After deciphering my unorganized scribbles and thoughts from last weekend's jersey scrimmage combined with digesting numerous articles written by the usual suspects, I'm struck by the sheer amount of young talent the Buckeyes seem to possess on the both sides of the ball.
Offensively, there are already known young commodities in sophomore Jordan Hall, redshirt freshman Jaamal Berry and sophomore Jake Stoneburner but stopping there would be to fully engage in an alternate version of "just the tip". Some other green reserves who could make a name for themselves down the road include the following:
- Andrew Norwell - The true frosh should benefit from Marcus Hall's redshirt as he moves into the backup right tackle spot behind J.B. Shugarts. He could be the 4th tackle if Miller were to move to the right side if Shugarts went down but the kid clearly has the physical tools. Admittedly, I'm not well versed on the intricacies of offensive line play but Norwell looked game on Saturday and drew some praise from Tressel, "It’s going to be interesting watching him. I’m very impressed with him. We rolled him into the No. 2 position some today." So, he may not be a factor this year but it's easy to see him working his way into a starting spot down the road.
- Kenny Guiton - Okay, so Kenny G is already well known thanks to his spring game showing but I wanted to put the redshirt freshman on the list just to point out he was undoubtedly the 2nd best QB in the jersey scrimmage as he outplayed Bauserman once again. Guiton was only 7/17 throwing the ball but he made good decisions to tuck and run when the opportunity presented itself. The end result was that the offense moved the ball with KG under center whereas Bauserman produced his usual unimpressive stat line (2/6, 14 yards) but even worse if the fact he loves to hang on to the ball forever. That leads to lateral scrambles, sacks or throwaways far too often. Plus, I just don't get the sense most of the offensive players feel the same way.
- Corey "Philly" Brown - The true freshman wideout could find himself as the third receiver before the season is over but even if he's the fourth WR, he's going to get opportunities and the future is incredibly bright. He looked very fluid in the jersey scrimmage. At the least, Brown is higher in the pecking order than any of the other frosh receivers. He could also be a punt return factor as early as this year and definitely in the long term. Dude has quicks and looks like he can make people miss. Just looks like he "belongs" already. I'm incredibly excited about what he could accomplish here.
- Taylor Graham - The true freshman signal caller showed poise Saturday and Gordon had his stat line as 8/11 for 69 yards. It seemed like he was able to drop back very quickly and had little trouble looking over the line of scrimmage for receivers. Maybe I just had low expectations but Graham impressed me.
Defensively, it's been difficult to even keep up with the amount of pups fighting for the eye of the coaches and that doesn't even consider the breakout spring junior Andrew Sweat is putting together or the already emerged sophomore starters John Simon and Orhian Johnson but here's a few to keep tabs on:
- Johnathan Hankins -The 335 lb. true freshman man-mountain out of Michigan made some plays on Saturday and shocked me with his agility. He's drawing high praise from coaches and teammates, with Cam Heyward proclaiming he's got the goods to be the second coming of Dan Wilkinson. No question, he's going to be a disruptive force as he matures and worst case is he'll tie up two linemen with ease allowing those around him to make plays. He can certainly work his way into the rotation this season. I can see him being valuable against bigger lines like those found in Madison and on goal line defensive sets.
- Christian Bryant - Another Glenville product, the true freshman was around the ball consistently on Saturday from his spot in the secondary. He teamed with C.J. Barnett (soph) to force both Guiton and Bauserman to tuck and run. Bryant also got a look on punt returns back deep with Hall. He's more of a long shot considering all the young competition around him but I liked what I saw.
- Adam Bellamy - The redshirt freshman defensive lineman was probably the surprise of the jersey scrimmage earning love from Duane Long and others for his work from the strong side defensive end slot. Bellamy overpowered his man once and out-quicked him on another on his way to three sacks.
- Dominic Clarke - Out of Maryland, the redshirt freshman DB saw extended action on Saturday and had a tremendous break up saving a TD from Pryor to Posey. He also caught my eye a few times showing good zone coverage discipline as Guiton scrambled laterally to buy time.
This list doesn't even touch on other reserve kids like freshman Jordan Whiting (12 tackles Sat.), sophomore DT Garrett Goebel and freshman DB Jamie Wood. What's your flavor - which young reserves do you see stepping up this year or in the future and why?