Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
This week’s topic: The Buckeye Grammys
In honor of last night’s Grammy Awards, Gene and I decided to do a musical tie-in for this week’s installment of You’re Nuts. We thought: How can we intertwine our love of music with our love of the Buckeyes? Should we compare Ohio State athletes to our favorite musicians? Discuss how this year’s men’s basketball team has us singing the blues? Or do we just take our cues directly from the Grammys and attempt to make some sort of connection?
Ultimately, we settled on the latter and chose a Grammy category which we believe pertains to an OSU football player (or two).
Before we each state our case, I have to admit something. I was the driving force behind this topic, and I am pretty sure Gene thought I was nuts — no pun intended. But frankly, your boy was feeling topical. And even though the Grammys are wildly out of touch (see: Ozzy Osbourne and ABBA being nominated in the year 2023) I still watch them every year. So I’ll take the blame if this one falls flat. That’s what I am here for.
The Grammy category that I always find interesting is Best New Artist. Even though it is meant to recognize the music world’s “rookie” of the year, it is often given to an individual or group who has been on the scene for quite some time. Perhaps they put out an album or two in years prior, but it took a while for their music to reach the top of the charts.
Using the same standard or thought process, I felt I had some leeway in choosing my award recipient. So my Best New Artist (BNA) is/was not a freshman for the Buckeyes, but rather a breakout player in 2022. His name is Marvin Harrison Jr., a player who will likely receive a many awards in the future — of the football variety.
Harrison Jr. put out a single at the end of the 2021 season, and it was a certified banger (2022 Rose Bowl). However, the 2022 season became his true BNA campaign. Looking to fill the shoes of departed stars Chris Olave and/or Garrett Wilson, this second generation wideout quickly found himself performing on center stage. Due to the loss of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Harrison Jr. was called upon to step up and become the focal point of Ohio State’s passing game... Which is exactly what he did, in loud and resounding fashion.
After an 11-catch freshman season which I will refer to as dropping his EP, Route Man Marv put out a full length album in 2022, featuring tracks such as F*ck it, Marv Down There Somewhere, East Lansing Acrobatics, and Me Against the World (Happy Valley Remix). He blossomed into both a superstar and the best wide receiver in college football, all while brushing off defensive backs like Pusha T brushes off diss tracks. Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt may have won the 2022 Biletnikoff Award, but to quote DJ Khaled: We (really) the best (in Columbus).
Harrison Jr. finished his season with 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns, numbers which could have been better had he not been concussed during the Peach Bowl. However, 12.75 games was more than enough to cement his status as not only the Best New Artist, but also one of the best and most creative artists in the entire game. I expect him to be on the short list for Best Solo Performance or Record of the Year next year, as long as the Buckeyes’ quarterback play is up to snuff. And with Kyle McCord possibly acting as the ATL Jacob to Harrison Jr.’s Future, I expect just that — and then some.
J.T. Tuimoloau and Dallan Hayden were other nominees in the BNA category, but their track list(s) just could not compete with that of Harrison Jr. Too many chart-toppers, too many hits from Super Marv. Do not be surprised if he goes all Harry Styles or Beyonce on us next year, walking away with all the hardware. But this time around, in my scarlet and gray music scene, Harrison Jr. will just have to settle for Best New Artist.
I did indeed think Josh was a little nuts in his suggestion for this week’s topic, but after hearing him out and now reading how he made it work, I'm all in. Like Josh, I'm a big music guy, but unlike my counterpart I'm not a huge awards show guy, so I'm coming at this with a bit less expertise in the field. Still, I think my nominee has greatly earned his award in this year’s Buckeye Grammys.
My artist is being recognized for Song of the Year. A football season is very much like an album. It consists of 12-15 games (tracks), some good and some bad. Whereas the Song of the Year category in this analogy would point to the award going to a particular game, mine is going to the player (artist) that put that track on the charts and made it a hit rather than a flop. As such, my Song of the Year is being awarded to J.T. Tuimoloau for his performance against Penn State.
Ohio State’s matchups with Penn State for the last several years deserve an album on their own. Even though the Nittany Lions have only came away victorious once in the last 10 meetings — and it took a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown to do it — pretty much every game between the two programs has been close during that span. Even on years where Penn State is down and the Buckeyes are rolling, James Franklins guys find a way to make things interesting.
That was again the case in 2022, as the Nits gave Ohio State everything they could handle in Happy Valley back in October. Penn State held a 14-10 lead in the second quarter, a 21-16 lead in the fourth quarter, and had the ball back down just 23-21 with over eight minutes remaining and a chance to re-take the lead. The Buckeyes’ play-calling left a lot to be desired in that game, but the defense really came through en route to earning a 44-31 victory that was a lot closer than the final score would indicate.
The win was only made possible by J.T. Tuimoloau, whose performance is every bit worthy of his Song of the Year accolade. The Ohio State defensive end tallied a pair of interceptions, including a pick-six to really seal the deal for the Buckeyes’ final score of the afternoon, and also registered a sack-fumble, recovering the football himself, on that fourth quarter drive for Penn State that could have allowed them to re-gain the lead. That turnover would set up an immediate touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to Cade Stover, and the rest is history.
Tuimoloau had one of the best individual performances for an Ohio State defensive player since Chase Young’s four-sack, five-TFL performance against Wisconsin in 2019. An edge rusher recording one interception is a rare feat, but TWO in the same game including a pick-six is unheard of. Pair that with his crucial sack fumble, one of two sacks for the sophomore on the day, and Tuimoloau could have earned himself EGOT status for his performance in that one game alone.