Have you had enough of the Penn State scandal? Are you ready for college football to kick off? Well, unfortunately we have not heard the last of the news out of State College - far from it - and we still have six and half weeks until the Buckeyes lace them up agaisnt Miami (OH). So, for now, I guess we'll have to settle for this week's news and notes:
Top 25 Ohio Prospects 2014: Rivals recently released an early look at their top prospects in the class of 2014 from the state of Ohio. The names should sound familiar to most fans, because the coaching staff has been targeting the '14 class for some time now, since this year's haul is getting pretty close to being done. Here are the top 10 as ranked by Rivals: Dante Booker (LB); Michael Ferns (LB); Jimmy Byrne (OL); Kyle Trout (OL); Thaddeus Snodgrass (WR); Mikel Horton (RB); Darius West (DB); Travon Hudson (WR); Derek Kief (WR); and, Alonzo Saxton (DB). Most of those are at the positions OSU will be recruiting heaviest, so look for Urban and Co. to go after these guys hard.
The Butler Did It: Many of you will remember Butler By'note', a speedy tailback from the John Cooper era, who finished his Buckeye career with 1530 yards. Although he was rarely the feature back (with guys like Robert Smith and Raymont Harris around) By'note' was a good kick returner and a threat out of the backfield as a pass receiver, as well. He was later selected in the 7th round by the Denver Broncos, and had a cup of coffee in the NFL. Now, 39, Butler is serving as a preacher, and Ken Gordon recently interviewed him for The Columbus Dispatch. It is great to see By'note' doing something positive with his life, and the article by Gordon is inspirtational and well worth the time.
As you know, Vrabel proved enough to Urban to get the job as defensive line coach. And now early reports are that Vrabel is on his way to becoming a truly great recruiter, which is music to our ears. The 36-year-old coach is in amazing physical shape, and his imposing size plus the fact that he has three Super Bowl Champion rings, doesn't hurt. But apparently he also has mad skills when sharing with prospects and their parents. Brandon Castel of The Ozone recently posted an informative piece on Vrabel's recruting prowess, and as a bonus, included the following interview with Mike conducted by Mark Givler of BuckeyeGrove.com. It may turn out the Vrabel is as good a coach and recruiter as he was a player!
Lots of Quarterback News: There are a number of interesting tidbits in concern to the quarterback position. First off, sophomore Braxton Miller was named today to the preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, which makes ten 2012 watch lists that have at least one Buckeye named. Miller is now on two of those lists, with Johnathan Hankins and John Simon appearing on four lists each. It may be a little early for Miller to make the final cut, but next year I think he could be in line for a whole bunch of hardware.
Brian Bennett of ESPN ranked each team in the B1G at the quarterback position and had Ohio State at fifth behind Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, and Iowa. I don't have a beef with being ranked fifth but wonder how Purdue came in first. Sure they have three guys who have starting experience, so they may be the deepest, but I don't think any of the three are special. I detest TSUN but they are loaded at QB, led by the erratic but incredibly talented, Denard Robinson. I would have to put their quarterback unit at number one.
Finally, OSU 2013 verbal commit J.T. Barrett is at the Elite 11 quarterback camp, in southern California, which begins today. Word is he has a ways to go to become a great passer, but is an amazing athlete with tons of upside. It will be interesting to see how he does, stacked up with the best of the best at the position in next year's class.