Thompson is one of four DB commits in '13.
Drew Thurman (12:51 pm)

As we wade through the 2013 recruiting waters position by position, it is time to take a deeper look into what is going on in the defensive backfield. We previously looked at the quarterback, wide receiveroffensive linedefensive line, and linebacker positions.

Coming into this class, there was a pressing need to add some big time playmakers in the defensive backfield. As the post-spring depth chart showed, the Buckeyes are not only suspect in terms of overall difference makers, but are very thin in terms of numbers. Last year's haul of Armani Reeves, Devan Bogard, Najee Murray and Tyvis Powell was a step in the right direction, but did not eliminate the need. Reeves and Murray could both wind up in the two-deep right away this fall, Bogard may grow into a linebacker, and Powell still needs to prove he is a potential contributor down the road. 

Thankfully, the 2013 class has already produced a lot of those future playmakers, and we are only in June. Two of the top corners in the class, Cameron Burrows and Eli Woodward, committed early in the process. Both guys are tall, athletic corners, something that is hard to find at the position, and solidify the future there. I could go on, but I think everyone knows how elite these two are and what they'll bring to the table down the road. 

At safety the staff already has commitments from Jayme Thompson, and now recently, Darron Lee. Thompson was a pick up that surprised some folks when he committed back in April. He's already proven on the camp circuit this summer, though, that he can flat out perform and has top-notch athleticism. As for Lee, he earned a scholarship after two solid performances in front of the staff at camps. While he currently projects at safety at the next level, at 6-2 205 pounds there still is a very real possibility he slides down and plays linebacker. Depending on how the recruiting game plays out for the staff from here until February will likely dictate where he ends up. 

Zach Clark (8:56 am)

This is the first of a weekly Summer Series that will examine every team in the Big Ten.  I will provide a preview of the schedule, a look at the incoming players and 2012 recruiting class, vital departures, predictions and, of course, some good ol' fashioned Buckeye bias and demeaning humor to those teams that are deserving.  Hopefully this can provide some sort of replacement for the deep, dark void you all must be feeling during this (dare I say it) college football offseason. Enjoy!


Indiana Hoosiers

Head Coach:

Kevin Wilson (2nd Year at Indiana)
2011 Record: 1-11 (0-8 Conference)
Overall Head Coaching Record: 1-11 (0-8 Conference)

Schedule Preview:

The dreaded Indiana Hoosiers open up the 2012 season with three straight non-conference games (Indiana State, at Massachusetts, Ball State).  Hoosier faithful should be satisfied starting the season 2-1 with a sole loss coming against Ball State (see Coach Wilson’s 2011 opener debacle): 

A rare hot start such as this would already double Indiana’s win total from a year ago.  As far as the Hoosiers’ remaining 9 games, I expect a 2-7 record with possible wins week 8 at Navy and week 13 at Purdue.  I’m high on new Illini hire, Coach Tim Beckman, and I do not think the Hoosiers will be able to steal a win in Champaign this year, as it won’t take long for Coach Beckman to steer his squad away from the black hole referred to as the bottom of the Big Ten.  Although Indiana gets Michigan St, Ohio St, Iowa and Wisconsin at home, they do not yet have enough firepower to compete with the big boys.  As for why I think IU can take down Purdue, it is their final game of the regular season, and Purdue has been slipping into a nasty habit of not finishing the season very strong (3-4 in 2011 and 1-7 in 2010 in the last 8 games of the regular season).  Additionally, Indiana will be jacked up about defeating in-state rival Purdue and possibly ruining their bowl eligibility.  It will shock me if the Hoosiers finish the season with more than 3 or 4 wins, but who knows: Maybe it just takes a full year to get the Kevin Wilson plan for domination up and running…

Dave Thurman (3:45 pm)

Well it's that time again. Hump Day is here and I know you can't wait for the weekly Buckeye news...just humor me and play along.  So here goes...

Death of the BCS: Ding, dong the BCS is gone, or will be after the 2013 season.  We have waited for this day a long time, and by "we" I mean 99% of college football fans.  That means beginning in 2014 there will actually be a college football playoff.  The decision was agreed upon yesterday at a meeting of the eleven conference commissioners and twelve university presidents and chancellors who approved a new four-team postseason format. It may not be perfect or all some hoped for but at least it as a start, as there will be four teams which will be seeded much the way basketball teams are chosen by a committee for the NCAA tournament.  The two semifinals will take place in bowls, with the title game being put up for bid.  And, the semifinal venues will rotate among six diffeernt bowls.

The truth is, it seems the B1G was the last hold out and goes into the new playoff system kicking and screaming (surprise, surprise).  Offically, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany issued the following statement: “As we moved forward to identify a new model, we had a couple of really important issues.  We wanted to continue to support the regular season, we think it does that. We also wanted it to be  inside the bowl season, it does that. We also think the method for selecting teams is more rational, it has fewer conflicts and is more transparent. So when I think at the whole situation, I think college football, the Big Ten and the  players and coaches are well served.”  Whatever!

For a good read with lots of details check out theis piece from Steve Helwagen. 

Sully Bashing Continues:  I am not sure if I have ever seen a really good college player trashed as much as Jared Sullinger has been the past few months.  Making matters worse, medical tests have revealed that his back is not healthy, and could be a continuing issue.  The latest "slam" came from the NBA itself, as they did not invite Sully to the draft Thursday in Newark, N.J.  That means they don't expect him to be one of the first 13 players selected.  All of this proves again that a player who has an excellent freshman season is almost pushed into turning pro.  The longer a guy stays in school, the more scouts pick him apart, to say nothing of his higher risk of injury.  In the process college basketball fans are the losers, as less and less top-notch players stay in school past their first season. 

The Plain Dealer has an excellent article by Doug Lesmerises in which he compares Sullinger to former football star James Laurinaitis, and is definitley an interesting take.  Let's hope Big Sully proves the gurus wrong just like Little Animal. 

Dave Thurman (3:17 pm)

At 6'2", 315 pounds, Michael Hill is a big pickup for Ohio State in more than one way.  Hailing from Pendleton High School in Pendleton, South Carolina, Hill is a top-notch defensive tackle ranked by 247 Sports as the 12th best DT in the class of 2013, and the 197th best player overall.  Scout and Rivals both rank Hill as a 4-star prospect as well. 

Hill's offer list included Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, FSU, Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina and Michigan.  He is the kind of big, run-stopping tackle that Ohio State has had a difficult time attracting in recent years, and is yet another stud Urban Meyer and staff have brought in on the defensive line.  As a junior he recorded 79 tackles and 8 sacks.

Welcome aboard Mr. Hill!

Drew Thurman (2:25 pm)

As we hit the dog days of summer it appears the  recruiting trail is again starting to heat up. The latest addition is ATH Darron Lee (New Albany, OH), who becomes the 13th member in the 2013 class. 

Lee's offer came after not one, but two impressive performances in front of the staff at camps. The first of which came at the beginning of June when he turned in a performance that had him in the discussion with Vonn Bell, arguably the nation's top safety. 

With the staff still wavering on whether or not to offer, Lee came back again this last weekend to show off his stuff. He obviously proved himself as the staff offered earlier today, an offer he accepted on the spot. He picked the Buckeyes over offers from the likes of West Virginia, Illinois, Arizona State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Purdue, and others. 

While the 6-3 205 pound Lee plays a little bit of everywhere on his high school team, he will likely find himself at safety or linebacker for the Buckeyes. His ability to possibly play in either spot at the next level gives the staff some flexibility as they look to close out this class. If they miss on Vonn Bell, Lee can join Jayme Thompson in the secondary next year and fill that spot. On the other hand, if the staff is unable to fill the void at linebacker left by Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal decommitting, Lee could bulk up and slide down in the future. 

Regardless, it is great to have Lee in the fold for 2013. It's always nice to see an in-state kid that wants to play for the Buckeyes work hard and get that chance. Welcome aboard Darron! Film after the break...

Zach Clark (4:41 pm)

[Ed. Note] We would like to introduce Zach Clark, the newest member of the TSB team. He's a Buckeye fan from Chicago, who now finds himself at the University of Illinois. Don't hold it against him though, it hasn't hindered his fanhood. You can read rest of his bio here

In this transitional offseason of Buckeye football, we as fans are forced to look to Coach Meyer’s tendencies and strategies with past teams.  Nearly every team with Coach Meyer at the helm, a “game-changing playmaker” haemerged.  Electrifying athletes Josh Harris (Bowling Green) and Percy Harvin (Florida) serve as examples.  Although Meyer did not recruit many current players on the Ohio State roster while he was at Florida, I believe there is enough talent remaining on the roster for him to find someone that will be utilized in a similar fashion to athletes like Harris and Harvin.  Here are the few players who, I think, have a chance to be “the guy.” 

Jordan Hall

Although only playing in 10 games during the 2011 season, Hall returns with the most all-purpose yards and over 500 more than Braxton Miller.  Hall has proven himself to be a durable athlete who can play multiple positions.  Heralded as a workout warrior, he has the strength and ability to be a legitimate threat in the running, passing and return game.

Zach Boren

It seems strange to put a fullback on a list of potential “game-changing playmakers,” but Boren is not your typical “see-defender, block-defender” fullback.  Meyer has publicly praised Boren, and I would venture to say the odds of him having another season of zero rushes and 6 receptions are relatively low.  Boren brings unbelievable strength, surprising speed and an impeccable football IQ to his junior season.

Michael Chung (8:52 am)

After interviewing Billy Price, it was very evident that Cameron Burrows has emerged as a key leader, if not the key leader of the 2013 recruiting class.  Cameron gave us a lot of insight in his first interview on things like recruiting, Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer and when he thinks OSU will win it all.  Because he is the leader of the 2013 class, I thought it would be great to check in with him from time to time to try to gauge the pulse of the 2013 class.  

Being the first to commit in 2013, did you feel that it automatically brought on the responsibility of being the “leader?” 

CB: I feel I am a natural leader. Even if I was not the first to commit, I believe I would still be trying to lead the class.

You have been at various camps with fellow recruits, can you tell me more about:

Jalin Marshall? 

CB:  I have known him since the 3rd grade so the camps did not reveal much? At camp, he beat most of his defenders. We went against each other once and it was a draw between him and me as the ball was thrown out of bounds.

Luke Witte today
Dave Thurman (3:26 pm)

Recently I had the privelege of interviewing former Buckeye roundball legend Luke Witte, and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a very kind and insightful man.  Part one of the interview was posted June 20th and you can read it here

Because the interview was conducted over the phone, I have capsulized his comments and they are not word for word.

What happened when you made the trip to Minneapolis to meet Corky Taylor ten years after the "brawl"?

LW: It was almost surreal.  When I arrived at the airport and got off the plane it was as if the terminal was empty.  I don't know where everyone went, but it was almost eerie.  At the baggage carousel, the only person other than me was a very tall black man and I knew it was him.  We embraced rather awkwardly, and on the drive to Corky's residence we talked.  At first the conversation was a little uncomfortable as you would expect.  Clyde Turner, who was also on the Minnesota team in 1972, came over and the three of us watched the video of the game.  While Clyde and I sat, Corky stood and paced, and it was obviously very hard for him to watch.  But that day healing began.  Later, we all went to watch Corky's son play soccer.  It was humerous, because an Ohio State fan recognized me and came over to say hello.  Then he saw the other two guys and realized who they were.  His expression totally changed and he just turned and walked away!  By the time I left Minneapolis, there was a peace among us that comes through reconciliation.    

What good, if any, came from the whole incident? 

LW: Two guys in Minnesota became my friends.  They seemed to have a need for forgiveness and as we watched the video together there was reconciliation.  I would have to say that at the soccer game there were three Christian men who enjoyed a time of fellowship.  And, of course, the incident has provided me with a platform for sharing my testimony. 

Photo via OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Drew Thurman (5:06 pm)

Good evening, welcome to another edition of the Midweek News & Notes. The summer has been a crazy time for all of us at the blog, especially me. I've just completed a move back to B1G country after living in Phoenix, Arizona, for the last several years. I unluckily landed there after the Buckeyes Fiesta Bowl run, meaning I was stuck watching the TCU's and Boise State's of the world play in the desert. Thankfully, I've returned to my homeland to see the silver bullets in person regularly.

Interestingly enough, the summer has provided more action that usual for Ohio State, too. While the recruiting trail has been a little cold over the past couple of months, that hasn't meant that Urban and company have been sitting on their hands. Let's take a look at the latest...

Attacking the Classroom

Urban Meyer is already showing he is getting it done off the field, besides on the field. The football team boasted a 2.88 combined GPA, the highest it had been in the last 10 quarters. To make things even better, the current players on the roster had a combined 2.95 GPA. The last time the GPA was that high going into fall camp was back in 2007.

Dave Thurman (8:47 am)

Longtime Buckeye fans will recognize the name Luke Witte, one of the first seven footers to suit up in scarlet and gray.  Luke was far more than just a big guy to fill space, though.  After a season on the freshman team in 1969-70 (freshmen could not play varsity in that era), he exploded onto the scene in 1970-71, averaging 18.9 ppg and 12.7 rpg for an OSU squad that won the Big Ten title and advanced to the Elite Eight.  A rugged rebounder, Luke still ranks third in career rebounding average in Buckeye history. 

Unfortunately, Witte is best remembered by many fans as the player who was viciously attacked by some Minnesota Gopher players, in the last seconds of a game played at Minneapolis.  There is no shortage of articles on this ugly incident, including this piece from the Sports Illustrated Vault.  Knocked unconscious, Luke spent a few days in the hospital, but bravely completed his junior season, and then came back for more as a senior in 1972-73.   Many fans and basketball experts suggested, though, that he was never quite the same player after that horrific experience.    

Chosen as the 57th player in the 1973 NBA draft, Luke went on to play three years for the Cleveland Cavaliers, though his NBA career was shortened due to injuries.  After a few years playing in Europe, Luke operated a sports store in Alliance, Ohio, along with his wife, before entering seminary and becoming a minister.  Today Luke serves as a chaplain, and he took some time recently to patiently answer my questions.  His candor and testimony was so compelling that I have decided to space the interview into two segments.  Regardless of whether or not you are a basketball fan or whether you remember Luke Witte, you will enjoy his insightful remarks. 

You were part of some excellent OSU teams.  What is your best memory of your basketball career in Columbus?

Certainly my sophomore year comes to mind, as we had a young team with three sophomore starters, one junior, and our senior leader in Jimmy Cleamons.  We won the conference title and advanced to the NCAA Regional Final against Western Kentucky.  It was an incredible journey.  But what really stands out to me is the individuals on that team.  I think there were six guys on the squad who went on to become physicians.  We were truly student athletes, and it was indicative of the kind of young men Coach Fred Taylor recruited and developed, as I believe that something like 68% of his players pursued continuing education degrees.