutral floor, things didn’t go so well, with the Buckeyes losing two of three games in the PK80 Classic in Portland in late November.
Since the losses to Gonzaga and Butler, as well as a loss at home to Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Ohio State has won five straight games, with the first two wins during that streak coming against Wisconsin and Michigan. A win over North Carolina on Saturday could go a long way in building the confidence of a young team under a new head coach.
The more Ohio State has played for Holtmann, the more the Buckeyes have gotten comfortable with what the new head coach is trying to do. Holtmann has also learned how to use his players better on the floor. Senior Jae’Sean Tate has been given more time as the primary ball handler, as well as times when Tate, Andrew Dakich, and C.J. Jackson are all on the floor at the same time, giving Ohio State better ball movement. The resurgence of Kam Williams on offense has also helped, leading Ohio State to a better shot at beating the Tar Heels than many would have thought just a month ago.
“Being an Ohio kid and having an Ohio-based family, you lose your mind. It was very humbling and surreal. I’m very proud to be an Ohio State Buckeye.”
Ohio State signee Alex Williams via Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch
While many will focus on the near misses for Ohio State on some top recruits on the first day of the early signing period, one signing that might be flying under the radar is that of three-star defensive end Alex Williams. Formerly a verbal commit to Iowa State and West Virginia, the Buckeyes just offered the Pickerington product two weeks ago, and it didn’t take Williams very long to decide where he wanted to attend college.
Williams is hoping to play defensive end at Ohio State, but there is talk he could be shifted to tight end. After the transfer of Kierre Hawkins, along with A.J. Alexander being moved to medical scholarship due to a knee injury, there is a need at tight end for the Buckeyes.
It isn’t like there isn’t a need at defensive end, though. Ohio State will definitely need to try and replace seniors Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis, and it is very possible that Sam Hubbard will declare for the NFL Draft. Nick Bosa will return to Columbus next year, but with the rave reviews he is drawing, it is hard to imagine him sticking around past next season.
Williams worked hard to earn an opportunity at Ohio State, after suffering a back injury during his junior year of high school. Since then, Williams has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic, and added 35 pounds of muscle according to his father. Williams will now get to stay close to home, and is happy to contribute wherever the Buckeyes need him.
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