Ohio State head coach Ryan Day addressed the media earlier today at Big Ten Media Days, touching on a variety of topics during his 15 minutes at the podium. The new Ohio State head coach opened up his press conference by thanking Jim Delany for all he has accomplished during his three decades as Big Ten Commissioner.
After Day spoke about how big the return of fifth-year wide receiver K.J. Hill was for the Buckeyes, he moved on to the defense, who he says are “a group of guys over there that are salty, and have a lot to prove.” One member of the defense who has been making an impression so far this offseason is linebacker Teradja Mitchell, who is pushing Tuf Borland at linebacker.
The offense has a number of position battles, with plenty of players vying for playing time according to Day. Even though many think it’s a given that Justin Fields will be Ohio State’s quarterback in the fall, Day hasn’t yet named Fields the starter. Seven offensive linemen are battling to earn playing time this fall. Thayer Munford, Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Brandon Bowen, and Joshua Alabi all are in the mix for starting positions, and will be looking to state their case during preseason practices in August.
Another area which Day addressed is how Urban Meyer has been a great resource for the new head coach. Meyer has been there for Day when needed, and known when to give Day space. While Day has some big shoes to fill as he takes over for Meyer, Day is just trying to be himself. Day went on to say how Meyer and UCLA head coach Chip Kelly have been the biggest influences for him as coach.
Ohio State seniors Jonathon Cooper, Jordan Fuller, and K.J. Hill have joined Day in Chicago for Big Ten Media Days, which wrap up tomorrow. While a starting date for Ohio State’s preseason camp hasn’t been announced yet, the Buckeyes will likely get to work in early August. Ohio State will open their season at the end of the month, when they host Florida Atlantic in Columbus on Aug. 31.
In conjunction with the start of Big Ten Media Days, the Big Ten Conference has announced their 2019 football preseason honors. Five players each from the East and West Divisions were honored, with Ohio State seeing two of their players honored on the East Division team.
Following a 2018 campaign, which saw defensive end Chase Young earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches in the conference, Young joined Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes and Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos as defensive ends on the East Division team. Young finished his sophomore season with 14.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks. The defensive end from California did some of his best work at the end of the 2018 season, closing the year out with five sacks in his four games, including three sacks in the win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Joining Young from the East Division is running back J.K. Dobbins, who earned preseason conference honors for the second straight year. After bursting onto the scene with 1,403 yards in his freshman season, Dobbins struggled at times last year, finishing with just 4.6 yards per carry after averaging 7.2 yards per carry in his freshman year. Even with the struggles, Dobbins still finished his sophomore season with 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns. Expect a bigger year from Dobbins in 2019, as he will be the feature running back for the Buckeyes.
As the days before the college football season dwindle, preseason award watch lists continue to trickle out. After J.K. Dobbins was named to the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List yesterday, today Ohio State’s K.J. Hill was named to the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List. The Biletnikoff Award is given annually to the nation’s top wide receiver.
Since the award’s inception in 1994, only one Ohio State wide receiver has won the award. Terry Glenn took home the Biletnikoff Award in 1995 after he hauled in 64 passes for 1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns. Hill is the first Ohio State wide receiver to be named to the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List since Michael Thomas in 2015.
Hill enters his senior season as the top wide receiver on Ohio State’s depth chart. After recording 18 catches as a redshirt sophomore in 2016, Hill has become Ohio State’s most consistent receiver over the past two years. As a sophomore, Hill record 56 catches for 549 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, Hill bettered those numbers by catching 70 passes for 885 yards and six touchdowns.
The wide receiver from Arkansas figures to see even more targets this year with wide receivers Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and Johnnie Dixon having moved on to the NFL. With Hill’s sure hands, expect the senior to quickly become a favorite target of new starting quarterback Justin Fields, who will be replacing Dwayne Haskins behind center for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will be well represented at next month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur. The Buckeyes will send at least four golfers from their 2019-20 women’s golf team to compete at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. The U.S. Women’s Amateur starts with 156 golfers competing in stroke play Aug. 5-6, followed by 64 golfers advancing to match play. The 36-hole championship match will be held on Aug. 11.
Representing Ohio State in Mississippi will be senior Alex Wright, junior Alanis Sakuma, and sophomores Aneka Seumanutafa and Skylar Thompson. Adeena Shears will serve as an alternate. Seumanutafa posted the most impressive performance amongst Buckeyes in the qualifiers, winning her qualifier with a 5-under-par 67 on July 3 at Ford’s Country Club in Williamsburg, Va. Thompson finished with the next lowest score among Ohio State golfers in qualifiers, finishing with a 2-under-par 70 at Brookfield Country Club in Roswell, Ga., on July 8.
Alanis Sakuma had the most tense road to U.S. Women’s Amateur qualification. After the junior shot an even-par 72 at Kapolei Golf Club in Hawaii, Sakuma had to win a three-way playoff to earn a spot in next month’s competition. Alex Wright and Adeena Shears both competed in the Dayton qualifier at Walnut Grove Golf Club, with Wright tied for sixth with 1-under-par 71. Shears finished just a shot back of Wright, but she was only able to earn alternate status when she tied for eighth place.
STICK TO SPORTS
- The temperatures will be blazing this weekend, but don’t let that stop you from grabbing some ribs and catching some cool jazz down at the Scioto Mile at the Jazz & Rib Fest.
- There are still a couple days left of Restaurant Week in Columbus.
- Two major changes will be coming to I-70 in downtown Columbus in August.
- Velvet will be debuting their new “Orange Moon” ice cream at the Ohio State Fair.
- The newest trailer for It: Chapter Two has been released.