Ohio State football camp begins in three days. In fact, 72 hours from now, the first practice will have been over for nearly three hours.
But we’ve still got some time to kill.
For me, I’ve still got time to write these, and for you, you’ve still got time to read them.
Soon, however, we won’t have time. Our hours will be consumed by college football. Entire days will pass without ever stepping outside. Lawns will rage like wildfires. Wings will be consumed in every room of the house. Yes, embarrassingly, even in the bathroom.
Don’t tell anybody that you’re looking forward to eating wings in the bathroom, though. Trust me on that one.
Anyway, let’s get back to looking forward to the 2017 Ohio State football season.
40. The Oklahoma game.
This is the biggest home non-conference game of Urban Meyer’s Ohio State tenure, and it’s the biggest home non-conference game the Buckeyes have played in since USC came to town in 2009. If you think I’m exaggerating, you’re wrong. Amazingly, this is going to be the first ranked non-conference opponent in Ohio Stadium since the Buckeyes hosted Miami in 2010. Since then, you’ve had the privilege of the biggest non-conference opponents being Colorado, California, Buffalo, Virginia Tech, and Tulsa. Now you’ll actually get a big home game at night against an opponent that you don’t see 10 times a decade.
39. Billy Price in his element at center.
Here’s the thing about Billy Price that you might not know — he’s pretty good at being in charge. When he has a group of reporters around him, much of the time he will call the shots on who asks the next question. Normally for players, there is chaos when questions arise, as the person who keeps talking over everyone else the longest and loudest is usually the person who gets their question answered. Many times for Price, he’ll nix that and go with the tried-and-true method of the point-and-nod for the next question. He then sits back like a viking on a throne fielding questions while eating freshly-killed venison. And now he brings that kind of control to the Ohio State offensive line.
38. Watching a Mike Weber that runs through ankle tackles every time.
We’ve already talked about it this summer, but if you could have just one or two things happen for the Buckeyes this season, a Mike Weber who doesn’t get tripped up has to be near the top, right?
37. Sam Hubbard standing up on the edge just to freak offenses out.
This was something that linebackers coach Billy Davis mentioned back in the spring. Sam Hubbard will be standing up on the edge more this year, as will Jalyn Holmes. Many times it will be done with a specific purpose. Other times it will be done just to get the offense thinking about what it could mean.
36. Watching Jerome Baker return interceptions and/or fumbles.
This spring while I was talking to Jerome Baker, Mike Weber happened to stop by, so I asked Baker if he was a better high school running back than Weber, and of course he told me that he was. While he probably wasn’t, there was certainly a case to be made. Baker was a fantastic running back at Cleveland Benedictine, and as we’ve seen when he intercepts the football, he reverts back to his offensive days immediately. Expect to see that a couple more times in 2017.
35. Watching K.J. Hill become the most consistent receiver on the team.
While we all talk and write and worry about Parris Campbell emerging as the team’s top receiver, or who is going to become the team’s deep threat, or what will Binjimen Victor do this season, don’t be surprised if through all of that, K.J. Hill emerges as the Buckeyes’ most consistent receiver. There may not be many or any 100-yard receiving days, but I can imagine Saturday after Saturday of a K.J. Hill stat line with around four catches for 57 yards. While other receivers may ebb and flow, I see Hill as being a guy who just shows up every week, gets open, and catches the ball.
34. Brendon White finding his inevitability.
To be honest, this may not actually happen this season, but it will be fun to watch his continuing search. As a true freshman, Chris Worley was playing safety. Now he’s Ohio State’s starting middle linebacker. What kind of journey will Brendon White go on in his three-to-five years? Nobody really knows at this point, but so far he’s already been a linebacker, wide receiver, and safety. He’s at safety for the moment, but moments can be skittish.
33. Seeing if Jashon Cornell can get into the rotation.
At one point prior to his senior season in high school, ESPN had Jashon Cornell ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation. That was approximately three years ago. Since then he has dealt with injuries, a position change, and the challenges of an Ohio State defensive line depth chart. Larry Johnson had a bunch of positive things to say about Cornell this spring. Will those kind words continue into camp and into the season? Will Cornell find a spot in the rotation immediately, or have to work his way in during the season? He’s quick, strong, and brings a pass-rush mentality to defensive tackle, which are three things that Johnson loves in his interior guys.
32. Tuf Borland saying, “Remember me?”
Ohio State has plenty of talented linebackers to talk about, and we’ve spent a good deal of time talking about each of them. One guy who hasn’t been getting the recognition, however, is redshirt freshman Tuf Borland. Borland earned positive reviews last season from Raekwon McMillan and continued his solid play this spring. You’ll see him on special teams all season long. He may not be the 5-star guy you were most looking forward to seeing this year, but he could be the reserve linebacker you end up seeing more than any other.
31. Kendall Sheffield being one and done.
I mean, this sounds like a silly thing to look forward to, but if Kendall Sheffield is good enough to leave after just one season at Ohio State, then you got a pretty darn good year out of him. You will take him coming in and earning a spot as one of Ohio State’s three starters, and then be good enough for the NFL to say, ‘Hey, come on down.’ For that, you should be happy. So while you may not want to only get one year out of Sheffield, if you do, then you would have probably gotten your money’s worth.