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Buckeye Bits: Justin Fields projected No. 1 overall in 2021 NFL Draft, Shaun Wade on Bednarik watch list, more

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

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Today was supposed to mark the beginning of a six-week training camp for Ohio State football, as the NCAA allowed teams to transition from voluntary to mandatory workouts on Monday as part of its expanded preseason format. Alas, after putting things on pause last week out of an abundance of caution surrounding some positive COVID-19 tests, that is not yet the case.

There is still no clear date in mind for the Buckeyes to resume workouts, and to be honest with you the chances of having a college football season in general seem to be slimming by the day as this country struggles to contain this pandemic. There is still some optimism that games will be played this year, and the Big Ten is hoping the move to a conference-only schedule will improve those chances, but if we as a nation can’t come together and stop making an inherently non-partisan virus into a political issue, then all hope is lost.

Regardless, we here at LGHL will continue to prepare for a football season as if there is one to be played, and so with that being said let’s move on to today’s headlines.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Thanks to a massive early surge in recruiting for Ryan Day and the gang, Ohio State’s big board only has a few remaining names as they look to fill out the rest of their top-ranked 2021 class. One of those guys is Derrick Davis, a four-star safety from Pennsylvania that included the Buckeyes in his top seven schools over the weekend.

One of a few different series we will be starting at LGHL with what was supposed to be the beginning of preseason camp, today’s Leaders of the Room takes a look at the cornerback position. With the loss of both Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette to the NFL Draft, Shaun Wade is the clear and undisputed leader of the unit in 2020. However, outside of Wade, which guy must step up for the secondary to be successful this season.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the college sports landscape, with many schools across the country having to cut different athletics programs to stay afloat. Stanford is one of the largest and most successful athletic departments in the nation, and have more varsity sports than all but one other DI school: Ohio State. Their decision to cut 11 of their 36 varsity programs was a bit of a shock to many in this field, and Meredith breaks down what the move means for college sports as a whole.

If there is any college football season at all in 2020, it’s going to be weird. The Big Ten has already moved to a conference-only schedule, but it is unlikely they will just play their previously scheduled nine opponents on their originally planned dates. Instead, they will likely move things around, and will probably add a 10th game to the mix as well. I took a stab at creating a new schedule for Ohio State this year, moving Michigan to the first game of the year to ensure The Game takes place and adding a potential Independent to the mix (because why not?).

From around the gridiron...

Ever since he stepped foot on a college campus, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence seemed destined to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Enter: Justin Fields. The Georgia transfer put on an absolute clinic in his first year at Ohio State, and as a result of his incredible season, the talented QBs are now in a race to be the first man off the board. In the latest Bleacher Report mock draft, Fields is selected No. 1 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, edging out Lawrence, who is taken at No. 4 by the Carolina Panthers.

  • Despite being the fifth running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, J.K. Dobbins is the highest-rated rookie RB in Madden 21. EA announced the ratings on Monday, and Dobbins checks in as a 75 overall, ahead of all the guys selected before him including D’Andre Swift (74) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (74). The Madden franchise was a lot more generous with their rookie ratings than in previous years, as I predicted a month ago that Dobbins would be rated a 70 overall.
  • The Bednarik Award is given annually to college football’s best defensive player. An Ohio State player took home the hardware last season, when Chase Young was the obviously deserving recipient of the honor. The Buckeyes have a chance to take home the trophy yet again in 2020, as on Monday the Maxwell Football Club included CB Shaun Wade on its Bednarik Award watch list.
  • Former Buckeye cornerback Jeff Okudah is the latest Ohio State rookie to sign his NFL contract, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Okudah was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, and he has reportedly signed a four-year deal with a fifth-year option. He has some big shoes to fill early in his professional career, as he will likely be one of the team’s top options at corner after the Lions traded Darius Slay this offseason.

From around the hardwood...

  • Ohio State hoops has concluded its bracket looking to find the Buckeyes’ most clutch basket. The winner: Evan Turner’s deep 3-point game-winner over Michigan in the 2010 Big Ten Tournament. The shot easily defeated Aaron Craft’s 2013 bucket against Iowa State in the championship round, garnering over 70 percent of the vote. It is a play that all fans of Ohio State basketball remember vividly, and a very deserving winner as the No. 5 seed.

From everywhere else...

  • In what appears to be a bit of good news, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) announced on Sunday that, as of right now, high school sports will go on as planned, with practices beginning Aug. 1. Things could certainly still change between now and then, but it is an optimistic announcement to say the least.
  • In a much anticipated move, the Washington Redskins have announced they are officially changing the name of the franchise. While a new name and logo have not yet been decided on, personally I am a huge fan of this Red Wolves concept:
  • College football is scheduled to begin in eight weeks. There is still time to turn this ship around and save the season, we just have to all do our part.