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Buckeye Bits: Lots of linebacker talk, no Ohio State RBs on Doak Walker watch list, more

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

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

Welcome to Buckeye Bits, our daily news roundup of all things Ohio State. After putting all voluntary workouts on pause a week ago, the Buckeyes were able to return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday, where it appears they were outfitted with their Big Ten Championship rings and the latest in a long streak of Gold Pants.

It is unclear when the team will move to a more mandatory training regimen, as the NCAA allowed for such activities to begin this past Monday, but for now it seems Ryan Day and his staff are taking the cautionary road of easing back into things. The college football season is still very much up in the air, but at this time OSU is continuing to move forward with the notion that games will be played in 2020. Either way, let’s get to all of today’s headlines.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

With just one linebacker committed in the 2021 class and all three current starters at the position being seniors this season, Al Washington has his work cut out for him in the 2022 class. Luckily, he already has one LB commit in the next cycle in C.J. Hicks, who himself is working hard to bring other talented prospects into the fold. Plus, one of Ohio State’s top targets has decommitted from Clemson, and appears to be eyeing the Buckeyes.

Our recurring series 24 Club takes a look back at all 24 head coaches in Ohio State history. This week, Jim dives into the career of Paul Brown, the man that would go on to co-found the NFL team that currently resides in Cleveland. Brown didn’t stick around for all too long, thanks in large part to his efforts coaching at the Great Lakes Navy base during World War II, but he was the first headman to help lead the Buckeyes to national title.

Our Leaders of the Room series is in full swing this week, and the next position group on the list should be one of Ohio State’s biggest strengths in 2020: the offensive line. With three talented returning starters along the front five, the unit will be led by none other than Wyatt Davis — a consensus All-American and this year’s Outland Trophy frontrunner. Davis chose to return Columbus to chase down a National Championship with the Buckeyes, and he could very well play himself into a top-15 pick in the NFL Draft in the process.

Even amid a global pandemic and massive question marks surrounding the 2020 college football season, the Ohio State news cycle never stops. Make sure you didn’t miss any of the action on Tuesday, which included the Buckeyes’ announced return to voluntary workouts, Justin Fields finding his name on the Davey O’Brien Award watch list, Jeff Okudah coming is as the top rookie CB in Madden 21, and much more.

From around the gridiron...

  • With many national award watch lists being announced this week, the latest on the docket was the Doak Walker Award, given each year to college football’s best running back. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Ohio State did not have anyone make the cut. Behind such a potent offensive line, expected starter Trey Sermon could certainly play his way into the conversation if healthy. The same goes for Master Teague, who finished seventh in the B1G in rushing last season despite limited snaps as the backup.

Many expected Ohio State’s new “bullet” position, designed to be a linebacker/safety hybrid, to be a perfect area for Brendon White to thrive. Instead, White barely saw the field, wound up transferring to Rutgers, and the concept really just became Pete Werner playing his natural position while sometimes with a slightly different assignment. However, while the Bullet may just be an extension of the SAM linebacker, the Buckeyes’ recruiting shows that they still want to make the role a point of emphasis.

A player who I like to call the J.T. Barrett of the defense, Tuf Borland is probably the most polarizing player on Ohio State’s current roster. It is no secret that the middle linebacker struggled mightily coming off a torn achilles, as you would expect, and was not at all aided by the tutelage of the world’s worst position coach Bill Davis. However, Borland was much improved in 2019, and his innate leadership alongside his on-field abilities have become a valuable asset to the Buckeyes.

In what is likely a common theme we will see in many places around the country, the Virginia High School League has ruled out football this year, which means there will be no season for Buckeye commit TreVeyon Henderson. The nation’s No. 1 running back in 2021 said he still plans to enroll early at Ohio State even if the HS season gets pushed to the spring. While the option is out there to transfer to another private out-of-state program like an IMG Academy, Henderson is not all that confident that high school football will be played anywhere.

  • The ONLY player in NFL history with those stats? Sounds pretty good to me.

From around the hardwood...

  • I don't know about you guys, but even with as inconsistent and at times frustrating the 2019 Ohio State mens basketball team was, I do miss that group. It’s a real shame we didn’t get to see what they could do in the NCAA Tournament, as one hot streak at the right time could have easily gotten them deep into the tourney.
  • Speaking of members of that team, a pair of those Buckeyes were honored by the NABC on Wednesday. Both Kyle Young and Musa Jallow were selected as members of the 2019-20 NABC Honors Court, which recognizes men’s collegiate basketball student-athletes who excelled in academics this past season. The selection requires honorees to be at least a junior in class standing and achieve a 3.2 GPA or higher.

From everywhere else...

  • Chalk another one up to the latest in COVID-19 cancellations, as this year’s Rose Parade will not be taking place. The Rose Bowl itself is still scheduled to go on as planned — obviously requiring there to actually be a season for that to still happen.
  • However, in entirely unrelated news on things that have not yet been cancelled:
  • 2020 has already brought with it a pandemic, the threat of a new world war, and murder hornets, so why not just toss in gymnastic-capable robots to really make it interesting!