16. JT Barrett will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in Ohio State history. He already holds a number of Ohio State records, including career passing touchdowns (69), career completions (529) and total touchdowns responsible for in a career (100). If all goes well this year he could end up with several more by the season’s end, including career passing yards and career completion percentage. While Barrett has been inconsistent at times, part of the blame for that falls on the offensive line and the play calling. A new offensive coordinator and a more experienced line should do wonders for Barrett and the Buckeyes this year. Barrett will likely be in the top 5 favorites for the Heisman Trophy this year, and he has the talent and the tools to land himself a spot at ceremony in Manhattan at the end of the year.
Welcome to another edition of Wake Up With Whitty. It’s mid-August which means football season is right around the corner. Even if it is just the preseason, it’s great to see football back on TV, and it’s even more fun watching everyone overreact to how a specific player performs during two series in a meaningless game. Last night the Bengals defeated the Buccaneers 23-12. Based on that performance I think it’s safe for Bengals fans to start booking hotels in Minneapolis for that first weekend in February. At this point I don’t see any way the Bengals don’t make it to the Super Bowl this year. And once you’re done finalizing your travel arrangements, be sure to come back here and let me know what you think of this week’s Wake Up With Whitty. Continue reading
21. This is Parris Campbell’s year to be the man on Ohio State’s offense. With 12 career starts, he is the most experience member of the wide receiver group. His 121 career yards on 13 receptions are far from impressive, but he has an opportunity to expand on that greatly. Campbell looks to slide into the H-back role previously filled by Curtis Samuel. Urban Meyer has been raving about Campbell this off season, and by all accounts he looks like he’s ready to be the featured man in OSU’s passing attack. Campbell should get touches on special teams as well, as he was the Buckeyes’ main kick returner last year. He’s going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays this year, and I’m excited to see what he and JT Barrett can do together under new OC Kevin Wilson.
22. Les Horvath was Ohio State’s first Heisman Trophy winner, taking home the coveted award in 1944 after leading the Big 10 in rushing and total offense. Horvath was a jack of all trades, playing quarterback, halfback and safety for the Buckeyes. In addition to a Big 10 championship in 1944, he helped lead the Buckeyes to the school’s first national championship in 1942. Horvath’s number 22 was retired by the Buckeyes in 2001. Being the first Heisman Trophy winner at a school known for having more Heisman Trophies than any other. Hopefully the Buckeyes can add another to that list soon.
23. The Buckeyes have 23 bowl victories during their history. Technically they have 22 official victories, as the 2011 Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas was vacated by the school, but since I saw the game myself on TV and witnessed the Ohio State victory, you can't convince me that it didn't happen (but stay tuned for tomorrow's Countdown to Kickoff where I talk about Ohio State's 22 official bowl victories). While that number doesn't rank anywhere at the top of the list of most bowl victories of all time, it's still an impressive stat. Their overall bowl record isn't as impressive, however, with 22/23 wins and 25 losses. Of the 23ish bowl victories, 7 came from the Rose Bowl (7-7 overall) and 2 have come in National Championship Games (2-2 overall). Getting to the big dance is great, but ultimately it doesn't mean anything if you don't come away with the victory. Luckily for the Buckeyes there are now two chances every season to add to their bowl victory total, thanks to the College Football Playoff. And this year they have an opportunity to add to their Rose Bowl and Championship Game totals, so it's win-win (hopefully).
24. Malik Hooker wore number 24 as a Buckeye in 2016. He came out of nowhere to lead the team in interceptions in his first year as a starter. His 7 picks tied him for 3rd in the nation, and he led the country with interceptions returned for a touchdown with 3, which was also a Buckeye single season and career record. Hooker also finished 3rd on the team in tackles with 74 as well, proving he was more than just a one trick pony. It's not going to be easy to replace Hooker this year, who was drafted by the Colts in the offseason. He was an incredibly talented player who could potentially have a long, successful NFL career.
25. The Buckeyes have finished within the top 5 of the AP Poll 25 times since its inception in 1936. 10 of those top 5 finishes have come in the past 15 seasons, the most in the nation during that span. The Buckeyes haven’t always been the best team in the country, but no team has been as consistently good as the Buckeyes in recent years. That’s only translated to two championships over that time, but Ohio State is poised to continue their success at least into the near future. With the current coaching staff and recent success on the recruiting trail, I’d bet my money that the Buckeyes add at least one or two championships in the next 5-10 years. Ohio State currently sits at number 2 in the preseason Coaches Poll. The AP preseason poll has yet to be released, but expect the Buckeyes to fall somewhere between 1 and 3. While the preseason polls are nice, they ultimately mean absolutely nothing. All that matters is where you are at the end of the season, and I fully expect the Buckeyes to finish at the top.
26. Ohio State threw for 26 touchdowns in 2016. 19 of those touchdown passes were thrown to players who are no longer with the team, meaning returning Buckeyes only accounted for 7 of those touchdowns. The receiving corp has been lackluster these past couple years, and this year’s group needs to step up in a big way. The Buckeyes will look to get production from Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, KJ Hill, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Johnnie Dixon. All 6 had game experience last year, the most of which coming from Hill, Campbell and McLaurin, all of whom caught double-digit passes last season. With an extra year of experience under their belts and a new offensive coordinator in the mix, there’s good reason to believe that the Buckeyes will have one of the most potent passing attacks in the country. Especially if they can established the deep threat that’s been absent since Devin Smith left.
Welcome to another edition of Wake Up With Whitty. August is now upon us as football season is less than a month away. The NFL preseason kicked off earlier this week with the Cowboys beating the Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game (glad to see they got their field paint situation sorted out) and the college football season gets started in just 3 short weeks. So sit tight folks, pretty soon you’ll have another reason to get out of bed on the weekends besides some blogger’s weekly posts about nothing. But for now, you’re stuck with me, so sit back, relax and enjoy.
27. Eddie George may very well be my favorite athlete of all time. As a college football fan, it’s hard to get too tied to one individual player since most guys are only around for a few years. Eddie George is one of the first players I really remember watching from my childhood. There was nothing better as a kid than watching him run all over defenses on Saturdays in the fall. And Eddie was one of the few Buckeyes whose careers I followed after he went to the NFL. I loved watching his battles with Ray Lewis while he was with the Titans. George was the 6th Heisman trophy winner in Buckeyes’ history and owns a handful of all time records, including rushing yards in a season (1,927), rushing yards in a game (314) and 200-yard rushing games in a career (5). If it weren’t for a certain 2-time Heisman winner from the 70’s, Eddie George would probably go down as the greatest running back in Ohio State history. He was certainly the greatest Buckeye to don the number 27.