As expected, Malcolm Jenkins took home the Thorpe Award last week, given to the Nation's best defensive back. He was also named first team All-American. Malcolm is quickly becoming one of my favorite Buckeyes of all-time. Teams simply don't throw his way. He also has a knack for big plays, blocking two punts and picking off four passes this year. When he decided to return for his senior year after being projected to be a top 20 pick in the draft last year, most people were surprised and said it was a bad choice. He managed to increase his draft status after the '08 season, and now seems to be a sure fire top ten pick. I got wood with just the mere thought of him being in Cleveland next year.
Big ups to James Laurinaitis as well, as he became only the second person in college football history to be named to the All-American team three times. When he made the team last year, he followed in the footsteps of fellow superstar Buck linebackers A.J. Hawk and Chris Spielman by becoming a two-time All-American. Not only did Laurinaitis fill the giant shoes left for him at the real Linebacker U, but he outgrew them.
These are two of the best defensive players in OSU history. It was great to watch them over the past few years, and I hope they excel at the next level.
Ohio St has been a pleasant surprise on the hardwood this season, currently on pace to go 30-0. Unbeaten in their first six games this season, OSU has beaten such quality opponents as Miami, Notre Dame, and Butler. At the time Ohio St beat them, Miami and Notre Dame were ranked 22 and 7, respectively.
Evan Turner showed flashes of brilliance last season, but was very inconsistent. This year he has really responded to being the "go-to guy," leading the team in points (16.2), rebounds (7.3), assists (3.3), and steals (3.2). He's also shooting 50% from beyond the arc. This guy could be a superstar, as he is only a sophomore.
Dallas Lauderdale has also been a huge (literally) reason for this team's success, mostly on the defensive end. He reminds me a lot of Greg Oden on defense. He certainly isn't as polished offensively as Oden, but he is a beast down low, having several monstrous Oden-like blocks this year (4.7 per game). Lauderdale's solid performance has allowed the Buckeyes to bring freshman B.J. Mullens along slowly. Mullens averages 16 minutes a game, with an increasing role as each game goes on.
Obviously, six games is far too soon to determine how this team will finish, but it's always great to get off to a good start.
Wednesday, December 17