Tavion Thomas (Scout)

Bank Bag: First Of March Edition

Spring is in the air in Ohio, and the Buckeyes are about ready to take the field again to preview the 2017 team. Bill Greene is here to answer questions from BSB subscribers.

JohnCarrollBuckeye: What is your current take on Vincent? Is Florida State the smoke or is there a legitimate interest for the Noles? Do you see Vann or Scates as legit Buckeye or Bama prospects or is Bama playing games with Ohio State. What do you think of Rick Finotti at John Carroll? Can he continue what Tom Arth Started and take them to the next level?

BG: I think Ohio State is the team to beat for Taron Vincent, but Florida State is a real threat to the Buckeyes. I really like Malik Vann, but I sure don't see him as an Alabama or Ohio State type of player, but maybe I'm wrong? With Joseph Scates, he is good enough to play anywhere in America, including Alabama or Ohio State. I expect Ohio State to offer soon. I love Finotti as a person and as a coach. I think he's the perfect guy to continue what Tom has built at John Carroll. 

buck1075: What did you think of Rickie at the Honda Classic? You have to love a professional sport where a guy 5'8" and 150 pounds can dominate the field for a weekend. With the Masters about a month away who would you put your money on?

BG: I've seen him in person, and Rickie Fowler is a really little guy. He also seems to be genuinely liked by everyone, so you have to root for a guy like that. But I don't have Rickie in the first group, with Spieth, DJ, McIlroy, Phil, Adam Scott and Jason Day. He's in the next group down for me. Putting money on the Masters? I'm going to be in Vegas in two weeks, and I'm leaving with a win ticket in my pocket on Dustin Johnson. This is his time and his year to put on the green jacket. Last I saw he was 8-1, which I will take and run. 

350zjk: At this point in time, who are the Ohio boys that will sign with O.S.U. in February?

BG: I have Justin Gill, Jack Carman, Tavion Thomas, Tyreke Smith and Dallas Gant as IN. I have guys like Chris Oats, Blue Smith, Aeneas Hawkins and Joseph Scates (if offered) as probable.

Coors73: With spring practice about to begin what key position battles are you going to be paying attention to and who do you think the winners and losers of said battles will be? Thanks again for answering.

BG:  There are lots of them actually. Wide receiver: I like K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor emerging as winners. O-line: I see Malcolm Pridgeon coming out as a starter, with Demetrius Knox and Matthew Burrell needing to pick things up or be passed over. D-end: Love all four guys, but how do they not have Nick Bosa on the field every play? Middle linebacker: You tell me, because I have no clue where they go here. Safety: I think either Shaun Wade or Jeffrey Okudah could surprise and beat out or challenge Erick Smith or Jordan Fuller for the open spot. Backup QB: This one is huge and it affects the career of either Joey Burrow or Dwayne Haskins. I see Haskins taking that spot.

tforaker2: Does Kendal Sheffield start? Who would you compare him too? Biggest issues with the team last year were passing, playcalling, pass blocking on offense, and field goal kicking. How many of those get fixed this year? Can Kevin Wilson fix this offense by the start of the season? How much of a step back does the defense take?

BG: Yes, Kendall Sheffield starts and I would compare him to Marshon Lattimore in size and skill. They had better fix all those issues you listed to go undefeated and win the national championship. And I think they can fix all of them. Kevin Wilson is Chris Ash or Greg Schiano to me, and I think he makes a HUGE difference. So will Ryan Day. I have so much confidence in Schiano that I think he finds a way to keep this defense elite, even losing the absolute best coverage secondary I've ever seen at Ohio State. I know people hated it when I said the on-field coaching hasn't been strong enough under Urban except for the championship season, but I believe that with all my heart. The current staff is a MONSTER in terms of development, playcalling, gameplanning and personnel selection. I expect that to translate to a national title next season. 

tridentawc:  Good morning Bill. Thanks for doing these Q&A Brother, they sure help pass the time during the off-seasonI know you're not the basketball guy but what's your expectations of the Lady Buckeyes in the conference tourney and moving into March Lady Madness. Who's your favorite on the Mens' side to win the tournament and being National Champions.

BG: Thank you my friend for reading these. Lady Buckeyes? I wouldn't watch girls basketball if I had a gun pointed at my head, in which case I would tell them to pull the trigger and put me out of my misery before making me watch that stuff disguised as basketball. Women's golf? Love it. Women's swimming? Love it. Women's track and field? Love it. Women's hoops? Awful. Boring. Unwatchable. For the men? I have a feeling that it will come down to North Carolina and Villanova again, with Carolina winning at the buzzer this time. 

raider2426: With regards to their roster status on the 2017 team, when will we know the status of minor contributors/career injured reserve upperclassmen like James Clark, Dixon, etc?

BG: There still needs to be some roster work done, so I would pay attention to Urban's press conferences at the start of spring football. He will probably address these guys and where they stand within the program pretty soon. 

BuckeyeL: Rank your Top Ten in Ohio for 2018. Edit: And if you haven't seen all the top guys, rank the guys you have seen.

BG: I think I've seen all these top guys so far in person. My personal list (not the Scout official list) would be Carman, Gant, Gill, Xavier Henderson, Trent Gillison, Tavion Thomas, Chris Oats, Scates, Tyreke Smith and Blue Smith. With Aeneas Hawkins right there. 

dirtysouthbucks: is the fact that ohio is pretty talented for class of 2018 looking to be a new upswing based on what you have seen out of younger kids, or is it a blip on the radar in what has otherwise been a downward moving trend? who do you like at the DL spots for OSU in the 2018 class?

BG: The talent has dropped in Ohio the past five years or so, and that's not debatable. The number of Division-I signees has steadily dropped each year, and there just hasn't been the usual greatness in the top-20 we were used to seeing in the state. The 2018 class is back where it used to be and what we regularly came to expect on a yearly basis. Does this stop the bleeding, or is it just a stand-alone year? Can't answer that at this time, but after seeing a lot of the sophomores and freshmen last year, my guess is the 2018 class is an aberration. Not seeing this type of talent in the lower grades at all. I know Ohio State would love to land Taron Vincent, Aeneas Hawkins and Tyreke Smith for the D-tackle spots. And I think they see Tyreke as another Adolphus Washington type that will eventually move inside. 

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