The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer. Every Monday and Thursday, Jim will be announcing a new player. Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th. Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins. To view the previous entries in our Top 25, click here.
Michael Jenkins quietly had one of the best receiving careers in Ohio State’s storied history of producing great receivers. It may come as a surprise to many that he is the all-time leader in career receiving yards with 2,898. This mark also stands as eighth best in Big Ten football history.
The offenses that Jenkins played for may have been less than flashy, but that did not prevent him from having one of the most productive receiving careers in Buckeye football history. He gets extra special bonus points for being on the receiving end of Craig Krenzel’s clutch game saving passes more often than not. Two passes in particular come quickly to mind – the 4th and 14* reception in overtime of the national championship game and, of course, Holy Buckeye.
If you’re like most football fans you probably play some form of fantasy football. It gives me the ability to have a rooting interest in any NFL game I watch. I also like to have hometown players on my team but since I live in Cleveland that’s not such a good idea. So if you’re an Ohio State fan and are playing fantasy you may like to have a Buckeye on your team. Here’s a quick look at OSU players in the NFL and what their fantasy prospects might be.
Troy Smith – Baltimore Last year his tonsils gave the job to Joe Flacco and he’s not getting it back anytime soon. If Flacco struggles or gets injured jump on the waiver wire and snag him. Other than that he’s not worth drafting
Antonio Pittman – St Louis Rams He’s number two behind Steven Jackson and won’t get many carries while Jackson is around. If you draft Jackson in the first round he’s worth picking up as a handcuff but other than that probably not draft worthy.
Chris Wells – Arizona Cardinals This is an interesting one. I had high hopes for his rookie season when I saw he was picked by Arizona, but since then I’ve become more skeptical. He missed OTAs to actually finish his spring classes and then suffered an injury early in camp. Meanwhile Tim Hightower has been putting on quite a preseason performance. What does this mean? I don’t know – could go either way. I would definitely draft him but I wouldn’t count on starting him until we see where the season is going. Still I predict quite a future in the NFL for Beanie.
Joey Galloway – New England Patriots Injured last year, now in New England behind Moss and Welker. Could see some production if he’s healthy, and remember it is Brady throwing the ball
Ted Ginn Jr – Miami Dolphins Lots of upside here. Year three is when lots of receivers blossom in the NFL. I’d draft him as my number 3 receiver. He hasn’t shown he can do it yet but this may be the year.
Anthony Gonzalez – Indianapolis Colts His third year in the league. Marvin Harrison is gone. This guy has sleeper written all over him. I predict 1200 yards and 10+ TDS. Don’t jump too soon – he’ll probably slip into the 4th round but he will be a first round worthy pick this year.
Santonio Holmes – Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl winning catch will make him go earlier in the draft than he probably should. Still he’s a good receiver playing for a championship team. Hines Ward is getting older and Holmes will take over main receiving duties eventually. Is this the year? Maybe but don’t overreach for him.
Michael Jenkins – Atlanta Falcons Defenses will be keyed on Michael Turner running the ball and the Falcons two main aerial threats – Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. This should leave lots of one on one situations for Jenkins. He’s developed into a deep threat and could put up some numbers this year.
Brian Robiskie – Cleveland Browns Last year I went against my better judgment and drafted a Brown. That Brown was Braylon Edwards. I learned my lesson. That being said Robiskie has great hands and runs good routes. Someone has to catch the ball in Cleveland. I wouldn’t be against having him as a backup but I’d be wary of anyone wearing brown and orange this year.
Mike Nugent – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Don’t ever draft a kicker before the last round. And Nugent may not even have the starting job in TB. Stay away.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Buckeye fan. Do I really need to explain what this picture shows?
Didn’t think so.
Michael Jenkins, today’s your day. Time and time again, you made the catch that saved our asses. You deserve a whole week to yourself for the effort and the grit you gave. Thank you from the bottoms of all our hearts!
12 days to go!
Brandon Schnittker wasn’t widely known outside of the diehard Buckeye circles. He was a great blocker and when you’re lined up in the same backfield as a freshman RB who has 1,300 yards on the season, you just KNOW you’re not getting the ball very much. So his stats are not going to dominate the world.
But one glorious day, he had an amazing catch that began the most important drive Ohio State may have ever known.
November 23rd, 2002. Ohio State is 12-0 and with only 8:40 to play in the season, the Buckeyes are trailing Michigan 9-7. Tensions are high because the Buckeyes have had a season filled with late victories pulled out of thin air….will this be the one time that we can’t will ourselves to the win column? Also, this was still in the days when we would ALWAYS seem to lose our National Championship hopes to that state up north.
Ohio State took over on their own 37-yard-line. With Mike Nugent as our kicker, we were looking to get inside the 25 of Michigan to win this game and get to the Fiesta Bowl.
On the first snap from center, QB Craig Krenzel stepped back and fired a pass to our top WR Michael Jenkins. But the pass never reached Jenkins’ sticky fingers. Schnittker, who had been running a pattern to try and draw coverage away from Jenkins and Chris Vance, found himself in the path of the ball. He snagged it and used his strong legs to power himself further up the field, into Michigan territory at their 43-yard-line.
The roar of the crowd as Schnittker rumbled upfield was intense, and the drive would not be in vain. Krenzel’s legs, a brilliant pass to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and a 3-yard scamper by Maurice Hall broke the goal line and Ohio State took a late lead 14-9. That lead held up and Ohio State went on to win the National Championship.
Thanks to Tom, here’s the video of the drive….
That’s my biggest memory of Schnittker. He intercepted a pass intended for his own teammate. And I love the guy for it.
43 days until kickoff!
With all the hype over Ohio State’s quest for a National Championship in 2006, I spent some time today thinking about how it all relates to the 2002 season. And I’ve gotta tell you, there is very little comparison.
Sure, there’s the obvious similarities. But most of the time, we’ve gotta actually LOOK for the similarities. But you’ve really got to take a serious look back, and then you’ll understand that this year is NOTHING like ’02.
For example, we are actually EXPECTED to play for the title this year. Sure, there’s the naysayers and the pundits on ESPN who don’t give us much credit and desperately want to find moments of weakness. But in 2002, we were not at all expected to contend. As a matter of fact, we weren’t even ranked in the Top 10 at the start of the season. With each win, we did manage to creep up the charts, but it was more due to other teams losing and us climbing the rankings by default. By the time we knocked off Purdue, many voters had no choice but to put us in the Top 2, especially because that was the same day Oklahoma finally lost, leaving only 2 unbeatens.
This year, there was a target on our backs from the first minute of the first game. In ’02, nobody outside of Ohio thought we’d keep winning, and everybody just assumed that some team would trip us up and they wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.
Craig Krenzel wasn’t a Heisman front-runner. Maurice Clarett was just a freshman with no quality wins under his belt. Michael Jenkins’ luck would run out on the long TDs. Jim Tressel was in over his head, having gone 7-5 in his first season at Division 1.
They didn’t give us the credit. They paid the price for that.
But this year, it’s different. we EXPECT to be highlighted on ESPN at the top of the hour. Defenses are geared towards stopping Ginn, and they know the penalty if they let Gonzo go unnoticed. How many guys named Smith can get recognized WITHOUT using their first name? Ours can. Tressel’s got legendary status in the Big Ten now. They point towards Ohio State when they want to prove that “reload, not rebuild” is not just an empty slogan.
To summarize, we ain’t sneakin’ up on nobody this year.
So expect a season FULL of games like the Penn State contest. Hard-fought early on, and it’ll take a big play or two to pull away. Fortunately, we have a lineup FULL of guys who can make the big play. But outside of a home contest against BGSU and a visit to Illinois later on, there isn’t going to be an easy one the rest of the way.
I’m sure Tressel knows this. I’m sure Smith and Company know this. But it’s time we start realizing it as well.