Ohio State Buckeyes: ezekiel elliott
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Looking at the critical areas and key players as No. 3 Ohio State looks to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game at home against Indiana on Senior Day (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2).
Focus first: Everywhere the Buckeyes look, they'll find something that can cause a distraction. The BCS standings provide the easiest way for the Buckeyes to lose focus, because they are keenly aware of where they stand, the narrowing lead they possess over No. 4 Baylor and how important it is to win easily against overmatched opponents. But there is also a school-record winning streak on the line, a chance to clinch a share of the division title that would send them to Indianapolis for the conference title game and an emotional pregame ceremony planned to honor the seniors, and all of that could spell a letdown if Ohio State isn't locked in on the task at hand. Urban Meyer has been working overtime this week to ensure that doesn't happen.
Put it in the ground: After all the years of questions about why Meyer hasn't had a running back put up a 1,000-yard season, Carlos Hyde is set to emphatically put that conversation to rest once and for all. The senior has made it look pretty simple, in fact, and he needs just 53 yards against one of the nation's worst rushing defenses to hit that milestone despite missing the first three games of the season. The Hoosiers are allowing more than 250 yards per game on the ground, and the suspect tackling and assignment errors that have popped up for them defensively this year doesn't bode well against Hyde or Braxton Miller, who have been on a tear in the backfield for an Ohio State offense that ranks No. 4 in the nation in rushing.
Health nuts: Some help appears to be on the way back for Ryan Shazier at linebacker, and plugging Joshua Perry back in the rotation should alleviate some of the issues that popped up for the Buckeyes last week in a somewhat sluggish defensive outing at Illinois. Curtis Grant is still questionable with ankle and back problems, but having two healthy starters at the second level might be enough for Ohio State, given how frequently it figures to be using its nickel and dime personnel against an Indiana offense that throws for an average of more than 300 yards per game. Perhaps most important for the Buckeyes is getting a healthy Joey Bosa back on the field at defensive end, because the pressure the freshman puts on opposing passers has a way of making the jobs easier for everybody behind him.
Shake it off: Miller might have been due for an off week throwing the football coming off such a hot streak to close out October, and the poor weather at Illinois was obviously a factor in a 13-for-29 performance that looked little like the 68-percent efficiency he's delivered this season. With Miller and Hyde having so much success on the ground, it hardly made a difference anyway as the Buckeyes rolled to 60 points and another victory. But Meyer has stressed all season the importance of balance between the rush and the pass, and Miller might need a strong start through the air to keep the Hoosiers from loading the box, making him prove that he can bounce back from a shaky outing.
Something special: A season of airtight coverage on special teams finally had a hole poked in it last week, with injuries starting to take a toll on the kicking game for the Buckeyes. They've spent plenty of time trying to develop offensive players into tacklers to avoid a repeat of the 67-yard punt return for a touchdown they allowed last week, and guys like Warren Ball and Ezekiel Elliott will need to be sharp on the coverage units against a team that is capable of finding a hole and exploiting it. The Hoosiers rank third in the Big Ten in punt return average, and they've already taken one punt back for a touchdown this season.
True freshmen are having a bigger and bigger impact throughout college football these days, as coaches are either becoming less afraid to throw their youngsters into the fire or are facing fewer options.
1. Penn State: The Nittany Lions are starting just one true frosh, but he's a guy with a little bit of importance to the team's fortunes: quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The 18-year-old has had some ups and downs but is on pace for a 3,000-yard season. Tight end Adam Breneman and receiver Richy Anderson have also played in every game, with one start each. Von Walker, Brandon Bell and Jordan Smith are among others who have seen time for coach Bill O'Brien, who doesn't have the luxury to redshirt many guys with the Lions' depth issues.
2. Nebraska: The Huskers' defense is young, all right. So young that two true freshmen are starting at linebacker for Bo Pelini in Josh Banderas and Nathan Gerry. They rank fourth and fifth on the team in tackles, and Banderas is handling a leadership position as the middle linebacker.
3. Ohio State: Urban Meyer says Ohio State doesn't redshirt. If you're ready, you play. Technically, the Buckeyes don't start any true freshmen, but Dontre Wilson has already made a big impact as a runner, receiver and kick returner. Several other first-year players dot the two-deep, such as safety Vonn Bell and defensive lineman Joey Bosa, and running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns last week versus Florida A&M.
4. Indiana: No surprise to see the Hoosiers on this list, since coach Kevin Wilson has played as many true freshmen as any coach in the country the past few years. That means Indiana finally has some veterans, but Wilson is starting T.J. Simmons at linebacker and getting contributions from Darius Latham on the defensive line, Antonio Allen in the secondary and Marcus Oliver and Clyde Newton at linebacker.
5. Wisconsin: The Badgers are mostly an experienced, veteran team. The one exception is in the secondary. Sojourn Shelton is starting at cornerback for the Badgers, while Jakarrie Washington and Nate Hammon are top reserves in the defensive backfield.
Man on fire: Braxton Miller is eventually going to come back and reclaim his starting job, but Kenny Guiton has more than kept the seat warm. The redshirt senior has been a record-setting inferno, throwing the football in the last two victories while Miller has rested his sprained knee. Guiton etched his name in Ohio State lore again with six touchdown passes -- the most in school history for a single game, a record that only took him two quarters to accomplish. The Buckeyes were already confident in their backup before the last two weeks, but their depth at quarterback has proven to be a luxury few teams in the country can match.
The defensive line is only getting better: Even with two starters out with injury, the Buckeyes still were able to deliver consistent pressure. The defensive line continues to silence any doubts about a rebuilt unit up front. Adolphus Washington (groin) and Michael Bennett (stinger) were held out to get them ready for next week’s physical test against Wisconsin, and backups Steve Miller and Chase Farris each chipped in sacks to offer some evidence there is improving depth to go along with the top-end talent in the normal first-team lineup.
The offense has weapons to spare: The Rattlers were hopelessly overmatched from the start, so much of Ohio State’s frighteningly efficient offensive outing must be taken with a grain of salt. But the Buckeyes have more than just a capable backup at quarterback -- they’ve got dynamic, young playmakers waiting for touches at running back and wide receiver as well. Ezekiel Elliott came off the bench in the second half to rush for 162 yards and two touchdowns, Warren Ball added 49 more rushing yards and Guiton completed passes to 10 receivers. Ohio State is putting up points in bunches now, and the future looks just as bright.
The electric freshman has put his speed on full display and lived up to the enormous hype that built from the moment he signed with the Buckeyes through a head-turning training camp. The package of plays for Dontre Wilson appears to be steadily expanding, and Ohio State hasn't exactly been hiding the fact it would like to get him more involved.
But coach Urban Meyer only has one football at a time at his disposal during the game, and with Rod Smith, Warren Ball and Ezekiel Elliott all clamoring for touches as well, finding a way for them all to be involved is about to become an even bigger challenge with Hyde set for his debut on Saturday against Florida A&M. Maybe it's an issue that would make Meyer's peers around the country envious, but it's a potential problem nevertheless.
"Jordan Hall has certainly earned the right to touch the ball in a big way, so I'm not sure yet [about the distribution of carries]," Meyer said. "Carlos did a lot a for us a year ago -- a lot. He's a very talented running back, and that [suspension] was hard on everybody.
"But this is a good issue to have."
Meyer doesn't appear to be in a hurry to solve it, and this week it might not make any difference against a Football Championship Subdivision defense that figures to be grossly overmatched against one of the most explosive offenses in the country. But based on a relatively small sample size since he took over the program last year, it doesn't appear Meyer will be worried about hurting any feelings when it comes time to decide who will be taking handoffs and how many they might get.
The Buckeyes weren't nearly as deep at tailback a year ago after Hall's second injury forced him to redshirt after appearing in just three games, and that was obviously a significant factor for an attack that leaned heavily on Hyde and his 185 carries. But despite having Smith and Bri'onte Dunn available on the bench, Hall actually still finished the season second among running backs with 40 attempts.
So far this season, Meyer has again appeared to favor riding with one running back to complement his mobile quarterbacks the majority of the time in the ground game. Excluding rushing attempts by the quarterbacks, Hall has taken 65 percent of the carries through three games despite some lopsided scores -- including a career-high 30 attempts in the blowout win over California on Saturday.
Wilson chipped in five carries, and with 59 yards to show for it a week after producing 51 yards and a touchdown, the speedster only figures to be getting more involved moving forward.
But now Hyde is coming back into the equation as well. And while the Buckeyes had laid some plans in spring practice for Hall to slide out to H-back and the offensive staff had toyed with full-house backfields featuring three running backs to incorporate all that talent into the formation at once, no matter how Meyer eventually decides to spread the ball around, the pickings will have to get slim for a few guys.
"I've been thinking about that," Meyer said. "I don't know yet. I'll answer that later in the week."
Finding a way to keep everybody happy this week probably won't be that tough. But even once the competition does pick up again next week when Big Ten play opens, sorting through too many options in the backfield certainly beats the alternative for the Buckeyes.
The fifth-year senior shook off the rust from his injury-plagued season a year ago and again looked comfortable, confident and healthy with the football in his hands. He also appeared to be more than just a stand-in with Ohio State's projected starter at running back and the top backup on the shelf, turning in the finest rushing performance of his career. And if there was any doubt about his ability to handle a full-time load and work between the tackles, the durability he showed while playing a complete game in searing heat while dashing for a pair of long touchdowns up the middle of the field erased those fears.
"I’ve got a lot to get better at," Hall said. "There were a couple good runs, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do personally.
"This is what I’ve been doing is playing football, so it feels natural to me for me to be back there. But it was fun to be back out there with the team again."
Rod Smith hasn't been gone as long as Hall, but he'll be the first of Ohio State's two tailbacks to return to the fold and perhaps shake up the rotation as the game plan for Saturday's home date with San Diego State is installed this week.
Smith missed the opener due to a suspension for a violation of team rules earlier this year, missing out on what could have been a prime opportunity to show he's ready for an expanded role after playing infrequently in support of Carlos Hyde last season. Instead it was Hall shifting from his expected role as a hybrid weapon at the H-back position, shining in the backfield and giving Ohio State something else to think about as its options expand.
Hyde will have to sit two more weeks before he can rejoin the rotation as he serves his three-game suspension for an off-field incident in July. But as Smith might find out on the practice field this week, the Buckeyes don't appear to be in a hurry to remove Hall from the equation given his strong debut against Buffalo.
"What they do is they have to come in and earn the position back," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "Nothing is given to those guys. We have a philosophy that if you want to play your respective position, you have to provide some value to this team on special teams -- that is truly the philosophy here.
"So, if Carlos Hyde gets reinstated and he can add some value to our special teams, then great. We'll sit there and we'll take a good look at where he stands in that running back group. ... With the addition of Rod Smith coming back, it doesn't necessarily mean that Jordan Hall's role gets lesser. No, it just may be distributed a little bit differently throughout the scheme."
Hall's ability to move around the formation and fill a dual-threat role as a receiver and rusher obviously adds flexibility to the scheme. It isn't, however, the only variable Drayton and the coaching staff will have to sort out.
Smith is a more physical presence, capable of breaking tackles at the second level and moving the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations, which isn't a strong suit for Hall. The Buckeyes also still have true freshmen Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott pushing for touches along with redshirt freshman Warren Ball, all of whom saw action against Buffalo and bring something to the table.
Eventually the picture should come into clearer focus in the backfield, even though squeezing a couple more talented, big-bodied running backs might make it hard for everybody to stay in the frame. But for now, Hall is right in the middle and smiling brightly.
"There are running backs that didn’t get on the field, but coach Drayton is straight down the middle with us if there’s something you’re not doing," Hall said. "It’s competition in the room, we’re all tight, but we know when we step on the field, you’ve got to make plays and make stuff happen.
"So, I’m just going to go to whatever position they put me at and try to make plays."
Based on the early grades, nobody on offense made more than Hall on the first test. The next assignment is measuring himself against the new students.
FIRST DOWN: Defensive tackles
Schutt wasn't listed as a starter on the depth chart for the opener, but the sophomore impressed in limited action last season and had turned in a productive training camp before the injury bug bit him again on Monday. The Buckeyes know what life is like without Schutt after ankle issues limited him throughout spring, but for a unit that is replacing all four starters, having everybody healthy and ready to contribute was obviously important.
Ohio State has no shortage of confidence in Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington at end, but in some respects Joel Hale and Michael Bennett are still unknown quantities despite having been in the program for a couple years. Now with Schutt out and Farris moving to fill the void, the pressure is ramped up for a newcomer such as Michael Hill or sophomore Chris Carter.
SECOND DOWN: Freshmen skill players
The Buckeyes have no shortage of pieces returning from the Big Ten's best offense a season ago, but it's the fresh additions that figure to allow Urban Meyer to truly unleash his spread attack this fall.
They still have to prove themselves in a game though, and Dontre Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott and Jalin Marshall are all likely to touch the ball a few times as the Buckeyes evaluate what they have in what is shaping up to be an offensive class capable of making an early impact.
Wilson, in particular, could get his hands on the football right away with Ohio State trotting him out to return kickoffs. His electric speed could be put on display early, but the Buckeyes will really be watching him closely in the H-back role as they try to add more diversity to the playbook.
THIRD DOWN: Cornerbacks
The starting job Armani Reeves is filling this week is only temporary, and the sophomore is well aware of that. But he's got a huge opportunity to impress with Bradley Roby sitting out his one-game suspension, and potentially down the road it might help him make a push for the other first-team job at cornerback.
Doran Grant has something to prove himself after playing minimally in reserve of Roby and Travis Howard a year ago, so the junior bears monitoring as well as he transitions into the starting lineup. There hasn't been any question about the pecking order since spring -- with Roby and Grant leading the way for a talented, deep secondary -- but only one career start separates Grant from Reeves. Both would benefit from making a strong first impression against the Bulls.
FOURTH DOWN: Braxton Miller's arm
The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for the junior's development as a passer, and he publicly lobbied after practice to air the ball out at least 25 times -- then joked that he would call his own plays to get to 30.
If Miller is eager to show off the improvements he's made mechanically both in terms of accuracy and his footwork, the Buckeyes would certainly like to get a gauge of how far he's come in a meaningful setting as well.
There's been little doubt since a productive spring game that Miller is sharper and more confident delivering the football, and he's only had more time to fine tune his arm since then. The Buckeyes were far from a balanced offense last season, rushing twice as often as they passed, with Miller's skills as a runner helping drive up the margin.
But if his arm has managed to make up some ground with his feet, the offense could be unpredictable with what it could do on any down, making it a nightmare to try to defend.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: reasons for LSU fans to be patient, Ohio State's start, and Sonny Dykes reloading.
Patience is a virtue for LSU
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The medical redshirt already assured a do-over of Jordan Hall’s final season with the Ohio State program.
Now it appears he’ll get a mulligan at the starting position that a pair of injuries cost the veteran a year ago.
After watching Carlos Hyde cement himself as the leading option in the backfield while he was on the shelf, then spending spring practice largely focusing on learning the playbook at the hybrid H-back position and working out with receivers, reclaiming the job that was once expected to be Hall’s never looked like much of an option.
But here he is now, once again listed as a senior and apparently on top of the depth chart at running back as well.
The Buckeyes always had designs on putting Hall in the backfield at least part of the time again as he cross-trained between running back and the versatile H-back spot that requires more work in the passing game. But for the second summer in a row, the early-season plan may have required a bit of flexibility.
Last summer it was Hall’s fluky injury when he stepped on a piece of glass and needed surgery to repair a torn tendon, leaving him on the sideline during training camp and the first two games while Hyde slid into the vacant first-team spot. Hall briefly returned to the lineup before a knee issue knocked him out for the rest of the season, ultimately allowing Hyde to prove he could thrive as an every-down back and form a lethal combination with quarterback Braxton Miller on the ground.
This summer it’s Hyde’s offseason incident at a Columbus bar and a minimum suspension of three games that has shaken up the expected pecking order. And while the Buckeyes have no shortage of talented tailbacks capable of picking up the slack at one of the deepest positions on the roster, at least for now they appear willing to turn back the clock and give a healthy Hall the shot he never really had last year.
“Jordan Hall is a guy who has had some playing experience and been through some adversity, obviously, but he does have some game experience,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “You’ve got Rod Smith who is in that group, those two would be at the early part of the season kind of taking the bull by the horns. But for that first game, probably Jordan Hall.
“Going into this first game, I’d say he’s probably the No. 1 guy right now.”
That list is always subject to change, particularly at a position as loaded as running back.
Smith figures to get plenty of touches over the first few weeks given his impressive set of skills and dynamic athleticism. Bri’onte Dunn got his feet wet last season and has shown flashes of being a steady contributor in the backfield, and both redshirt freshman Warren Ball and newcomer Ezekiel Elliott have impressed during training camp. Ultimately Hyde will be back on the field as well, and his production in the spread offense is well documented.
But the rise of those rushers wouldn’t necessarily be a threat to Hall, who Drayton indicated was tabbed all along to spend time in his meeting room and will continue to work at both positions throughout the season even if he does emerge as the weapon at H-back Ohio State has been waiting for.
And Hall won’t complain either way as he tries to make the most of a second chance at a senior season, regardless of where he lines up.
“I’ve seen how fast it can be taken away,” Hall said. “So I’m not going to take any plays off, any reps off.”
All the Buckeyes have to do is tell him where to take them.
To the links ...
- Opinions differ a bit on which Wisconsin quarterback -- Joel Stave or Curt Phillips -- performed better in Monday's scrimmage. Badgers LB Ethan Armstrong expects to be ready for the season opener. Check out Episode 2 of "The Camp."
- Ohio State's Meyer is dead set on dominating the Big Ten and catching the SEC, Pat Forde writes. Dontre Wilson continues to be the talk of Buckeyes' camp. Keep an eye on Ezekiel Elliott in Ohio State's running back competition. Who says punters aren't strong?
- Michigan State DT Mark Scarpinato makes a move for a starting job. The same goes for TE Andrew Gleichert. Don't count out Tyler O'Connor in MSU's quarterback competition. The Spartans sport 'staches as a tribute to strength coach Ken Mannie.
- Allen Robinson leads the way for Penn State's receiving corps. The Champaign Room previews Penn State.
- LB recruit Jared Wangler explains why he picked Michigan over Penn State. Wolverines DT Ondre Pipkins is in shape and ready to take the next step. The bar has been raised for Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon.
- Jason Ankrah sets the tone for Nebraska's young defensive ends. Nebraska's offensive line tries to upgrade its pass protection after surrendering 35 sacks in 2012. Dirk Chatelain ranks the Huskers' games from toughest to easiest.
- Minnesota's wide receivers might lack big numbers, but they boast plenty of confidence.
- Cameron Dickerson brings the swagger to Northwestern's receiving corps. Jimmy Hall could play the "Cat" position (nickel safety) for the Wildcats.
- Illinois RBs Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson took center stage at Monday's scrimmage. The Illini defensive line makes progress in camp.
- Two childhood friends from Ohio (Ray Hamilton and Aaron White) ended up playing football and basketball for Iowa. Mike Hlas isn't too jazzed about this year's Iowa-Ohio State matchup.
- Purdue TE Gabe Holmes knows time is running out to make a breakthrough. Boilers coach Darrell Hazell and several players weigh in on Day 10 of camp. Hazell keeps the pedal down in practice.
- Kevin Wilson needs the Ws to start coming in Year 3, Andy Graham writes (subscription required). Interviews and highlights from the Hoosiers' Monday workout.
- Athlon looks at critical games and key stretches in the Big Ten this season. See where the CBSsports.com experts have Big Ten teams in their preseason Top 25s.
Depth chart: Carlos Hyde* starting ahead of Rod Smith
New face: Ezekiel Elliott isn’t hurting for attention heading into his freshman season, but it’s a guy who will be splitting time between the running backs and the wide receivers who is generating by far the most buzz ahead of training camp. Dontre Wilson’s raw speed has had Ohio State coaches anxious to get their hands on him since national signing day, and his workouts this summer had veteran teammates raving about him last week at Big Ten Media Days. Meyer tried to tap the brakes a bit on all the hype, but it’s no secret Wilson is in line to touch the ball early in his career with the Buckeyes.
Recruiting trail: The Buckeyes don’t have a tailback in the fold yet for the class of 2014, but they have their eyes on a handful of ESPN 300 targets who could add to what will remain a deep stable of rushers. Hyde will graduate after this season. There are five offers still out for recruits ranked among the top 300 players in the country overall, with Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside) currently boasting the best evaluation from ESPN scouts.
Flexibility: If Hyde handles his responsibilities away from the field and returns for the Buckeyes in time for Big Ten play, there is no doubt who will be the top option at tailback in the spread offense. But with or without him, there is plenty of depth at Ohio State, and Smith, Dunn and Ball could all be involved in some capacity either way. In fact, Meyer might turn as many as three of them loose at the same time if he deploys the diamond formation, which the Buckeyes tinkered with in the spring. It could take the option attack to a whole different level with Braxton Miller pulling the strings.
- Meyer still hasn’t had a 1,000-yard running back in his career, a fact Hyde is certainly aware of. Had he not been injured early in his junior season or had a bowl to play in, Hyde would have been a lock to break that streak with his average of 97 yards per game. More company in the backfield could lead to fewer carries when he returns from suspension and might have made it a challenge to hit that milestone anyway, but the bar is even higher now.
- Assuming Smith can keep a tighter grip on the football, the Buckeyes should have no second thoughts about putting it in his hands. In his limited role a year ago, the junior again showed that he has all the physical tools needed to be a star, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt. Fumble concerns kept him from really chipping away at Hyde’s workload, and that will remain the top priority for Smith moving forward.
- Nobody saw more touches on the ground or racked up more yardage in that department than Ball in the spring game, another reminder that he could push for some action after sitting out last season following a foot injury suffered in training camp. The redshirt freshman rushed 11 times for 45 yards in the exhibition with a long of 15, which might not qualify as an earth-shattering performance, but an encouraging one for the Buckeyes nevertheless.
The coaching staff obviously won’t have any complaints about their depth, but trying to keep so many talented rushers happy can become a bit of a headache when the cupboard is overflowing the way it is at Ohio State. Somebody is inevitably going to be left out of meaningful action, particularly with the Buckeyes likely expanding the offense to get more touches from Hall or Wilson at H-back and an improved passing game taking some of the burden off the ground attack. But Meyer has proven more than capable of pulling off the balancing act in the past, which is one significant reason why Meyer has never had a 1,000-yard tailback. The inclusion of a package that includes three running backs at once could help alleviate any potential hurt feelings.
Last year it can be argued a three-week stretch that began in mid-December and stretched to the first week of January was the key time period, as ESPN 150 targets Gareon Conley, Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson and ESPN 300 lineman Donovan Munger committed. However, nabbing ESPN 150 targets Dontre Wilson and Vonn Bell in the final week, while holding onto ESPN 150 running back Ezekiel Elliott and nabbing four-star recruits James Clark and Corey Smith, was big for the Buckeyes.
As the 2014 recruiting class nears the halfway point, there’s still plenty of time to go. But an eight-day stretch, when ESPN 300 defensive end Jalyn Holmes committed and was followed by quarterback Stephen Collier, wide receiver Terry McLaurin and ESPN 300 offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, could define the 2014 class.
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That’s not a bad thing.
While the two-time national champion is still waiting for his first one -- quarterback Braxton Miller did rush for 1,271 yards last season -- that’s just fine with him.
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While Michigan and Ohio State go at the recruiting process differently -- or more to the point, Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer -- both strategies work.
Hoke has the No. 1 2014 recruiting class right now. Michigan held the same distinction at this point last year before falling to No. 6. And no one closes quite like Meyer.
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We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered.
We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter at @bbournival, by e-mail at email@example.com or by posting a question in the Horseshoe Pit forum.
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This week’s targets: BuckeyeNation swung out to the Youngstown, Ohio, area and took a good look at Hubbard and Warren Harding high schools. While there, we talked to offensive guard Matt Jones and running back Larry “LJ” Scott of Hubbard. Both are Buckeyes targets as sophomores. Harding is the home of Denmark sensation Hjalte Froholdt and Ohio State legacy James Daniels, whose father LeShun Daniels Sr. played offensive guard for the Buckeyes in the 1990s. One other interesting note about Daniels is that his brother LeShun Daniels Jr. signed a letter of intent to play for Iowa this February.
Vividly Virginia: The Buckeyes made it abundantly clear last week that Virginia was fertile recruiting ground. Ohio State long has had offers out to Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge/Woodbridge), Andrew Brown (Chesapeake/Oscar Frommel Smith) and Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach/Bayside), but last Wednesday the Buckeyes offered five Virginians in rapid fashion. The offers went out to outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry (Richmond, St. Christophers), cornerback Garrett Taylor (Richmond, St. Christophers), wide receiver Scott Bracey (Richmond/Benedictine School), wide receiver Jaason Lewis (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) and inside linebacker Jahvoni Simmons (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes).
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