“All of those moves impact the Buckeyes’ scholarship numbers for the fall, which means that the good news of players returning is also bad news for a program that is tight on roster spots and vice versa.”
-Tom Orr, The Ozone
With only three days left to hear from any outstanding players teetering with the notion of heading to the NFL Draft, the 2018 class is becoming much clearer. While some guys have already announced their departure (Jerome Baker, Sam Hubbard, Denzel Ward) several more, just in the past few days, have announced their decisions to stay in Columbus.
The Buckeye offense will keep some key players, including wide receivers Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell, and running back Mike Weber — all announcing “1 more”. On defense, very importantly, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones will be back with Ohio State next season.
With so many players returning, and the Early Signing Period bringing in 21 freshman — eight of which enrolled early and are already on campus —, there aren’t very many scholarship spots available heading into the traditional National Signing Day. During the Early Signing Period, head coach Urban Meyer had noted how it was difficult to gauge how many roster spots they’d need to fill until all of their draft eligible players had made their decisions. Now they have, and most are coming back.
Currently the Buckeyes have filled 85 of 85 scholarship spots, which means the team will either need a couple more players to head to the NFL early, or the team is expecting some transfers in the offseason. Only time will tell how the 2018 will flesh out.
“Eight student-athletes who signed national letters of intent with Ohio State in the initial December signing period last month have made their way to Columbus and are enrolled in spring semester classes.”
-Ohio State Buckeyes
It’s no wonder the Early Signing Period was so popular (and successful) with the Buckeyes adding 21 players to their incoming class of 2018. Of those recruits, eight have enrolled early and have already begun the transition to Ohio State athlete.
The players to get to Columbus early include: QB Matthew Baldwin, CB Sevyn Banks, LB Dallas Gant, CB Tyreke Johnson, OL Matthew Jones, RB Master Teague, DT Tommy Togiai, and OT Max Wray. Some big names from the incoming class have decided to get a head start on their training and conditioning ahead of spring practice.
It’s not often that true freshman get a chance to see snaps their first year on campus, but getting a jumpstart definitely has advantages -- six of the nine early enrollees from the 2017 class saw playing time this season.
“And while he had already impressed with some contributions on special teams and in reserve duty defensively, it was in those December workouts where Pryor really started making a move to help ease the transition with Webb set for his finale with the program.”
-Austin Ward, Land of 10
Ohio State has had to live by the “next man up” mantra for the past few seasons, losing players to a combination of injuries, transfers and the NFL Draft. As one of those transitions approached, Isaiah Pryor began competing for Damon Webb’s spot during the month of December.
With improvements and a new energy to his training and practice regimes, Pryor started standing out to coaches ahead of the Cotton Bowl. As Webb put on a performance that certainly increased his draft stock, the younger Pryor was waiting in the wings, and getting ready for his own emergence.
“Isaiah has really taken strides,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said, according to Ward’s article. “It’s neat, we get to see them the whole time. We’ve had however many bowl practices, 15 or whatever it is, it’s almost like another spring practice.”
If he can stand out and continue to improve in spring practice, Isaiah Pryor is going to see an increase in playing time in 2018, and could end up being another Buckeye safety drafted to the NFL.
All Ohio State Teams’ Weekend Schedule
|Men's Track & Field||@ Kentucky Invite||Friday, All Day|
|Women's Track & Field||@ Kentucky Invite||Friday, All Day|
|Women's Hockey||Robert Morris||Friday, 6:07 pm|
|Wrestling||Minnesota||Friday, 7 pm|
|Men's Volleyball||Stanford||Friday, 7 pm|
|Men's Hockey||@ Penn State||Friday, 7:30 pm|
|Rifle||Nebraska and Ole Miss||Saturday, All Day|
|Men's Track & Field||@ Kentucky Invite||Saturday, All Day|
|Women's Track & Field||@ Kentucky Invite||Saturday, All Day|
|Women's Tennis||@ Michigan Invitational||Saturday, All Day|
|Pistol||Camp Perry Open||Saturday, TBA|
|Women's Basketball||@ Indiana||Saturday, Noon|
|Synchronized Swimming||OSU Invitational||Saturday, 2 pm|
|Women's Hockey||Robert Morris||Saturday, 3:07 pm|
|Women's Gymnastics||@ Michigan||Saturday, 6 pm|
|Men's Hockey||@ Penn State||Saturday, 7 pm|
|Men's Volleyball||BYU||Saturday, 7 pm|
|Men's Gymnastics||@ Rocky Mountain Open||Saturday, 8 pm|
|Women's Tennis||@ Michigan Invitational||Sunday, All Day|
|Rifle||Nebraska||Sunday, All Day|
|Pistol||Camp Perry Open||Sunday, TBA|
|Men's Basketball||@ Rutgers||Sunday, 7 pm|
STICK TO SPORTS
- There are a lot of really big structures being built in 2018 that could change some cities’ skylines.
- If you’re still playing Pokémon Go, it looks like Surfin’ Pikachu will soon be joining the game.
- Columbus might not be able to #SavetheCrew, but it looks like the city will be home for a new National Premier Soccer League team: FC Columbus.