SvoNotes: Beanie's Talent, Hockey Hair

This debut collection of news and opinion starts off by taking a look at at least one national outlet's positive opinion of Chris "Beanie" Wells and why the NFL draft might not appreciate the back's talent. Also included are some tales of shocking hockey hairstyles and a quick overview of a big weekend for OSU wrestling fans.

I'm hesitant to call this a blog because a blog somehow in this culture denotes opinion and conjecture, which will only be two of the things I'll get into in this space. I'm also going to keep the introduction short and sweet because oftentimes journalists feel the urge to oversell what they're trying to do instead of just going out and doing it.

The point of this whole SvoNotes exercise will be to take some of the events that happen in Ohio State sports and expound on them a little bit. I might just be posting news, I might be posting opinion, I might be highlighting something that otherwise would have fallen through the cracks. So many times we get some news and post it on the premium message board here, which is good because it's the most heavily trafficked premium message board in the OSU sphere, but maybe that info deserves some more billing than that.

We'll see what happens. Either way, don't expect this to be a daily exercise; instead, it will be a little more news-driven and should help fill the interminable days until August and spring practice roll around.

Wells Third On SN Talent List
I was pretty stunned Thursday morning when I opened up my email and decided to click on a story in Sporting News Today in which their scouts rank the top 99 players in the upcoming NFL draft to find that Ohio State's Chris Wells is ranked third.

The ranking was done by Russ Lande and "his team of former NFL scouts" and is done only by talent, not by draft need or projected draft position. Wells occupies the third spot behind USC's Mark Sanchez and Georgia's Matthew Stafford.

I guess the reason I was so taken aback was that Wells is often talked about as a mid-to-late pick in the first round, but closer inspection made the third-place ranking from SN seem fairly appropriate.

Wells is certainly one of the most talented players to ever come through Ohio State. His speed of strength, power, speed and nimbleness will rarely be seen again in Ohio Stadium; Scout got it right when they put the Akron Garfield product No. 1 in its class of 2006.

The amazing plays Wells made over the years will be hard to erase from the memory banks of OSU fans. Everyone thinks of his hurdle of Illinois' Donsay Hardeman, which I named the No. 1 play of the year this year for OSU, but I might remember his long touchdown run against Northwestern for a while longer. That play seemed to encapsulate everything Wells brought to the table; he never gave up, he used his vision to get free, he used his speed to get downfield and then he leveled a player with a stiff arm at the end.

One of the most enjoyable things about Wells' presence at OSU, at least for me as a media member, was interviewing him about his fantastic plays after the game.

He would always seem to get an extra glint in his eye when discussing those plays but still had the ability to talk about what had happened in plain terms. After all, he was used to doing spectacular things that most other humans could not do.

"I ran to the line and a guy was there and tried to hit me and I bounced back," Wells said of the run against Northwestern. "I just kept my feet moving. I kept the effort and had a great outcome."

So with all that in mind, I'd have to give my nod to Wells as the most talented Buckeye over the past few seasons. That's saying a lot given the talent assembled on the squad that made three BCS bowl appearances in his three years. He was simply the player whose physical gifts jumped off the page the most over the past trio of years.

It's also too bad that the NFL draft system will penalize him; he'll certainly go below the No. 3 spot. That's a function both of the need possessed by the teams at the top of the draft plus the NFL belief that running backs don't make great high picks because of their ubiquitous nature, especially when one is as injury-prone as Wells. If the universe were more fair, I'd say that Wells would have better luck with health and be due to be picked third, thus increasing his first contract.

For the record, the Sporting News list had Malcolm Jenkins at No. 16, James Laurinaitis at No. 28, Marcus Freeman listed at 63rd and Brian Robiskie at 83.

Hockey Buckeyes Scarlet, Gray
Most members of the No. 14 Ohio State hockey team, which starts playoff action this weekend with a best-of-three series against Bowling Green on campus, have dyed their hair red and some have shaved their hair into Mohawks in a matter of team unity.

So far, the results have been humorous for a few reasons. A few of the red dye jobs came out pink (including the one for the team's most roughest player, defenseman Corey Toy). Some of the red dye has come out in the players' helmets. Some guys just look flat out goofy. A few have been compared to Ronald McDonald.

I'll have more on this in a story, but a few details are sure to get lost, so here's some notes and quotes on the hairstyles.

--Todd Rudasill has the best look. The sophomore forward from Columbus has a black scruffy beard, representing his normal hair color. He died the top of his head blond and then went red for the back of his head. Wow.

--Chris Reed has shaved most of his head but left two lines of hair approximately in the pattern of the ram horns on the St. Louis Rams' helmet. Those are then dyed red.

--Other suggestions included dying hair blond – as OSU players did in 2004 before winning their conference, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association – and growing mullets. Playoff beards might happen, although 19-year-old captain Peter Boyd joked he'd have trouble with that.

--Head coach John Markell seemed less than amused by the whole thing, adding that he would have chosen a different color.

"If they feel that's going to bring them together, that's great," Markell said. "But I can't pick the color for them. That's up to them. Maybe they had a special going."

Markell then pointed toward his temples when asked which color he'd have gone with.

"To tell you the truth, I suppose something to do with the color gray. I'm supporting the cause I guess."

For a man whose hair is known across the college hockey world, that quip showed a good amount of wit and self-deprecation.

On Rudasill's active 'do, Markell had another joke or two.

"He's making an individual statement with his. He probably had a little more time on his hands to be able to do that. Or he had a better hairdresser. I don't know. Maybe he did it himself."

Grapplers Grace VCA
All three Ohioans who were November signees for the Ohio State wrestling team are in action at the Ohio high school championships, which started Thursday in Value City Arena on campus.

In Division II, Columbus DeSales 130-pounder Jake Vaughan, who is 43-2 on the year, began his title hopes with a pin of Greenville's Chris Miller in 1:53. Next up us Lance Zappitella of Conneaut.

Two future Buckeyes are in Division I, most notably Collin Palmer, the brother of current OSU 149-pounder Lance Palmer. The younger Palmer, 36-2 at 140 pounds, began his tournament with a pin in 1:59 of Chris Jolevski of Cincinnati Oak Hills. He moves on to face Waquiem Comar of Twinsburg in Friday's quarterfinals.

At 171 pounds, Nick Heflin of Massillon Perry (39-2) pinned Ryan Quinn of Oak Hills in 1:00 and gets Cleveland St. Ignatius' Marc Bryan in the quarterfinals.

Quarterfinals are Friday morning, semifinals are in the evening and finals are Saturday night.

The actual wrestling Buckeyes are in action this weekend, as well, at the Big Ten championships at Penn State. This should be one heck of an intriguing event as the sixth-ranked Buckeyes try to chase down No. 1 Iowa.

Things worth watching: How will former No. 1 Reece Humphrey (133) and defending national champion J Jaggers (141) perform in stacked weight classes? Can Lance Palmer get past Bubba Jenkins of Penn State to set up a title clash with all-everything grappler Brent Metcalf of Iowa – and move himself into the bottom half of the NCAA bracket? Will the heavily anticipated match between Mike Pucillo and Jake Herbert of Northwestern finally happen at 184 – and can the defending champ from OSU get the win?

Sunday's finals are on the Big Ten Network starting at 2 (before the men's basketball game at 5) and could be good TV for Buckeye fans.

Count me stunned that the Whitest Guy on the Team election between men's cagers Mark Titus and Kyle Madsen - currently ongoing at Titus' fantastic and celebrated Club Trillion blog - is so close going to the final. With 19 hours to go until the polls close Friday afternoon, the two are separated by just two votes from among 10,100 cast. Titus holds a slight 5,051-5,049 lead. Simply amazing.

And at least in this one we probably won't have a recount. Al Franken and Norm Coleman could be so lucky.

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