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March 2017
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Ohio State Spring Football starts March 7; Position by Position breakdown

 

The good news: there are robust numbers along both the offensive and defensive lines

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State Buckeyes will start 2017 spring drills Tuesday, March 7, with a morning practice on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center indoor field. Practice No. 2 of 15 will take place Thursday morning with drills not resuming again until March 21 as the Ohio State students enjoy spring break activities the week of March 13-17.

 

Spring practice dates

The Buckeyes will practice in the morning this spring on the following dates on the indoor field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center:

 

§  March – 7, 9, 21, 23, 25, 28 and 30

§  April – 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 15

 

April 15 spring game: 12:30 start; tickets $5

The 2017 LiFE Sports Spring Game, presented by Nationwide, will be Saturday, April 15 at Ohio Stadium. Start time is 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the game are priced at $5 for general admission. A limited number of reserved club seats are available for $15. Tickets can be purchased online athttps://go.osu.edu/SpringGameTix17.

 

Numbers

Ohio State’s spring roster has 48 lettermen on it and includes 16 seniors and 24 juniors. Five lettermen did not letter in 2016 because of injury, but did so in 2015. The veteran, experienced junior and senior players are:

 

§  On offense – QB J.T.  Barrett, TE Marcus Baugh, WR Parris Campbell, OT Jamarco Jones, WR Terry McLaurin, C Billy Price and OT Isaiah Prince.

§  On defense – LB Jerome Baker, LB Dante Booker, DT Michael Hill, DE Jalyn Holmes, DE Sam Hubbard, DE Tyquan Lewis, SAF Erick Smith, DT Tracy Sprinkle, SAF Damon Webb, CB Denzel Ward and LB Chris Worley.

 

29 Freshmen Played in 2016

A total of 29 scholarship freshmen saw action during the 2016 season for the Buckeyes. Included in this total were 11 true freshmen, led by 13-game starter at left guard Michael Jordan on offense, and defensive end/tackle Nick Bosa, who finished second among the defenders with 5.0 quarterback sacks. RB Mike Weber, a 1,000-yard rusher, and DT Dre’Mont Jones, the leader among the defensive linemen with 52 tackles, were season-long starters as red-shirt freshmen. All four of those players earned freshmen All-America honors.

 

2017 Spring Position-by-Position Snapshots:

 

Defensive Line – Coach Larry Johnson

Lettermen returning (12): DEs Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, Darius Slade (inj. in 2016) Nick Bosa, Rashod Berry and Jonathan Cooper, and DTs Michael Hill, Tracy Sprinkle (inj. in 2016), DreMont Jones, Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton.

Starter Stats: All four starters from 2016 return giving the unit 66 combined starts with senior Tyquan Lewis the leader with 25 and junior Sam Hubbard (14 starts), senior Michael Hill (14) and sophomore Dre’Mont Jones (12) significantly seasoned. Holmes is a starter even though he doesn’t have a start. Sprinkle was a Game 1 starter but was injured and lost for the season.

Notable Notes: This unit is a formidable force and flexible. Johnson mixes, matches and moves his linemen around based on situation. Lewis was the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year and Hubbard was an Academic All-American. Bosa and Jones were freshmen All-Americans.

 

Numbers: Lewis is coming off an eight-sack, three-forced fumble season and he has a team-best 27.0 career TFLs and 16.5 sacks. Bosa was second on the team in sacks with 5.0. Hubbard has 16 career TFLs and 10.0 sacks. Jones led all linemen last year with 52 tackles. Holmes had 8.5 TFLs in 2016.

 

Offensive Line – Coach Greg Studrawa

Lettermen Returning (8): Billy Price, Jamarco Jones, Isaiah Prince, Michael Jordan, Branden Bowen, Matthew Burrell, Brady Taylor and Demetrius Knox.

 

Starter Stats: Four of five starters return with each starting all 13 games in 2016. Price is an All-American with 41 consecutive starts and on pace to break Luke Fickell’s school mark of 50 consecutive starts (1993-96). Jones and Prince were the everyday left and right tackles last year, respectively, while Jordan was merely the first true freshman to start on the offensive line since Orlando Pace in 1994.

 

Notable Notes: Price, like Pat Elflein last year, will move to center for his senior season which will further enhance his status as a team leader while diversifying his skills and talents for the next level. Elflein was a unanimous All-American and the Rimington Award winner as the nation’s outstanding center. Price was a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, Jones was second-team all-Big Ten and Jordan was a freshman All-American.

 

Numbers: The four starters are experienced, with over 900 snaps apiece last year. Reserves Bowen, Taylor and Burrell played on special units but also contributed 104, 103 and 82 plays on offense, respectively.

 

Receivers – Coach Zach Smith

Lettermen Returning (6): Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, Johnny Dixon, K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor.

 

Starter Stats: Campbell started nine games in 2016 and McLaurin started four for 13 career starts within the position group.

 

Notable Notes: Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown’s early entries into the NFL Draft leaves this group down its top two receivers from 2016. The duo combined for 106 receptions and 14 of the team’s 26 touchdown catches. James Clark has elected to graduate this spring with his degree in finance, so he also is not returning. Hill, Victor and Mack were freshmen last year who have bright futures.

 

Numbers: McLaurin and Campbell were Nos. 2 and 3 last year among receivers in plays, but their numbers include special teams, where both are standouts. Hill is the leading returning receiver with 18 catches with Campbell (13) and McLaurin (11) next.

 

Cornerbacks – Coach Kerry Coombs

Lettermen Returning (5): Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette, Rodjay Burns, Joshua Norwood and Elijaah Goins.

 

Starter Stats: There are no starter stats at this time for this unit.

 

Notable Notes: For the second year in a row, Coombs loses a starter to the NFL early only this year he loses two. Eli Apple was the No. 10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. This year, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley could each be first-round picks. If so, Coombs will have developed four first-round cornerbacks in the last four years.

 

Numbers: Coombs clearly had a pair of talented starters last year, but he also had some depth, and he used it. Ward may not have a start to his credit, but he played starter snaps – 468 plays – on defense and Arnette played 181 snaps on defense as a freshman. Burns lettered as a true freshman, which is no small achievement. Four cornerbacks from the 2017 recruiting class have enrolled in classes and will take part in spring drills.

 

Linebackers – Coach Bill Davis

Lettermen Returning (5): Chris Worley, Jerome Baker, Dante Booker (inj. in 2016), Malik Harrison and Zach Turnure.

 

Starter Stats: Worley started all 13 games last season and Baker started 12 after replacing Booker, who was injured in the first game of the season and ultimately red-shirted.

 

Notable Notes: Baker was sensational last year as a true sophomore and Worley was steady in his first year as a starter. Replacing two-time, second-team All-American and two-time leading tackler Raekwon McMillan in the middle won’t be an easy task for first-year coach Bill Davis, who spent 24 seasons in the NFL and was a linebackers coach for eight seasons.

 

Numbers: Baker was second on the team with 83 tackles and he had huge interceptions against Oklahoma and Michigan. Worley’s 70 tackles included 11 against Michigan and 10 vs. both Oklahoma and Clemson. Harrison was another high achiever as a true freshman, playing in all 13 games and earning his letter.

 

Safeties – Coach Greg Schiano

Lettermen Returning (3): Damon Webb, Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller with Eric Glover-Williams a letterwinner at the position but moving to receiver.

 

Starter Stats: Webb started all 13 games last season alongside Malik Hooker.

 

Notable Notes: Hooker was a unanimous All-American in his one season as a starter who is the projected No. 1 safety in this year’s NFL Draft. He led the nation in “pick-sixes” with three and his seven interceptions ranked third.

 

Numbers: Webb had a 36-yard “pick-six” against Nebraska and he actually had more plays on defense than Hooker last year: 810 to 808. Webb was also Top 5 on the team in tackles with 57. Erick Smith has played in 33 games and Jordan Fuller played in all 13 last season as a true freshman.

 

Quarterbacks – Coach Ryan Day

Lettermen Returning (2): J.T. Barrett and Joe Burrow.

Starter Stats: Barrett has started 30 games over the past three seasons.

 

Notable Notes: The fifth-year senior Barrett has twice been named the quarterback of the year in the Big Ten Conference and he shared Chicago Tribune Silver Football honors – Big Ten’s best player – last year.

 

Numbers: Barrett is 26-4 as a starting quarterback, has 25 school and Big Ten records and is seven touchdowns away from breaking Drew Brees’ Big Ten record of 106 career touchdowns responsible for. He’s on pace to shatter Ohio State’s passing yards record and could become one of the Top 5 rushers in school history as well. Burrow played in four games last year and was 22 of 28 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Running Backs – Coach Tony Alford

Lettermen Returning (2): Mike Weber and Demario McCall.

Starter Stats: Weber started 11 times last year as a red-shirt freshman.

 

Notable Notes: Weber is the third Ohio State freshman to crack 1,000 yards rushing (1,096 yards with nine touchdowns) and he is the ninth Buckeye to capture Big Ten freshman of the year honors.

 

Numbers: McCall was Weber’s back-up and he finished with more carries (49), rushing yards (270) and touchdowns (three) than Ezekiel Elliott had as a true freshman. McCall also had the most rushing yards by a true freshman in the last 10 years, or since Beanie Wells had 576 in 2006. There are two other scholarship running backs: sophomore Antonio Williams and true freshman J.K. Dobbins.

 

Tight Ends – Coach Kevin Wilson

Lettermen Returning (2): Marcus Baugh and A.J. Alexander.

Starter Stats: Baugh has started 17 times in his career, including in all 13 games last season. Alexander nabbed a start in a two-tight end alignment at Penn State last season.

 

Notable Notes: Baugh is a fifth-year senior who has considerable experience with 38 games played. He is coming off a 24-reception, 269-yards year in 2016, but had surgery this off-season and will continue his rehab this spring. Alexander played 260 snaps on offense as a freshman.

 

Numbers: Three true freshman red-shirted last season: Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann and Kierre Hawkins.

 

Special Teams – Meyer/Coombs

Lettermen Returning (2): LS Liam McCullough and K Sean Nuernberger

Starter Stats: The important thing here is that McCullough has snapped and Nuernberger has kicked.

 

Notable Notes: Talented Australian punter Cameron Johnston, who led the Big Ten in punting three times and had the Buckeyes No. 1 in net punting three times, will be missed. McCullough handled all long-snapping duties in 2016 except for the Oklahoma game, when he was ill. Nuernberger set 10 kicking records as a freshman, including three Big Ten, but has been wedged out of playing time each of the past two seasons by a transfer.

 

Numbers: Nuernberger is 16-for-24 in his career on field goals and his 106 consecutive extra points is a school record and within reach of the Big Ten record of 141. Red-shirt freshman Drue Chrisman was the No. 1 punter as a high school senior by several rating organizations.

 

#GoBucks

 

THE PEOPLE. THE TRADITION. THE EXCELLENCE.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jerry Emig and Adam Widman; COURTESY OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS