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After last month’s coaching change, Ohio State basketball looks to salvage 2018 in-state recruiting class

The turmoil in the program over the last few months has already cost the Buckeyes two of the top four Ohio recruits in the 2018 class.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-North Carolina vs Butler Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference just a few months can make. After Ohio State’s 2016-17 season ended in March with a loss to Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament, there were plenty of questions surrounding Thad Matta and the program, but the future looked bright with a number of top Ohio recruits in the fold. Then the dominoes started to fall in April when Darius Bazley, the top recruit from Ohio in the 2018 recruiting class, decommitted from Ohio State. The on-court and recruiting issues of the Buckeyes were just too much for Bazley to ignore, and earlier this week he committed to Syracuse.

After Ohio State and Thad Matta parted ways last month, Dane Goodwin, the fourth-ranked recruit in Ohio in the 2018 recruiting class, decided to explore his options and decommitted from Ohio State. While Goodwin did give new head coach Chris Holtmann a chance to state the case for him to recommit to the Buckeyes, the Upper Arlington native decided to commit to Notre Dame, instead.

All is not lost for Ohio State when it comes to the 2018 recruiting class, though. It is likely that the Buckeyes will be a part of 4-star guard Dwayne Cohill’s Top 10 list on Friday. Cohill already has a bit of a relationship with Holtmann, who was recruiting Cohill when he was still the head coach at Butler. Four-star wing Jerome Hunter is considering Ohio State as well. There might be some early growing pains with Holtmann in Columbus as he tries to assemble his team, but if Ohio State is able to hit on these recruits, momentum could shift in the favor of the Buckeyes quickly.

“Raekwon [McMillan] was one of my favorite players in this class.”

-Luke Easterling, Editor of Draft Wire via Antwan Staley, Dolphins Wire

Former Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan hasn’t even made it to training camp with the Miami Dolphins yet, but the expectations are already high for the former Buckeye. McMillan has impressed during Miami’s organized team activities and team minicamp so far, as he’s gotten plenty of reps with linebacker Koa Misi still recovering from offseason neck surgery. With Misi on the sidelines for now, McMillan has been training at every linebacker position, including middle linebacker.

While it is projected that Lawrence Timmons will start at middle linebacker for the Dolphins, it is looking more and more likely that McMillan is in line to win one of the outside linebacker starting positions, opposite Kiko Alonso. This likely won’t come as much of a surprise to those who watched McMillan during his time at Ohio State, as the linebacker was the Buckeye’s top tackler the past two seasons. Even though there will likely be some adjustment to the speed of the NFL, McMillan’s football IQ should help him transition quicker than most, and he should be able to make a name for himself early on in his NFL career.

The fine folks over at Land of 10 recently ranked the Top 100 Big Ten football players ever, and on Wednesday they capped off their list with the Top 10. To the surprise of no one, Ohio State is featured prominently in the Top 10, with Buckeyes taking home three of those spots. The first Buckeye in the Top 10 is Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, who was ranked as the ninth best Big Ten player in history. Cassady won the Heisman Trophy in 1955, and at the time, his margin of victory was the largest in history.

Coming in at sixth on the list was offensive lineman Orlando Pace. It was evident early on that Pace would make quite an impact in Columbus when he became just the second true freshman ever to start for Ohio State in the season opener. Pace not only won the Lombardi Award in 1995 and 1996, but he also took home the Outland Trophy in 1996. During the 1996 season, Pace finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, marking the highest finish for an offensive or defensive lineman since Hugh Green finished second in 1980.

Topping the list of the best players in Big Ten history is the only player to win the Heisman Trophy twice, running back Archie Griffin. During Griffin’s time with Ohio State, the Buckeyes never dropped below ninth in the rankings, and won the Big Ten in each of Griffin’s four years. Griffin rushed for at least 100 yards in 31 straight games, a record which still stands. Griffin amassed 5,589 rushing yards as a Buckeye, a school record that likely will never be broken.

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