Newsletter: Lots of intrigue in Ohio State spring game; college hoops transfer portal; Reds off and running

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Sometimes people ask what I do as a sports writer during the slow periods, but this week is as good an indication as any that those don’t exist anymore.

Sports news just never stops, and everyone is to blame (or thank, depending on your perspective).

College athletics departments and pro sports teams have developed a knack for keeping themselves in the news (for good reasons as opposed to bad, which used to be the primary source of offseason headlines), and the athletes themselves rarely follow any sort of publishing schedule now that they can share their own news whenever they want.

The latter is especially true if you follow high school recruits, who are part of the ever-shrinking pool of people who actually have a practical reason to use social media to share status updates.

Add in transfer portal news, which increases exponentially not just every year but every season of the year it seems, and there is always something it seems.

Although covering Ohio State football is my No. 1 assignment for Cox First Media, I end up doing a little bit of everything throughout the year, and that’s a good thing!

It should lend itself to my new task of giving voice to this newsletter, something we are trying out a couple of times this spring before going full-speed ahead later this summer.

There will be time for full introductions then, but for now let’s see what’s going on in the world of sports from the Miami Valley perspective.

Matchups worth watching in OSU Spring Game

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Typically I am more interested in these in the first few minutes than the rest, but this one should rank pretty high on the intrigue scale because there seems to be a lot of unknown about this team for one with so many returning starters.

Results matter, too, as this is said to be a close race so far that is almost certain to continue into the just to get a good look at Will Howard, Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz, Julian Sayin and Air Noland to see how they throw the ball and move around in the pocket.


Results matter, too, as this is said to be a close race so far that is almost certain to continue into the preseason.

The guy generating the most buzz this week is Sayin, a late addition to the roster after Nick Saban retired. He was the No. 1 quarterback in 247Sports Composite rankings last season, three spots ahead of Ohio State signee Air Noland, a lefty from Georgia, but the 6-foot-1, 203-pound Sayin is said to be better for his intangibles than his measurables.

I will say if I were handicapping this race, I can’t see Ryan Day trusting this roster with a freshman being No. 1 or even the No. 2 quarterback even if Sayin (or even Noland) proves to have a higher ceiling. The head coach of the Buckeyes did catch my ear Wednesday when he said sounded almost resigned to the fact at least one Ohio State quarterback will get hurt this season, in no small part because they intend to make the QBs a bigger part of the running game. With that in mind, I presume that is why Howard and Brown have nearly identical skillsets, but again seeing everyone live Saturday could change my mind…

Beyond that, marquee matchups include hotshot freshman Jeremiah Smith against Springfield grad Aaron Scott Jr. and the defensive ends showing if they are ready to provide more of a pass rush this season (or the tackles still have more work to do).

Dayton just finished playing basketball, but the Flyers are still keeping our UD beat writer, David Jablonski, busy by losing transfers and appearing in the rankings for this season and (projected) for next. What do you think, Flyers fans, is it good to be in a spot where national writers are giving you the benefit of the doubt even without knowing exactly who will be donning the UD uniform next season? Seems to me like a positive next step in the program’s evolution.

The Reds are off and running — and sometimes stumbling.

If nothing else, they are still exciting.

Although three games out as of this writing, David Bell’s club has avoided the kind of disastrous start that seemed all too common over the past few seasons regardless of their overall expectations, so at least they have that going for them.

Elly De La Cruz and Spencer Steer are driving the offense, a good sign overall because Steer has already shown he can do it, and I’m not sure the fan base could have handled a slow start for EDLC at the plate. (In the field? Well that’s another story…)

With the offense a bit short-handed and pitching roles still being sorted out, maybe a 6-6 start isn’t anything to be too upset about.

As for recruiting and the transfer portal, Dayton and Wright State have already suffered some notable losses.

The group departing WSU includes Dayjuan Anderson of Ponitz and A.J. Braun of Fenwick, two of at least six area men’s basketball players on the move. Alter grad Jacob Conner (Marshall), Centerville’s Tom House (Florida State), Chaminade Julienne’s George Washington III (Michigan) and Wayne’s Prophet Johnson (Southern Utah) are also looking for new homes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more announced before this newsletter hit your inbox.

On the women’s side, Coldwater grad Riley Rismiller is leaving Dayton, Kendal George (Centerville) is leaving Tennessee-Martin and Chance Gray (Lakota West/Winton Woods) has played hear last game for Oregon (unless she changes her mind, which players are allowed to do)...

Now, I don’t expect any of these news sources to dry up over the next few weeks, but if they do, don’t worry: NFL Draft season is just kicking into fifth gear.

I’m also always open to any feedback you have as we build THE newsletter for sports fans in Southwest Ohio.

If you have any thoughts, notes or story ideas, always feel free to reach out to me at

About the Author