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Buckeye Bits: Sporting News’ Preseason All-Americans, Tony Alford’s recruiting strategy, Dickie V high on OSU hoops additions, more

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

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 07 Big Ten Championship Game Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Buckeye Nation. Welcome to Buckeye Bits, your one-stop shop for all the latest Ohio State news and notes from around the beat. The month of June has truly flown by, and somehow next weekend is already the Fourth of July. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, but at least sports are (presumably) on the horizon, right?

Trying to stay positive out here. Without further ado, let’s jump into today’s headlines.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

As many expected, Garrett Dellinger, the No. 12 OT in the country, chose LSU on Wednesday over a trio of Big Ten schools in Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. This did not come as a shock, and the Buckeyes are still well positioned to try and land one of the nation’s top remaining tackles. Ryan Day’s 2021 class already contains a pair of top-six ranked guards, and after snagging the nation’s top OT in 2020, the offensive line should be just fine, but would still like to add if possible.

Speaking of the 2021 class, the group lost a member on Thursday when CB Devonta Smith announced he would be reopening his recruitment. While losing talent is never ideal, Smith was the lowest-rated of the six committed defensive backs in Ohio State’s current class, and there is good feeling around the program that they will be able to replace the Cincinnati product with either another uncommitted prospect or a potential flip.

Earlier this month, it appeared like it was all systems go in terms of a college football season in 2020. Colleges began planning for students to return to in-person classes in fall, student-athletes were returning to campus for voluntary workouts, and optimism was running high. Now, COVID-19 cases are soaring in states around the nation, and we are returning to some uncertain times. Since our political leaders aren’t currently leading, I'll give you a little tip: if you want football in the fall, WEAR THE MASK.

Catch yourself up on all the headlines you may have missed on Wednesday afternoon, including Ohio State AD Gene Smith holding out hope that there will be fans in the stadium this fall, the Buckeyes potentially opening as the preseason No. 1, Evan Turner being selected to the BTN All-Decade First Team, and much more!

From around the gridiron...

Ohio State has an incredibly rich history of elite running back talent. Archie Griffin is still the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, and another all-timer Eddie George won the award in the mid-90s. More recently, guys like Ezekiel Elliott and J.K. Dobbins have come in and dominated opposing offenses. With a track record as impressive as the Buckeyes’, how much does position coach Tony Alford use it as a selling point in his pitch to running back recruits?

I wrote earlier this week about Ohio State’s potentially historic offensive line group this upcoming season, and I mentioned sophomore Dawand Jones as one of the more interesting players in the entire unit. Originally thought of as more of a long-term project, the hulking 6-foot-8, 359-pound tackle wound up not taking a redshirt his freshman season and instead became a fixture as a backup along the O-line. He may be an unconventional guy, but he has a chance to become a special player with continued development.

  • Oof. Really bad day to be No. 21. I think this Jaxon Smith-Njigba kid is gonna be pretty good.

I think everyone is just about ready to close the book on the 2019 season, one that had so much talent and promise but ended in absolute heartbreak and frustration. However, it is worth going back to look at some of the interesting statistics the team was able to accomplish throughout the year. For example, did you know that Ohio State had a game where they scored 10 red zone touchdowns (the 73-14 win against Maryland) or that seven of Chase Young’s 16.5 sacks came in two games against two of the best teams on the schedule (Wisconsin and Penn State)?

  • Sporting News released its 2020 college football Preseason All-American team, and a handful of Ohio State players made the cut. The Buckeyes had two guys make the First Team, with those being offensive guard Wyatt Davis and cornerback Shaun Wade. OSU also had one player make the Second Team, with that being quarterback Justin Fields. As you could have likely guessed, it was Trevor Lawrence who beat out Fields for the First Team selection at QB.
  • Some sad news for a former Buckeye. TCU quarterback Matthew Baldwin, who transferred from Ohio State prior to the 2019 season, has decided to end his football playing career after battling nagging back and knee injuries for the last year. Baldwin is expected to remain a student at TCU, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

From around the hardwood...

  • Listen, if Dickie V says not to worry about Ohio State hoops, then I'm not worried about Ohio State hoops. The Buckeyes lost a bunch of guys to graduation, the NBA Draft and transfers this offseason, but the ESPN analyst believes in the trio of additions Chris Holtmann was able to bring to Columbus.
  • The Basketball Tournament is being hosted at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH — right down the road from Ohio State’s campus. Between the location and the fact that the Buckeye alumni team Carmen’s Crew is the No. 1 overall seed, obviously the TBT was gonna throw some love toward the Scarlet and Gray. Well, they’ve done so by designing one of their practice courts in OSU regalia. I’m just worried about those hanging light fixtures.

From everywhere else...

  • According to The Athletic (paywall), at least three Power Five conferences are considering the idea of moving back their football championship games to provide an extra weekend that could be used for making up any potential game that has to be postponed due to COVID-19. The Big Ten is one of the conference's pondering this scenario.
  • A train of thought that I've seen picking up some steam among some people on social media is that it is better for college football players to get COVID-19 now so that they would have some immunity later in the event of a second wave. Large groups of players at big programs like Clemson, LSU and Texas have all seen COVID-19 outbreaks. John Talty of AL.com spoke with three infectious disease experts and epidemiologists to find out if this theory has any legs.
  • Sorry if this final section of Buckeye Bits has been pretty COVID-heavy, but there is a large portion of the population that just doesn’t seem to understand the severity of the situation. I didn’t major in ‘chart reading’ in college, but that graphic certainly doesn’t look all too comforting to me. Just wear the mask — it’s quite literally the least you can do.