Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Buckeyes' Freeman dazzles at NFL Combine

Ohio State linebacker, Marcus Freeman, didn't come into the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine with a lot of fanfare.

Most scouts were ready to check out some of the top LB  prospects like the USC trio of Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews, Wake Forest's Aaron Curry and even Freeman's OSU teammate, James Laurinaitis.

However, by combine's end, Freeman had caught the eyes of many NFL teams, as he finished at or near the top in every category during the event.

His numbers and measurements:
Height and Weight — 6-1, 239-pounds.
Bench Press — 30 reps (tied for 1st).
Vertical Jump — 37 inches (tied for 1st).
40-Yard Dash — 4.74 seconds (tied for 7th).
3-Cone Drill — 6.98 seconds (4th).
20-Yard Shuttle — 4.12 (1st).

Freeman played most of the 2008 season hampered by an ankle injury. His numbers were still formidable, though, as he recorded 84 tackles (2nd on team), 3.5 sacks (3rd on team) and a team-high  9.5 tackles for loss. 

In 2007, when Freeman was injury-free, he tallied 109 tackles and 9.5 for loss.

Freeman has been projected anywhere from a late-first to third round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft in April.

Jenkins didn't test well
Buckeyes All-American cornerback, Malcolm Jenkins, didn't fare well at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, as he registered a 40-yard dash time in the 4.5-range. Many scouts were wanting to know whether he had the top-end speed to be an NFL cornerback

His times didn't prove that he could, so now, many are projecting Jenkins as a safety, which will more than likely drop his stock to the mid-to-late first round.

Jenkins did finish first in the 3-cone drill (6.59) and tied for fifth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.07).

Washington's stock rising
OSU cornerback, Donald Washington, like Freeman, caught the attention of the scouts as he recorded a 45-inch vertical and an a broad jump of 11-feet, three inches, both combine bests — regardless of position.

At 6-0 and 197 pounds, Washington may have jumped his stock (no pun intended) into the second or third round.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Son of Joe Montana visits Ohio State

Nick Montana, son of hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana, made an unofficial visit to Ohio State this week, and came away quite impressed.

"It was awesome," Montana said.

Montana — a class of 2010 recruit from Westlake Village, California — quarterbacked his high school team (Oaks Christian) to an undefeated 2008 campaign, while throwing for more than 2,500 yards.

Montana stated that the Buckeyes have told him that he is their No. 1 quarterback for the 2010 class and have already offered the 6-3, 190-pound signal caller a scholarship. "They told me that I'm their guy." Montana said.

Montana has already been offered by Florida State, LSU and Stanford, just to name a few. Of course, Nick's father was a Notre Dame legend, and his older brother, Nate, is currently a quarterback on the Fighting Irish roster, so getting the California kid to shed the Blue and Gold for the Scarlet and Gray may be a tougher task than taking down USC this September.

Joe Montana didn't accompany Nick on his trip to Columbus. His mother, Jennifer, made the visit, though.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PRE-SPRING DRILL: Buckeyes looking to make a 'Boom' in the backfield

Ohio State must find a way to replace Beanie Wells and his 2,806 yards (5.8 avg.) and 23 touchdowns worth of production over the past two seasons as the Buckeyes' starting tailback.

Wells has been a staple in the Buckeyes backfield during the last three seasons, all of which ended with Big Ten titles and BCS bowl game appearances. Being able to replace such a productive force will be quite difficult, to say the least.

With Terrelle Pryor coming into his second season as the Buckeyes starting quarterback, his and the team's success in 2009 may hinge on how well they can replace Wells.

Now, it's only February, but here's an early look at the post-Beanie backfield — and it may begin (at least in the spring) with a "Boom."

Possible depth chart going into the spring:
1. DAN "BOOM" HERRON, r.s. sophomore
Herron, a 5-10, 195-pound running back from Warren, may possess the nickname "Boom," but unlike his predecessor (Wells), pounding the rock is not his motus operandi. Herron is more of a slasher than a smasher, and his smaller frame may prevent him from being a 200-carry back.

However, Herron did step up when needed this season, especially in the big games. In major tilts against USC, Michigan (rivalry game) and Texas (Fiesta Bowl), Herron carried the ball 24 times for 161 yards (6.7 avg.) and three touchdowns, including a 15-yard fourth quarter score against the Longhorns, which put the Buckeyes ahead with less than two minutes to play in the contest.

Herron finished the 2008 season with 439 yards on 89 carries and six touchdowns.

2. JAAMAL BERRY, true freshman
I may be overhyping this kid a bit, but Berry may be the most electrifying runner the Buckeyes have EVER had. 

Now, before the Buck nuts start coming out of the woodwork with the "what about Archie, what about Eddie, what about Beanie" chants, let me explain.

First, Berry has blazing speed. We're talking 4.3 wheels. He also has instincts that are unteachable. Reggie Bush-like, Barry Sanders-like. Stops on a dime, goes from zero-to-60 in a blink of an eye. You know, THAT TYPE OF GUY!

Here's the catch, though. Berry is 5-10 and tips the scales at about 185 pounds. Very un-Beanie-like. 

Still, this kid's upside is to the moon and he will definitely get his carries this fall.

3. BRANDON SAINE, junior
The former Ohio Mr. Football from Piqua, battled injury all season long in 2008 and was unable to display the game breaking speed that made him a track legend as a prepster.

Saine has yet to show that he can run the football effectively at the collegiate level. However, his receiving abilities are impressive and he may be a third-down back who could make great contributions as a receiver out of the backfield. Shoot, he may even move to receiver permanently— he is that good of a pass catcher.

Nonetheless, Saine brings prototypical size to the backfield (6-1, 220), unlike both Herron and Berry.

4. CARLOS HYDE, true freshman
This 6-0, 225-pound bulldozer from Naples, Florida could be the sleeper of the group.

Hyde is a big, physical runner who will make opposing defenses feel battered and bruised at game's end. 

As a senior at Naples High School, Hyde rushed for more than 1,600 yards (10.5 avg.) and 16 touchdowns and garnered offers from majors programs such as Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Miami.

However, his 40 time is in the 4.7 range, so look for him to be more of a short yardage back, at least during his freshman season.

I'll continue with the receivers later ...

Friday, February 13, 2009

OSU FOOTBALL: Jaamal Berry highlights

For those of you Buckeye fans out there that are still in mourning following Chris "Beanie" Wells' decision to leave Ohio State for the NFL, I have a video for you that will make your Friday the 13th a little brighter.

It is a film of Ohio State class of 2009 signee, Jaamal Berry. Berry is one of the nation's top prep running backs out of Miami, Florida, who will surely be getting some serious carries in Columbus next fall.

Watch and enjoy the next Buckeye superstar!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tennessee prep star says "no" to Buckeyes

Marlon Brown elected on Wednesday to play his collegiate football at the University of Georgia.

The 6-5. 205-pound receiver from Memphis, Tennessee selected the Bulldogs over Ohio State, Tennessee and Ole Miss.

The Buckeyes, who wrapped up the 2009 recruiting period by signing 25 prep players to scholarships, didn't make any last minute splashes during Wednesday's National Signing Day.

The Buckeyes recruiting class is currently ranked No. 1 overall by Scout.com and No. 4, according to Rivals.com and ESPN.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Buckeyes may ink All-American receiver from Tennessee; Green pulls commitment

Wednesday is College Football National Signing Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes may have one more huge prospect to reel in.

Marlon Brown — a 6-5, 205-pound wide receiver from Memphis, Tennessee (Harding Academy) — may be heading to Columbus to play for the Buckeyes, who already have 25 verbal commitments and a No. 1 recruiting class, according to Scout.com.

Brown has narrowed his collegiate choices to Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State.

Brown, a Parade All-American who was named Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee, racked up nearly 1,800 total yards in his senior season at Harding Academy and added 19 touchdowns. In last month's Under Armour All-American Bowl, Brown recorded four receptions for 98 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage.

On Monday, the Buckeyes landed Cleveland Glenville star, Marcus Hall, a 6-5, 300-pound bookend tackle, who has spent the past few months visiting the top college football institutions in the country.

Along the way, Hall and Brown have become good friends, and in an interview with Bucknuts, Hall stated that he believes Brown is leaning towards Ohio State.

Brown is scheduled to announce his decision on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

On Tuesday, Justin Green — a four-star cornerback from Louisville, Kentucky who had earlier declared to Ohio State — pulled his commitment with the Buckeyes, so he could instead play his collegiate football at the University of Illinois.

Glenville star commits to OSU

Cleveland Glenville star offensive tackle, Marcus Hall, called OSU head coach Jim Tressel on Monday morning to let him know that he will be playing his collegiate football for the Buckeyes in 2009.

Hall, 6-5, 300-pounds, has been one of the most sought after recruits for the Buckeyes in the class of 2009. But, in recent weeks it appeared that the Buckeyes chances of landing the Cleveland-native was slipping out of their grasp, when Miami, Fla. and Tennessee began to emerge as major contenders for the big tackle's services.

However, when it was all said and done, Hall felt that Columbus was the best fit for himself, seeing that the Buckeyes had already possessed six players from his high school on their roster. Glenville has become sort of a pipeline for the Scarlet and Gray, giving the Buckeyes notable stars like former Heisman winner Troy Smith, as well as Ted Ginn Jr., Donte Whitner and Thaddeus Gibson.

Hall is the 26th verbal commitment the Buckeyes have received in the class of 2009.