Eight Buckeyes are projected as Top 5 performers at their respective positions
COLUMBUS, Ohio – There will be more Ohio State Buckeyes at the NFL Scouting Combine – 14 – than from any other school when the week-long event takes place Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis. Leading the way are two players projected by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as No. 1 at their position – DE Joey Bosa and RB Ezekiel Elliott – and six other players who are among the Top 5 players at their respective positions, according to Mayock.
Joining Bosa and Elliott at the combine will be Vonn Bell (projected by Mayock as the No. 2 safety), WR Michael Thomas (No. 3), TE Nick Vannett (No. 4), OT Taylor Decker (No. 4), LB Darron Lee (No. 4), CB Eli Apple (No. 4) and QB Cardale Jones, WR Jalin Marshall, WR Braxton Miller, LB Joshua Perry, SAF Tyvis Powell and DT Adolphus Washington.
Ohio State Buckeyes & the NFL Scouting Combine – Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis, Ind.
CB Eli Apple – After red-shirting in 2013, Apple was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes with 27 starts and 28 games played in 2014 and 2015. He totaled 22 passes defended (18 PBUs and four INTs) the past two years and trailed only Vonn Bell among the Buckeyes in this category during that time. He was named second-team all-Big Ten Conference in 2015 by the league’s coaches. He was named a freshman All-American in 2014 after a season in which he had 53 tackles and was among the Top 10 in the Big Ten with 13 passes defended.
SAF Vonn Bell – Bell played three seasons for the Buckeyes and totaled 42 games played and 28 starts. He was named a first-team All-American this past season by the Associated Press, The Sporting News and SI.com after recording 65 tackles and leading the team with nine passes defended. Bell, first-team all-Big Ten in 2015, had 176 career tackles (third among his teammates) and a team-high 24 passes defended, including nine interceptions. A big-play maker, Bell had interceptions against No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and vs. Michigan in 2014, plus had touchdowns vs. Minnesota (INT) and Northern Illinois (fumble recovery) this past season.
DE Joey Bosa – That “D” in defensive end actually stood for “disruptive” because that’s what Bosa was while earning consensus All-America honors twice and also earning a Big Ten defensive player of the year award and two Big Ten defensive linemen of the year awards in his three seasons. He played in 41 games, started 37 times and ranks in Ohio State’s Top 5 in four marquee defensive categories: quarterback sacks (3rd with 26), sack yardage (4th with 177), tackles-for-loss (4th with 50.5) and TFL yardage (4th with 247). Bosa had more TFLs the past three years than any player in the nation. His five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries led to 44 Ohio State points.
OT Taylor Decker – Taylor Decker was a three-year starter who played in 54 games and started 42 times for a team that went 50-4 during his four-years (2012-15). He was a Lombardi Award semifinalist and Outland candidate as a senior and was voted a co-captain by his teammates. He helped pave the way for Ohio State to lead the Big Ten in rushing at 245.2 yards per game this past season and finish second in the conference in scoring (35.7) and third in total offense (434.1). He was named a consensus All-American and the Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior as well as a unanimous first-team all-Big Ten Conference pick. Also earned all-Big Ten honors as a junior when he helped lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship and national championship.
RB Ezekiel Elliott – Will unquestionably be remembered as one of the all-time best backs in Ohio State history with the second-most rushing yards in school history – 3,961 – including the most rushing yards in consecutive years: 3,699 in 2014 and 2015. Elliott’s 6.7 yards per carry is best among the Buckeyes with his five 200-yard games and 22 100-yard games ranking in a tie for first and second, respectively. His 44 touchdowns rank fourth, behind Pete Johnson (58), Keith Byars (50) and Eddie George (45). The Big Ten’s offensive player of the year and its running back of the year in 2015, Elliott also was the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner and a second-team All-American. He had 12 career rushes over 50 yards and he is the only Ohio State player with three rushes of at least 80 yards.
QB Cardale Jones – Played in 23 games for the Buckeyes and was a perfect, 11-0, as the starting quarterback for the best winning percentage for a QB in school history with 10-or-more starts. Included in his victories are three of the most important wins in school history; post-2014 season conquests of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and No. 2 Oregon in the national championship game. He was the MVP of the Big Ten title game after throwing for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He threw for 2,323 yards with 15 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 61.9 completion percentage for his career.
LB Darron Lee – A second-team Associated Press All-American in 2015 after earning freshman All-American honors in 2014, Lee was a starting linebacker in 28 games and played in 30 as a Buckeye. Was second among Buckeyes the last two years – trailing only Joey Bosa – in tackles-for-loss with 27.5 and quarterback sacks with 12. He also had 147 career tackles, five pass break-ups, 10 quarterback hurries, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He scored three defensive touchdowns: 61- and 33-yard fumble returns vs. Navy and Michigan in 2014, respectively, and a 41-yard interception return vs. Northern Illinois this year.
H-Back Jalin Marshall – A highly skilled receiver and return specialist, Marshall played in 29 games, started 11 and was the team’s second-leading receiver in each of his two seasons playing. He had 38 receptions as a freshman in 2014 – only Cris Carter had more (41) as an Ohio State freshman – and 36 as a sophomore and finished his career with 74 passes caught for 979 yards (13.2 average) and 11 touchdowns. Also averaged 12.7 yards per return (fifth best at Ohio State) off his 52 career punt returns, including a 54-yard punt return touchdown in 2014 vs. Indiana, part of a four-TD day. He scored 13 career touchdowns and amassed 1,905 all-purpose yards (175 rushing, 976 receiving, 662 off punt returns and 92 from kickoff returns).
WR Braxton Miller – After missing 20 months of activity while recovering from a shoulder injury and two surgeries, Miller switched positions to receiver/H-Back and earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors after catching 26 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns plus rushing for 281 yards and another score. A two-time winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Award as the best player in the Big Ten (as quarterback), Miller holds the school record with 88 touchdowns responsible for while also finishing among the school’s greats with 8,609 yards of total offense (second at Ohio State), 3,314 rushing yards (No. 6) and 33 rushing touchdowns, 5,295 yards passing (No. 8) and 52 touchdowns (No. 4). Miller has the most individual awards in Big Ten history with seven, including two offensive player and quarterback of year awards plus a freshman of the year honor. He graduated in December 2014 with his degree in communications.
LB Joshua Perry – Perry played in 52 games, started 39 times at linebacker for the Buckeyes and was voted a team co-captain as a senior. He finished his career ranking 16th all-time at Ohio State with 298 tackles, including a team-leading 124 (second-most in the Big Ten) during the 2014 national championship season and 105 (second on the team) in 2015. He was named an all-Big Ten first-team linebacker by the league’s coaches as a senior and honorable mention All-American by SI.com. His play on the field coupled with his deeds off the field earned Perry the honor of being a Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, selection – one of only 11 from the FBS – to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. He was also on the watch list for the Butkus and Bednarik awards. Graduated in December with his degree in consumer and family financial services.
SAF Tyvis Powell – Accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl despite junior eligibility because he had graduated – in 3.5 years with a degree in sport industry – by December 2015. Powell was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes with 33 starts and 42 games played. He led the team with three interceptions in 2015 and had eight career interceptions, including critical picks vs. Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and vs. Notre Dame in the Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl. Also picked off a two-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds of a win over Michigan in 2013. Finished his career with 195 tackles – the second-most among his Buckeye peers – and 16 passes defensed.
WR Michael Thomas – Ohio State’s No. 1 receiver the past two seasons with 54 catches for 799 yards and nine scores in 2014 and 56 for 781 and nine in 2015. Thomas played in 39 games and started 27 times. He caught a pass in the final 29 games he played and ranks 13th at Ohio State with 113 career receptions, 18th with 1,602 receiving yards and T8th with 18 touchdown receptions. Was outstanding in the post-season with 21 receptions – 13 of which went for a first down – for 232 yards and two touchdowns in four post games; all of them Ohio State wins. Thomas graduated in December with his degree in sport industry.
TE Nick Vannett – Vanett played in 53 games for the Buckeyes and started 15 times, including 12 starts as a senior in 2015. He totaled 55 receptions for 585 yards (10.6 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He finished his career ranking ninth all-time among Ohio State tight ends in receptions and tied for 10th in touchdown receptions. He also finished with 18 multi-catch games. He was named honorable mention all-Big Ten as a senior after catching 19 passes for 162 yards, this after a 19-catch season as a junior in 2014 (for 220 yards). Vannett was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and had an impressive week of practice and caught three passes during the game. He graduated last August with his degree in sport industry.
DT Adolphus Washington – Three-year starting defensive lineman Adolphus Washington played in 49 games for the Buckeyes and started 31 times. He was invited and participated during 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl week. Washington capped a fine career with a personal-best 49 tackles as a senior with seven tackles-for-loss and four sacks. He was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News this past season as well earning second-team all-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and the media. Season highlights included a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown vs. Western Michigan, two sacks and a forced fumble vs. Penn State and a career-high 10 tackles vs. Indiana. Washington’s career numbers include 142 tackles, 25.0 tackles-for-loss and 13.5 quarterback sacks. He also had four pass break-ups, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.