NFL Sophomores and Baseball All-Stars

Professionally Speaking returns to help pass those hot summer months with news of the exploits of just a few of the many former Ohio State athletes now plying their trades for pay in various leagues and at various levels throughout the country.

We open this edition with back-to-back notes about second-year NFL players hoping to put together breakout campaigns this fall:

Big offseason for ‘Robo'
After a forgettable rookie campaign with the Cleveland Browns, Brian Robiskie has been the subject of positive press for much of 2010.

The most recent example comes from network partner The Orange and Brown Report in a story published earlier this week:

Wide receiver continues to be a position of intrigue (and continued inaction). A year ago, Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie were bright-eyed rookies looking to find their way at the professional level. With a year under their belts, these two second-year players have been very solid in OTA and mini-camp sessions. The greatest improvement for the two receivers has come in quicker recognition and better route-running. Both are achieving at a much higher level than a year ago, which has led to the organization to be cautiously optimistic heading into training camp.


As for Robiskie, his OTA and mini-camp sessions have been as good or better than any player this off-season. Those within the coaching staff see Robiskie running routes, getting off the line and beating coverage as he did during his last two seasons at Ohio State...

Beanie To Break Out?
Meanwhile, running back Beanie Wells looks to build on a more accomplished rookie campaign that saw him run for nearly 800 yards as the Arizona Cardinals made the playoffs. Both Rotoworld and Scout partner AZRedReport detail why even bigger things could be in store for Wells in 2010.

Reports AZRedReport:

Wells had a largely successful rookie campaign, finishing second among rookie running backs with 793 yards to go along with seven touchdowns. Wells got off to a slow start in training camp due to an ankle injury and a small bout of "fumble-itis" but looks to have moved past those growing pains. Possessing blazing speed for his size and a bruising stiff arm, Wells has all the skills to be an elite rusher and this season could be his proving ground...

Four's Company In St. Louis
In a unique story from the Alton (Ill.) Telegraph we find a look at the four Ohio State alumni on the roster of the St. Louis Rams, all of whom happen to play linebacker.

Second-year pro James Laurinaitis is expected to start in the middle while more-experienced veterans Bobby Carpenter and Na'il Diggs hold down the outside spots. Meanwhile, third-year pro Larry Grant will serve as a backup and help on special teams.

"It'll be even cooler if we get this thing rolling and get to be on some primetime games and get to say, ‘The Ohio State University' three times across the LB corps," Laurinaitis told the paper. "It's a neat deal."...

Deeds Gets All-Star Nod; Swisher Next?
Finally, this week we also have a pair of notes from the world of baseball.

First off, congratulations are in order for outfielder Doug Deeds, a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization who was named to a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Deeds will suit up for the Pacific Coast League as it takes on a group from the International League on July 14 in Allentown, Pa.

Reports D-backs site

Deeds has been one of Reno's most consistent offensive threats this season, batting primarily out of the leadoff spot. Entering play on Monday, Deeds led all minor league batters with 29 doubles and ranked sixth among all Triple-A hitters with 38 extra-base hits. His batting average still exceeded .300 after an 0-for-5 effort on Monday. Originally drafted out of Ohio State University by the Minnesota Twins, Deeds is in his first season in the Diamondbacks chain.

That is not the biggest note in news from America's Pastime, however. as we turn to the big leagues to find a plea from New York to Vote Swish!, a campaign underway to get Yankee Nick Swisher into the Major League All-Star Game.

Swisher, a Buckeye from 2000-02, led fan voting for the final spot on the American League roster after one day but saw Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis pass him on day two.

"I think it would mean so much extra now because it's up to the fans," said Swisher, who is in his sixth full major league season but looking for his first all-star nod. "I think I've generated a pretty good rapport here with the fans of New York."

Voting ends at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Should he win the final fan vote, Swisher would become only the third former Buckeye to make the MLB All-Star game and the first in nearly 40 years.

Frank Howard, an outfielder and first baseman like Swisher, was a four-time All-Star for the Washington Senators from 1968-71.

Previously, Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Edwards was the only Buckeye to appear in the Midsummer Classic. He was selected to the National League squad three times, 1963-65.

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