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Linebackers Malik Harrison, Tuf Borland named to Butkus Award watch list

More Buckeyes are appearing on preseason watch lists!

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

“When a player receives the Butkus Award he will know two things. First, he is recognized as the best of the best linebackers in America.”

— Dick Butkus | The Butkus Award website

Ah yes, the preseason watch lists keep on doing their thing. Throughout the past couple weeks, different awards and conferences have announced their watch lists, letting us know who we should keep an eye on this season.

The Butkus Award was the latest to announce their preseason watch list. An award for the best linebacker in the country, 51 names were included. And of those 51, two of them are members of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Malik Harrison and Tuf Borland cracked the list, and it’s understandable why.

Last season, Harrison was tied with Jordan Fuller for the most tackles (81) on the team. Harrison was second on the OSU defense with 55 unassisted tackles, and was a menace for opposing offenses. The honorable All-Big Ten selectee had 2.5 sacks, an interception, four pass breakups and three QB hits in 2018-19.

Borland had the third most tackles for the Buckeyes last season, closing out the Rose Bowl winning campaign with 65 total tackles. On top of the tackles, he had 3.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.

Harrison and Borland making the Butkus Award watch list wasn’t the only recent news of Buckeyes making it on the radar for an award. Tight end Luke Farrell was named to the John Mackey Award watch list (best TE), Fuller was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list (best DB), and running back J.K. Dobbins saw his name pop up on the Doak Walker (best RB) and Maxwell Award (best college football player) Award watch lists as well.

Award watch list season is ending, but there’s still a handful more awards to be released. Here’s the upcoming schedule:

July 23 Bronko Nagurski Trophy & Outland Trophy
July 24 Lou Groza Award & Ray Guy Award
July 25 Paul Hornung Award & Wuerffel Trophy
July 26 Walter Camp Award

“Here’s the inexplicable road loss that has defined Ohio State’s past two seasons rearing its ugly head once again.”

— Brad Crawford | 247sports

Predicting how the Buckeyes will do this season has been a staple of the offseason since about mid-June. The latest predictions come from 247sports’ Brad Crawford, who looked at each game and gave a breakdown as to how he thought the scarlet and gray would do.

For the most part, he has the Bucks’ doing a good job. However, a 10-2 season may be seen as steep regression—especially with one of those losses being to Michigan. As mentioned in the quote above, Crawford has Ohio State falling apart in a Big Ten West road contest, a staple of recent Buckeye teams.

Even though Purdue and Iowa aren’t on the schedule, Crawford has Northwestern and Pat Fitzgerald finally collecting a ‘W’ against the team from Columbus.

Personally, between NU and Nebraska, both contests have me concerned. While I think Wildcats will give the Buckeyes a decent contest on Oct. 18, a Friday night, I think the Bucks have enough in the tank to get past them.

However, Nebraska is a different story. Head coach Scott Frost nearly got the Cornhuskers a win last season in Columbus, all while his team was trying to steady itself record and QB wise. With Adrian Martinez established as the signal-caller, and a ‘Husker squad out for revenge, the game in Lincoln, Neb., on Sept. 29 has all the making of being a packed house at Memorial Stadium. That could set the itinerary for ESPN’s College Gameday to make the trip to Lincoln, meaning the atmosphere will be even more electric.

I can see what Crawford means, and I do think Northwestern does pose a threat. But you can’t overlook Frost/Nebraska that early in the season.

Tough news from the NFL, as a member of the 2014 national title team Michael Bennett broke his ankle in practice.

Bennett was a sixth round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015, and saw playing time for the Jaguars before injuries happened. He was released by the Jags in September 2018, and in October 2018, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. He played in two contests for the Falcons, before being waived and re-signed in the winter.

We hope for a speedy recovery, and hope to see Bennett out on the field stopping NFL offenses in the near future.

“Skinner and more than 50 fellow Buckeyes are part of the Huntington Bucks Go Pro 2.0 corporate internship program. The program is exclusively for Ohio State student-athletes to provide real-world experience with dozens of organizations and corporations.”

— The Ohio State University

It’s offseason for most of the student-athletes at Ohio State. While some are competing in international tournaments, others are taking part in internships. One of the bigger internships tied to OSU is the Huntington Bucks Go Pro 2.0 program. Dozens of corporations are involved, enabling athletes to get real-world experience before leaving school.

In an article by OSU, they profiled volleyball player Kyle Skinner, who’s connections have led to him working on a documentary for The Up Company. The internships are important, especially considering how much time a D1 athlete has to dedicate to their respective sport. In the case of Skinner, he’s a fifth-year senior in film production studies, so this experience fits with what he’s studying in the classroom.

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