Skull Session: Five Buckeyes Are Top-100 Players, Ohio State Has the Most Freshman All-Americans, and What The Alliance Could Look Like


If y’all didn’t notice yesterday, we officially have a new face around these parts. Y’all are gonna want to head over to Twitter.com and follow our newest beat writer Griffin Strom.

I promise he is better than me at both Twitter and writing for this website.

Word of the Day: Vexation.

 TOP-100. This might come as a shock to you, but Ohio State is very well represented in ESPN’s preseason top-100 players list.

6. Chris Olave

Olave had 50 receptions for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in a shortened season last year, and the previous season he had 849 yards. He is a feature of Ohio State’s offense and is going to be a big asset to the Buckeyes’ new quarterback in 2021. With another big season, Olave should solidify himself as a top NFL draft prospect.

19. Garrett Wilson

Wilson comes into the 2021 season as half of the best receiving duo in the nation opposite of Chris Olave. He caught 43 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns last season, and he is expected to take another leap in 2021, even with the Buckeyes having a quarterback without college experience.

30. Haskell Garrett

Garrett is using his extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA because of COVID-19. He has the most game experience of any Ohio State defensive player with 41 games and despite being shot in the face prior to the season in 2020, Garrett played in all eight games during the season. As a potential All-American at defensive tackle, Garrett is going to be one of the main pieces of the defensive line in 2021.

49. Thayer Munford

Munford is another Buckeye taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility, coming back in 2021. He has played most of his career at left tackle, but could end up moving inside to left guard for Ohio State this season as the coaches are looking to get all of their best offensive linemen on the field at one time. He has played in 45 of the past 50 games over the past four seasons for Ohio State, which is the most of any Big Ten offensive lineman. That experience will help him if he doesn’t transition to a new position, but either way, he should be one of the top lineman in the country.

61. Tyreke Smith

Ohio State has been a factory for NFL-caliber defensive linemen, and Smith is yet another that’s going through the system. He played in all eight of Ohio State’s games last season, with his biggest one coming against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl with two solo tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one pass defended. Expect more of that in 2021 before he transitions to Sundays.

First off, I was feeling good about Ohio State getting five players on this list until I realized Alabama has 11. That feels just a bittttt excessive!

Second, I can’t handle how much disrespect Nicholas Petit-Frere is getting this offseason. Dude legit might be a top-five returning offensive lineman in the country and he had even better pass-protecting numbers than Thayer Munford last year (and the dude they ranked No. 4), but he gets absolutely no hype.

Third, is there anyone in the world that actually believes C.J. Stroud isn’t a top-100 player in college football? I get that he’s never attempted a collegiate pass and that there’s limited film and stats to evaluate him on, but if you’re going to rank Bryce Young and D.J. Uiagalelei as top-30 players, it feels like you have to at least put Stroud on the damn list.

And finally, I’m glad Ohio State gets to handle No. 3 Kayvon Thibodeaux in Week 2. That’ll put the slobs on the map.

 FRESHMEN, TOO. When you sign what works out to be by far the best and most talented recruiting class in program history including seven(!!!) five-stars, it makes all the sense in the world that you’ll probably see more than a few of them early and often.

That’s why Ohio State has noticeably more preseason freshman All-Americans than any other program in the country.

Luginbill: Treveyon Henderson, Ohio State

The Buckeyes have a strong group of running backs, but Henderson is special. The five-star prospect has a rare blend of speed and power. If he can pass protect, look out.

VanHaaren: Treveyon Henderson, Ohio State

Henderson looked like he had been in a college weight program for three years in Ohio State’s spring game. With the exit of Trey Sermon, Ohio State needs another back to step up and help Master Teague III. Henderson has every opportunity to put together an impressive season and be a big part of the offense.

VanHaaren: J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State

A late addition to Ohio State’s 2021 class, Tuimoloau committed in July and is now on campus. He was rated five stars, and in his short time in Columbus, he has turned heads and lived up to that rating. Tuimoloau is a versatile lineman who could play inside or slide over depending on the situation.

Luginbill: Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

Sawyer put on a show in Ohio State’s spring game and is poised for significant reps as the season progresses. Despite what looks like a very deep defensive end group, the former No. 1 overall prospect is too talented as a pass-rusher to keep on the bench.

VanHaaren: Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

VanHaaren: Denzel Burke, Ohio State

Burke was one of the four ESPN 300 defensive backs in the Buckeyes’ 2021 class. He’s a 6-foot corner out of Arizona who has impressed the coaching staff in fall camp. There are some experienced players in front of him, but it might be tough to keep him off the field if he keeps progressing.

Luginbill: Jakailin Johnson, Ohio State

Johnson, a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back, was the fourth-ranked corner in his class. In fairness, fellow freshman CB Jordan Hancock deserves to be in this discussion as well. This was a poor secondary a year ago, and projected starters Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown did not play in the spring.

VanHaaren: Jakailin Johnson, Ohio State

The Buckeyes could have a few defensive backs on this list with Johnson, Hancock, Burke and Jantzen Dunn. Any one of them could make this list, as all of the younger players are competing so far at Ohio State.

While everyone on here is deserving, my honest thought is that I can’t believe any of these defensive backs are actually going to see the field enough to be considered preseason All-Americans. That doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving, it’s just curious that they made the cut, but the top-100 receivers that will almost certainly crack the two-deep this year didn’t.

In any case, my next thought is how many players on this list will be on the above Top-100 list next year? At least three?

 AN ALLIANCE IS COMING. The rather nebulous “alliance” between the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 might actually come to fruition this week, and it seems we finally have at least some details about what the hell it could even look like.

With 40 different schools, three league offices and multiple television partners stretching from coast to coast, a consensus on significant issues may be difficult to reach. But as the leagues dive further into discussions, the Alliance’s most ambitious reaches could include the following:

An agreement where each football team in the three conferences would play one opponent from each of the other two leagues on an annual basis. In most cases, the opponents would rotate. This could help maximize revenue in upcoming television deals for the Big Ten and Pac-12, which have expiring media rights deals in upcoming seasons. (The Big Ten deal is through the 2022 football season and the Pac-12 through the 2023 football season.)

Under such a plan, the Big Ten could drop its conference schedule from nine games to eight, and require each school to play one game against an ACC and a Pac-12 team each year. Wisconsin, for example, would play Virginia and Oregon one year, Florida State and UCLA the next. Big Ten schools would be allowed to schedule the additional non-conference games as they see fit.

If adopted, the Big Ten’s conference season would consist of six games within either the East or West Division and two crossover games. There are currently three crossover games.

Personally, I’m down. Give me any given non-conference game against a Power Five opponent over any given Big Ten West opponent any day. Especially when you consider that Ohio State’s going to play the best Big Ten West team in the Big Ten Title game, anyway.

Maybe we can even work something out like the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in basketball, where the opponent is scheduled based on how the teams finished in the standings the previous seasons. That way we can maximize the Ohio State vs. Clemson games and minimize the Ohio State vs. Syracuse games.

 BIG BEAR ON THE MIC. Few things bring me more joy than Joey Bosa mic’d up at practice – and little Nicky even makes an appearance.

Joey needs to host a gameshow whenever he decides to hang up the pads. Give him family feud and watch the ratings soar.

 SONG OF THE DAY. « me, my gibberish, & the moon » by Field Medic.

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