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Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 4/30 - New offers, visit updates April 30, 2013 Source: Land-Grant Holy Land - Tight end coach Tim Hinton made the trek down to Tennessee to see what the Volunteer state had to offer. One of the recruits Hinton visited was 2015 Memphis University School offensive tackle Drew Richmond. Ohio State offered the 6-6 300 pound life long Buckeye fan last month, but isn't the only program to do so; Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Alabama are just a few of the other schools to send out a full ride scholarship offer to the sophomore.
Saint Paul, Minnesota native Jashon Cornell might remember yesterday for the rest of his life. The 6-4 230 pound class of 2015 defensive end didn't just have defensive line coach and former NFL beast Mike Vrabel in for a visit, the talented Cornell received an offer to join the Scarlet and Gray when he was offered by the Buckeyes. It's still early in the sophomore's recruitment, but he is already building a pretty solid list of over ten potential suitors with OSU joining the likes of Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa and Penn State to name a few.
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman flew down to Louisiana to watch 2014 quarterback Brandon Harris practice. After Deshaun Watson announced last week that he will stick with his Clemson commitment, plenty of analysts have been throwing Brandon's name around as maybe the next gunslinger the Buckeyes will pursue. No wonder Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina and others have offered the 6-1 190 pound Harris; he accounted for over 3000 yards from scrimmage and 38 touchdowns leading his Rockway High squad to an 11-2 record last season. Even thought the Buckeyes have yet to offer Brandon, who plans to commit in July, he's stated he feels one could be coming his way very soon.
Wide receivers coach Zach Smith and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers tag teamed the state of North Carolina Monday. A few of the recruits the coaches visited with were 2014 wide receiver Braxton Berrios, punter Corbin Daly and 2015 linebacker Tanner Muse. Most Buckeye fans know the staff is looking to add a leg to the class of 2014 after the whole Johnny Townsend situation last signing day. After averaging nearly 50 yards a punt as a junior, Daly has caught the attention of plenty of schools including Ohio State, where he visited recently. I had to the pleasure to catch up with Corbin and asked how his visit with Withers went.
Coach Withers stopped by. He told me that he was looking forward to seeing me in June when I go up there for kicking camp. He also watched me kick and told me that it was really impressive.
Surprising no one, a pair of talented 2014 offensive line prospects have announced that the Buckeyes have made their respective short lists. One time Texas commit Demetrius Knox told Scout.com ($) that he now has a list of Ohio State, Florida State, UCLA, Miami, Ole Miss, Oregon and Alabama. The 6-4 300 pound Knox plans to visit all seven schools this summer. For what its worth, most people in the know feel the Buckeyes could be the front runners for the former Ohio resident who happens to already be friends with Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller.
New Jersey lineman Quenton Nelson announced a top 5 of Notre Dame, Boston College, Ohio State, Rutgers and Penn State Monday. Even though the Buckeyes made the cut, most feel Nelson is headed to Notre Dame. Though many recruiting analysts feel that way, it won't keep a few of the current Ohio State commits from going out of their way on Twitter to show just how much they want the 6-5 295 pound Nelson as part of the next class of Buckeyes:
Another New Jersey lineman has the Buckeyes towards the top of his list of prospective destinations. Even though they haven't offered just yet, Tommy Hatton, a 6-3 260 pound class of 2015 guard, has the Buckeyes, Michigan and Wisconsin at the top of his short list. Hatton does already have concrete scholarship offers from home state Rutgers and UConn. I had the pleasure to speaking with Hatton on OSU and his summer plans:
Ed Warinner watched my workout last week but didn't really say much. I think by just looking at me he thinks I'm short, but he doesn't know just how good I am yet. I plan on camping there over the summer.
And finally, Thad Matta and his basketball Buckeyes staff weren't about to be shutout of the fun. One of the fastest rising prospects in the class of 2014, point guard Chris Chiozza, received an offer from OSU on Monday. Chiozza, a 4-star in the 247Composite rankings, is AAU teammates (on the aptly named Team Thad) with current Ohio State target power forward Leron Black.
Chiozza can push the tempo, pull up and shoot, as well as harass opposing defenders from coast-to-coast. He's a bit undersized (listed at 5-10 and perhaps generously so) and could use some college strength and conditioning, but with offers from both OSU, Florida, Memphis, as well as UConn all on Monday, fewer prospects are any hotter at the moment.
Check out what the prospective future floor general for the Bucks would hypothetically bring to the table:
Braxton Miller's Top Five Jukes of 2012 April 29, 2013 Source: Eleven Warriors - Shake and bake, breaking ankles, clowning, or okiedoke freakshow. The term "juke" goes by many names but we all know it when we see it. The ability of one human to make another human think one way then go the other is the most celebrated humiliation in sports.
What makes the move so great is that its appeal spans across a wide breadth of sporting genres. Just take a look at exhibit, A, B and C.
With that said, arguably nowhere is the juke more apparent than on the gridiron.
Over the years, players like Barry Sanders and Michael Vick made it an art form. As they headed onto the field, it seemed it was their personal mission to make their opponents look foolish.
Only the best athletes can collect ankle bones on a regular basis, and Ohio State is lucky enough to have one of them in Braxton Miller.
Miller’s arm and downfield vision continue to develop, but sometimes when a play breaks down he is forced to abandon both of those in favor of what he does best: get shifty.
Over the course of last season, Miller added a number of plays to his highlight reel, but none were flashier than those that occurred when he made the decision to tuck it and run.
Miller has a gift for getting into the open field and he’ll usually find it no matter the number of defenders an opposing team throws his way.
He made a myriad of would-be tacklers look like total Melvins last year, but no okiedokes were greater than the following plays. So, without further adieu, I give you Braxton Miller’s top five jukes of the 2012 season.
#5 Stutter Step: Miami
#4 Side Step: Cal
#3 I Don’t Even Know: Nebraska
#2 Spin Move: UAB
#1 AirboRne: Penn State
Sunday Night Recruiting Update April 21, 2013 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - It was another busy week in Buckeye-Land, with the coaches hitting the road in the opening phase of the spring evaluation period. There were some notable moments, including Poona Ford receiving his Buckeye offer. Here is a summary of the past week in Ohio State recruiting.
Christian McCaffrey – The talented running back has eight or nine schools near the top of his list this far, and it includes Ohio State. He plans to visit all of the schools before making a decision. The space left in the class will determine if Ohio State can make a run at him.
Nick Ruffin – The four-star cornerback prospect has a group of schools standing out that does not contain the Buckeyes. Ohio State is sitting pretty with a handful of other targets in the secondary making Ruffin a long shot to be in the class. Alabama could nab the Atlanta native.
Poona Ford – The Hilton Head product picked up a Buckeyes offer and will be in Columbus during the month of June. Ford is definitely a prime candidate to sign with Ohio State in February.
Mattrell McGraw – The three-star safety from Louisiana is a prospect on the rise. Several new offers have come in within the last month for McGraw. He took an unofficial visit to Oregon this past weekend and they may be the team to beat.
Derrick Nnadi – The Virginia Beach (VA) Ocean Lakes defensive tackle is also a prospect that could surge up the rankings. College programs are beginning to take notice of the four-star prospect as he continues to rake in more offers.
Derek Kief – He visited Ohio State’s spring game instead of Kentucky, who was hoping badly to have him in Lexington. The Buckeyes are in good shape.
Chase Winovich – Ohio State and Michigan both had him in on visits and offered the linebacker. The Buckeyes are in position to add Winovich but he may want to jump on the boat soon to assure his spot.
Dante Booker – It is possible he could pick up the phone and commit to Urban Meyer at any moment. At the same time, he made a return visit this past weekend to Notre Dame. The Irish are the only other school to bring him in on multiple visits other than Ohio State. The pursuit for Booker has potential to get interesting but the Buckeyes have been out front for quite a while.
Mark Andrews – In a span of three days Andrews visited Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan. He was very impressed with the Buckeyes’ coaches and the trip to Oho State was one of his better visits.
Lonnie Johnson - He re-affirmed to Scout that Ohio State is the leader for his services. As long as he gets some off the field issues solved, he will sign with the Buckeyes.
Clifton Garrett – Things are trending away from Ohio State when it comes to one of the nation’s top middle linebackers. The Buckeyes had been the front-runner for Garrett for quite a while, but his focus has now shifted to the south. Ole Miss and LSU have turned his head and Alabama could be a player for him as well after he received an offer from Nick Saban on his most recent visit.
Tony Brown – The five-star defensive back has strong ties to LSU but his adamant he is wide open in his recruitment. The Buckeyes may host Brown on a visit over the summer.
Curtis Samuel – The Brooklyn, New York running back has an offer from the Buckeyes and he probably will have to camp at Ohio State to give it some legitimacy. He recently told Scout that Ohio State was one of five schools he was in contact with the most.
Austin Roberts – The bigger wide receiver out of Indiana visited Ohio State for the Spring Game and told Scout that the visit had exceeded expectations. Roberts has since sped up his timetable and plans to announce in May. Ohio State and Miami are the two top suitors. His dad played for the Hurricanes and won two national championships for the school back in the 1980’s.
Juju Smith – The top safety in the country told Scout that his top five currently is USC, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and UCLA. If he visits, the fun starts.
Jermaine Eluemunor – The junior college offensive lineman has no favorites but talks to the Ohio State staff frequently. He expects to visit Columbus next month.
Chad Mavety – He is another prospect in the junior college ranks and has offers from many of the heavy hitters. Ohio State assistant Ed Warinner evaluated him on Thursday, and then went on to rave about him to his coach. Mavety should be visiting the Ohio State campus in June.
Montae Nicholson – The four-star safety has an offer from the Buckeyes and likes Ohio State. He plans to narrow it down a bit to around 12 schools soon. At this point Ohio State does not expect there to be room for him.
Jabrill Peppers – The five-star defensive back recently told Scout that Michigan was his leader after visiting Ohio State, Michigan, and LSU. The Buckeyes, LSU, and Stanford will still be considered but the Wolverines are in a terrific spot.
Derrell Scott – The multi purpose running back out of North Carolina came out with a top three, in order, of South Carolina, Florida State, and Ohio State. He may visit Columbus soon.
Deshaun Watson – The only quarterback in the nation with an Ohio State offer told Scout he is still 100% committed to Clemson. He does hope to make a trip to the campus in Columbus over the summer and stays in contact with the Buckeyes’ coaching staff.
Dewayne Hendrix – He holds an offer from Ohio State and has family that lives in Columbus. The Illinois native plans to visit the Buckeyes but does not have a specific date in mind.
Daniel Helm – The four-star tight end does not hold an offer but visited the Buckeyes a day before the spring game. The visit was not a favorable one but that has more to do with the lack of clarity on the scholarship offer situation. He has a top group but Michigan could be adding him soon.
Petera Wilson – The linebacker from Tennessee has an offer from Ohio State and many of the SEC powers. Outside of the SEC, the Buckeyes are the top suitor. All the linebacker spots could be taken before he wants to decide.
Garrett Dickerson – Ohio State made the top five for the New Jersey prospect, along with Northwestern, Stanford, Michigan, and Alabama. He could play tight end or defensive end. He’s a fan of Urban Meyer but another visit will be needed before it gets too serious.
David Sharpe – He has an offer from Ohio State and wants to get to their campus over the summer. Sharpe has been to Florida a few times already and they may be tough to beat. It will depend on the possible visit to Columbus on whether to watch this one closely.
POSSIBLE NEW OFFERS?
Lamont Gaillard – The four-star defensive tackle from North Carolina will receive a visit from a member of the Ohio State staff sometime this week. He already has an impressive offer list and could be adding another.
Daniel Cage – The Winton Woods product received a visit from the Buckeyes in the past week. He is a candidate to receive an offer from Ohio State.
Derek Barnett – The Tennessee native holds offers from many BCS programs, including the in-state schools, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Ohio State is expected at his school on Tuesday to check him out.
OFF THE BOARD:
Dallis Todd – The wide receiver, who held an Ohio State offer, committed to Oklahoma after visiting the campus unofficially.
Sam Mustipher – He was a top offensive line target for the Buckeyes and had visited the campus multiple times. Notre Dame surged back up front after he visited South Bend once again, and committed to the Irish soon afterwards.
C.J. Reavis – The Virginia standout was always thought to be a Virginia Tech lean, and had visited the campus several times. He attended Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp last July and had just received an offer from Everett Withers, but has chosen to end the process and commit to the Hokies.
Five for Friday: Spring's Unanswered Questions April 19, 2013 Source: The Ozone - 1. Can this defense stop the run?
With six new starters in the front seven, stopping the run is going to be a question that probably isn't fully answered until Wisconsin comes to town to open the Big Ten season. The main reason this question wasn't even close to being answered in the spring is because so much time was spent on throwing the ball. The offense knows that they can run the ball, so they didn't need to work on it during the spring with the same emphasis that they did the passing game. Plus, when they were running the ball, not much of it was being done by Carlos Hyde, who has already shown the coaches what he can do. It also didn't help that Ryan Shazier missed the entire spring.
2. Will Braxton Miller become a consistent passer Miller looked improved this spring, but he also looked improved last spring. He was indeed better in each of those springs, but he's had to come from so far back just to get where he is now. And where is he now? His ceiling needs an elevator, but as a passer, is he even to the ground floor yet? He can make every pass you want from a quarterback, but can he make it when it absolutely has to happen? And I'm only talking about simply dropping back and throwing the ball. What about when he takes off? Can he keep his mechanics in those situations? He looked good doing so in the Spring Game, but he won't be wearing a black jersey against Michigan. (Unless, of course, Ohio State agrees to wear black Nike uniforms against the Wolverines this year.) (Don't worry, though, it would just be a one-time thing.)
3. Is the defense better in base or nickel? Because of Ryan Shazier's injury this spring, we weren't able to see Ohio State's top three linebackers on the field at the same time. Those three linebackers -- currently Shazier, Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry -- are all fast and athletic, but how do they handle spread defenses? In turn, we can only assume that Tyvis Powell will keep the nickel back spot, but we don't know for sure. With the way that Everett Withers raves about incoming freshman Vonn Bell, assumptions probably aren't a good idea. Don't forget about rising sophomore Devan Bogard, who was the odds-on favorite to ultimately win the job before the spring. Can the eventual victor of these three hold up against the run on first down? Basically, we don't know if the base defense is better than the nickel defense right now because we haven't seen either of them at their fullest and healthiest.
4. Can Jordan Hall stay healthy? Watching Jordan Hall on the first day that we could attend spring practice, he was obviously a difference maker. Unfortunately, that was also the last time that we saw him on the practice field. It was quite a tease. Obviously, the fact that it was only spring was one reason that Hall didn't do much following the hamstring tweak early in practice. But it would have been nice to see him make it all the way through spring and contribute the way we saw on that first day. As it is now, all the fans have to go on is that one day of practice, and a lot of them aren't yet buying what's being sold.
5. Can Curtis Grant keep his job? Urban Meyer has had some strong words in Curtis Grant's corner towards the end of spring, calling him the starting middle linebacker, for one. When Luke Fickell was told about this on Wednesday, however, he seemed pretty surprised that the competition was suddenly over. Grant was also the starting middle linebacker after last spring, and while he didn't receive the kudos from Meyer last year like he has this year, we have seen this story before. Perhaps last year was just the rough draft. Grant has looked solid when we saw him this spring, but he also had his moments a year ago. Last year, Grant lost his job to a player who had been kicked off the team. This year is probably his last chance to lock this job down, unless he moves to fullback and then gets grabbed on a random Tuesday during his senior year to become the team's starting middle linebacker for a third time.
Bonus: Is there productive defensive end depth? While there are raves adequately directed at Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, we don't really know if there is anybody behind them. Steve Miller has been around forever. J.T. Moore performs well in practice. Jamal Marcus has shown some flashes as a pass rusher, but what else is he? Tyquan Lewis and Tracy Sprinkle aren't ready yet. The Buckeyes might need incoming freshman Joey Bosa to be ready to go this year.
Bonus: If all goes as planned, who is going to stop this offense? The possibilities are really quite intriguing: an aggressive offense, talented players, skilled play callers. It could be the offense that Buckeye fans have always wanted, but were too afraid to ask for. (Just kidding, they've asked for this offense every damn day for the past 12 years.)
Bonus: Who is the third-string quarterback? Leaving the spring, the third quarterback is Cardale Jones. However, that job was won by default because true freshman J.T. Barrett wasn't able to fully participate. Once fall camp opens, the back-up back-up quarterback job opens as well. This spring was the last time that Cardale Jones will be able to win anything by default. Everything from this point forward will be won on merit. Meyer and Tom Herman have been very pleased with what they've seen of him since last season. That needs to continue through the summer.
Bonus: Who is the right tackle? I only put this here so you wouldn't ask who the right tackle is going to be. It's going to be Taylor Decker...
Ohio State's Tom Herman is No Longer Afraid to Call a Pass April 19, 2013 Source: Eleven Warriors - Tom Herman is no longer frightened to throw a pass. That fear went through his mind 308 times as Braxton Miller and the offense approached the line of scrimmage. Considering the final results – 12 wins, zero losses and Miller’s Big Ten player of the year award – one must wonder what Ohio State will do this season with the offensive coordinator at ease.
In Year 1 of the Herman-Urban Meyer partnership, the Buckeye offense rose from No. 79 in scoring to 21st. With continuity on offense in the form of nine returning starters, combined with a clear understanding of the philosophy, Ohio State’s offense could be one of the best in the country in 2013.
“I would be disappointed if we're not the best offense in the Big Ten,” Meyer said, with one caveat: right tackle. If the Buckeyes can shore up that spot, a 50-point per game offense is a possibility.
“We have a legitimate concern about who that player is,” Meyer continued. “You can’t play with four linemen.”
But offensive line coach Ed Warinner put any trepidation at ease on Wednesday when he admitted with a coy smile that he is no longer staying up late at night thinking about who will play at right tackle. Ohio State will be fine, Warinner said.
The optimism for the offense stems from having Miller surrounded with an assembly line of talent. He’s in a state now where he understands how and why plays develop, and Miller’s wide receivers have shed their inexperience and traded it for dynamic capabilities.
“This year, it’s like night and day,” he said.
There are no more befuddled looks from the coaches during practice or perplexed receivers watching film. With all parties on the same page, the execution of the offense is at a level Meyer and Herman believe can leave the rest of the Big Ten playing catch-up – for years.
“We definitely have the weapons and we have the quarterback and we have a lot of guys coming back on offense,” offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said. “I definitely feel we have the players and the system to do something special.”
The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in scoring last season at 37.2 points per game, scoring 60 touchdowns in 12 games. All that in a year where Herman was scared as he called and watched plays.
“The thought of that sent shivers down my spine at times last year,” Herman said.
In the spring game, Ohio State ran 75 pass plays, a change from last season when around 35 percent of the plays called were for passes. That number rose to nearly 75 percent last Saturday.
Witnessing completion percentages hover around 60 percent and far more touchdowns than interceptions left Herman relieved. It also validated what he already believed. Starting March 5, he saw a group of quarterbacks – and Miller specifically – that clicked.
“Are we where we need to be? Absolutely not. But at least I don’t lay awake at night and get night sweats because I have to call a pass tomorrow.”
It’s easy to get swept up in the euphoria of a 12-0 season, and many fans did. But don’t forget, two days after the Buckeyes beat Michigan, Meyer was lamenting the fact that Miller was not anywhere near a finished product, still lacking basic fundamentals. That fell on Herman’s shoulders, Meyer said.
Ohio State finished 11th in the Big Ten in passing last season – and 101st nationally. Five months after the closing of one chapter, another has blossomed. This time consider the apprentice and his boss satisfied at what took place.
“Are we where we need to be? Absolutely not,” Herman said. “But at least I don’t lay awake at night and get night sweats because I have to call a pass tomorrow.”
Another coach who can put the sleep aids back in the cupboard is wide receivers coach Zach Smith. It was his position group that had an unimaginable 2011. And even though Smith was coaching at Temple during that season, the pressure to restore the receiving corps to not just respectability but also an elite level was immense.
“We were almost in panic mode,” he said. “Where we are today is not panic mode, but we can always get better and we still have a ways to go before we can truly run out into the Horseshoe and say we’re the best wide receiver group in the country or the Big Ten.”
That’s fine with coaches. All it does is leave the Buckeyes motivated as they depart for the final weeks of the semester and then the summer. It will be four long months for the coaches without monitoring the inner workings of what happens on the practice fields at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
It will take leadership, with a majority of that falling on the broad and already tired shoulders of Miller, for the Buckeyes to enter fall camp where the coaches are satisfied. Last year’s seniors – “legendary” as all nine Ohio State assistants put it – were one of the central ingredients in an improbable fairy tale season. That group is still lauded by the coaching staff, but don’t think that isn’t strategic at the same time...
Assistant coachs from the offensive and defensive sides of the ball spoke with the media in post-spring practice interviews on Wednesday.
Tom Herman; Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach
Chris Spielman discusses the challenges facing Urban Meyer and Ohio State following an undefeated season.
The Ohio State players' lounge at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, including the ceiling that shows a flyover above Ohio Stadium. Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Fully Engaged: Curtis Grant Thinks This is the Year April 17, 2013 Source: Eleven Warriors - Curtis Grant is entering his junior season as Ohio State’s starting middle linebacker. No surprise, right? When you’re the top-rated player at your position coming out of high school and the No. 2 overall recruit in the country, earning a starting job is practically a birthright.
But Grant took the scenic route when he arrived in Columbus. Through two bumpy years, it appears that he has finally discovered a smooth surface. Grant was elevated to starter status last year. It feels far different in 2013, though. It feels real this time.
A year ago, Grant was still grasping life in college football. He wasn’t confident and his tentativeness showed in September, when he was quickly sidelined for his unimpressive play on the field. One year later, Grant is starting to show glimpses of that can’t-miss prospect that electrified the high school football fields of Richmond, Virginia. He’s now immune to the pressure that was once paralyzing.
"People expect so much,"Grant said. "But they don’t understand that college football is a lot different than high school. You’re not the biggest guy anymore, you’re not the fastest guy. You have to get up with the competition.”
Even while he was still in high school, Grant had a frame that looked more WWE than FBS. At 6-foot-3, 241 pounds, he was destined for success the moment he enrolled at Ohio State. Much hoopla surrounded Grant’s arrival, but his freshman season consisted of special teams duty, though a touchdown in the dramatic last-minute win over Wisconsin provided an uplifting moment. An early benching during his sophomore season was even tougher to deal with.
"That’s where the maturity level comes in,"co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell said. "Can he respond? He didn’t. That’s probably what he didn’t do a great job of last year.”
"It knocks your confidence down and your passion. You don’t know how to adjust.”
Said Grant, candidly: "I got complacent. I couldn’t handle the glory of being a starter. I should have kept working harder.
"I was real mad. I didn’t know what to do. I would just sit back and watch, and I wasn’t used to that.
Time alone allowed Grant to refocus. When he came back to Ohio State in January, Grant knew he wanted to be a contributor and lead a defense that lost nearly its entire front seven. The lone returner – Ryan Shazier – happens to be Grant’s study buddy. The roommates create time each night to go over game film. That rededication has spurred a growth in Grant’s football IQ.
"Instead of going out all the time, I’m either in the house watching film or calling Coach (Fickell), asking if can he help,"he said.
Despite being a bust his first two seasons, Grant was not abandoned by Ohio State’s coaches. If anything, he was embraced. The reclamation project began in earnest on March 5, when the Buckeyes took to the practice field. Asked if the coaches still had hope for Grant, Meyer, somewhat bewildered, responded emphatically: "Absolutely.”
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an underlying sense of urgency. Meyer, Fickell and Grant were all aware of the stakes. A passion for the game, which Grant claimed he lost, had to be present. It became his now-or-never moment.
Under intense scrutiny and a microscope that witnessed his every move, Grant no longer looked like the guy that was supplanted in 2012 by a fullback and someone who wasn’t even on the team when the season began. It quickly became clear that Grant’s best days were still ahead of him.
"You man up or get out. I manned up,"he said. "Your junior year, if you don’t do anything, there’s no guarantee there’s another year to do it.”
Grant led all defenders with eight tackles at the spring game.
Throughout the spring, fans heard passages about the linebacker with which so much had been expected. But it wasn’t until Saturday in the spring game that they saw it with their own eyes. Grant finished with a game-high eight tackles, including one sack of Braxton Miller.
Weather reports indicated 21 mile per hour wind gusts at Paul Brown Stadium, but it can’t be ruled out that it was actually a collective sigh of relief from more than 37,000 people.
"He solidified (his starting spot),"Meyer said. "He’s a fully engaged player this year.”
And it’s a good thing, for Grant’s sake. With Ohio State’s recruiting methods, another trip behind the 8-ball could signal game over. A player that describes himself as "determined,"Grant unearthed a level of maturity that wasn’t present until visions of his junior season illuminated.
No more partying, no more scoffing at schoolwork and no more lack of dedication to football.
"Everybody matures at different times, and it’s not his lack of ability,"Fickell said. "It’s just having some confidence, the ability to let loose.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer discusses areas the Buckeyes can improve this season, expectations for QB Braxton Miller and Ohio State in 2013, and how he is balancing coaching and his personal life.
Urban Meyer post Spring Game April 13, 2013
"We need to improve everyone around (Miller). We need to become legit and I think we have the people and we have a couple guys coming in June, and we've got our work cut out for us. But Braxton had a good spring." - Buckeyes HC Urban Meyer
10 Things We Learned from Urban Meyer’s Second Spring Game April 14, 2013 Source: The Ozone - 1. Braxton is better under pressure...
2. The receivers have come a long way...
3. Right tackle is still a cause for concern...
4. The defensive line is in good hands with Spence and Washington...
5. Curtis Grant is starting to look like a player...
6. Devin Smith is learning how to get himself open...
7. Chris Fields has some game...
8. It’s too early to write off Cardale Jones...
9. Some young defensive backs looked good...
10. The punting game has a long way to go...
Sporting a no-contact jersey that makes him half the player he truly is, Braxton Miller still showed why he's a front-runner for the Heisman.
While completing 64% of your passes is nothing to sneeze at, that number was hampered by Miller's adjustment to the scrimmage rules in that he often scrambled only to buy more time to throw, and potentially force something or crate a jumpball situation just because he couldn't be as effective as usual in chewing up rushing yards off designed pass plays under the two-hand touch rule. His stat line was solid as he completed 16 of 25 passes for 217 yards and a pair of scores along with another touchdown on the ground but those numbers could've been outrageous if defenders were forced to tackle him.
As a result, he threw at least four passes that he otherwise would've tucked and ran - for huge yardage. Also, to his credit, he had three throwaways after going through his progressions only to discover nobody was open.
I'm no Whitfield but Miller's feet looked calm in the pocket, his general mechanics looked fluid and simply looked more comfortable in his knowledge of the offense and what he wanted to do with the ball. I thought his accuracy, especially on timing or catch-and-run type routes was strong. He hit receivers in the numbers on a couple crossing routes allowing them to maintain full momentum and outrun linebackers to the sidelines. He looked sharp in the short passing game, leading running backs and receivers toward the hole created in the defense.
Beyond the physical, he seemed to be more vocal than last year. I saw him in the ear of receivers after plays and on the sidelines he did a lot of talking to his line. As great a player as he is, he hasn't been touted as an amazing leader by Urban but this looks like the year in which Miller takes that part of his game to the next level.
Throw in his increased mental maturity with his freakish skills and I'm ready to proclaim him as the favorite to capture the Stiff Arm Trophy.
THE GLARING WEAKNESS
While it was fun watching Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington put on an impressive pass rushing display, allaying some concerns about how the defensive line will perform this season with the departures of John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garret Goebel and Nathan Williams, it was also scary to see how big of a hole the team has at right tackle.
It's been a hot topic all spring so it isn't exactly new news, but at times, it was tough to watch Taylor Decker and Chase Farris try to fill Reid Fragel's shoes.
I guess I should first say that I'm confident one of these guys will improve tremendously from April to September, and beyond, but if they don't Braxton will need a timer in his head as he scans the field on designed passing plays.
With both Decker and Farris needing snaps, Urban opted to play them both with Decker seeing a lot of time at left tackle in place of Jack Mewhort while Farris took most of his snaps at right tackle.
Neither player had a good day but I thought Decker was significantly better than Farris especially in the first half. Farris was beaten on the same speed rush off the edge multiple times and never really seemed to make any adjustments. At this point, I expect Decker to earn the starting job but improvement is mandatory or else we might see another mid-season position shakeup like last season when Zach Boren moved from fullback to linebacker to help a thin and ineffective corps.
It's obviously a long shot but if one of those two doesn't turn the corner, I could see someone like Andrew Norwell moving to the outside and shifting Decker to guard, where he would be book-ended by proven guys in Mewhort and Corey Linsley.
Bottom line, Ohio State will have to get better at right tackle in order to run the table.
FIELDS MAKING HIS MOVE
I found it interesting that Urban went out of his way to praise Chris Fields, even proclaiming him a starter at one of the receiver spots.
Fields, junior out of Painesville, was solid but far from spectacular yesterday hauling in four passes for 29 yards and a score. That said, he's had a good spring overall but I was still a little surprised at Urban's comments.
He's got the edge on experience and he must be showing a better ability to effectively block downfield because I don't see him as a playmaker on par with a guy like Michael Thomas or even maybe Evan Spencer.
As a result, I wonder if Urban isn't just playing one of his textbook psychological games, building the confidence of Fields while sending a message to Thomas and Spencer that more focus on the little things is required. Looking at their respective bodies of work, I'd have Thomas ahead of Fields in the rotation.
Thomas looked good yesterday with seven grabs for 79 yards and a score and again showed a knack for racking up yards after the catch, something I haven't seem much of from Fields. Further, I think it's evident Thomas has the higher ceiling and will very likely be an all-conference performer down the line.
Just something to keep an eye on because with Thomas, Spencer and the host of pass catchers arriving in Columbus come fall, I have a hard time believing Fields will start all season long or be a top-three receiver in catches and yards. I'm not knocking of the kid, he's paid his dues and made some timely plays in the past, I just don't know that I see him as one of Ohio State's best receivers as the season begins to unfold.
It might be hard for the true freshman from New Jersey to earn snaps in the secondary this season but Eli Apple is going to be a player for the Bullets sometime down the line.
The early enrollee made his share of mistakes but what was fun to watch was how he responded each time.
He missed a tackle on the 2nd play of the Gray squad's 2nd possession, then responded with solid coverage to force an incompletion on the next snap.
A few plays later, he got beat by Thomas, allowing to break free for a 31 yard gain but four plays later, he broke up a pass in the end zone showing excellent coverage and ball skills.
Early in the 2nd half, he showed great speed as he came on a corner blitz, blasting Cardale Jones and causing a fumble.
Again matched up with Thomas, this time on Gray's third possession of the 2nd half, Apple made another great play in the end zone to thwart a touchdown.
Listed at 6'1", 188 lbs, you have to like this kid's size and of all the young guys, he caught my eye the most. Knowing he's also a first-class guy, Ohio State might have a future star on their hands in Eli Apple.
AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES
Ohio State didn't even dress their top two tailbacks and had their main hybrid guy do nothing but field punts and it is abundantly clear this squad is loaded with guys who can do damage out of the backfield.
Specifically, Bri'onte Dunn was incredibly impressive. Knowing it will be difficult to earn carries with Carlos Hyde and seemingly Rod Smith ahead of him in the tailback rotation, at least at this point, Dunn isn't settling for third string.
Clearly, nobody is taking Hyde's spot but I do think Dunn can earn some time and I liked how he was used yesterday. The kid has a great set of hands and he can be a legitimate weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. Yesterday, Dunn caught five passes for 61 yards and scared the hell of defenders in the secondary.
At 6'0", 220 lbs, he was able to catch multiple balls and get a full head of steam upon reaching the 2nd level of the defense, where guys were seemingly doing all they could to avoid a head-on collision.
Hopefully, if remains parked at third-string, Meyer can give him enough touches to keep him engaged because he's another guy that could be a heavy lifter for the offense in the coming years.
Scarlet Defeats Gray in Spring Game, 31-14 April 13, 2013 Source: OSU Official Site - Braxton Miller threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Scarlet to a 31-14 victory over the Gray before 37,643 scarlet-clad fans.
The junior was the Big Ten's offensive player of the year last season as the Buckeyes surprised many with a 12-0 season in Urban Meyer's first year as head coach. Miller, who was 16 of 25 passing for 217 yards, threw scoring passes of 20 yards to Devin Smith and 3 yards to Corey Brown, and also rushed for a 3-yard score.
"I've still got to work on some things, watch some film and fix some mistakes," Miller said. "I was just trying to make the pass, get guys open and get the ball in their hands."
Miller, heralded as a Heisman Trophy contender this fall by several national publications, had a solid performance.
"Fundamentally he's pretty good. When it breaks down, that's when it starts to go," Meyer said. "But he's much improved. We have to improve everyone around him."
It was an informal practice session with scoreboards. There were TV cameramen on the field during some plays, and Meyer stood a few yards behind the backfield on almost all of the offensive plays for both squads.
There were 11 sacks by the two defenses, including four by Cincinnati native Adolphus Washington and three more by Noah Spence.
"Adolphus Washington has really raised his level of play," Meyer said. "He's a legitimate player. You saw him today just have his way with our offensive line at times."
Washington raised his hand after each sack.
"It's a thing that the D-line does," he said. "It's called ringing the ball. That's what we do."
Safety C.J. Barnett believes the defensive line - which must replace all four starters - could be the key to the entire team's season.
"The line is the most important part of the defense," he said. "We're going to go as far as they take us."
Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton hit on a total of 13 of 22 for 151 yards and one score, playing for both teams, and third-teamer Cardale Jones was 7 of 16 for 65 yards with a touchdown pass, two lost fumbles and an interception to Kevin Niehoff on one of the last plays of the game.
Jones was a target for tacklers, unlike Miller and backup Kenny Guiton, who wore black jerseys and were not allowed to be hit to guard against injuries. That led to some two-hand tap sacks.
No rusher amassed 50 yards, while Michael Thomas - who had 12 catches a year ago in the spring game and followed with just three during the entire regular season - had seven more receptions for 79 yards and a 4-yard TD for the Gray. For the Scarlet, Smith, running back Bri'onte Dunn and Brown each had five catches.
"We just wanted to come out and play a full game and see what everybody's got," Brown said.
Miller led the Scarlet to scores on three consecutive possessions to break the game open. After helping Scarlet forge a seven-point lead at the half on a last-second score, he ran it in from 5 yards the next time his team got the ball to make it 21-7.
There were constant reminders that this was no typical game. Drew Basil kicked for both teams. And after the Gray's second-quarter touchdown he attempted seven extra-point kicks, the last three from 54 yards out.
On some plays, Scarlet players mingled with Gray players on the same defensive front.
Meyer stood a few yards back of the quarterbacks, watching closely, on each play for both teams. A 1986 University of Cincinnati graduate, Meyer was all in favor of taking the game to Cincinnati when athletic director Gene Smith first proposed the switch.
The team toured the nearby Cincinnati Reds museum and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis spoke to the team before the game. The Buckeyes were scheduled to go out for local specialties such as barbecued ribs, chili and ice cream on their way home.
"To have almost 40,000 people show up for a scrimmage (was great)," Meyer said. "It's been a great trip."
By the numbers April 14, 2013 Source: News Herald - 7: combined sacks by Adolphus Washington (four) and Noah Spence (seven)
8: game-high tackles by linebacker Curtis Grant
45: game-high yards rushing by Warren Ball (on 11 carries)
49: yards gained on the first play, a pass from Braxton Miller
55: game-time temperature, with a chilly, 19-mph WSW wind
79: game-high yards receiving by Michael Thomas (on seven catches)
217: game-high yards passing by Braxton Miller (16-of-25)...
"I've still got to work on some things, watch some film and fix some mistakes. I was just trying to make the pass, get guys open and get the ball in their hands.
" - Braxton Miller post Spring game
Braxton Miller post Spring Game April 13, 2013
Ohio State's 2013 Spring Game in GIFs April 13, 2013 Source: Land-Grant Holy Land - All the highlights you could possibly need from Saturday's 2013 Ohio State Spring Game...Here were some of the best plays and highlights from Saturday's Spring Game in Cincinnati, Ohio:
The first play of the game showed everyone that Braxton Miller wasn't going to rest on the laurels of a strong 2012 football season. His aim in 2013 is to be an even more complete quarterback:
more Spring Game gifs here...
Before the start of the 2013 spring game in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer led the team through a circle drill. The hard-hitting, six-minute drill pits two players against each other.
Braxton Miller, QB Miller's Achilles heel last year was throwing the ball, but yesterday he looked more polished, more poised, and more accurate on his throws. I'll concede 16-25 is fairly pedestrian in terms of straight numbers, but he was more accurate on his deep ball, which has been his kryptonite within said Achilles heel. He also seemed a lot more comfortable running the offense, and let's face it, only a guy with an exceptional amount of self confidence would walk around with a bleach blonde mohawk.
Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, DE's Holy crap, were these guys fierce off the edge. Granted, with the 'no hit' rule on the quarterback, a couple of those might be somewhat subjective, but I'm really excited about how disruptive Washington and Spence are going to be, and at times it seemed like they were almost unblockable. It looks like they have progressed and are ready to terrorize Big Ten quarterbacks.
Curtis Grant, MLB Grant was mentioned by Meyer as one of the guys who had impressed him the most during spring practice, and he showed why during the game. Grant, who has had trouble adjusting to the college game, was seemingly everywhere--decent in coverage, solid tackling, and he flowed well to the ball. He missed a couple tackles, but a new and improved Curtis Grant goes a long way in shoring up the front seven.
Devin Smith and Michael Thomas, WR's Smith and Thomas both had nice TD grabs (Thomas in particular) and both had big plays. I thought they could've been a little more aggressive in going after a couple balls, but they were the two receivers who stood out and made plays.
Eli Apple, CB I've read a lot about Apple this spring, and how well he's played as an early enrollee freshman. Apple showed up yesterday in a big way, breaking up a TD pass in the first quarter, and getting the sack/strip/fumble recovery trifecta on Cardale Jones in the third quarter. It was a very impressive debut for a guy that would normally be getting ready for prom this time of year.
Scarlet starting tackles The flip side of Washington and Spence having their big days is that the guys trying to block them, well, couldn't. Taylor Decker and Chase Ferris both struggled, and after the game Coach Meyer said the offensive line issues were a concern. The RT job was up for grabs heading in to the game, and although the protection get better in the second half, I don't think we got any answers as to who will be atop the depth chart come fall camp.
Drew Basil, K Basil just didn't impress me on Saturday. In the first half, he had some ugly field goal attempts that resembled something akin to a golfer with a bad slice or duck hook. Yeah, some were from a decent distance (50+ yards), but the results were just not there.
Cardale Jones, QB You can tell that Jones has a ton of raw talent, but he looked every bit a freshman. He turned the ball over twice, wasn't very accurate on his intermediate and deep stuff, and made several poor decisions by throwing the ball into traffic several times. And he kind of got a raw deal by not getting to wear the black jersey--dude took some shots yesterday. He did have a sweet TD pass to Michael Thomas, though.
Buy: Braxton Miller to Evan Spencer on the first play It's nice to see the offense show progress in the passing game, and so far, it looks like Miller's extra off-season work helped. That was a touchdown if Spencer doesn't lose his footing, but nice touch on the deep ball.
Sell: Drew Basil missing his initial FG 27 yarder...gotta make those, whether it's April or November.
Buy: TE Blake Thomas' rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' 1st quarter catch On the Gray's initial drive, QB Kenny Guiton hit Thomas on about a 15 yard out pattern, and Thomas just carried the defender for another 20 yards. Loved it.
Sell: LB David Perkins' tackle on Thomas Perkins literally jumped on Thomas, and was essentially fireman carried for 10 yards. And then Perkins hurt his wrist at the end of the play. High comedy, but I haven't seen a report on the seriousness of the injury, so I'm going to assume he'll be fine.
Buy: Having the game in Paul Brown Stadium It was a smaller crowd than recent spring game crowds, but a larger crowd than I thought they'd get in Cincy. It was a good initial effort, and I hope that they keep doing this and that it bears more recruiting fruit in the future.
Sell: Devin Smith switching to jersey #9 When he caught that suh-weeeet over the shoulder TD on the Scarlet first drive I was all like "woo, awesome #9...who are you?" It was cleared up pretty quickly, but it's going to take some getting used to.
Buy: Kenny Guiton as a backup Guiton looked good, for the most part, and you get the sense that if Miller goes down the offense will be in good hands with the senior.
Sell: The blonde mohawk on Miller LOLWUT...
So spring football comes to an end. For me, the takeaways were the impressive play of Braxton Miller, Curtis Grant, and the sophomore stud defensive ends Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence. My biggest concerns were the offensive line and Drew Basil, who looks like he needs a swing coach.
Overall, it was nice to see a sneak preview of the 2013 Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see what happens to the receiving corp depth chart when James Clark, Jalin Marshall, and Corey Smith come to town, and how the rest of the newcomers will fit in, but for now we roll the stone back into place until fall camp begins. Sigh...
Head coach Urban Meyer cashed in, notching two verbal commitments from a pair of 4-star prospects in Sam Hubbard and Kyle Berger.
The Buckeyes also made huge strides with a number of high-profile recruits, most notably with 5-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (an early-week visitor).
Maybe the biggest development of the weekend, though, came when 4-star wide receiver Demarre Kitt named Ohio State his favorite after visiting the campus, according to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports.com.
Kitt is envisioning himself operating in Meyer's offense and noted that the Buckeyes offer him "the best opportunity."
He took to Twitter during his visit to Columbus last weekend:
Demarre Kitt @D_ocho
Ohio state is wonderful #buckeyenation
The star wide receiver out of Tyrone, Ga. hauled in 74 receptions for 1,235 yards to go along with 11 touchdowns in 2012. Kitt has piled up 30 scholarship offers from some of the premier schools around the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas and USC.
A commitment from Kitt would not only be a huge boost to an already impressive Buckeyes recruiting class, but it could also mean big things for some of the other elite prospects Ohio State is after. Kitt put Buckeyes fans on edge last weekend when he tweeted, "Imagine [Jabrill Peppers], [Raekwon McMillan], [Myles Autry] and me at Ohio State."
It doesn't appear that Kitt would hesitate recruiting on Ohio State's behalf if he were to commit. This would also be pivotal in the Buckeyes' recruitment of Deshaun Watson, a 4-star quarterback from Gainesville, Ga. Kitt told Kurelic that if he committed to the Buckeyes, he would help flip Watson to Ohio State.
Kitt is scheduled to visit Tennessee this weekend to see the Volunteers' spring game, but Meyer and the Buckeyes have to like the position they're in to land the stud wide receiver.
Watch highlights from Kitt's junior season here.
Braxton Miller really progressing as a leader April 10, 2013 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Great expectations come for a college football player who set a school season record for total offense and is one of nine offensive starters returning.
Such is the case for Braxton Miller, whom Ohio State coach Urban Meyer once said is "the most dynamic athlete I’ve ever coached at quarterback."
And apparently, he’s getting better.
Asked the other day where Miller stands on a hypothetical improvement chart, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said, "I would say that if he was at a 1 this time last year, and a 4 at the end of the season, he’s at a 6 right now."
And his potential?
"He could be an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10," Herman said.
Miller showed during a practice last week part of the reason why Meyer and Herman hold him in such high regard. After taking a shotgun snap, Miller quickly judged that the pocket had been breached. In a blink, he was gone, sprinting through a gap between left guard and left tackle. He slowed about 15 yards later.
To go further would have been moot — he was wearing a black jersey, which in spring practice means "hands off" to defensive players. In other words, don’t put in jeopardy the player who is regarded as a Heisman Trophy candidate for 2013 and who hopes to put the Buckeyes in the hunt for a national title.
Progress is a process, though, and Meyer, Herman and the offensive staff have brought Miller along one step at a time to make sure his understanding is solid. That is crucial in the passing game, where Miller has made marked improvement recognizing coverages.
"Braxton is becoming more vocal," receiver Corey Brown said. "Everybody raves about how smart (senior backup quarterback) Kenny (Guiton) is, and how Kenny can yell out a coverage before we can even get out of the huddle. Braxton is starting to get a little Kenny Guiton swag to him as far as pre-snap. He’s locating coverages before the defense even gets into them."
Miller knows he has improved in that area, but his focus is on the next step.
"I’ve still got a lot of things to work on, leadership-wise, to keep the guys going when things aren’t going so well ... and get the ball to the guys that get open real quick," Miller said.
Herman said Miller has what it takes to be a great quarterback, perhaps even improve on his 3,310 total yards of last season.
"He can run real fast and throw real hard … the physical tools are all there," Herman said. "Now, we’ve got to catch the entire package up with that in terms of being a cerebral quarterback, a very fundamentally sound quarterback, being a manager of the game, being a leader out there.
"Once he masters that … the sky is the limit."
OSU had student appreciation day. It didn't end well for Brutus.
Among the roughly 2,500 students who turned up at Ohio State's spring practice Saturday morning that served as a student appreciation day, with food trucks (including one serving pitas), music and postgame mingling with the OSU players and coaches part of the festivities, almost everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
Except maybe Brutus. He got rocked.
As the 11th of 15 practices this spring, Ohio State couldn't sacrifice the day of work to a county fair atmosphere. So the Buckeyes got about two good hours of scrimmaging in, with students watching and crowding around at the end for some goalline series and field goals from kicker Drew Basil and two students chosen to kick...
At one point earlier mascot Brutus Buckeye jumped in for a play, and someone forget to tell sophomore linebacker David Perkins to ease up on the nut. So when Brutus got the ball, Perkins went to work, leveling the mascot with a form tackle. You'll remember that an actual human, not wearing pads, was inside those stripes and oversized noggin.
"That was crazy man," senior safety Christian Bryant said. "It brought a little bit of excitement and got the fans into it. They should have given him a black jersey if they didn't want him to get hit."
That black supposedly no-contact jersey didn't protect quarterback Braxton Miller from a hit earlier this week. So it probably wouldn't have helped here. Brutus wobbled to his feet and left practice, but there didn't appear to be any serious injury involved. Maybe it's a good sign that Perkins, who has worked with the first team all spring with Ryan Shazier out while recovering from surgery, showed solid fundamentals.
"I read pass, and I took my drop," said Perkins, describing the play as if he were tracking a Wolverine in November and not a mascot in April. "I saw the quarterback and I saw we lost contain, so I ran over to try to keep contain and just did my responsibility."...
@SamHubbard24 Committed to play football at Ohio State!!! #BuckeyeNation #dreamcometrue
It's another Urban Meyer flip – this time across sports.
Hubbard had pledged to Notre Dame's lacrosse team, but he rescinded that before visiting Ohio State this weekend.
"It was such an early process," Hubbard told ESPN.com's Buckeye Nation this week. "I made my decision in January of my sophomore year and that’s not really giving much thought to football. I hadn’t heard from many schools."
Once the Buckeyes and others offered for football, Hubbard chose to stick with that sport.
A 6-foot-6, 233-pounder, Hubbard is the sixth pledge to Ohio State's 2014 class, with Glenville lineman Marcelys Jones and St. Vincent-St. Mary running back Parris Campbell among those already on board.
Hubbard is No. 32 on Rivals.com's list of outside linebackers. He plays at Moeller High School, and with the Cincinnati connections of Meyer, who played at the University of Cincinnati, and assistant Kerry Coombs, a long-time Cincinnati high school coach, the Buckeyes are hoping to making recruit progress in the southwest part of Ohio.
Hubbard had scholarship offers from Michigan State, Stanford and Louisville, among others. (including Michigan, Illinois, Miami (Fl))
Buckeyes utilizing Dynavision machine April 5, 2013 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - When the 2012 season came to a close, Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs knew that Doran Grant needed to improve his hand-eye coordination. So he turned to his Cincinnati roots and Buckeyes strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti.
With both coaches having a history at the University of Cincinnati, they each were familiar with the Dynavision machine that the Bearcats baseball program uses to improve its players' reaction times. The device is a large board with dozens of square bulbs that randomly light up and don't dim until its user hits them with his hand, prompting another random bulb to become the target.
The Dynavision machine has been used by Air Force jet fighter pilots for training, as well as NBA All-Star Tim Duncan, who holds the machine's all-time record with 132 lights hit in one minute.
Upon Grant's first use of the machine, Coombs' assessment proved to be correct. The junior-to-be scored just a 60- one of the lower postings on the team. Hard work and practice seem to have paid off for the Akron native, as he now holds the Buckeyes' high score with a 108.
Grant said that the Dynavision machine has not only been good for his bragging rights, but his on-field play as well.
"It's showing up on my breaks, me seeing plays better, my overall vision on the field," Grant said. "I can make more plays and do certain things that I can see."
For a program that thrives so much on intrasquad competition, the Dynavision is a natural fit. On any given day inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, you can find multiple Buckeyes lined up around the machine, encouraging each other, while also trying to top each others' scores.
On Thursday, it was wide receiver Chris Fields going at it with Grant, with the latter ultimately winning thanks to a score of 101 that topped Fields' 100.
"It's good 'cause it's competitive. It's kind of like a video game," Marotti said. "They're into it and they want to see who can get the highest score. They're fighting back in that back room to get the highest score. The object is obviously to decrease reaction time from the time they see a light sensor to they hit it. The theory is when you see a ball, the awareness of what's going on around them, they can speed that up a little bit."
According to Marotti, the device is especially useful for skill position players, such as wide receivers, defensive backs, and quarterbacks. Coombs said that each of his unit's meetings starts with a go-round with the Dynavision, which helps amp up the competitive spirit in the cornerbacks room.
"There's no downside to kids doing that kind of stuff on their own," Coombs said. "We train so hard. We train your body physically. We train your, frankly, your soul with ethical conduct and character. We train your heart with toughness and those kind of things. Why not train your eyes and your mind and try to close some of those synapses that are going on in your brain?"
The Buckeyes have only had the machine for a couple of weeks now, but it appears to be paying dividends. Like Grant, Fields mentioned that it has been helpful to his play as Ohio State enters its final week of spring practice.
"My skill position as a receiver, I've got to react fast. I gotta move fast, move quick" Fields said. "I feel like that's been beneficial."
Miller dyed the middle strip of his hair bright blonde while shaving down the sides, creating a "fro hawk" that was reminiscent of former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu's 'do. The Buckeyes quarterback unveiled the look during a spring kickoff luncheon, drawing gasps from the fans in attendance.
The highlighter-yellow color wasn't the only reason for shock. Miller normally isn't one to draw attention to himself, outside of his jaw-dropping moves on the football field. Despite finishing fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and leading a 12-0 team last season as a sophomore, he still manages to maintain a relatively low profile.
"If you didn't know him and you saw him walking down the street, you would never know that was Braxton Miller," Ohio State offensive tackle Jack Mewhort said. "He doesn't talk about all that stuff. It's like he doesn't want the spotlight."
Miller had some posters made up of his recent Sports Illustrated cover, but he hasn't hung them up. He has a Twitter account but uses it mostly to talk to friends. A normal night, he said, involves going home after practice or film work, studying some more football on his iPad and "chilling with the homies at the house." He laughed when I asked him if he'd ever be spotted courtside at an NBA game or posing with celebrities like Texas A&M's Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel.
"I don't go out much," he said. "I'm not out there to get seen or to get talked about. That's not in my blood."
It's hard to hide when you're the reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year and a leading 2013 Heisman candidate for a team that should be ranked in the preseason Top 5. But it's unlikely you'll hear Miller stumping for his Heisman chances like South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney has done.
"He's one of the greatest kids I've ever been around," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "He's so humble. That's unique for a starting quarterback who has that kind of exposure."
Miller's actions have always spoken louder, anyway. He's already created volumes of highlights in less than two full years as a starter, leaving defenders grasping for air with his open-field -- and sometimes open-air -- moves. But Meyer said Miller -- who ran for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns last season -- has thus far gotten by mostly on pure athleticism. The next step is for him to master the fundamentals and become a precise passer.
He completed just 58.3 percent of his passes last season, placing him in the lower half of Big Ten starting quarterbacks in that regard. Meyer said Miller's mechanics often broke down whenever there was pressure or he was scrambling to make a play.
"He's probably the best athlete I've ever coached at that position, which is a great thing but also a hindrance," Meyer said. "He gets away with things lesser athletes don't, and it's gotten him out of so much trouble. That's great, and I don't want to lose that. We just have to coach him through it."
Miller worked with private quarterback coach George Whitfield Jr. this offseason to hone his footwork and throwing motion, a process that has continued under offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Tom Herman. Reviews of his progress this spring have been positive so far.
"He's been working on his mechanics, and his arm looks way better," cornerback Bradley Roby said. "I already see him getting better, and we still have a whole summer. It's going to be scary once he gets it all down."
Miller admits he has more work to do on his fundamentals, and that he has to concentrate on maintaining them when he's on the move, where he's made some of his biggest plays as a Buckeye. His goal is to complete 70 percent of his passes this season, which he thinks is realistic because of the improvement of his receiving corps and a better knowledge of the offensive system.
"The sky's the limit, really," he said. "Last year, the concepts of the plays were so different, but now it's like the back of my hand. I know where everybody is going to be and I know how to get them open. It's going to be fun."
Like it or not, Miller will be one of the most scrutinized players in college football next season. And if he can make great strides as a passer -- to go along with his running ability and knack for clutch plays -- more than just his hair will be shining brightly in Columbus this season.
Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 4/5 - Colossal recruiting weekend, visitors' expectations for their trip
April 5, 2013 Source: Land-Grant Holy Grant - Before getting you all adequately prepared for this monumental recruiting weekend in Columbus, I'd like to note that the Notre Dame coaches were working the phones early and often on Thursday morning. In a very short timeframe, the world was alerted via twitter that the Irish offered three key Buckeye targets. Wide receivers Dallis Todd (our talk with Todd last month) and Derek Kief, along with tight end Tyler Luatua (Todd's high school teammate), were issued full rides from Brian Kelly and his staff in South Bend. The Buckeyes better hope Todd holds value in the fact that Ohio State was one of the first major schools to notice him, because he is racking up offers left and right. The same goes for Kief- let's hope he wants to stick around close to home for his college career. Check out Todd and Kief's highlight tapes.
Moving on to this epic recruiting weekend, I'm certain Urban Meyer has his staff fully prepared and ready to host this bevy of talented prep athletes. Yesterday, we provided a comprehensive visitor list to fully suit up for the weekend, and our very own Luke Zimmermann (among many others) stated that he believes recent Notre Dame lacrosse decommit Sam Hubbard may be the next in line to join Buckeye pledges Damon Webb, Parris Campbell, Kyle Trout, Marcelys Jones, and Dylan Thompson in the 2014 class.
Speaking of Campbell, I caught up with him and asked about his plans in his visit to Ohio State and what other recruits he is looking forward to speaking with. Here's what he had to say:
"I'm looking forward to the atmosphere of the practice, and I'm looking forward to meeting all of the families [of the other visitors]. I'm most looking forward to hanging out with, of course, my boy Dante Booker. But another guy I'm looking forward to hanging with is Damon Webb."
Sounds like the sole running back commit (as of now) in the Buckeyes' 2014 recruiting class is pumped to get to know the other members of his class. Campbell also told me a few weeks ago that the chances linebacker Dante Booker ends up a Buckeye are "really high." Here's some film for Booker, who, ya know, just may end up a Buckeye, according to Campbell:
One out-of-state prospect who everyone considers a Buckeye lean is offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, out of Maryland. Mustipher told me a few months ago that he doesn't plan on deciding on a school until sometime during the fall of his senior season (this upcoming fall) and probably sometime in December. Well, he certainly isn't short on choices, as he holds offers from juggernauts like Alabama, Michigan (I really don't want to call TSUN a "juggernaut," so ignore that adjective), Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Clemson, among others. Regardless, among the names being mentioned by fans and social media contributors when discussing potential Buckeye commitments this weekend is Mustipher. I chatted with him and asked about what he's looking forward to doing in Columbus this weekend. Here's what he said:
"I'm just looking forward to getting back up there and furthering relationships with the staff. Also, seeing a practice."
I'll be sure to catch up with him post-visit, and hopefully he comes away impressed. Sam's currently in Ann Arbor visiting the Wolverines, so it'll be easy for him to compare the two visits as they are back-to-back trips.
Another highly heralded out-of-state offensive line target is Alex Bookser, out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bookser holds schollies from many of the big boys as well, including Ohio State's SEC rival, Alabama. He's listed at 6-6, 295 pounds and projects as an offensive tackle, where the aforementioned Mustipher projects as a guard. I asked Bookser about his expectations for his Columbus trip, and here's what he said he's looking forward to:
"I really want to meet the coaches and just check out the environment. From what I hear, it's a special place, so I'd like to see for myself."
We discussed Coach Meyer's struggle to haul in out-of-state offensive line talent a little over a week ago, and commitments from Bookser and Mustipher would surely buck that trend.
On Tuesday, we gave you guys the details on Ohio State's latest punting target, Corbin Daly, out of Charlotte, North Carolina. As we stated in that piece, Daly is very interested in the Buckeyes and is looking forward to checking out campus. Aside from checking out the Fisher College of Business, Daly detailed the football-related activities he is excited to partake in:
"I am really looking forward to seeing the campus and the football program as a whole. I am looking to get a feel for the atmosphere at the campus and watching Urban Meyer coach his team that he had rebuilt from scratch."
Although Daly doesn't yet hold a Buckeye offer, we'll keep you detailed on the progression of his recruitment.
Last but certainly not least, Ohio State commit Damon Webb, from Detroit, Michigan, is ready to do some recruiting of his own this weekend. He told me this late Thursday:
"I'm just looking forward to hanging out with my Buckeye family and recruiting other players."
Prepare yourself, Buckeye nation. Expectations are undoubtedly high, but it has a chance to be EPIC.
Meyer Post Practice April 2, 2012 Source: The Ozone
Ohio State Spring Football Notebook: Practice No. 9 April 2, 2013 Source: Eleven Warriors - Spring practice is never a time for perfection. Coaches are always looking for the best blocks, a great throwing motion from the quarterback, crisp route running and form tackles. But they’re also realistic. March and April are used for fine-tuning and housecleaning.
And staying healthy.
The Buckeyes narrowly averted disaster in that category during Tuesday’s practice.
Braxton Miller, Ohio State’s do-everything quarterback, took a vicious hit from defensive end Noah Spence on an option toss to running back Rod Smith. Miller – wearing a black no-contact jersey – remained on the turf for several minutes, flat on his back. When he finally got to his feet, he wasn’t interested in keeping the peace.
Miller walked straight to the culprit and a skirmish broke out on the defensive sideline. Words and shoves were exchanged. Mike Vrabel and a mob of players broke up the brief brouhaha. Urban Meyer said there wasn’t intent in the hit.
"It’s football," the head coach said. "We ran option to the left and he got dinged. He’s fine."
Meyer said Miller already has sore ribs from a hit he suffered during a scrimmage on Saturday. As for the fire inside Miller, Meyer is A-OK with it.
"I like quarterbacks that want to go get in a street fight and get after it," he said. "That’s not probably the time to do it, but he’s a competitor.
"Braxton is a competitor. I guess that’s better than the opposite, just curl up and say, ‘Why did he hit me?’ So he’s a tough kid."
Meyer is among the head coaches that are always striving for everything to go as designed. That’s why he was so displeased during much of the spring a year ago.
The Buckeyes had taken a step back in performance and were coming off a horrendous losing season. With a new coaching staff and offensive system, it took weeks to get the offensive line, quarterback, running backs and wide receivers on the same page. Meyer uttered his now infamous "clown show" line during that period of transition.
One year and 12 wins later, his tune has changed. Through nine practices, Meyer sees a team that’s competitive in most, if not all, areas of the game. His baby, though, is the offense, where nine starters return and a bevy of backups are pining for playing time.
"Spring practice you develop scheme but more importantly develop guys," Meyer said. "You’ve got to get something back. They seem like good kids, but at some point you’ve got to give back to the program and play. So we’re force-feeding some guys. There are guys who have ability, but for 100 different reasons, they haven’t played."
Running back is the most noteworthy position where depth has become a non-issue. Carlos Hyde and his 1,021 total yards and 17 touchdowns ended any discussion of an open competition for the starting job. But behind him is an influx of talent just waiting to get on the field.
Rod Smith, Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball have all staked a claim in the running backs sweepstakes. Smith’s ball security problems look like an issue of the past, Dunn has been running through and around the defense and Ball, a redshirt freshman who missed last season with a foot injury, is 100 percent healthy and flashing the skills that made him a highly coveted recruit.
"I couldn’t tell you who our backup is right now," Meyer said. "They’re battling pretty good."
And the list doesn’t include Braxton Miller, who is quite mobile on his legs, and incoming freshmen not already enrolled. The Buckeyes possessed the 10th-best rushing attack in the country last season, averaging more than 242 yards per game on the ground while scoring 37 touchdowns.
With an overflowing stable of horses and four of five offensive linemen returning, there’s no reason why the run game shouldn’t improve tenfold. Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall proved vital during Ohio State’s 12-0 season.
Listening to Meyer, it sounds like more of the same is coming in 2013, and the rest of the Big Ten should be wary.
"I like 80 percent of our offensive line starters," he said. "I still don’t know who the fifth guy is. Those four (returning starters) are tough guys. They’ve picked up right where they left off last year."
Concern regarding the fifth starter should be minimal. Taylor Decker nearly took the job from Reid Fragel last fall, and Fragel ended up being the Buckeyes’ top lineman. Battling Decker is Chase Farris, who came to Ohio State as a defensive lineman, and Pat Elflein.
Meyer said Decker is ahead of Fragel’s pace, but it was during the fall when Fragel improved by leaps and bounds.
It isn’t all roses and cherry blossoms for the Buckeyes, though. The defense remains the biggest concern after seven starters departed, including instrumental leaders like John Simon, Garrett Goebel and Zach Boren.
"I keep looking for Goebel and Simon," Meyer said. "They’re getting better, though. Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence, you just wish there was one or two older guys in there to help them out."
Michael Bennett, a junior, is the most experienced lineman, while fellow junior Ryan Shaizer is the most senior member of the linebacker corps. The only seniors on the defense are in the secondary – C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant and Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown.
Whether it’s Meyer or Thad Matta, invariably, the talk of senior leadership becomes a topic. In an era where both coaches want blue-chip prospects to make an immediate impact, there’s still something to be said about having a veteran presence on the field and in the locker room.
"We need leaders," Meyer said.
Notes • With Braxton getting dinged, it brings to mind the backup QBs. Kenny Guiton led the Purdue comeback last season, but he's still a major drop off.
• After Braxton and the defense were separated, Vrabel took him aside and talked to him for a few minutes.
• When Braxton returned, he ran out of the pocket and lowered his shoulder into David Perkins. He wasn't going to shy away from hits.
• The offense won the winners/losers session today, even without Braxton part of the time. The game-winning play was a fade to Nick Vannett from Guiton.
• Antonio Underwood has a torn ACL. Out for season. He will redshirt.
• Ohio State ran some of the diamond set/pistol that the San Francisco 49ers run with Colin Kaepernick. Hyde, Dunn and Smith were all in the backfield with Braxton.
• Meyer said he and some coaches went to San Francisco during the offseason to study the 49ers’ offensive sets. You'll see similar formations throughout the season.
• Spence continues to be the most impressive member of the defense. Unblockable once again. Mewhort had no answer for him off edge.
• When Marcus Hall went against Spence, he did the only he could do: hold. The official tossed the penalty flag.
• The second biggest hit of the day went to Jamal Marcus. He laid out Dunn in the backfield. Was in backfield a lot.
• Armani Reeves intercepted Guiton and returned the pick 70 yards. But the end was not good for him. Farris absolutely leveled him.
• The running backs continue to look good, especially Ball. He missed last season with foot injury. Ball has been great all spring. It equals depth.
• Chris Carter continues to impress along the D-line. Meyer said they set his weight limit at 340. If he goes over, he won’t play.
• The best pass/catch of the day came from Guiton on a bomb to Michael Thomas. He caught it with Eli Apple defending.
• Jordan Hall was wearing an orange jersey again today.
• The defense won Saturday's scrimmage, according to Meyer.
• Armani Reeves actually had a pretty decent day of practice. But he was still Kerry Coombs' favorite target.
• Special teams highlights: Philly Brown and Bradley Roby returned punts. Drew Basil made a 51-yard FG.
• Ryan Shazier took part in drills today, though he was wearing an orange jersey.
• Chris Fields did some slot work today. Braxton got him a pitch on a broken play that resulted in a first down.
• Meyer said the wide receivers are "much better" at this point compared to last year. He singled out Philly Brown as someone who’s impressed. Meyer also talked up the tight ends.
• Meyer called Elflein a big surprise. "I love who he is, tough guy."
The Big Ten’s player of the year in 2012 was hit on an option pitch by defensive end Noah Spence even though Miller was wearing a black (for no contact) jersey.
Miller stayed down for several minutes. As backup Kenny Guiton replaced him, Miller confronted some defensive players on the sideline before being restrained by teammates.
Miller was held out of three series before returning to practice in preparation for the spring game on April 13.
It will be held at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium because of concrete work being done to Ohio Stadium.
Afterward, Meyer was unfazed, noting that Miller was already nursing a sore rib from a hit last week but that the tackle by Spence was in no way malicious.
"It’s football," Meyer said. "We ran option. (Miller) got hit in the same spot."
Neither was he displeased that Miller got up and went after the defensive players.
"I like quarterbacks that want to go get in a street fight and go after it," Meyer said. "That’s not probably the time to do it, but he’s a competitor. So you’re asking what kind of reaction would I want out of a quarterback? I didn’t really see what happened, but Braxton’s a competitor.
"I guess that’s better than the opposite, just lay on the ground and curl up and, ‘Why did he hit me?’ So, he’s a tough kid."...
Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 4/2 April 2, 2013 Source: Land-Grant Holy Grant - Over the weekend, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff played host to a few talented recruits. One of those prospects to visit was 2014 Lima Central Catholic defensive back Darius West. The 6-0 195 pound West, who has already made the short trip down to Columbus a few times told Land-Grant Holy Land, "the visit was a lot of fun." Even though Darius is no stranger to the program and has watched the Buckeyes beat Michigan in the 'Shoe, this visit definitely had its highlights, West had the opportunity to sit in during position meetings and talk with the coaching staff.
His day on campus didn't stop there; West took in a spring practice Saturday and liked what he saw out of the staff. He also told us he really enjoyed seeing the staff fly around the field as well as having the chance to watch how the position coaches coach. Darius even got to meet a couple of the other top prospects the Buckeye state has to offer in Ohio State commit Kyle Trout and Cincinnati LaSalle wide receiver Derek Kief.
West, had an impressive junior campaign where he finished with 47 tackles and 5 interceptions. His hard work didn't go unnoticed teams such as Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Purdue and West Virginia are just some of the schools that have offered full ride scholarships to West. Even though the Bucks have yet to issue an offer themselves, they continue to show increased interest. He also told us,"the coaches said they wanted to see a track meet and come see me at school. I feel like an offer could be coming soon." See what Darius could bring to the Buckeyes in these highlights.
The Ohio State recruiting express didn't stop Saturday; Monday started off an important week in Ohio State football recruiting with one of the nations top linebackers kicking things off. Five star Georgia native Raekwon McMillan started his three day visit Monday. 247Sports rates McMillan as the 19th prospect in the nation the #1 inside linebacker in the nation and the second best player the peach state has to offer. The Buckeyes, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Southern Cal seem to be the teams at the top of the lengthy list of schools after the talented McMillan, who had close to 100 tackles and five forced fumbles for his Liberty County squad last season. Fellow Georgia native Myles Autry, a four star running back had previously stated he would join McMillan on the trip but it seems the 5-10 175 pound speedster had to cancel. As for McMillan:
After the Buckeyes recently had Virginia quarterback Caleb Henderson on campus, the Buckeyes will host another signal caller this week. Delaware dual threat quarterback Darius Wade told me he is in contact with Coach Herman the most amongst Ohio State's recruiters and is really looking forward to checking out the facilities while he is in town. The 6-2 190 pound Wade, who is sporting offers from Boston College, Nebraska and Syracuse to name a few, would like to meet with academic support while on campus and try to get a feel where he stands with the Buckeye coaching staff. With Wade having had an impressive junior season in which he accounted for nearly 3000 total yards from scrimmage, it was only a matter of time before the big boys came calling.
Check out what Wade prospectively brings to the table for the Buckeyes:
As many of you well know, the Buckeyes have a hard and fast need when it comes to the punter position. Another one of the many talented recruits to visit this coming weekend is North Carolina punter Corbin Daly. While Daly wouldn't be able to help this coming fall, the 6-1 185 pound Daly told Land-Grant Holy Land that he is in contact with Mark Pantoni and is looking forward to watching practice and checking out the campus. Like Darius Wade, Daly would like to see what the Buckeyes have to offer off the field, stating he would like to check out the Fisher College of Business since that is what he plans to major in. Even though Daly doesn't have an OSU offer yet, that doesn't mean he won't soon. Schools such as Alabama, Duke, North Carolina, NC State and LSU are just a few of the other programs showing interest in the talented punter who averages well over 40 yards a boot.
Stud New Jersey running back Jonathan Hilliman announced his top ten on Monday afternoon. The 6-1 210 pound Hilliman is down to (in order) the Buckeyes, Michigan, Alabama, Rutgers, Stanford, Georgia, Oregon, Boston College, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. No wonder why so many of the nations top programs are after Hilliman; the talented back rushed for 1400 yards and 20 touchdowns last season for St. Peter's Prep. Hilliman had the following to say when a Buckeye fan asked him what made him put the good guys on top:
The Buckeyes have offered a pair of talented 2014 defensive backs the last few days in Oklahoma safety Steven Parker and Tennessee corner Rico McGraw. Parker is a 6-2 175 pound ball hawk who has programs such as home state schools Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and out of staters Texas A&M, Alabama and Arizona State all after him for his talents. McGraw is a 6-0, 180 lb shut down corner who has scholarships from Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and most of the other top southern schools.
In Buckeye basketball news, 2014 Georgia guard Keith Pinckney told me he has been in contact with Dave Dickerson recently. The 6-1 170 pound point guard told me when it comes to Ohio State, he thinks of a tough, big time basketball program. The Bucks aren't the only team showing interest in the Miller Grove baller; Miami, Xavier (both have offered), Georgia Tech and Clemson are just a few of the teams eyeing Pinckney who averaged over 14 points and five assists a game last season...
No, this isn't a re-run of an article from a year ago, when Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer named the senior running back his team's top playmaker following spring practice. Multiple injuries- including one freak accident before the start of fall camp- derailed those plans, but Hall has hopes of making the most of a second, and final chance in 2013.
"We have a lot of playmakers on offense. I think I can be another one," Hall said following OSU's third spring practice of the preseason. "I'm another person that people will have to prepare for."
That was the plan a year ago also, when Meyer ranted and raved about Hall's ability in his spread offense. The Jeannette, Pa. native was even held out of the spring game, because the OSU coaching staff felt that he had nothing left to prove until the start of the season.
Plans for Hall, however, soon hit a snag.
On June 29- nearly two months before the start of the season- Hall cut his foot on a piece of glass outside of his apartment. The injury kept him out of action for a full 10 weeks, with Hall returning for the Buckeyes' third game of the season, where he rushed for 87 yards in a 35-28 win over California.
A week later, Hall enjoyed the best game of his college career, rushing for 105 yards in Ohio State's win over UAB, and against Michigan State, he ran for a touchdown in the Buckeyes' 17-16 victory. The running back's performance against the Spartans, however, came at a price.
After attempting just six carries in East Lansing, Hall suffered a partial tear of his PCL, which ultimately kept him out of Ohio State's remaining seven games. The good news, however, was that having participated in just three games in 2012, Hall was still eligible for a medical redshirt.
Meyer said that there was never a discussion regarding whether or not Hall would return for a fifth season in Columbus.
"He just wasn't healthy enough to play. There wasn't a decision," Meyer said. "He could've moved on to what? The NFL? He's gotta have a good year. I think he will. Because I do think he could play in the NFL if he has a good year."
Through three weeks of spring practice, the prognosis on Hall has been a microcosm of his college career: there's been plenty of optimism, but also some setbacks along the way.
It was Hall who stole the show in the Buckeyes' first spring practice on March 5, excelling in Ohio State's hybrid wide receiver-running back position while dodging would-be tacklers and slipping by mismatched defenders. The burst was reminiscent of the effort that he showed a year ago, which led to the high praise from the OSU coaching staff.
"The one thing about Jordan Hall, you look at his stature - he looks small, but the kid is a 400-pound bencher, he is 200 pounds, he is quick as a hiccup and he can make you miss in space," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "You have a kid that you can put in space that has all these talents that are versatile, and you're just trying to put it into one system. He is a valuable threat in a significant player in this system."
Despite his resurgence, Hall is been slowed down by a slight hamstring pull, as well as an academic issue that kept him out of Ohio State's sixth spring practice. He returned in time for the Buckeyes' seventh spring practice, but Meyer admitted that he needs every minute that he can get on the practice field.
"He's going to play a new position," Meyer said. "The amount of running compared to a running back that a receiver does, he just wasn't ready."
Regardless of his setbacks, Hall remains confident that he'll be an integral part of the OSU offense once the season starts this fall.
"I'm not worried about that," Hall said. "I figure if I'm on the field, I have a chance to make plays and people will see it."
As he's learned in the last year, doing just that can be easier said than done.