Ohio State Buckeyes: awards

Ohio State awards tracker: Week 1

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A glance at the Ohio State players named to preseason watch lists and how they performed in the opening win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday:

QB Braxton Miller, So. (Maxwell, O'Brien): Miller might not be as established as other candidates at quarterback, but he put up the kind of numbers that are going to draw significant attention if he can keep posting them. The marriage of his athleticism and the spread is off to an impressive start, with the honeymoon officially starting with 161 rushing yards and a touchdown to complement 207 yards passing with two more scores.

DE John Simon, Sr. (Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, Lott IMPACT): The senior didn't have the kind of statistical impact that wins trophies, but the Buckeyes won't always be facing a pass-happy spread that helps negate their edge with Simon and the defensive line rushing the passer. He was still effective supplying pressure and chipped in a couple hits on the quarterback while finishing with three tackles.

DT Johnathan Hankins, Jr. (Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, Outland): The Miami passing game was even more effective at keeping Hankins from impacting the game since it was seemingly making a point not to run the ball at him, and the quick throws kept him from making plays in the backfield. Like Simon, Hankins will have much better outings than his two-tackle performance over the weekend.

WR Corey "Philly" Brown, Jr. (Biletnikoff): Building off a productive training camp, Brown showed good chemistry with Miller and paced what already appears to be an improving passing attack with seven receptions for 87 yards with a touchdown. The Buckeyes have made it a point under Urban Meyer to find playmakers on the perimeter, and Brown's first audition was a clear success.

TE Jake Stoneburner, Sr. (Mackey): Meyer and coordinator Tom Herman have big plans for the versatile offensive weapon, but they seemed to be keeping them under wraps against Miami. Stoneburner made two catches for 28 yards while splitting time as an attached tight end and lining up at receiver, though the Buckeyes figure to want more production than that.

SS C.J. Barnett, Jr. (Thorpe): Pretty much everybody that lined up in the Ohio State secondary had a chance to contribute something against Miami's aerial attack, and Barnett was steady in the back end. There was nothing spectacular about his two tackles and a pass breakup, and he'll need to have a bigger impact to bring home a trophy.

K Drew Basil, Jr. (Groza): Basil did his job as a kickoff man, delivering three touchbacks when called on to boom it deep and placed several balls inside the 5-yard line when Meyer wanted it kicked short. He drilled all eight extra points and didn't attempt a field goal.

LB Etienne Sabino, Sr. (Butkus): Partnered with sophomore Ryan Shazier to get the linebackers off to a productive start. Working much of the time in the nickel, Sabino was active in the second level and finished with five tackles -- four of them solo efforts.

RB Jordan Hall, Sr. (Walker): The projected starter in the backfield was on the sideline as he continues to recover from a torn tendon in his foot. He could possibly return to practice this week, but he's not expected to be available against Central Florida on Saturday.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

DOAK WALKER AWARD
  • WHAT: The nation's premier running back
  • ON THE LIST: Ohio State projected starter Jordan Hall
  • CREDENTIALS: The senior has relatively modest career numbers coming off a junior campaign during which he ran for 405 yards, added 114 more as a receiver and finished with five total touchdowns. But his combination of speed and elusiveness impressed new coach Urban Meyer and the offensive staff during spring practice, and Hall was listed on top of the depth chart heading into the summer. Even though he's expected to miss the first two games after surgery on his foot, the versatile weapon is still listed in the No. 1 spot on the two-deep.
  • HEAD TO HEAD: Showcase opportunities against other rushers up for preseason consideration -- Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State), Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Latavius Murray (Central Florida), Silas Redd (Penn State), Isi Sofele (California), Fitzgerald Toussaint (Michigan), James White (Wisconsin)
  • ODDS: Hall's fluky offseason injury won't do him any favors since he'll be falling behind statistically right off the bat -- and the competition will be stiffer when he returns and tries to acclimate himself again in the offense. When healthy, Hall figures to do plenty of damage as Meyer deploys the senior as both a rusher and receiver in the famed pivot position. In his absence, Carlos Hyde should get most of the work in the backfield and could potentially play his way into consideration depending on how he handles the early opportunity.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM
  • WHAT: A select group of 11 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision recognized for showing a commitment to making a difference in the community
  • ON THE LIST: Ohio State senior Ben Buchanan
  • CREDENTIALS: The starting punter has an impressive resume on the field, including a career average of more than 41 yards per attempt, but it's his work away from it makes him a preseason candidate for the American Football Coaches Association award. Buchanan has taken three medical missions to Honduras, spent his most recent spring break working with Habitat for Humanity and is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
  • ODDS: Given the qualities he already has demonstrated during his career with the Buckeyes, it's hard to see Buchanan as anything other than a strong candidate for the 11-man roster, which will be announced in September.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD
  • WHAT: Nation's best quarterback
  • ON THE LIST: Ohio State starter Braxton Miller
  • CREDENTIALS: After taking over the starting job early in his true freshman season, Miller went on to lead the Buckeyes in rushing while throwing for 1,159 yards and accounting for 20 total touchdowns. He heads into his sophomore campaign with higher expectations -- and an offense much more suited to his versatility.
  • HEAD TO HEAD: Showcase opportunities against other signal-callers up for preseason consideration -- Taylor Martinez (Nebraska), Denard Robinson (Michigan), Nathan Scheelhaase (Illinois)
  • ODDS: With no shortage of veteran quarterbacks in high-flying offenses this season and on the watch list for passers, making the cut for the finalists figures to be a tight squeeze. But if Miller puts up the kind of numbers he's expected to this season, he could be among a crowd of 16 semifinalists -- and put himself in position for a run at a few trophies next year.
There is no position group in the Big Ten with more question marks than receiver, which was hit hard by graduation.

The lack of returning league stars at wideout is illustrated by the release today of the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list. Just four Big Ten players were named to the list for the award, which goes to the nation's top receiver. They are:
Abbrederis, Davis and Roundtree all make sense. Abbrederis is the league's leading returning receiver, while Davis had 50 catches last year and figures to be James Vandenberg's top target. Roundtree didn't have big numbers in 2011 but did produce nice stats in 2010 and will be the Wolverines' No. 1 receiver this season. Brown is a surprise selection. He's a talented guy, but the junior had only 14 catches for 205 yards last season. Ohio State's wideouts as a whole should improve under Urban Meyer's new offense, but it's a major leap to think any of them will be Biletnikoff candidates in 2012.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Biletnikoff Award
  • What: Nation's top wide receiver
  • On the list: Ohio State junior Corey "Philly" Brown
  • Credentials: Despite posting modest stats as a sophomore, Brown led the Buckeyes with 14 catches and turned them into 205 yards with a touchdown. The coaching change and Urban Meyer's version of the spread offense is expected to provide many more opportunities for the wideouts to make plays than they had a year ago, and Brown could be one of the biggest beneficiaries -- particularly if he's getting touches in the pivot position.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other targets under preseason consideration -- Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin), Keenan Allen (California), Nick Harwell (Miami of Ohio), Roy Roundtree (Michigan)
  • Odds: Brown would clearly qualify as something of a long-shot pick based on the statistics from last season, and even in the new spread it's hard to picture the Buckeyes throwing the ball around enough to produce the kind of eye-catching, individual receiving numbers required to snag a trophy. But one scenario that could set Brown apart from the crowd is if he takes advantage of the early absence of Jordan Hall in Meyer's hybrid position and becomes the go-to versatile weapon in the Ohio State attack, piling up yardage and attention in a variety of ways.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD
  • WHAT: Nation's top college lineman, from either side of the ball from end to end, or linebacker
  • ON THE LIST: Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, defensive end John Simon and tight end Jake Stoneburner
  • CREDENTIALS: Both Hankins and Simon have a proven track record of making plays behind the line of scrimmage, and with the ability to play off each other up front for the Buckeyes, more chances figure to be on the way. Stoneburner showed his nose for the end zone last year by turning his 14 receptions into seven touchdowns, and the new Ohio State offense figures to provide him with more opportunities to get his hands on the football.
  • HEAD TO HEAD: Showcase opportunities against other preseason candidates -- Denicos Allen (linebacker, Michigan State), Chris Borland (linebacker, Wisconsin), Jonathan Brown (linebacker, Illinois), Michael Buchanan (defensive end, Illinois), Max Bullough (linebacker, Michigan State), Kenny Demens (linebacker, Michigan), Travis Frederick (offensive line, Wisconsin), William Gholston (defensive end, Michigan State), Jordan Hill (defensive tackle, Penn State), Gerald Hodges (linebacker, Penn State), Taylor Lewan (offensive tackle, Michigan), Spencer Long (guard, Nebraska), Chris McDonald (guard, Michigan State), Marcus Rush (defensive end, Michigan State), Kawann Short (defensive tackle, Purdue), Baker Steinkuhler (defensive tackle, Nebraska), Mike Taylor (linebacker, Wisconsin), Ricky Wagner (offensive tackle, Wisconsin)
  • ODDS: With such a diverse -- and lengthy -- pool of candidates, emerging as a favorite for this award can be a tricky proposition. Evaluating offensive linemen against linebackers, for example, isn't something that can be done easily with statistics. All three options for the Buckeyes figure to be in the mix for awards at their own positions though, so that could potentially keep them in play for the Lombardi.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and with a full week of candidates already announced and more to come, BuckeyeNation will break them all down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

BUTKUS AWARD
  • WHAT: Nation's top linebacker
  • ON THE LIST: Etienne Sabino
  • CREDENTIALS: The fifth-year senior brings plenty of experience into his final season with the program, and Ohio State is certainly expecting that to pay off with big-time production. Sabino was solid a year ago, finishing with 62 tackles with a pair of sacks among his seven takedowns for a loss -- but there's still room for more.
  • HEAD TO HEAD: Showcase opportunities against other preseason candidates -- Denicos Allen (Michigan State), Chris Borland (Wisconsin), Jonathan Brown (Illinois), Max Bullough (Michigan State), Gerald Hodges (Penn State), Michael Mauti (Penn State)
  • ODDS: Sabino's name doesn't have nearly as much national recognition as others on the preseason list at this point, which can make for an uphill climb with the voters. But if he is able to boost those numbers from a year ago, people are bound to take notice at some point.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Jim Thorpe Award
  • What: The nation's top defensive back
  • On the list: Buckeyes safety C.J. Barnett
  • Credentials: The junior led the team in tackles last season with 75, throwing in a sack to go along with six passes defended and two interceptions. Brings plenty of experience to the secondary after starting every game for the Buckeyes as a sophomore.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other opponents under preseason consideration -- Johnny Adams (Michigan State), Ricardo Allen (Purdue), Kemal Ishmael (Central Florida), Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State), Daynonne Nunley (Miami of Ohio)
  • Odds: The fact Barnett finds himself around the football so much is definitely a bonus, because finishing plays and piling up tackles can often be easier to manage than forcing turnovers. Barnett has shown a couple times in his career already that he can do the latter as well, and if he's able to snag a few passes or scoop up a couple of fumbles, he could potentially play his way into contention for a trophy.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy
  • What: Nation's best defensive player
  • On the list: Ohio State defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins and John Simon
  • Credentials: Preseason nominations are pouring in for the tandem up front for the Buckeyes, which combined for 28.5 tackles for a loss last season. Simon led the team with seven sacks as a junior on the way to first-team All-Big Ten honors and has drawn high praise from new coach Urban Meyer for his leadership. Hankins is an emerging force on the inside with his mixture of strength and mobility in an oversized frame.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other preseason candidates -- Johnny Adams (cornerback, Michigan State), Ricardo Allen (cornerback, Purdue), Chris Borland (linebacker, Wisconsin), Jonathan Brown (linebacker, Illinois), Michael Buchanan (defensive end, Illinois), Max Bullough (linebacker, Michigan State), William Gholston (defensive end, Michigan State), Gerald Hodges (linebacker, Penn State), Jordan Kovacs (safety, Michigan), Kawann Short (defensive tackle, Purdue), Mike Taylor (linebacker, Wisconsin).
  • Odds: Having a teammate up for the same individual award isn't necessarily the best way to win one, but the ability to play next to and feed off of each other is part of the formula for success for Simon and Hankins. Maybe at some point down the line they would split the vote against each other, but both players figure to be in the mix for honors like this at the end of the year.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Outland Trophy
  • What: Best interior lineman in college football
  • On the list: Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins
  • Credentials: Expectations are growing for Hankins heading into his junior season, which comes on the heels of a campaign that included four sacks among his 12.5 tackles for a loss. With another offseason to add even more power to his 317-pound frame and complement his impressive agility for a big man, Hankins figures to boost his individual numbers this fall.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other candidates, which could be even more valuable for an award that includes nominees on both sides of the ball -- Travis Frederick (center, Wisconsin), Theo Goins (guard, Central Florida), Jordan Hill (defensive tackle, Penn State), Taylor Lewan (offensive tackle, Michigan), Spencer Long (guard, Nebraska), Chris McDonald (guard, Michigan State), Graham Pocic (center, Illinois), Kawann Short (defensive tackle, Purdue), Akeem Spence (defensive tackle, Illinois), Baker Steinkuhler (defensive tackle, Nebraska), Matt Summers-Gavin (offensive tackle, California), Aaron Tipoti (defensive tackle, California), Ricky Wagner (offensive tackle, Wisconsin).
  • Odds: Because of the inclusion of both offensive and defensive linemen, the field is crowded from the start. But if Hankins is able to dominate at and behind the line of scrimmage the way he is expected to this fall, the lone candidate from the Buckeyes could easily put himself in the mix.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Lou Groza Award
  • What: The nation's top kicker
  • On the list: Buckeyes junior Drew Basil
  • Credentials: Led the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a sophomore by connecting on 16 of his 19 attempts, which included a run of 12 in a row at one point. All three of the misses last season came on attempts of longer than 40 yards.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other kickers up for consideration -- Dan Conroy (Michigan State), Mitch Ewald (Indiana), Anthony Fera (Penn State), Brendan Gibbons (Michigan), Ty Long (UAB) and Brett Maher (Nebraska).
  • Odds: With the number of opportunities overall or in clutch situations difficult to project, pegging this award in the preseason can be tough. But another similar campaign from Basil could put him in the mix for a spot on the list of semifinalists, particularly if he can add a conversion or two from more than 50 yards.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Maxwell Award
  • What: Given to the nation's most outstanding player
  • On the list: Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller
  • Credentials: After taking over as the starter midway through his freshman season, Miller threw for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns with only four interceptions. The dual-threat weapon also led the team in rushing yards with 715, adding seven more touchdowns on the way to the Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.
  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities could come for Miller against these opponents on the list: Keenan Allen and Isi Sofele (California), Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint (Michigan), Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State), Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Silas Redd (Penn State), Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
  • Odds: Miller could put himself in contention for several awards this fall, particularly because the spread offense Urban Meyer is installing seems perfectly suited for his abilities and capable of producing big numbers. He's probably still a year away from winning trophies, but this year could set him up for a big run at them.
The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.

Bednarik Award
  • What: Given to the nation's top defensive player
  • On the list: Senior defensive end John Simon and junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins
  • Credentials: Simon is coming of a first-team All-Big Ten season as a junior. He led the Buckeyes with seven sacks and 16 tackles for a loss in 2011. Hankins wasn't far behind with 11 tackles for a loss among the 67 he made in all, and he's expected to be a handful up front this fall.
  • Head to head: The Buckeyes will square off with these other candidates this season -- Jonathan Brown and Michael Buchanan (Illinois), Johnny Adams, Denicos Allen, Max Bullough and William Gholston (Michigan State), Gerald Hodges (Penn State), Ricardo Allen and Kawann Short (Purdue), Chris Borland (Wisconsin)
  • Odds: If Simon is able to bump up his sack total slightly while continuing to serve as an inspirational leader for the Buckeyes, he could emerge as one of the favorites for this award.

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