If you are like me you almost dread searching for Ohio State football news at this time of the year. It seems the headlines usually come either from player injuries or run-ins with the law. This week's N & N doesn't center on either of those, though, so you can take a nice deep breath. Without further adieu...
Buckeyes on Preseason Watch Lists: At least four Ohio State players have been named to the annual watch lists that begin to come out at this time of the year:
-John Simon, a 3rd Team AP All-American last season has found his name on the Bednarik Award list as well as the Lott IMPACT Award watch list. Even though he had to play out of position most of 2011 Simon still wound up with 16 tackles for loss, including a team leading 7 sacks. The Bednarik Award goes to college football's top defensive player, while the Lott Award recognizes the nation's top defender who exhibits both personal character and athletic excellence.
-Johnathan Hankins, a junior defensive tackle, is also on the Bednarik Award watch list. He racked up 67 tackles a season ago, including 11 for loss.
-Braxton Miller, who will be a sophomore, has found himself on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, after garnering the Big Ten Freshmen of the Year award in 2011. He threw for 1159 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for another 715 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Maxwell Award is handed each year to college football's top overall player.
-Jake Stoneburner, senior tight end, is on the John Mackey Award List, although he was recently removed from scholarship and must earn his way back into the good graces of Coach Meyer. He has 37 career receptions and 9 touchdowns but figures to be a much bigger part of the offense in 2012. The Mackey Award goes to the nation's best tight end.
While Anzalone's name is off the OSU recruiting radar, the name that has replaced it is rising senior Mike Mitchell. His numbers from "The Opening", a camp sponsored by NIKE for top high school propsects, were off the chart. Mitchell actually clocked a legitimate 4.39 40, unheard of for a 215 pound linebacker. Overall he graded out higher than anyone else, finishing with a SPARQ rating of 155.47, which not only won the event, but set a national record. Let me just say that I really want this kid from Plano, Texas, and rumors are that OSU is in the lead for his services.
As for Anzalone: in response to a tweet from a Buckeye fan about Mitchell's stunning performance, thanking Alex for making room for the youngster from Texas, Anzalone tweeted:
Best B1G Coaching Jobs: What is the top coaching job in the Big Ten? Was there ever any question about this? Adam Rittenburg of ESPN recently ranked the best head coaching jobs in the conference. His ranking is not predicated on performance of present coaches, but on most desirable positions based on potential for winning, fan support, facilities, and similar factors. Here are the top five in the B1G: 1) Ohio State (was there ever a doubt?); 2) Michigan; 3) Penn State (sorry, Adam, that is so 2011); 4) Nebraska; and, 5) Wisconsin. Sorry Meatchicken - you are looking at our rump one more time. Oh, and the big shock is that Indiana wound up in last place!
Obligatory Storm Klein Update: Like most of the potential thunderstorms in the Midwest this year, Klein seems to be about to fizzle out, as his Buckeye career appears to be over. There are numerous articles that have been posted around the internet mentioning that the one unforgivable sin with Urban Meyer is striking a woman. And according to the police report Klein "violently and purposefully" grabbed the young lady by the arm and threw her agaisnt the door of his apartment. If that is fact, then the Storm is over...not that it ever really got going anyway. However, all of this has not stopped Klein's attorney from saying that his client will be completely exonerated and reinstated to the team. Once again, it is a complete shock that an attorney would contend that his client is innocent!
More Love for Decker: Many have suggested that Taylor Decker will play his way into the starting lineup as a true freshmen, which almost never happens for offensive tackles. We all know he has skills, and is at a position of need. But as Brandon Castel reports, it is Taylor's intelligence that has most impressed the coaching staff. You have to like the fact that he is not only looking good, but under the tutelage of Ed Warriner. This is one to watch for sure!