“So, Hartline has helped secure since November the commitment of Julian Fleming (No. 1), Gee Scott (No. 13) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 18) and has also landed Jayden Ballard in the Class of 2021 in that stretch.”
Monday brought another top-flight commitment to the Ohio State Buckeyes. And again, it was a wide receiver who decided that Columbus would be home for his college years. That recruit was four-star Mookie Cooper, a native of Saint Louis, Mo.
You could make the case that the Saint Louis pipeline began for the Buckeyes when Ezekiel Elliott committed to Urban Meyer’s program back in 2013. At the time, Elliott was the No. 5 all-purpose back in the country and the No. 1 player in Missouri.
There’s almost a mirror image with Cooper, who’s the No. 11 WR in the 2020 class and the No. 2 player in the state, according to the 247sports composite.
However, I think a bigger reason for the Cooper commitment is because of Brian Hartline, who proved once again that he can connect with the recruits. Counting Cooper, Hartline has helped secure five commitments. All five of the recruits are in the top-25 at their position (Cameron Martinez is considered the No. 21 athlete) and four of them are considered four-star or higher.
This makes Hartline one of the best recruiters in the country. According to 247sports’ point formula, in the 2020 cycle, only Clemson’s Todd Bates has a higher total than Hartline—and the margins are close. The big reason for why Bates is in front of Hartline is because he’s secured two five-star recruits (Bryan Bresee and Demonte Capehart) for the Tigers.
For 2021, Hartline currently sits at the seventh spot for best recruiter, but expect that ranking to increase as the ‘21 class comes into focus after December.
“ESPN’s FPI says Ohio State has a 23.4 percent chance at victory — Add ESPN’s Football Power Index to the list of those that predict the end of Ohio State’s winning streak.”
Keeping up with the theme of OSU football, another prediction model came out for how the Buckeyes would do in their first season under Ryan Day. The good news: Ohio State is penciled in for a 50 percent chance or better success rate in 11 games this fall. The bad news: That one game with less than a 50 percent chance of success is to happen on the road...in the last week of the season.
Yesterday, Sam Hellman of 247sports wrote up an article going over all 12 regular season games for the Bucks, and the accompanying percentage of success the ESPN FPI determined. The Buckeyes have three games with a 90 percent or higher success rate of victory (Florida Atlantic at 93.9, Miami (OH) at 96.4, and Maryland at 91.4). And on the other side, OSU has three games with a prediction of success between 50-60 percent; those games being Nebraska (58.0), Michigan State (58.2), and Penn State (53.6).
Overall, ESPN’s model slots Ohio State with the 13th highest FPI, and a projected record of 8.7 wins. Even though predictions for success have the Buckeyes favorable in 11 of their 12 games, three losses are still believed to be on the docket. Granted, models are fluid, and changes are going to happen over the course of the season (injuries, suspensions, etc.).
Michigan has the highest FPI, and is favored in all 12 games this season. However, games aren’t played on paper or prediction models. They are played on the field. We’ll see what Day and company can do starting Aug. 31, when the Buckeyes host FAU.
“The Big Ten and Atlantic Coast conferences announced Tuesday the matchups for the 2020 Big Ten/ACC Softball Challenge. The fifth annual event will take place Feb. 14-16, 2020, and has been expanded to feature 10 schools from each conference, with each program playing four games each at five campus sites.”
Tuesday brought the announcement for the 2020 Big Ten/ACC Softball Challenge matchups. Now in its fifth year, the competition features Ohio State and Illinois going on the road to face NC State and Notre Dame in Raleigh, N.C.
Five ACC schools will host, while Clearwater, Fla., will host the ESPN St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational. The Invitational will feature Minnesota and Northwestern representing the Big Ten, with the ACC opposition being Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Unlike the basketball Challenge between the two conferences, the softball format features each team playing four times. That means Ohio State will have two games against NC State, and two games against Notre Dame.
Last year, the Big Ten won the Challenge 23-13, behind 4-0 sweeps from Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Final start times and dates haven’t been announced yet.
Stick to Sports
- An Ohio soldier killed in the Korean War is returning home.
- Apple updates MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
- Ross Perot, billionaire philanthropist and former Presidential hopeful, dies at 89.
- Instagram rolling out anti-bullying options.
- Top moments from the Home Run Derby.
- On this day in history: (1981) Nintendo releases the arcade game Donkey Kong in Japan.