Ohio State notebook: 13 on NFL early-entry list

Todd Porter

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel probably didn’t make any friends in the NFL last month.

The league’s early-entry board consisting of NFL general manager and scouts evaluates the talent of college football underclassmen with at least three years of playing experience who want to enter the draft before graduating from college.

Tressel took the unprecedented approach of sending a baker’s dozen of Ohio State players to the committee.

“I’m not sure they’re happy with me,” Tressel said. “As you know, we’ve got a big junior class. It’s over 30, counting fourth-year and third-year juniors. ... We allow scouts into our practice all the time. With the thought in mind that they have every one of our game films each week, what I’d really like is an indication for these kids.”

Players such as wide receiver Brian Hartline and quarterback Todd Boeckman are on the list. While Hartline and Boeckman may one day play in the NFL, neither has a chance of being drafted after this season.

Linebacker James Laurinaitis and defensive end Vernon Gholston are likely first-round picks. Tressel’s advice is to leave early if projected as a sure first-round selection.

Defensive back Malcolm Jenkins could be a first-rounder, and Ohio State defensive backs have a history of being drafted high. But Jenkins would benefit from another year in school.

“Last year, I had a fourth-round grade,” fifth-year senior an All-American Kirk Barton said. “That’s all right, but I knew I could do better. I really enjoyed my senior year.”

Save up

It may not cost you an arm and leg to get to the BCS title game, but it could cost you a bathroom renovation. Tickets on Ebay with two nights in a hotel are going for between $1,200 and $3,600. Throw in airfare, food, maybe beverage or two, and it quickly approaches $6,000.

Say what?

Tressel is chided by the media for being somewhat of a boring quote, but he has never approached Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt.

On the eve of the Bulldogs’ Allstate Sugar Bowl game vs. Hawaii, Richt was asked if he was confident his offense could score as much as Hawaii’s prolific offense.

His reply: “If we are going to win, we have to score more points than they are.”

Tight leash

Richt wasn’t taking any chances, ordering his players to their rooms before midnight on New Year’s Eve. The Bulldogs have behaved well in the Big Easy with no suspensions.

“We have an 11 p.m. curfew tonight, and we have meetings up until that point,” Richt said.

Brennan an LSU fan

Georgia fans aren’t liked too well in New Orleans, and even in the airport Monday they received good ribbing from LSU fans. Clearly, Tiger fans are hoping for a Hawaii win.

“We’ve been treated like the cat’s meow around here,” Hawaii QB Colt Brennen said. “They’ve been awesome to us. It’s been fun watching all the LSU fans cheering us on, and obviously, we’re cheering them on.”

Big Ten vs. SEC 

These are arguably the best two conferences in college football on an annual basis, but the Big Ten isn’t being given much of a chance in bowl games against the SEC.

Along with OSU-LSU, today Wisconsin gets Tennessee in the Outback Bowl, and Michigan plays Florida in the Capital One Bowl. While everyone remembers the Buckeyes’ loss, the Big Ten won two of three bowl games against the SEC last year.

“Oh, I don’t know if (the Big Ten) is the best league,” Tressel said. “It may be, but how do you measure that? I guess that’s one of the fun parts of the bowl system. When those games are over, whoever ends up winning more of those games, the argument will begin that that league’s better.”

Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail: