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Ohio State wrestling’s Kyle Snyder named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year for second year in a row

With back-to-back wins, Snyder becomes the third Ohio State wrestler to take home the Big Ten’s Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award in the last four years.

NCAA Wrestling: DI Wrestling Championships Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Snyder continues to make history, become the first-ever two-time male recipient of the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award. Snyder is the only American to ever finish college as a three-time national champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and a two-time world champion.

To close out his Ohio State career, Snyder finished the season at 17-1, with his lone loss coming to Adam Coon of Michigan. Snyder was able to avenge the loss to Coon by beating him in both the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships. Seven of Snyder’s wins this season came over nationally-ranked opponents.

Ohio State has now won nine Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards since the inception of the honor in 1982, with six of those winners being male athletes and three of the winners being female athletes. With Snyder’s back-to-back wins, Ohio State wrestling has earned three of the last four Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year awards, as Logan Stieber took home the honor in 2015.

Snyder wasn’t the only back-to-back winner of the Big Ten’s Athlete of the Year award, as Indiana swimming’s Lilly King won the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award for the second straight year in a row. The last Buckeye to take home that award was track and field’s Christina Manning in 2012. Jessica Davenport in 2007 and Ohio State volleyball player Laura Davis in 1995 were other Buckeye recipients of the award.

“Obviously you can only start five, so some of these guys that are really good aren’t going to start. But if they have a role to go in there and play and they’re needed at a certain time, that keeps the depth, that develops the cohesiveness, that’s all the things you want.”

Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa via Austin Ward, Letterman Row

Ohio State doesn’t just rebuild, it reloads. That has especially held true with the offensive line over the past few years. The Buckeyes have a couple holes to fill on the offensive line heading into this season, but Ohio State has plenty of talent to vie for those spots.

The Buckeyes will have some stability to build on, with Isaiah Prince and Michael Jordan returning as starters this season. Thayer Munford has made big strides since joining the program, and looks like he is in line to take over the left tackle position.

The biggest question for Ohio State heading into the 2018 is who is going to replace Billy Price at center. Fifth-year senior Brady Taylor is the favorite to take over the position vacated by Price, and any trepidation about Taylor stepping in at center should be eased by the fact that he has been able to learn behind back-to-back Rimington Award winners.

What makes this group of Ohio State offensive linemen scarier than in years past is the depth they possess. Early on in his coaching tenure in Columbus, it was no secret Urban Meyer was unhappy with the quality of depth of the offensive line. The same can’t be said these days, as the offensive line is loaded with talent. With a mixture of upperclassmen and highly-touted younger recruits, the Buckeye offensive line shouldn’t have much trouble opening holes for the running game and keeping new starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins clean.

“I think I can take a big step. Still doing the little things I do, because always I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Doing that and getting my shot more consistent and ball handling and playmaking, I think I can make a big step.”

Ohio State forward Andre Wesson via Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

One of the returning Ohio State basketball players that will be expected to take a big step forward this year is junior forward Andre Wesson. Last year at this time, Wesson was just an observer due to an undisclosed medical condition which kept him on the sidelines.

The time on the sidelines in the offseason left Wesson struggling to find his rhythm, which took until around Christmas to come back. Wesson was decidedly more active after the calendar turned to 2018, registering at least 18 minutes in each of the final 17 games of the season.

Not only will the Buckeyes be looking for more production from Wesson on the floor, but they’ll also be hoping he takes on more of a leadership role for a team that lost veterans Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop. While Wesson showed he could hold his own on the defensive end last season, this offseason he is working to improve on the offensive end. With younger brother Kaleb having already turned some heads for Ohio State in his freshman year, the rest of the Big Ten could have a big problem with the Wesson brothers if Andre is able to put his game together with a full offseason to work on it.

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