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Ohio State is one of few schools producing pro-ready offensive lineman

Plus, 12 Buckeyes will compete for the 2018 NCAA fencing championships, and more.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“There are only a handful of schools that routinely use pro techniques, even in a “spread” offense, and those schools do produce pro-ready offensive lineman — Ohio State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, USC, Iowa, Alabama, and maybe a few more.”

-Geoff Schwartz, SB Nation

NFL free agency sees teams, coaches and players year-after-year in a week-long frenzy to try and make the best deal possible. Former NFL player and SB Nation contributor Geoff Schwartz recently wrote about how some of the recent BIG MONEY pay days to league veterans is in large part due to the lack of OL talent coming out of the college ranks.

Granted, even Schwartz knew not to lump Ohio State in with the schools who don’t produce pro-ready lineman. The Buckeyes are one of the few teams whose offensive line players -- as tackles, guards and centers -- not only succeed at the next level, but wind up having long careers, too. These facts help explain why Andrew Norwell is now one of the highest paid guards in the NFL, having signed a new five-year deal worth over $66.5 million with the Jaguars this offseason.

Schwartz’s analysis is good news for league veterans and good news for rookies out of Ohio State. When a team doesn’t want to throw the bag at a player who has almost a decade of wear and tear, they’ll at least have some options to go young with Buckeyes and other players already developed in a pro scheme.

“The Ohio State fencing team travels to University Park, Pa. for the 2018 NCAA Fencing Championships this week. Hosted by Penn State University, the event will run from Mar. 22-25, with championship bouts taking place at 1p.m. on the 23rd and 25th.”

-Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will be represented by 12 fencers at this year’s NCAA Championships. Ohio State fencing has a long history of success competing for an NCAA title, finishing in the top-5 for the past 16 years, including three championship wins (2004, 2008, and 2012).

The team finished at No. 2 the past two seasons, and there is only one Buckeye competitor (Maximilien Chastanet) who has already claimed a national championship — winning gold in foil in 2016. Despite that being the sole win for anyone on this year’s Ohio State team, there are eight competitors who have been to the championships before. OSU is also one of only three teams to send the maximum number of fencers (12), along with Columbia and Notre Dame.

This is one of the fencing events that you should be able to catch on TV, with ESPN covering the semi-final and final bouts on ESPN3 (and live stream at WatchESPN).

“Even at a position loaded with touted recruits, the most intriguing weapon at wide receiver might be one who walked on to the Ohio State roster.”

-Austin Ward, Land of 10

For the most part, Zone 6 will look the same heading into the 2018 season. With spring practice now underway for the Buckeyes, the experience of the wide receiver group is obvious with so many draft-eligible players deciding to return to Columbus for one more season. One of those players started his Buckeye career as a walk-on, but became a household name in 2017: C.J. Saunders.

Ward notes in his article that Saunders has gained about 10 pounds since last season, and is working on both being more explosive in his route-running and adding bulk to his frame. With the extra weight, he already feels stronger and faster, telling Ward he wants to build on the opportunity he had last season.

“I always felt like I could play with these guys,” Saunders said. “But it was just really cool [last year] to actually see it happen. A lot of guys don’t get that chance, but I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity to get out on the field and show what I could do in front of a live audience, TV game, whatever it is. That was just really special.”

According to Ward, Saunders’ teammates are vying for him to have a spot in the rotation as well, with Parris Campbell considering him among “one of the elite receivers”. He may not have had the same kind of blocking skills as the other (bigger) receivers, but he brings other talents to the group and should see additional playing time in the season ahead.

Presented with limited comment.

If Lee Corso is planning on wearing freaky masks of the NFL prospects’ faces as the clock ticks down, I will have nightmares for the rest of my life.