Trio of Buckeyes Earn All-American Honors
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — There won’t be any new trees to plant in Buckeye Grove following the 2012 football season, but three Ohio State players did earn All-American honors this week.
The Arbor, later renamed Buckeye Grove, was planted by the Scarlet Key in 1929 as a way to honor Ohio State’s first-team All-Americans with the planting of a tree in their name.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The last Buckeyes to earn such honors were center Michael Brewster and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa back in 2010, but Urban Meyer will likely have his own way of honoring players like John Simon, Bradley Roby and Johnathan Hankins.
Both Hankins and Roby, two of Ohio State’s most talented underclassmen, were named second-team All-Americans on Tuesday by the Associated Press. Simon, who led the Big Ten in sacks and was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the AP's All-American third team for the second consecutive season.
Simon, a two-time captain for the Buckeyes, is also a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy as well as the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Bobby Bowden Award, an honor that goes to the college football player who best epitomizes being a student-athlete.
A product of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Simon recently announced his plans to play in the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 26. Meanwhile, Hankins announced Monday he would forego his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. He ranked fifth on the team this season with 55 tackles, including 4.0 TFLs (minus-22 yards) and had a career-high 10 tackles against both California and UAB.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Roby, who is still pondering a decision whether to join Hankins in the NFL or return for his redshirt junior season, ranks second in the nation in passes defended with 1.73 per game and 19 total (17 pass break-ups and two interceptions). He scored three touchdowns – via interception, recovered fumble and recovered bobbled snap – this season, and he had two interceptions vs. Nebraska and a career-high four PBUs vs. Penn State.
All three players were first-team all-Big Ten performers this year for Coach Urban Meyer. Simon, a three-year starter, had started 37 consecutive games for the Buckeyes until a knee injury forced him to miss the teams undefeated-season-capping 26-21 win over Michigan. Hankins and Roby have each started 25 consecutive games.
Meyer a finalist for Liberty Mutual C.O.Y.
Photo by Dan Harker
OSU head coach Urban Meyer is a finalist for 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, an award promotes charity and scholarship while also honoring coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off the field.
Meyer, also a finalist this year for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America, guided the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record – just the sixth undefeated/untied season in school history – and to the championship of the Big Ten Conference Leaders Division.
The 10 Football Bowl Subdivision finalists for the Liberty Mutual award were determined as a result of fan voting through CoachOfTheYear.com and Twitter from September 12 through December 1, and evaluated through an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. The coaches were also evaluated against a series of on- and off-field criteria; including wins, team penalties, sportsmanship, academic performance by the student-athletes, and charitable commitments in their communities and beyond. Among Meyer’s charitable activities this year:
* Buckeye Cruise for Cancer in February;
* Naples Buckeye Club event to raise money for scholarships in March;
* Columbus City Schools Special Olympics in May;
* Speaker at “Lauren’s First and Goal” football camp in June;
* Held the Ohio State Football Women’s Clinic in June to raise money for Spielman Foundation and the James Cancer Hospital;
* Participated in the Chick Fil A Bowl Challenge to raise money for charity in July;
* Honorary chair for Red Cross golf outing in August;
* Keynote speaker for Team Focus, a program that mentors young men; and
* Keynote speaker for Champions for PLAY, a grant program that provides opportunities for underprivileged area youth.
Finalists, in addition to Meyer, are Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jim Mora, UCLA; Bill O’Brien, Penn State; Mark Richt, Georgia; Nick Saban, Alabama; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Charlie Strong, Louisville.
The Coach of the Year will be determined using a combination of College Football Hall of Fame selection committee vote, fan vote – fans can log onto www.coachoftheyear.com to vote through Dec. 20 – and media vote. The winner will be announced the morning of Jan. 7.
Meyer, the second-winningest active Football Bowl Subdivision coach with a winning percentage of .835, is now 116-23 overall, a record that includes a 65-7 home record, a 68-18 mark against conference competition, a 24-7 record against teams in the Top 25 and a 22-3 record in “rivalry games.”
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