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Buckeye Bits: Ohio State resumes voluntary workouts, Justin Fields makes Davey O’Brien watch list, more

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

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

After what has seemed like nothing but doom and gloom for the past few weeks, we finally got a little bit of good news in regards to Ohio State athletics. On Tuesday, the school announced in a release that voluntary workouts would resume after being put on pause less than a week ago following some positive COVID-19 tests.

A later update clarified that workouts would actually begin on Wednesday, with Tuesday being the final day of the hiatus. The NCAA began allowing football teams to move from voluntary workouts to required activities on Monday, including things like film review, conditioning and weight training. While Ohio State coaches will now be allowed to supervise these activities moving forward, the school says it will not yet be mandating participation as they transition to a more traditional preseason camp.

An obvious step in the right direction, this still does not guarantee the existence of a college football season in 2020, but at least the Buckeyes are now able to get back to work and prepare for whatever lies ahead. With that being said, let’s get to the rest of today’s headlines.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Four-star linebacker commit C.J. Hicks has earned the nickname “Captain Buckeye” for his relentless efforts on the recruiting trail. The talented Ohio native is trying to help bring some of the nation’s top prospects to Columbus, including a pair of fellow highly-touted linebackers. In addition, the MaxPreps high school All-American team is littered with Buckeye pledges.

Continuing with one of our preseason position preview themes, Brett looks at the current state of Ohio State’s linebackers in the latest Leaders of the Room. The Buckeyes will not be led by one single player within the unit in 2020, and instead will rely on the guidance of a trio of seniors to bring stability to the second level of the defense. OSU has been able to bounce back from the decimation of the position caused by Bill Davis, and will now look at the linebackers as an area of strength.

You may know of a little football team up in Cleveland called the Browns. Before he was co-founding an NFL franchise, Paul Brown was coaching Ohio State football. He only stuck around for a few years, thanks in part to the onset of World War II, but he was the first Buckeyes head coach to lead the team to a national title in 1942. Brown would finish 18-8-1 at Ohio State, while going 1-1-1 against Michigan.

ICYMI, check out yesterday’s Buckeye Bits for all of Monday’s big headlines, including Justin Fields being the No. 1 overall pick in the latest Bleacher Report NFL mock draft, J.K. Dobbins being the highest-rated rookie RB in Madden 21, Shaun Wade earning a spot on the Bednarik Award watch list, and much more!

From around the gridiron...

  • The Davey O’Brien Award is given each year to the nation’s top quarterback. On Tuesday, the Davey O’Brien Foundation announced its preseason watch list, which included 30 of the top returning college QBs. Of course, Heisman Trophy frontrunner Justin Fields made the cut. Other notable names on the list include Penn State’s Sean Clifford, Wisconsin’s Jack Coan, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
  • After Dobbins was announced as the highest-rated rookie running back in Madden 21 on Monday, yet another Ohio State rookie comes in as the highest-ranked first-year player within their position group. Jeff Okudah is rated a 76 overall, which ties former Florida CB CJ Henderson as the top rookie corners. We still await the initial rating of Chase Young, who will almost undoubtably have the highest overall of any rookie in the newest edition of the video game franchise.
  • Just because the game has been cancelled in real life doesn’t mean we can't still have some fun with it. The guys over at 247Sports have been simulating the top 20 games of the 2020 season thanks to NCAA 14 and some updated rosters, and on Tuesday they hit on the a massive matchup that will no longer be: Ohio State vs. Oregon. In an evenly-matched competitive bout, it was the Buckeyes able to come out on top 24-19 in the virtual world. Hopefully we get to see the real thing next year, as the Ducks are scheduled to travel in Columbus in 2021.
  • As of right now, the plan is for high school football to be played as scheduled in Ohio. The OHSAA is moving forward with its original timeline, with practices slated to start on Aug. 1. There isn’t a lot of time between now and then, and we will have to just wait and see if things actually play out as intended. With the way this pandemic is currently going, it seems like an overly optimistic notion.
  • Malik Harrison is the latest Buckeye rookie to sign his NFL contract. The former OSU linebacker was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round, where he will join forces with college teammate J.K. Dobbins.
  • Former Ohio State wide receiver Jaelen Gill has been granted immediate eligibility and will be able to suit up right away for Boston College. The redshirt sophomore will have three years of eligibility remaining as he plays under former Buckeye assistant Jeff Hafley, the newest head coach of the Eagles.

From everywhere else...

  • It’s never a bad time to indulge in a little TBDBITL, especially for SpongeBob’s birthday!
  • I have some bad news for you guys... it’s always been cake.
  • There’s been a Tiger sighting in Ohio, and it isn’t at the Columbus Zoo.