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Buckeye Bits: Ohio State’s Athletes of the Year, the keys to the Oregon game, Larry Johnson’s endless reign, more

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.

Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In times like these, this country could really use sports as a distraction from all the issues surrounding the real world around us. Luckily, athletic events as we know them are slowly beginning their path back into our lives. The Premier League is returning in June, the TBT will be taking place in July, and college football is just around the corner!

Hopefully we have our beloved Buckeyes back soon enough, but until then, let’s check out all the latest news from around the Ohio State beat, starting right here at your friendly neighborhood LGHL.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Ohio State football isn’t just making sure they finish out the 2021 class strong. They’re also sending out a boatload of offers to some of the top talents in the 2022 class as Ryan Day looks to continue his incredible success on the recruiting trail. Plus, over on the hardwood the Buckeyes seem to be trending toward adding a top in-state talent to their already fifth-ranked class.

At this point in time, the plan remains to play a full college football season in 2020. Last week, OSU AD Gene Smith said that Ohio Stadium would be allowed to host between 20,000-50,000 people in the stands depending on where we are at in terms of social distancing guidelines at that time. The only problem — Who is it that gets first dibs to fill this lessened amount of seats? It should be the students.

Whether you believe it to have been the right call or not (it was), Ohio State winning the 2003 BCS title game against Miami would change the course of history. The Buckeyes have been booming ever since they took down one of the greatest programs of the era, and the Hurricanes have seemingly lost all of the swagger that made them into The U.

As part of SB Nation’s Sports Moments That Made You Cry week, Brett takes a look at a game that made Buckeye Nation cry tears of joy: The 2015 Sugar Bowl. Ohio State ventured into the south and took down the SEC’s biggest baddest competitor in Alabama to secure them a spot in the national title game. Beating Oregon was just semantics at that point, as the true National Championship Game was defeating the Crimson Tide.

From around the gridiron...

  • Chase Young and Jincy Dunne were named Ohio State’s 2019-20 Athletes of the Year on Friday morning for their efforts on their respective teams this past season. Young led the nation in sacks with 16.5 as the Buckeyes’ best player on the field. He took home many national awards for his stellar performance, including both the Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Tropy. Dunne, a two-time captain on the women’s ice hockey team, helped lead Ohio State to the program’s first WCHA Tournament Championship in 2020. This past season, she became the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in career postseason points and assists.

The last time Ohio State and Oregon matched up was in the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship, where the Buckeyes dominated the Ducks 42-20. In that game, the biggest area of concern for the guys in Scarlet and Gray was the high-flying opposing offense led by Marcus Mariota. This time around, OSU will have to be weary of Oregon’s defense, who returns a bunch of the key pieces from a unit that allowed just 16.5 points per game in 2019.

It seems like each and every year, half the fanbase thinks that Larry Johnson is on the verge of retirement. The incredibly successful defensive line coach has been at Ohio State since 2014, and all he’s been able to do is produce first-round NFL Draft talent better than anyone else in the country. He’s getting up there in age, but Johnson has shown no signs of letting up just yet. However, when the time does come for his retirement, who would make the most sense as his replacement?

  • In terms of those Buckeyes already in the NFL, Eli Apple is getting another chance at redemption, signing a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers on Friday. After being selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2016, Apple’s professional career hasn’t quite panned out. Hopefully with this latest change in scenery he can start to figure it out.

From around the hardwood...

  • Chris Holtmann has proved himself to be an incredibly genuine human being time and time again. From buying lunch at Canes for students on campus to sticking up for D.J. Carton’s leave of absence for mental health issues, the guy clearly gets it. Once again, Holtmann is doing the right thing as he speaks up for the rights and safety of the African American community during these times of awful race relations.

One of the two current members of Ohio State’s 2020 basketball recruiting class is guard Eugene Brown III. The first player to commit to the Buckeyes in this cycle, Brown was sidelined by a leg injury for most of his junior season. He played in just five games that season, averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. He came back strong for his senior season, and was named an All-Dekalb County first team pick by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

From everywhere else...

  • Women’s rowing coach Andy Teitelbaum was fired back in March with little explanation from the university at the time. After a public records request by The Dispatch, we now know it was a result of his dismissive and derogatory regard towards mental health issues — something Ohio State athletics takes very, very seriously.
  • The extended NCAA dead period has made it tough on college coaches in the recruiting game, especially when it comes to talent evaluation. The association is currently looking into scheduling three Evaluation Period weekends in the fall, with those potentially coming in August, September and October during one weekend each month.
  • The sports world has continued to adapt to new technology each and every year, and Ohio State likes to stay on the cutting edge. Like many professional sports franchises have already done, even before the coronavirus, the school is switching to mobile-online tickets starting this season. The change will allow for both contactless entry as well as convenience for everyone involved.
  • Can 2020 just end already? We’ve already done murder hornets in May, and I'm not ready for the real-life edition of Planet of the Apes in June.