Catrell Simpson: April 15th, 2017
The most lit spring game of the year is here once again. The Scarlet vs. Gray matchup is always the most fun to watch. Over 100,000 people attended last year’s game. This year The Shoe is under construction and will have about 20,000 less seats available. Needless to say, the game is sold out. This is an opportunity for players to step up and solidify their spot at a position. Here are some things to watch for during the game.
We know that J.T. Barrett has the starting QB job, but there is a lot of talent behind him. Last year, backup QB Joe Burrows outperformed Barrett in the game and solidified his spot as the backup QB. In the mix also is former 5-star recruit Dwayne Haskins Jr. I’ll be curious to see how he does in his first action as a Buckeye. Last but not least is early enrollee Tate Martell. This dual-threat QB showed in his high school film that he has what it takes to be a Buckeye QB. He’s probably a long shot for the backup QB spot, but he has a bright future and has a chance to prove that he can play against some elite talent despite his age.
The New H-Back:
With Curtis Samuel headed to the NFL, the position is up for grabs. K.J. Hill, Demario McCall, Parris Campbell, and Eric Glover-Williams seem to be the 4 in contention for this spot. It will be interesting to see if any of these athletes will be able to set themselves apart from each other.
Wide Open Wide Receiver Spots:
The Buckeyes two main receiving threats, Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown, are league bound. They do have some guys with experience like K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin, and Parris Campbell. Binjimen Victor also started getting more minutes later in the season. I’m sure Ohio State was expecting Torrance Gibson to be their big play WR threat, but he decided to transfer to Cincinnati and play for former Ohio State DC Luke Fickell.
Battles In The Secondary:
Denzel Ward and Damon Webb have both secured their spots as starters on this defense. This is a secondary that lost 3 potential 1st round draft picks in Gareon Conley, Malik Hooker, and Marshon Lattimore. Even with the loss of these players, Ward believes that this unit will still find a way to not miss a beat. “Those three players will greatly be missed. I feel both the offense and defense will still be very effective this upcoming season,” he said. Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade have both come in as freshman and made their presence felt in the cornerback battle. Also in the mix is JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield. In practice, all three have been getting first team reps, but Urban Meyer said Sheffield currently holds a slight lead. The other battle in the secondary is for the free safety position. It’s looking like a fight between Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller. With these two being on opposite teams in this game, they both will have the opportunity to make their case as to why they should be the starting free safety.
Return From Injury:
A couple names to look out for that haven’t been mentioned yet would be Dante Booker and Tracy Sprinkle. Last year going into the spring game, both of them had starting jobs. The season opening game against Bowling Green wasn’t too friendly to either of them. Booker left with an MCL/PCL injury, and Sprinkle left the game with a torn right patellar tendon. Both will be looking to rebound and earn back their starting spots.