“The only team taking more participants to this week’s NFL Scouting Combine than Ohio State football is the one that claimed the national championship the Buckeyes coveted.”
- Nathan Baird, Cleveland.com
There is no shortage of Ohio State representation at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. The 11 Buckeyes in attendance are the second-most from any program, trailing only the mass exodus of 16 players from LSU’s national championship team. While a handful of former OSU talents already pretty much have their draft stock set in stone — most notably guys like Chase Young and Jeff Okudah, who are both consensus top-five picks — there are a bunch of guys who could see their stock greatly improve with an impressive showing at the Combine.
One of the more intriguing Ohio State players in this year’s NFL Draft is cornerback Damon Arnette. The 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back struggled at times for the Buckeyes over his five years in Columbus. After highly considering entering the draft following his junior season, Arnette was persuaded by coaches and former Buckeye and NFL receiver Cris Carter to stick around for one more year. That decision was a great one, as Arnette had a phenomenal senior season lining up opposite Okudah.
Arnette has been projected by many to go sometime in the second round, but might be able to make himself a late first-rounder if he were to show out in the Combine. NFL.com’s scouting report on Arnette compares him, ironically, to former Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis, who was a third-rounder by the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. Their analysis on Arnette lists his size and strength as some of his strengths, while citing his lack of close-out speed and his ability to control his emotions as potential weaknesses.
Jordan Fuller is another OSU defensive back that could potentially turn some heads at the Combine. The safety had an impressive career in Columbus, and has been lauded time and time again for his intelligence. Academic and social reputation outstanding, he could see himself move up on some peoples’ boards with impressive showings in the physical tests.
Jonah Jackson is another intriguing draft prospect. Not one of the more well-known guards in college football, Jackson has already put in some work in improving his draft stock with a big outing during the Senior Bowl. Currently projected somewhere in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, Jackson, like Fuller, will surely be a guy that excels in the interview process. If he can put up some big numbers in strength and agility drills, Jackson may have a chance to hear his name called on day two.
Ohio St. DE Chase Young will not work out at this week’s combine, but will be there for interviews and medical testing, per source. He will participate in position drills at the Ohio State pro day. He is fully healthy and ready to impress front offices.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 24, 2020
In other NFL Scouting Combine news, Chase Young will not be participating in drills this week. The likely No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft will be in Indianapolis for interviews and medical testing, but will not be doing any of the physical tests. It is not an injury issue, as the Buckeye defensive end is fully healthy, but he will wait to participate in position drills until Ohio State’s pro day.
Mark Turgeon on Kaleb Wesson: "He was allowed to be the bully offensively today. I mean, he stuck a forearm right into Stix's chest twice. I guess you're allowed to do that here in this building. ... And if he's allowed to be the bully, he's a heck of a player."— Emily Giambalvo (@EmilyGiam) February 24, 2020
Ohio State men’s basketball picked up a massive win on Sunday afternoon, knocking off No. 7 Maryland 79-72 in Value City Arena. While it was an incredibly physical game, as pretty much every game is within the Big Ten, some people were not too fond of the officiating.
One of those people was Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon, who in speaking to the media postgame was critical of the referees’ treatment of Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson. The 6-foot-9, 270-pound big man had a great game for OSU, putting up 15 points and nine rebounds. Wesson is a large human being, and as such is a physical presence for Ohio State around the basket on both ends. When asked about Turgeon’s comment, Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann was quick to defend his player.
“Mark said that? To each his own. His opinion can be his opinion. I thought Kaleb was physical and well within the rules, and played hard, played tough and played physical,” said Holtmann, who was not yet finished speaking his peace on the matter. “Listen, [Wesson] has gotten pushed and shoved, and the number of times people have flopped on him throughout this year — he played well within the rules as he should have today. Kudos to him for that, because that can be frustrating.”
Fouls were a big problem for Wesson last season. All too often, the forward was picking up two or three fouls early on, and it would ruin his flow for the remainder of the game. He has done a much better job this year, likely aided by some weight loss in the offseason resulting in better body control. As a big dude, opposing players get away with a lot of physicality against him on the defensive end, and that can lead to some frustration at the other end of the floor. Wesson has done a phenomenal job of keeping him emotions in check, and has put together a strong year for Ohio State.
While Turgeon did walk his comment back a bit in his postgame interview, praising his scoring around the basket and his ball-screen defense in the game, his comments clearly did not sit well with Holtmann.
Movin on up!#Team121 #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/KQmaUPBoPv— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) February 24, 2020
As a result of the huge victory over Maryland, Ohio State has moved up to No. 23 in the latest AP Poll. The Buckeyes’ incredibly confusing up-and-down season continued this past week, getting thoroughly dominated by now 18th-ranked Iowa on the road before knocking off now ninth-ranked Maryland on Sunday.
OSU now sits at 8-8 in Big Ten play, only two games behind second place where four teams are currently tied at 10-6 (Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin). The Terrapins still lead the conference at 12-4.
There are just four games remaining for Ohio State in the regular season, but it will not be an easy close-out to the year by any stretch of the imagination. After a must-win game on the road against 7-19 Nebraska, the Buckeyes have back-to-back home games against No. 19 Michigan and a tough Illinois squad, and finish the year on the road at No. 24 Michigan State.
Ohio State will next be in action this Thursday for that date with the Cornhuskers. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET, with the game being broadcast on ESPN2.
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