In 2015, consistency will be a problem for the Longhorns, who lost a bunch of experienced talent at the end of last season. The guys who are left need to take a page out of Dylan Haines' book.
While also being the best players on the team, Malcom Brown, Jordan Hicks, John Harris and Quandre Diggs were models of consistent play last season, They showed up every day and did their jobs, dragging a flawed team to a bowl berth.
Now that they've moved on to the next level along with six other starters, the team's most talented players aren't necessarily their most consistent. Hassan Ridgeway can record one tackle just as easily as he can get two sacks, and Duke Thomas can pick off two passes in one game, then give up two touchdowns in the next.
This is just the state of the program as it reloads with young talent.
Fortunately, there are some less talented guys who always seem to impact the game by playing smart, sound football. It's up to their more gifted teammates to follow the example these guys set.
The Buckeyes also looked to capitalize on their spring momentum by offering four new prospects for their 2016 and 2017 classes.
Here's a rundown of Ohio State's latest recruiting activity.
Santino Marchiol, Unranked Outside Linebacker (2017)
The first offer of the week went out to Santino Marchiol, an unranked outside linebacker from Englewood, Colorado.
Marchiol is one of the rising prospects in the '17 class. Just a few short months ago, he didn't have a single offer from a major collegiate program. But after impressive showings at scouting camps around the country, big-time colleges are starting to take notice. The Buckeyes were the latest to do so, becoming the 18th school to join an impressive offer list that includes Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Penn State.
“It motivates me to work even harder,” Marchiol said of his recent recruiting spike, according to Scout's Josh Harvey. “I want to prove all these coaches right.”
With 20 months until national signing day in 2017, Marchiol knows that he has plenty of time to make his decision. That's why he's planning on taking his time with the process.
“As of right now, they are all the same," Marchiol said of his top schools, via Harvey. "I feel blessed to have all these offers and feel blessed to have all these opportunities to go to different places. As of now I’m enjoying the process and not really narrowing it down.”
Matt Dotson, Unranked Tight End (2017)
Ohio State's top-ranked 2017 recruiting class will need a tight end when it's all said and done, and the Buckeyes may have identified their top target on Saturday when they offered Matt Dotson.
Dotson has just four offers after the Buckeyes joined Cincinnati, Illinois and Tennessee, but he's receiving legitimate attention from other programs such as LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, the Cincinnati native already boasts the size to start at the collegiate level, and he hasn't even stepped on the field for the first snap of his junior season of high school.
Director of ScoutingOhio.com Matt Porter told Mike Dyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Dotson thrives in two key areas.
"Great all-around tight end," Porter told Dyer. "Physical at point of attack for the run game. He can flex out and be a mismatch in the passing game."
Those are the traits that made Jeff Heuerman such a successful tight end in Meyer's scheme. The Buckeyes need their tight ends to be weapons in the passing game, obviously, but they also require them to block in their power run game.
Dotson fits the bill there, and according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball, Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to land his commitment.
Jaylen Harris, Unranked Wide Receiver (2017)
Dotson wasn't the only elite 2017 pass-catcher who hauled in an Ohio State offer last Saturday.
The Buckeyes also offered Jaylen Harris, a standout prospect from Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio.
Harris was one of the many prospects in Columbus last weekend, and he made a big impression on the staff. Ohio State joined an offer list that already includes Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia. But according to Bill Kurelic of 247 Sports, the Buckeyes' offer stands out.
“It’s really big,” Harris said, via Kurelic. “They are up there on my list.”
Other Offers from the Week
Cavin Ridley, 4-Star Wide Receiver (2016)
All recruiting rankings and information via 247Sports.
David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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Returning starters are always the best luxury a team can have going into a new football season.
But more often then not, it's the heroics of previously unsung heroes (see Johnny Manziel) who were redshirt freshmen going into the fall who take teams to new heights.
So let's check out the five redshirt freshmen of 2015 whom you need to know, from highly touted Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers to Texas gunslinger Jerrod Heard.
ESPN's Outside the Lines conducted a study beginning in the fall of 2014, looking into men's college basketball and football players from 10 high-profile schools who were accused of crimes from 2009 to 2014.
Sunday marked the release of the study, per ESPN.com's Paula Lavigne, which concluded that athletes often avoid prosecution and prison because of their status. Of the 10 schools, Florida and Florida State ranked first and second, respectively, in total athletes who had run-ins with the law.
Eighty Gators players were suspects in over 100 crimes, while the Seminoles had 66 players involved in alleged crimes. Florida had 56 percent of its cases either not result in charges, result in dropped charges or not reach the prosecution phase. Florida State had 70 percent of cases fall by the wayside on such statuses.
Lavigne cited a number of factors that contribute to many accused student-athletes not seeing a day in court. The intimidation factor of prosecuting an athlete from a big-name program is one, which has to do with athletic department personnel becoming involved in cases, along with the resources available to the players to call on renowned attorneys.
With specific regard to the Seminoles, Outside the Lines discovered nine instances in its study where "Florida State coaches or athletic department officials tried to determine when and where city police would interview athletes or attempted other involvement."
A former department staff member highlighted Seminoles associate athletic director Monk Bonasorte as a go-to intermediary.
"He is kind of the fixer for football," said the past employee. "He knows where the skeletons are buried, but he also helps keep those football players, not out of trouble, but out of paying for the trouble they've gotten into."
Recent No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is mentioned in the Outside the Lines story regarding a sexual assault allegation against him. Winston ultimately didn't face prosecution after an investigation.
Benton County (Oregon) District Attorney John Haroldson, whose office deals with Oregon State athletes' cases, weighed in on how the media spotlight impacts similar cases.
"I think it would be naive to suggest that the high level of [publicity] doesn't have a chilling effect on people," said Haroldson. "You certainly see that happen in cases of sexual assault. ... They have to contend with, 'Do I want this to play out in the media?'"
Ex-Florida running back Chris Rainey was noted as being "named a suspect in five crimes in Gainesville" but "faced charges once."
Outside the Lines' investigation also revealed that Florida, along with other programs, has a campus police department with members assigned to specific university officials or the athletic department.
Although it's dangerous to conclude there is an imbalance of justice, the rates that crimes involving college-age males get thrown out before reaching court in Gainesville and Tallahassee are 28 and 50 percent, respectively. Those percentages are considerably lower than the rate for the athletes examined in the study.
The burden of proof certainly seems held to a different standard for men's college basketball and football players—at least at many of the powerhouse programs Outside the Lines reported on. In the study, Michigan State is noted as an outlier, since it offers free legal counsel to all of its students, eliminating the improved access to defense attorneys that athletes have at programs like Florida and Florida State.
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Three hundred and sixty-four days out of the year, Le Mans, France likely tells time just like the rest of us: watch, clock, or smartphone. But for one 24-hour period each year, they can judge a day's passing by waiting for the distinctive buzz of high-performance race cars to start and—after one of Earth's rotations around its axis—finally stop.
Time is running out in Le Mans 2015, one of the premier automobile endurance racing events in the world. Along with the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, it's one leg in the sports' own Triple Crown. It's also the flagship race of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The race started at 9 a.m. ET (3 p.m. local time) at the Circuit de la Sarthe racetrack on Saturday, June 13 in Le Mans, France. The finishing time is then, naturally, 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Each team of the 55 teams at Le Mans 2015 consists of three drivers. There are four different classes of car at Le Mans—two prototype and two GT, per the event website—and teams of drivers and their crews compete for the top spot both within their class and outright against all other competitors. The race is judged on greatest number of laps completed, not total distance covered.
Here's what you need to know to follow along to the finale of this unique spectacle.
Here's the remaining television broadcast schedule for Le Mans 2015.
A live stream of the race can be found at either Fox Sports Go (TV provider log-in required) or at NISMO TV on Youtube, found below. The NISMO TV link features multiple car cams, a live leaderboard with commentary and even a pit cam. Fox Sports Go offers a similar set of options.
A live leaderboard can be found at 24h-LeMans.com, on the right-hand side of the main page.
Although Audi cars and teams have dominated the 24-hour Le Mans in recent years, this year has seen a pair of Porsche teams best the competition for much of the long day's journey into night (and, well, back into day).
As can be expected in most years, the top of the leaderboard is dominated by the powerful, top-tier prototype class (LM P1). The No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid car driven by Earl Bamber, Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy held the lead as of 6:30 a.m. ET.
The Rennsport.com staff—doing yeomen's work liveblogging the entire race—noted at the 20-hour mark that this had been the state of affairs for quite some time:
"For yet another hour, there is little change overall. Porsche #19 has a wide lead on Porsche #17, which is ahead of all of the Audis (Only the #9 among them being close to one of the top 919 Hybrids) and, well adrift, the #18 Porsche."
Porsche is the top car manufacturer at Le Mans, with 16 titles since the race began in 1923.
The top Audi team as of 6:30 a.m. ET was one well acquainted with Le Mans success. Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer—taking turns piloting the No. 9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro—won the 24-hour Le Mans in 2011, 2012 and 2014, but their run of dominance appears to be headed for at least another one-year hiatus barring engine trouble or some other calamity befalling the top two Porsche teams.
Loic Duval and his cohorts driving the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro have acquitted themselves well in this race despite taking heavy damage in a crash within the first four hours of the race, per FoxSports.com:
While battling for a spot inside of the top five, Duval made a swift move to avoid cars who were checking up for a slow zone on the run to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, slight contact with the No. 51 Ferrari pitched Duval sideways and into the guardrail.
The hit ripped the front end of the Audi off, but Duval managed to limp the car back to the pits where the team could make repairs...
Oliver Jarvis is on Duval's team, and he is looking to put a disappointing 2014 in Le Mans behind him, when he watched his car crash out very early on at the Circuit de la Sarthe. An experienced driver, he contends there is nothing quite like Le Mans and is well aware of what it takes to win, per the Guardian's Giles Richards:
I love driving at here. Especially at night, two to three in the morning, it’s almost as if you are out there on your own, you really become one with the car, But ultimately whoever manages to stand at the top step will have done an incredible job. They will have to have driven 24 hours on the absolute limit, with no mistakes, because that is what it is going to take to win Le Mans this year.
Outside of the top-of-the-board action, there was a scary moment very early on in the race when the No. 66 Ferrari 458 Italia caught fire during a pit stop, per the Sporting News' Steve Petrella. Triple M Sidney provided a look:
According to Petrella, there were no injuries and the fire was swiftly put out.
With the amount of stress piled on these cars over the course of this race, anything is possible in the late hours. However, the approximately 8 1/2-mile track and the need to make up full laps makes any final charge a daunting proposition.
If the current race pattern holds, an Audi automobile team will not be featured atop the leaderboard for the first time since 2009. The trio Bamber, Hulkenberg and Tandy are in line to win their first 24-hour Le Mans should they drive well and the Porsche hold up to the intense demand.
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