Bank Bag: Ohio State Playoff Edition Part-III

As Ohio State prepares to meet Deshaun Watson and Clemson in the semi-final playoff game, Bill Greene answers questions from BSB subscribers about the Buckeyes. Here is Part-Three.

Encyclopedicbuc: I've kind of been disappointed in the development of several of the wide receivers Ohio State has recruited out of the state of Florida in the past 10 years. Florida, from what I've read and have been told to by people in the know, is the best state as far as recruiting high school football talent. I already knew that, but I was just curious why OSU's WR talent out of FL hasn't lived up to the hype.  The players that I can recall over the past decade are: Albert Dukes; James Louis; a kid from Lakeland, I think his last name was Southward(?); Duron Carter; and the two the Buckeyes have now in James Clark and Johnny Dixon. I know Dixon still has a chance to live up to his billing. The others I know had problems with getting in trouble, academics, falling out with coaching staff and injuries, but all of these players weren't doing well on the field even before their problems and these were highly-rated players.

BG: Albert Dukes had an issue with an underage girl that short-circuited his career, but he had major skills. James Louis was a riot, and I could tell lots of Jimmy-Lou stories, but he could not play. Ricquan Southward was a guy I never thought much of at all, and got in with the "three-star heaven" crowd, and was soon gone and forgotten. Duron Carter started as a true freshman on the Terrelle Pryor Rose Bowl team, but was his own worst enemy. Duron has skills for sure. James Clark would be a big hero in Buckeye Land had Penn State not grabbed his arm and he went and caught the game-winning touchdown this year. He's been hurt a lot, the same with Johnnie Dixon. I'm convinced Dixon would have been a star, but the knees are shot. 

OSU81: Bill, I remember reading that Tom Herman consulted for Nick Saban and Kirby Smart at Alabama after we won the 2014 National Championship. My recollection is that he did this after he was officially the coach at Houston. I have three questions.Do head coaches do this a lot? Do you know if he had Urban's blessing? Do you think it will come back to haunt Ohio State if we beat Clemson and advance to the CFP Championship?

BG: Yes these coaches share information with each other all the time, especially if they're friends. I would guess Herman was honored to be asked to help two of the greatest defensive minds in the college game. I doubt Herman asked Urban's permission. I believe their meeting was more about Alabama adjusting to the modern spread offenses, not how Bama could beat Ohio State. That would have zero impact on any Alabama meeting with Ohio State now, because both teams are so radically different. I believe Herman spoke with Smart a few days after Ohio State beat Alabama, and Herman went to Tuscaloosa in the summer after to meet with the Bama staff. 

sphinxbuck: What is going on with Jerron Cage? How was his senior year? Does Ohio State still want him? Is he looking around due to Ohio State disinterest? What do you think of him as a prospect?

BG: Lots of smoke regarding Cage and Notre Dame and Michigan State, but I'm not sure what's true or not. I believe Ohio State does still want him. I think he's a good, not great, prospect, similar to the guys they've been getting out of Ohio at defensive tackle. 

BuckeyeL: How do you feel about the efforts of Lovie Smith so far at Illinois, both recruiting and game planning? Do you feel he'll be successful there?

BG: I think he will be Okay. Middle of the pack, record wise and middle of the pack recruiting wise.

BuckeyeNatural: What's the best single football play you've ever seen? How about the best player at each position? and best player overall? My favorites are Barry Sanders, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Rank Okudah, Wade, and Holmes and give us comparisons for each one if you have any. Gun to your head does Thayer Munford end up in this Buckeye class? Who is the better prospect Jaylen Harris or Lynn Bowden? And where do you see Bowden signing? I assume Harris will be a Buckeye. Does this OSU class finish as the highest quality per player class in CFB history IYO?

BG: Charles Woodson is the best high school player I've ever seen, and he's up there for the best college player too. Runningback would be Jim Brown. Quarterback would be Tom Brady. Wideout is Jerry Rice and it's not close. Tight end might be Gronk. Offensive line would be Orlando Pace. Defensive line would be Reggie White. Linebacker would be Lawrence Taylor and it's not close. Defensive back would be Rod Woodson, but Deion Sanders is close in my mind. Best overall player? Jerry Rice. I like Okudah the best, and think he's a more physical Vonn Bell. Wade would be higher than Holmes because of size and length. I think Munford does not get in because I think they can pull a big time lineman. I would rank Bowden over Harris, but they're different players. Bowden might be Samuel, while Harris is more Austin Mack. I think Bowden and Munford both go to Kentucky. Yes, I have Jaylen Harris as a Buckeye. And another Yes on Ohio State finishing with the highest star rating.

drewsus: We always talk about meaningless bowl games...How important is this game for the OSU secondary in terms of solidifying/improving their draft stock? Seems like the ultimate showcase game to me going up against a great qb and great wr's. Have to think their motivation will be extra high for this one, no? So much talk about JT's passing ability against clemson but how do you think the OSU run game matches up? Can OSU treselball here and play keep away from the clemson offense?

BG: I think the three NFL guys are fine, but a great game can move them all up. They all have to know that as well. Ohio State will have to run the ball well to keep it away from Watson and those skill guys. They need to go SEMI Tressel-ball to win, because they cannot win a shootout where both teams score 40. I do think Ohio State can run the ball well, but still score 30-35 points. They will not win a 17-16 game this week, like Michigan State or Michigan.

TB777: What is your opinion on Thad and the OSU Basketball program? Is Thad still the Head Coach at OSU in two years? Who plays in this years Super Bowl, and who is your early pick to win it? If you are a NFL GM, who would you have as your top 3 picks on the Draft Board in order? Rank these OL as to which will have the best OSU career as an OL by the time they leave between Jordan, Prince, Myers, Wyatt Davis, and Carman?

BG: I think Thad will never return Ohio State to where they were in his early years. I will say NO, Thad is not at Ohio State. I have the Patriots beating Atlanta in the Bowl. Myles Garrett. Johnathan Allen. Cam Robinson. I will go Jordan, Prince, Carman, Meyers, Davis. But you could reverse the order and be correct. 

buckeyebones: Project which current buckeye will fill these future roles: most successful NFL player; successful coach; TV commentator; grad transfer to another program; successful entrepreneur?

BG: NFL will be Malik Hooker. Coach will be J.T. Barrett. TV will be Jonathon Cooper. Grad transfer will be Evan Lisle. Entrepeneur will be Johnnie Dixon. 

RyanMcGlade: Just how important is winning the trenches in this game? Will Ohio State win if it gives up a number of sacks like it did against PSU and Michigan? What other ways can the Buckeyes use Curtis Samuel in their offense that they have not done yet this season? If that is at all possible. 

BG: It's always important, especially in big games, so I'm saying it's huge. If Ohio State gives up that many sacks it probably means they're trailing and trying to catch up, which would not work to their advantage so I will say they lose. I would like to see Samuel on the old fashioned draw play, and the old fashioned screen pass. If he can throw it at all it will work, because Clemson will fall for the option pass. 

drewsus: I know you weren't high on Corn Elder as a recruit...seems to be doing well for Miami. Could he have played for OSU?  Why does Brian Hartline hate TP so much? I always thought Hartline tanked it his final year at OSU when TP became the starter.

BG: I always thought OSU saw him as a wideout, which I was not interested in at all. He's been a good DB for Miami, but he would have sat at Ohio State. Would not have beaten out Grant, Apple, Conley, Lattimore or Ward in my opinion. Too short for Schiano. Hartline has his reasons for hating Pryor when Terrelle was a freshmen, and they would be the same as most of the team that felt the same way. Hartline played his tail off when Pryor was the QB, but he knew it was hurting his NFL chances with a QB that could not throw the ball at all. I hated seeing his comments on Pryor the other day and think it was a mistake on Brian's part. Honesty is not always the best policy, just ask George Karl, LOL. I just don't see the value for Hartline to crack on Pryor. I would rather see him show support, even if it's fake and be more diplomatic about things. Brian would have a future on TV if he wanted that, and this probably does not help. 

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