“The Buckeyes had 12 picks last season, including Joey Bosa at No. 3. We’ll see in the coming years if the spike in picks is warranted by their performances on the field.”
Under Urban Meyer, Ohio State has become a top destination for recruits destined for the NFL. In fact, the program has become the “hottest school now” when it comes to recent demand for players from Columbus, according to ESPN. With a dozen picks last season, including the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple and Joey Bosa, draft value is very much on the upswing for the Buckeyes.
The recent crop of draftees, however, has bucked the trend in player value from Ohio State. Overall, in the last 15 drafts, the Buckeyes have been underperformers, with higher draft value than on-field production in the NFL. Of 96 players drafted (2.99 draft percentage), former Buckeyes had an average performance percentage of just 2.2 percent, which accounts for the approximate value of the player as well as seasons spent starting and making the Pro Bowl. By comparison, Miami (Fl) has had 83 picks (2.71 draft percentage) and a 4.4 average performance percentage--the best in the NCAA. Considering players like Ed Reed and Andre Johnson, who had outstanding and lengthy careers, the data is not surprising. Other top-performing schools, which smaller draft pools, include Pittsburgh and Boston College. On the flip side, Clemson edged out Ohio State for the bottom spot.
While Ohio State has also been close to the bottom in producing NFL quarterbacks and tight ends, the Buckeyes are among the best in sending offensive linemen to the league, with 14 draft picks and a 3.1 average performance percentage (Wisconsin is top in that particular category). Surprisingly, and something which might shift in coming years, Ohio State was also near the bottom in sending highly successful linebackers and defensive linemen to the pros.
Even so, those former Buckeyes who find success in the NFL tend to maintain it, with nearly 17 percent of draftees starting at least four NFL seasons.
“Ohio State had more than a dozen All-Americans during that stretch, but nobody had captured a national award since Malcolm Jenkins won the Thorpe Award in 2008.”
Given the 25 national awards bestowed to individual college football players on an annual basis, it seems unlikely that players at Ohio State--which boasts one of the top recruiting and development pipelines in the nation--would have a drought in being awarded these honors. Given the success of Ohio State on a national scale, a dearth of awards seemed even more doubtful. However, that was exactly the case, as Pat Elflein’s Rimington Trophy broke an eight year dry spell dating back to 2008, when Malcolm Jenkins won the Thorpe Award.
Despite what recent history has shown, there are a number of contenders for national awards currently on the roster at Ohio State. For starters, Billy Price, Elflein’s teammate on the offensive line, is a prime candidate for the Rimington Award himself come this season. Like Elflein, he is shifting from guard to center, and is the de facto leader of the offensive line. An All-American last season, Price is already on respected as a standout lineman.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett, as a fifth-year senior who has started for most of his career, deserves a shot at being recognized as well, even with inconsistent play last season. He remains the record holder for most major program passing records, and is likely to surpass the others in his senior season. Along with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Barrett should have a solid senior season, and one which could position himself as one of the top quarterbacks nationally.
Perhaps the downfall of awards for defensive players at Ohio State has been their depth. At defensive back, none among the trio of Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, all of whom are expected to be taken early in the first round of this week’s NFL Draft, were even considered finalists for the Thorpe Award. The defensive ends at Ohio State face a similar predicament this year. With so much depth, it will be difficult to stand out on a national scale when, as an individual, a player might not even look like the best player on his team consistently. Still, a player like Nick Bosa, who is splitting time at defensive end, could have a shot at an award.
“Our players have worked really hard and have come together as a team. We have put a lot of emphasis on taking care of your own court and making sure you aren’t playing off the scoreboard too much and I think they did that today. This means a lot to them.”
In a big weekend for Ohio State tennis, both the men’s and women’s teams won outright Big Ten regular season titles.
For the men, a 6-1 win over Northwestern Friday was enough to clinch the conference crown, and another 4-3 victory over Illinois in Urbana-Champagne Sunday capped the squad’s 11th undefeated conference season in 12 years. Head coach Ty Tucker, who arrived in Columbus in 2000, turned the squad around after two-straight 0-10 seasons in conference play to become perennial Big Ten powers. With the win, men’s tennis also became the seventh program at Ohio State to win 12 or more straight conference titles.
Illinois, who had been in second place in the Big Ten heading into Sunday’s match, jumped out to a 3-0 lead. For the first time since February, Ohio State dropped the doubles point, and No. 1 singles seed Mikael Torpegaard lost his first singles matchup of the year. After a loss by Martin Joyce on the No. 4-singles court, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback, winning the final four singles matches of the day, including wins by two freshmen, to come out on top.
The Buckeyes will be the top seed in next week’s Big Ten men’s tennis tournament, to be played in West Lafayette.
Not to be outdone, the women’s squad completed an undefeated season of their own, defeating Purdue Sunday 4-0 in Columbus to clinch their second-straight conference title and 11-0 Big Ten season. On the run, the team went 73-1, dropping just a single match in Big Ten play, and had 18 shutouts on the season. The senior class for the Buckeyes is also the winningest in program history, with 95 career wins.
Against Purdue, the Buckeyes jumped out to a quick lead, winning the doubles point after taking the first two matches. Francesca Di Lorenzo, the No.1 singles seed, won in straight sets on court one, and was followed up with wins from Gabriella De Santis and Ferny Angeles Paz to seal the win.
The women’s squad will also be the top seed in the Big Ten women’s tennis tournament in Urbana-Champagne next week.
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