Opening Week Bank Blog

It's the most wonderful time of the year, with apologies to Andy Williams, and the opening week of college football comes on the heels of a great week of high school football in Ohio. There are lots of things happening in both worlds, in recruiting, player evaluations, and wondering who can actually beat Ohio State? Bill Greene takes a look at Ohio in this edition of the "Bank Blog."

What a great time of year, and that statement has nothing to do with the sleepy, boring, time-waster called baseball. It's football season, and the colleges get started this week, following the awesome first week of the high schoolers getting it going.

So let's take a look at what's happening in the football world, in Ohio, and across the country, in this "Bank Blog" edition.

Braxton Miller was heroic in defeat Sunday night, playing with great passion and energy, against odds stacked against him. I couldn't be more impressed with a talent, and this could be a frustrating season, because the Wayne talent level isn't where it was last year. Be prepared for some not-so-spectacular numbers, but also be ready for several highlight-reel plays.

Nathan Williams might not be playing for Ohio State against Marshall this Thursday, but not because he doesn't want to. Williams will make a plea to the judge, but even the reincarnation of Johnny Cochran won't help his case, because Judge J.T. will more than likely overrule that motion. The Miami game is just too big.

Anybody get a look at the team from Maryland that waltzed into Ohio and put a whoopping on Cincinnati St. Xavier? How often do you see "X" get out-played physically across both lines of scrimmage? Like never. The Good Counsel team is well coached, disciplined and supremely talented, with over 10 Division-I prospects on the roster. They were fun to watch, and those kids loved being in Ohio. In fact, offensive tackle Mike Madaras joked that he wanted to move to Ohio, to play in this type of game every week. If Ohio State is smart, they will extend that opportunity to Madaras for the class of 2012.

Speaking of offering the Good Counsel kids, wait until you see the offer list put together by junior athlete Stefon Diggs. He put on a show that was pretty special Sunday afternoon, and he was the best athlete on the field not named Braxton Miller. Diggs can play either side of the ball in college, and he will be a five-star prospect when the rankings come out. He had a touchdown catch on offense, an interception return for a score, and an amazing punt return that was called back because of a penalty. He was so much fun to watch, and you can be sure college coaches from Florida to USC have taken notice.

Back to Braxton Miller, the injury he suffered late in the game against Cincinnati Moeller looked pretty bad to me, and I was standing ten feet away. Miller was limping noticeably after the game, but to his credit, he stayed around for 45 minutes doing interviews with everyone who wanted one. He was one of the last persons to leave the field, when he could have ducked out to get ice on his ankle. My early prediction is that this injury is worse than people thought, and I would be stunned to see Miller play in this week's big showdown with Canton McKinley, even though he will want to be out there.

Hey Ohio State fans, don't look now but there might be a coming star about to break loose at the safety position: C.J. Barnett. Barnett was really good in the jersey scrimmage, and the word is he will be starting this week against Marshall, and not because of Jermale Hines' injury either. Barnett is for real, from what I saw of him in the scrimmage, and he's too talented to keep off the field.

One youngster might get a start in the defensive backfield if a starter is unable to go, and that's Travis Howard, who will get the nod if Chimdi Chekwa is held out. Howard would get the call over Corey Brown and Dominick Clark, and those two have been very good. Hopefully, Howard is ready for this opportunity.

There has been a lot of talk about the defensive end talent in Ohio for 2012, with about seven top prospects fighting it out for the number one ranking. For my money, the contest is over, and Chris Wormley is the Top Dog in Ohio at the position. Chasing him, and maybe not too closely, would be Adolphus Washington, Greg McMullen and Se'Von Pittman. There is a clear line to the third group, consisting of LaTroy Lewis, Tom Strobel and newcomer John Tanner of Cincinnati Moeller. Tanner was ultra-impressive against Huber Heights Wayne, and deserves to be in the discussion.

College coaches are not allowed to issue written offers on September 1st of the prospects junior year anymore, in a rule passed four weeks ago. I expect to see colleges still honor the rule, but stick with the tradition of offering prospects in September, but only verbally. They cannot offer in writing until August 1st of the prospects senior season, according to the new rule.

So who gets the coveted early offers from Ohio State? How about Warren Ball, Greg McMullen, Adolphus Washington, Bam Bradley, Chris Wormley and Kyle Kalis? Out of state, look for super Pennsylvania star Rushel Shell to hear from Ohio State, although that might have occurred already.

There are a few players at Ohio State right on the verge of red-shirting or playing, and that final decision might not be made for a while. They could go into the season planning to red-shirt certain players, and not play them at all, but have them ready to go if an emergency pops up. There are definitely freshmen in this boat, and possibly one or two upperclassmen as well. No appearances on special teams, or in the rotation, for the Marshall game will tip you off to who is IN, and who is OUT.

I've got a feeling the gambling line is pretty close to right on the money for the Ohio State-Marshall game, with the Buckeyes favored by around four touchdowns. I do expect a low-scoring game out of Marshall, somewhere in the ten point range, so let's call it Ohio State rolls 38-10, with the game landing near the point-spread.

So, who's my pick as the first-year player to break out and become the fan favorite? I'm going with Corey Brown, as "Philly" is going to take a kickoff to the house at some point, maybe against Marshall. Get prepared for the chants of "Philly" "Philly", as the youngster breaks a long one at some point.

What older player becomes a contributor after not doing much the first few years of his career? I was all set to name Grant Schwartz before the foot injury, and that could still happen. For now, put me down for Solomon Thomas, as the red-shirt junior gets extended playing time, and has that break-out season.

Sleeper of the 2010 recruiting class? Put me down for Johnathan Hankins, and "Big Hank" is going to surprise people at some point in his Buckeye career. His weight, conditioning and work ethic has been superb, so he's going to be a good one before he leaves.

So who can beat Ohio State? Is there a team on the schedule that can knock off the number-two ranked team in America? In my opinion, there is only one team that can upset the undefeated apple-cart in 2010, and that is Ohio State themselves. The only way they lose is by putting up a poor effort, turning the ball over and generally playing uninspired football. Do I expect to see that happen in 2010? Heck NO, because it isn't happening and they're going undefeated throughout the 2010 regular season.

Did anyone notice the positively Ted Ginn-like effort of Shane Wynn against Warren Central the other night? If you didn't, you'd better take another look, because he's going to be doing his thing in C-Bus for the next four years.

Anthony Wallace will make his choice between Ohio State and Oklahoma, and I think the Miami Hurricanes are out of it for him. The official visit tells the tale, and I've got a feeling Ohio State can take this one. I could also see Wallace making a choice in the next few weeks, to lock in a spot, but still take official visits to find his "real" team.

How sure am I that Ohio State is running through this schedule unscathed? So sure, that you can Take It To The BANK !!!!!!!!!!!!!


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