Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman celebrates his two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State 29-22 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Ohio State Buckeye first to make some Super Bowl history

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The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl on Sunday, which means tight end Jeff Heuerman is now the answer to a fun little trivia question for years to come. Heuerman became the first football player to win both a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl.

Heuerman was a senior tight end for Ohio State in the 2014 season, catching 207 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes, who captured the first College Football Playoff national championship under the new postseason championship structure. He went on to be a third-round draft pick of the Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he tore his ACL in Denver’s rookie camp in May 2015. He was subsequently ruled out for the entire 2015 season, so his place in history comes with a tiny caveat. But he still will get a Super Bowl ring to go with his national championship ring from a year ago.

The search will go on now for the first player to both play in and win a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl. Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was unable to make his own history with a Super Bowl win, but he may get another crack at that again before his career is done.

Helmet sticker to Reddit.

Michigan made star-studded splash, but Buckeyes remain on top in Big Ten recruiting

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, center, sings "Carmen Ohio" to the band after their 35-28 win over California in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
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Michigan landed the nation’s top-ranked recruit. The Wolverines scored one of the best classes it has had in years. It celebrated its latest recruiting efforts with an A-List fundraiser with Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Ric Flair. Jim Harbaugh has Michigan making plenty of noise with his recruiting tactics on the road. Despite all of the attention given to what Harbaugh and Michigan are doing, at the end of the day it is still Ohio State sitting atop the recruiting game when it comes to the Big Ten.

Michigan gave Ohio State a good run in the recruiting rankings, but the Buckeyes managed to stay just ahead of their bitter rivals to the north. According to the Rivals team rankings, Ohio State finished in third in the nation behind only recruiting national champion Alabama and Florida State (the Seminoles pushed past Ohio State earlier in the day). Urban Meyer‘s latest prized haul included two five-star players (LB Keandre Jones and DE Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Joey Bosa). The Buckeyes also added 15 four-star recruits in a class of 24. Michigan landed 28 additions in the Class of 2016, including a handful of signing day decisions, highlighted by Rashan Gary choosing Michigan over Clemson.

Every year since 2011, Ohio State has landed the top-rated recruiting class in the Big Ten. The last time the Buckeyes didn’t land the top class was the Class of 2010, which came at the end of the Jim Tressel era. Ohio State has had the top-ranked class in the Big Ten all but one year since 2008. For the past few years, the Buckeyes were largely in a boat all to themselves in the recruiting rankings, but this year did show Ohio State has some rejuvenated competition on the recruiting trail within the conference.

Michigan’s resurgence was expected under Harbaugh, but Michigan State also landed another quality recruiting class to hold its own, with just 18 commitments to finish third in the Big Ten pecking order. James Franklin and Penn State had some hurdles down the stretch, but the Nittany Lions landed the conference’s fourth-best recruiting class. The top four classes in the Big Ten all reside in the east. Nebraska and Wisconsin followed to represent the west.

As we now get set to turn the page to the Class of 2017, the question will now become whether or not Michigan can take that next step at challenging Ohio State. This obviously begins on the field this season, but will continue on the recruiting trail as well.

FSU pushes past Ohio State as surging Bama closes

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher reacts to a play against the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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It ain’t over until it’s over, a mantra Alabama is hoping to prove by day’s end.

When National Signing Day 2016 began, Ohio State held an 88-point lead on No. 2 LSU and a nearly 300-point lead on No. 3 Florida State in the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings.  With more than half of NSD in the books, FSU had not only caught OSU, but the Seminoles had put a seemingly comfortable margin between themselves and the Buckeyes.  And the rest of the field for that matter.

At around 2 p.m. ET, and after a hugely successful start to the day, FSU sat atop Rivals‘ rankings with 2,816 points, 112 points ahead of an OSU class that was essentially signed, sealed and delivered before lunch — they picked up commitments today from a three- and four-star in an uneventful day, in a good way, for Urban Meyer.  At the same time, surging Alabama, which began the day No. 12, had climbed to No. 3.

Shortly thereafter, however, five-star linebacker Lyndell Wilson announced his commitment to Alabama over Georgia, pushing the Tide past the Buckeyes and within striking distance of the Seminoles. UA remains in the running for at least five more prospects who will make their decisions over the next five or six hours, meaning that the 66-point edge the Seminoles currently hold on the Tide could potentially be erased as FSU’s class is essentially complete.

Thus far today, the Tide has picked up commitments from a pair of five-, four- and three-star recruits each.  FSU’s commitment haul Wednesday consists of five four-stars and a three-star.

Alabama has claimed the Rivals recruiting crown six times the past eight years, and is looking to regain its title after being stripped by USC last cycle.

Rivals Rankings

UPDATED 3:23 p.m. ET: As of this upate, Alabama has moved past Florida State and into the top spot as the Tide has taken a 69-point lead on the Seminoles.

Kirby Smart keeps five-star Mecole Hardman in Georgia

Mecole Hardman
Rivals.com
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If you’re going to be successful in the SEC, you need to put a rather sturdy fence around your own state, as the old saying goes.  That’s a lesson Kirby Smart learned under Nick Saban at Alabama, and it’s one he’s taken with him to Alabama.

In a significant development for the first-year head coach, five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. announced Wednesday morning that he is signing with Georgia and will play for Smart’s Bulldogs. Hardman is rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Georgia, which obviously is a huge get for Smart and his staff after being on the job for less than two months — especially as his old boss, along with Urban Meyer among others, had been in hot pursuit.

Hardman did add a little bit of “drama” to the proceedings as he laid out four cakes with four non-UGA pennants staked in them…

… before revealing he’d be staying home by busting through a banner in UGA gear.

While listed as Rivals.com‘s No. 2 athlete, Hardman is expected to at least begin in the secondary.

CFT Previews: National Signing Day

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during pregame warmups prior to facing the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Many in college football refer to National Signing Day simply as Christmas, as there’s some truth to that. There’s zero doubt the biggest day on the sport’s calendar between the closing of one season and the beginning of another is the first Wednesday in February. That day happens to be tomorrow.

With Signing Day upon us, here’s a quick rundown of the biggest storyline heading into tomorrow’s festivities:

– Where does Rashan Gary land? Gary is the Class of 2016’s answer to Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive tackle standing 6-foot-5, weighing in at 290 pounds and running like a gazelle with his hooves on fire. The Paramus, N.J., holds offers from just about everybody, but has whittled his list down to just Michigan and Clemson. Rivals’ No. 1 overall player will make his announcement from the SportsCenter studio during the 1 p.m. ET hour on ESPN2.

– How do the Tide and Trojans close? Since 2008, the only programs to claim Rivals’ No. 1 classes are USC (2010 and 2015) and Alabama (every other year). As of this writing, Alabama ranks ninth, while USC is 33rd. However, the Tide claims only 17 commitments at this time, while USC sits with just 13 in Clay Helton‘s first class as head coach. It’s safe to say Alabama will make its name known among the top five by the time the final fax rolls in Wednesday evening. USC is much more of a wild card.

– And what about Texas? Since Rivals started ranking recruiting classes in 2002, Texas has finished in the top 25 14 times in 14 chances. What’s more, the ‘Horns have ranked among the top 20 13 times and in the top 5 seven times. Which is why, to the uninformed, Charlie Strong could already be on his way out of town with a class ranked 39th, one spot above noted football power Oregon State. But Texas is set to close on a number of prospects — even landing an unexpected commitment in four-star running back Kyle Porter — earlier today and could rocket up the rankings throughout the day on Wednesday.

– Who signs the No. 1 class? As we established earlier, no team has claimed Rivals’ recruiting national championship since Nick Saban‘s first class way back in 2007, when Urban Meyer and Florida, fresh off their first national championship together, edged out USC. Fast forward nearly a decade… and Meyer again has a chance to win another recruiting title, this time for Ohio State. The Buckeyes lead the pack heading into Signing Day, but LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson and, yes, Alabama are hot on their scarlet-and-gray heels.