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Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE: Eddie to listen to Eddie George talk with Joel Riley Tuesday**
Three days after Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, former Buckeye and 1995 winner Eddie George said Ohio State's Braxton Miller can be "the most complete quarterback in the country."
"That's not taking anything away from Johnny Manziel at all. He's the Heisman Trophy winner and he definitely deserves it," George said Tuesday when he visited with 610 WTVN's Joel Riley. "(Braxton's) just evolving. He's just scratching the surface on what he can do with this offense and I'm really excited about it. Once he embraces this offense and the game slows down for him from a passing perspective, then we're going to see the most complete quarterback in the country."
George said he expects the Buckeyes to be top five in the preseason polls, with Miller in position to bring home the Trophy next year.
"Manziel will be the leader (going into the year) obviously but all eyes will be on this Buckeye team...with Braxton Miller being a Heisman Trophy candidate," George said. "He was a human highlight film every single week this year."
Miller ended up finishing fifth in this years balloting.
Big Hank says bye
In a move that surprised no one, Ohio State junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins announced Monday that he's leaving the Buckeye program a year early to enter the NFL draft.
Hankins is ranked by NFLDraftscout.com as the second best player at his position and the number nine overall prospect in this April's draft.
"I have decided, with the support of my family, to forego my senior season at Ohio State," Hankins said in a statement released by Ohio State. "I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State. I want to thank coach Meyer, coach Vrabel and strength coach Marotti for bringing the best out of me as a football player and as a person."
Former Buckeye coach and 610 WTVN football analyst Earle Bruce said he understands the move and is not surprised, but wishes it were different.
"I like to see young men who come here to go to school, stay until they graduate and then go on to pro ball," Earle said. "That being said, he's a fine football player and we'll sure miss him."
Hankins departure means the 2013 Buckeyes will have a brand new starting defensive line. In addition to Hankins, seniors John Simon, Nathan Williams and Garrett Goebel are all gone as well.
The good news is sophomore Michael Bennett, who spent much of the season fighting injury, is back and freshmen Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt and Adolphus Washington all saw significant playing time as well.
Big Ten dominates basketball rankings
**WTVN basketball analyst Tony White joined Joel Riley to talk Buckeye and Big Ten basketball Tuesday. To listen click HERE: Tony.**
The Buckeyes held steady this week at number seven in the Associated Press poll. They remain the third ranked team in a loaded Big Ten, which continues to dominate the polls.
Indiana remains number one, with Michigan third, and the Buckeyes seventh. A fourth Big Ten school, Illinois, has also joined the top 10. The No. 10 Illini are 10-0 and had an impressive win at Gonzaga Saturday night. Meanwhile, Minnesota is 13th and Michigan State 18th.
"Every night in the Big Ten is going to be a grind on the road," 610 WTVN basketball analyst and former Buckeye captain Tony White said on the Joel Riley show Tuesday morning. "You're going to go on the road and face a team that's top 25 caliber most of the nights and you're going to have to play well or you're going to get your butt kicked."
Improving...but still learning
The Buckeyes hammered Long Beach State Saturday 89-55, holding the 49ers to 31 percent shooting. Following the game, Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said the Buckeyes were the best defensive team they had faced. That's significant praise when you consider that the 49ers have also played North Carolina, Arizona and Syracuse.
Buckeye coach Thad Matta however, still feels like the Buckeyes are nowhere near where they need to be defensively.
"We keep having to revisit things in practice. If we have to keep starting over every single day, (we can't go forward)," Matta said. "We've got to get something that we can lock in on in the basic fundamentals. At that point I'll feel better. If we have to teach how to hedge a screen or how to trail a screen again then I don't feel (like we're making enough progress) but if we can carry over what we did (against Long Beach State) into practice, then I start to get more confidence in our defensive abilities."
In his conversation with Joel on Tuesday, 610 WTVN's Tony White said he's not surprised Matta and the coaching staff continue to reteach the basics.
"This is a team that is young and they make a lot of mistakes," Tony said. "You can see that on the court in basic stuff like switches and ball screens and off the ball defense. Early in the season they were making a lot of mistakes in those situations but now they do seem to be doing better...and these guys know if you're not going to play defense for Thad Matta you're not going to play very much."
Here's my latest AP top 25 ballot. It's pretty similar to the overall poll. I have each teams current rank in the overall poll in parentheses.
1) Indiana (1)
2) Duke (2)
3) Syracuse (4)
4) Michigan (3)
5) Florida (5)
6) Arizona (8)
7) Louisville (6)
8) Ohio State (7)
9) Kansas (9)
10) Illinois (10)
11) Missouri (12)
12) Cincinnati (11)
13) San Diego State (18)
14) Minnesota (13)
15) New Mexico (17)
16) Georgetown (15)
17) Gonzaga (14)
18) Creighton (16)
19) Oregon (NR)
20) UNLV (20)
21) North Carolina (21)
22) Michigan State (19)
23) North Carolina State (25)
24) Notre Dame (22)
25) Oklahoma State (24)
**The AP poll has Wichita State ranked number 23. They are unranked on my ballot**