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Obama offers praise, jokes for Ohio State Buckeyes

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WASHINGTON -- Evan Spencer’s dirty work often was overlooked throughout the run to the national championship, but apparently not by the most famous sports fan in the country.

President Barack Obama made a point to refer to the invaluable work the Ohio State wide receiver provided as a blocker, praising his selfless approach and reflecting on his touchdown pass in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. His comments proved once again how closely the sports nut in the White House watches games, and they also gave Spencer a moment he won’t ever forget after paying a visit to the president on Monday afternoon as the Buckeyes were honored for winning the inaugural College Football Playoff.

“I mean, it meant the world,” Spencer said. “All of us worked so hard for this during the season, and for him to kind of point me out and show that I did do really well and I did work my butt off, especially coming from the President of the United State, it felt really good actually.”

Not everybody got off so easily, and Obama came prepared with jokes for a few other stars of the run to the title last season. He even gave himself a little credit for the championship dating back to his 2008 campaign when he was pushing for a playoff in college football, with the Buckeyes ultimately benefiting from the new system after entering as the No. 4 seed.

As for the rest of the Buckeyes who were singled out with some memorable one-liners, here are Obama’s top targets from the celebration in the East Room.

  • Ezekiel Elliott: “Ezekiel Elliott made the NCAA fashion police take a close look at the midriff policy. Thanks for tucking in your shirt today. He said I need to get the rule changed. Look, I already got the playoff, I’ve got other stuff to do.”

  • Urban Meyer: “It was Coach Meyer’s third time winning [the national championship], with his second team -- pretty impressive. I’ve only done it twice, and for the same team both times.”

  • Cardale Jones: “We learned that Cardale Jones is not your average third-string quarterback. Anybody with a nickname like 12 Gauge has to be taken seriously. I told him that I could throw a football 75 yards also, but he didn’t believe me. So he clearly is a smart kid.”

  • Joey Bosa: “The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, consensus All-American, led the conference in sacks in 2014, including one that ended the double-overtime win over Penn State, followed each one with his signature celebration, a shrug. I use that move sometimes.”

  • The playoff: “This was a historic year in college football, the country got to enjoy its first ever college football playoffs. And I will say it, it was about time. I cannot claim full credit, but I will point out that I pushed for a playoff system in 2008. I said I would throw my weight around, and PolitiFact keeps track of whether politicians keep their promises; this was a promise kept by me. You’re welcome America.”