ESPN released their midseason All-America team, and three Buckeyes are amongst those honored. Offensive guard Wyatt Davis, defensive end Chase Young, and cornerback Jeff Okudah have all been recognized for their performances through Ohio State’s first six games of the year.
Ohio State’s offensive line introduced four new starters this season, but there wasn’t much concern with the abilities of Wyatt Davis, who came to Columbus as the top-ranked guard in the 2017 recruiting class. According to TruMedia data, Davis has only missed one block in 172 pass blocks this year, and four blocks in 200 run blocks this season.
It’s no surprise that Young was named to the midseason All-America team, as he has already been credited with 8.5 sacks this year. The junior defensive end is already being talked about as one of the top picks in the 2020 NFL Draft should he decide to leave Columbus after this season. With just 1.5 more sacks, Young will be the second Ohio State defender to register at least 10 sacks in two seasons, joining Mike Vrabel as the only Buckeyes to accomplish that feat.
The final Buckeye to be honored is cornerback Jeff Okudah, who looks like he’ll be the next Ohio State defensive back to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Expectations were high for Okudah coming out of high school, and the cornerback is really coming into his own this season. Okudah picked off his first career pass against Miami (OH) earlier this year, and followed that up by intercepting two passes against Nebraska the following week.
The number of players Ohio State placed on ESPN’s midseason All-America team matches the number of Big Ten players from other schools included. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor and linebacker Zack Baun were recognized, along with Michigan offensive guard Michael Onwenu.
“He’s an aggressive, nasty player, and that’s why I love playing with him. Especially as a center, having a guy that’s aggressive and wants to finish people — it changes everything.”
One of the biggest questions entering the 2019 season for Ohio State was the offensive line. The Buckeyes were introducing four new starters to try and protect new starting quarterback Justin Fields. While Ohio State had an idea what they were getting with guard Wyatt Davis and Rutgers transfer Jonah Jackson, not as much was known about new starting center Josh Myers.
After committing to Ohio State as one of the top guards in the 2017 recruiting class, Myers had no idea what was in store for him when he arrived in Columbus. Myers never played center in high school, and really never even gave the position much thought. Not like Ohio State’s coaching staff didn’t have experience in turning guards into successful centers. In just the last few years, Pat Elflein, Billy Price, and Michael Jordan all made the transition from guard to center.
The reason Ohio State’s coaches though Myers would excel at center was because of his toughness and maturity. Once Myers was approached about the change, he realized he had what it takes to be a successful center. Myers was in competition with Jordan for the starting center job last year, but Jordan ended up getting the nod, making Myers even hungrier for the job.
When Myers won the starting center job prior to this season, it didn’t take long for him to earn the trust of his teammates. Despite this being Myers’ first season as starter, he is the leader of the offensive line, making the calls so the rest of the line knows their assignments. The physicality that Myers has shown so far has rubbed off on his teammates, setting the tone for the aggressiveness of the rest of the offensive line. While Ohio State’s whole offensive line has been outstanding so far this season, Myers is what has been the driving force of the slobs so far through six games.
Just a few weeks before his junior season is about to begin, Kaleb Wesson was among 20 preseason candidates named to the watchlist for the Karl Malone Award, given to the nation’s best power forward. Wesson will play center for Ohio State this year, which means he could be a candidate for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given annually to the nation’s top center. The reason Wesson has been included as a candidate for the watchlist for the Malone Award is because candidacy for awards is fluid, and players can play themselves on or off lists until the final five candidates are announced in March.
Wesson enters the 2019-2020 season having averaged 14.6 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game during his sophomore campaign. The Westerville product is 194 points away from becoming the 59th player in school history to record at least 1,000 points during his career.
With Wesson and a loaded incoming recruiting class, Ohio State is projected to be ranked once the preseason rankings are released. The Buckeyes will open up their season with an exhibition game against Cedarville on October 30th. Ohio State’s regular season schedule opens with a matchup against Cincinnati on November 6th.
“You got a group that went into the tournament with the goal of winning the tournament. I think that’s first and foremost. I learned we got good leadership and you saw that in our seniors and captains. We were kind of resilient.”
Ohio State’s men’s ice hockey team opened up their season on a positive note last weekend, earning a regulation win and a shootout win in the Ice Breaker Tournament in Toledo. Technically Friday night’s win over Western Michigan counts as a tie since overtime ended in a tie before the Buckeyes won in a shootout. Ohio State followed Friday’s win up with a 3-1 win over RIT on Saturday night.
Now the Buckeyes will turn their attention to Nebraska-Omaha, who comes to Columbus with a 2-0 record after two wins over Alabama-Huntsville. The Mavericks had little trouble in their first two games of the season, firing off 57 shots and outscoring Alabama-Huntsville 11-1 over the two games.
Looking to slow down Nebraska-Omaha is Ohio State goaltender Tommy Nappier, whose 68 saves and .958 save percentage last weekend earned him Big Ten Star of the Week honors. This weekend’s games will give Ohio State a better look at what they’ll be facing most of the year, as they’ll be playing two straight games against the same opponent. Friday night’s contest is schedule for a 7 p.m puck drop, while the teams will close out their weekend series on Saturday at 5 p.m.
STICK TO SPORTS
- The 113th Circleville Pumpkin Show runs through Saturday.
- Columbus cartoonist Jeff Smith has scored a deal with Netflix to adapt his comic series Bone into a children’s cartoon.
- Ohio’s minimum age to purchase tobacco products was raised to 21 today.
- A basement in Iowa was flooded by five inches blood.
- Jennifer Aniston joined Instagram on Wednesday and broke the Guinness World Record for shortest time to reach a million followers on Instagram.