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Buckeye Bits: Ohio State has one of the country’s top QB rooms, more Buckeyes on national award watch lists, more

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

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 FAU at Ohio State Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good afternoon, Buckeye Nation. It’s been a hot one out here on the East Coast, and I'm sure it’s similar over in the great state of Ohio. Hopefully you are enjoying the weather and partaking in some nice outdoor socially distant activities like the beach or the golf course. As usual, I implore you all to make sure you’re wearing a mask in times when you must be out in public so that we get a college football season this fall, and the efforts of these talented student-athletes don't go to waste.

Ohio State football, from what we can tell, seems to be back in full swing preparing for what is left of the regular season, and if we as a society can get a handle on the Coronavirus sooner rather than later, the Big Ten-only schedule will be a welcomed distraction in all of our lives. Now that my daily plea is over, let’s get to the headlines!

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Malaki Branham, the No. 1 basketball recruit in Ohio and the No. 27 prospect in the country overall, will be making his college decision on Wednesday, and the Buckeyes appear to be the leading candidate for his services. The four-star shooting guard hails out of St. Vincent-St. Mary, a program you likely know because of a little old alum named Lebron James. Chris Holtmann and staff were able to host Branham on an unofficial visit before things went under with the virus, and have since had at least one virtual meeting with the talented hooper.

Kicking off our latest ongoing series here at LGHL, we are going to be looking position by position at former Ohio State players to find the guys who would fit in best with this year’s roster. Today, Tia started with the running backs. If you could bring back one Buckeye RB of the past to line up in the backfield alongside Justin Fields behind what should be one of the program’s most dominant offensive lines ever, who would you choose? I think I'm partial to the guy who rocked a crop top and won a national title.

This season is going to be weird no matter how you slice it, as at the very best we will only be seeing Big Ten opponents this season. As I had suggested back when I drew up a new Ohio State schedule, Matt dives into the logistics of kicking off the campaign with The Game. While the purists won’t love it, it actually makes a lot of sense. You don't know what is going to happen between now and November, so why not play the most important game of the year right off the bat to make sure the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is preserved in 2020?

From around the gridiron...

The quarterback position at Ohio State has completely transformed under Ryan Day even before he took over the role as head coach. Beginning with his tutelage of Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes’ headman has quickly built a reputation as a QB whisperer, and as a result has been able to secure some top-tier talent through both the transfer market — Justin Fields, ever heard of him? — and in the recruiting game. After the position was incredibly thin in 2019, Day has addressed those issues by bringing in C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller. Alongside grad transfer Gunnar Hoak, Ohio State now has one of the bets QB rooms in the country.

  • Another day, another Buckeye finding himself on a national award watch list. This time, it is Shaun Wade, a man now on more than a few of these preseason lists, who was named a player to watch for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Award annually to the best defensive player in college football, there are clearly some massive expectations for Wade this season, as it is now the fourth national award watch list for the talented DB. Previously, he made the watch lists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Bednarik Award and the Thorpe Award. With another year under his belt, Wade could easily become the latest Ohio State corner to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
  • The national recognition for Ohio State players on Tuesday did not stop there, however. A trio of guys along the offensive line, which included Wyatt Davis, Thayer Munford and Josh Myers, were named to the Outland Trophy watch list, awarded annually to college football’s top interior lineman. The three returning starters from last years unit, which was a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, are all expected to be studs up front in 2020, keeping Justin Fields clean in the pocket and creating big holes for whichever running back winds up with the starting job come September.

With Wade moving to the outside as the obvious No. 1 guy in the secondary, Kerry Coombs will have some options in regards to who will take over his slot corner position. Sevyn Banks and Cam Brown are the two other guys expected to be at the top of the depth chart among the corners on the roster, but without much of a spring camp its tough to say which player will fill in which role. Brown seems to fit the bill for the slot job, as he is one of the fastest players in college football, but we will really have to just wait and see what Coombs decides to do with his guys this season.

From around the hardwood...

  • The football team isn’t the only Ohio State squad getting back at it these days. Chris Holtmann’s boys are back in the gym this July as they prepare for next season — hopefully one that will actually feature an NCAA Tournament. The last time we saw the Buckeyes, they were preparing for a Big Ten Tournament matchup with Purdue, one that they never got the opportunity to play. This year’s unit will look a heck of a lot different, as the offseason has seen no shortage of transfers both in and out of the program.

From everywhere else...

  • This pandemic has stolen from us the entire NCAA Tournament, the ends of the NBA and NHL seasons (which are resuming soon), most of the MLB season, and now Friends!?
  • I’m all for optimistic thinking in regards to the return of sports into our lives, but having fans in college football stadiums in any capacity seems not only incredibly unlikely but also a super unnecessary risk with the way things are currently going in regards to the virus.
  • The MLB has joined the fight for social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, with players on the San Francisco Giants showing their support on Monday night. If you want to see evidence of hate and bigotry in this country, just check the replies to this tweet!