Better Know A Buckeye: Tracy Sprinkle

By Vico on April 17, 2013 at 11:30a

Eleven Warriors presents Better Know a Buckeye 2013

The ninth installment of the fifth edition of this now 24-part series titled Better Know A Buckeye now profiles Tracy Sprinkle. Sprinkle, a defensive lineman from Elyria, was a recruit picking up considerable regional attention before the Buckeyes extended a scholarship offer in mid-April. Sprinkle wasted little time in accepting the offer, committing to Ohio State a year ago today. This brief story is retold below. Thereafter, I include a player breakdown, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. I then include a redshirt projection and miscellaneous things of minor importance before concluding that Tracy Sprinkle is better known. He is put on the board accordingly.

Tracy Sprinkle, during the 2013 spring gameTracy Sprinkle

Height: 6'3
Weight: 255 lbs
Fake 40: 4.7
High School: Elyria High School; Elyria, Ohio

His Recruitment​

Tracy Sprinkle is one of the lesser-heralded recruits in the class, a consensus three-star selection by the major recruiting services. However, his offer sheet through the spring of 2012 was nothing to belittle. By February, he had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Toledo. The Arkansas offer came by way of Taver Johnson, who went to bat for Sprinkle to Bobby Petrino's coaching staff.

The Syracuse offer seemed appealing as well. Syracuse was his first offer and was extended to him by Tyrone Wheatley (yes, that Tyrone Wheatley), then-running backs coach for the Orangemen. He intended to take a visit to Syracuse to see the program for himself.

In the interim, Sprinkle attracted greater attention from programs in the B1G TEN. Michigan State offered shortly after Sprinkle took an unofficial visit to East Lansing. He was unable to meet with Mark Dantonio on the visit, but Dantonio nonetheless offered a scholarship after a follow-up conversation.

In addition, Bill O'Brien offered Tracy Sprinkle the opportunity to play at Penn State on scholarship. While Penn State was firmly entrenched in the scandal that would define the latter half of 2011 and the first half of 2012, Penn State is still a signature brand in the Midwest (and even in Northeast Ohio, in particular). Sprinkle was excited about the prospect of playing for Penn State.

A month after picking up his first B1G TEN offers, Ohio State offered. It was a game-changer. Sprinkle was a lifelong Ohio State fan, a product of a part of the Buckeye State (Northeast Ohio) that is rather loyal to the flagship in-state institution. He was contacted by Urban Meyer to come down to Ohio State and bring his parents with him. During that meeting, Meyer communicated that he was impressed with what he had seen of Sprinkle on film and offered him the chance to be an Ohio State Buckeye.

Sprinkle sat on the offer for a few days, mentioning he still wanted to see Penn State and further evaluate his options from Michigan State and Arkansas. However, it didn't take long.

His Commitment

On April 17, 2012, Tracy Sprinkle became the ninth commitment in Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class. He, in essence, tweeted his verbal pledge to Ohio State.

He informed the coaching staff of his decision after calling Stan Drayton, the regional recruiter. Drayton did not anticipate that a verbal pledge was forthcoming, but excitedly passed the phone to Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell when Sprinkle gave it. Sprinkle, a lifelong Buckeye fan, wanted to keep his talents "in the state" (his words) and be part of the tradition he grew up watching.

Where He Excels

Tracy Sprinkle doesn't have the skill set of a Noah Spence or Adolphus Washington, though he projects at the position of the latter (strongside defensive end). He can still be an animal, nonetheless.

Maybe it's fair to say Tracy Sprinkle is "raw"? He can be explosive all the same. Athleticism is a strength. He fires off the line of scrimmage at the snap, posing problems for offensive linemen trying to execute their assignments. Footwork is great, which can, in part, be attributed to Sprinkle's experience playing basketball.

He can get very skinny too, sliding between two offensive linemen to make a play in the backfield. I would expect to see something like this from Sprinkle, given the opposition he's playing. Elyria plays North Royalton in the division, but avoids Mentor. Still, it's very promising. Plus, he's shown a spin move on a few occasions, which is even more promising.

More than anything, what attracted the coaching staff to Tracy Sprinkle is the proverbial "motor". You know that "juice" term that is the word du jour for Ohio State athletics? Sprinkle has it in a gallon jar.

Must Work On​

Sprinkle is "raw", which means there are a lot of little things he needs to do better if he's going to reach his potential. Further, some of these little things are important.

Pad level is often less than ideal. Sprinkle will, on occasions, find himself creeping up from his stance and trying to overwhelm his man with raw strength. This is often sufficient in high school, but will not be sufficient in college. Further, I think his opponent makes first contact more than Sprinkle does. I'd like to see a better "punch" from Sprinkle, and more often. All told, his ability to get off his block should improve.

These are all things that are correctable with experience and coaching.


Senior year.


This is another judgment call, though the answer is likely no. It will be difficult for Sprinkle to crack the rotation on the defensive line, even though Sprinkle has already enrolled and has been with the program for almost five months now. That's not to say Sprinkle is that inadequate, just that the depth and talent at the position is that outstanding. Still, his position is among the most amenable in college football to liberal substitution patterns. Maybe we'll see it against the likes of Illinois, but I suspect he gets some snaps late in games against non-conference teams. This could be his platform to demonstrate he could be a regular in Ohio State's defensive line in future seasons.


  • Birthday is tomorrow.
  • Elyria High School is the same high school as Chase Farris, his former and current teammate.
  • 1950 Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz graduated from Elyria High School in 1948. Vic Janowicz Drive runs along the south side of the high school.
  • Les Miles graduated from Elyria High School as well. However, to say that Tracy Sprinkle also enjoys eating Tiger Stadium grass is incorrect.
  • Important backstory on Sprinkle, who recently lost an older brother to a shooting after an argument. He is trying to make that family tragedy as inspiration for a family triumph.
  • His Elyria Pioneers finished 7-3 in both 2011 and 2012. His seasons concluded with losses to Mayfield both times.
  • He played offensive guard through most of his high school career before moving to defensive end midway through his junior season. He finished with 80 tackles, 8 sacks, and 25 quarterback hurries. He was a third-team All-Ohio pick as a junior.
  • He had 103 tackles, 30 TFLs, 19 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles as a senior. He was co-defensive player of the year in Ohio. He shared the award with Cincinnati Moeller’s Shane Jones (future Spartan and brother of former Spartan Greg Jones) and Austintown Fitch’s Billy Price, the latter of the two you already better knew.

Well, I think Tracy Sprinkle is better known.

The More You Know

Let's put him on the board.

Name POS Ht Wt Hometown Committed Better Known
Cameron Burrows DB 5'11 200 Trotwood, OH 01.19.12 02.19.13
Jalin Marshall WR 5'11 196 Middletown, OH 01.30.12 02.26.13
Billy Price DT 6'4 300 Austintown, OH 02.13.12 03.05.13
Eli Apple DB 6-1 188 Voorhees, NJ 02.16.12 03.12.13
Evan Lisle OL 6-5 280 Centerville, OH 02.28.12 03.19.13
Jayme Thompson S 6-2 184 Toledo, OH 04.01.12 03.26.13
Ezekiel Elliott RB 6-0 195 St. Louis, MO 04.01.12 04.02.13
Marcus Baugh TE 6-4 233 Riverside, CA 04.10.12 04.09.13
Tracy Sprinkle DE 6-3 255 Elyria, OH 04.17.12 04.17.13



Comments Show All Comments

CLEBuck's picture

That might be the first ever Mayfield High mention on 11W.  Go Wildcats!  Seriously though, excited to see Tracy prove all of the critics wrong.

C.L.E Man I rep my town, everyday bleed that orange and brown.

TheBadOwl's picture

I thought he looked great during the spring game. Seems like he's got a chip on his shoulder, I think he's going to end up being great in the S&G

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

Evansvillebuckeye's picture

I'm thinking Mr. Sprinkle will be another one of those 3* guys who seem to thrive in the Scarlet & Gray - welcome aboard, and best of luck to this young man!  Go Bucks

RunEddieRun1983's picture

I'll say of the 3* players we got, I thought he was the closest to being a 4.  I like him a lot, he's tough, and he plays like he's possessed.  I think he'll make his way into the rotation by the end of the year.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Larryp713's picture

I am from Lorain and Elyria High School was one of our rivals. They get fantastic athletes, but it is a rough place to grow up.
Tracy seems to be a kid that came through that with flying colors. For me, he is an easy kid to root for. He seems to overachieve every time he is given an opportunity, and the fact that he enrolled early and saw significant playing time is a great sign.
I will go on a wing and say that not only will he be successful, he is a future all B1G, and we will hope he stays for a Sr. year. I can see him blowing up like Vernon Gholstein.



Larryp713's picture

Sorry, significant playing time in the spring...



osubuck57's picture

Happy early Birthday Tracy!! Hope he becomes one in a long line of great d-linemen we have.Best of luck!!


dubjayfootball90's picture

Terrible about his brother being shot. I did not know this man. That made me sink a little bit in my chair, just terrible. You know this kid has his head on straight and will do everything to make his family and his late brother proud. I am excited to see him play man, hope it is sooner rather than later.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Squirrel Master's picture

Still find it funny he is only a 3*. Even if you don't base his potential off the stats his senior year, he still looks the part and can do some great things.
doesn't matter anymore! He is a buckeye now and will be awesome!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

BrewstersMillions's picture

"Tracy Sprinkle was only a 3 star" is going to be a thing.

mitchjacobsen01's picture

From what I´ve read about this kid, I feel like he could have dragged his recruitment out a little more and would probably have received the 4th star based on interest from other programs.  Needless to say, I am glad he didn´t and very happy he is a Buckeye.
I love early enrollees.  

Hovenaut's picture

He may not get the hype that some of his other D-line brethren do, but I'm glad this kid is in Columbus.

shadybuck's picture

excuse me, flow? what's the soup du jour?

AJBor41's picture

It's the soup of the day

Hovenaut's picture

(To complete the scene)
That sounds good.
I'll have that.

Squirrel Master's picture

Feels good to mingle with these laid back country folk, don't it Harry?
I like it a lot!
(now completed)

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

BTwrestle04's picture

You missed:
"My soda is flat. It doesn't have any bubbles."

2014nationalchamps's picture

i just wanted to say that Im from Elyria and watched Sprinkle play for the past few yrs.  There were games where he would get 4-5 sacks and was completely unblockable.  He will be a stud for us and hopefully he can keep improving at the DL position. If I were to rank potential on both Sprinkle and Farris, Sprinkle has the better upside and will be the better player, IMO.
On a side note, Steve Tovar(former Lb early 90s who went on to play in the nfl) was another buckeye great from Elyria. He went to Elyria West HS,which is no longer in service. 

O-H-I-O  for life

OSUinFl's picture

I don't  put much stock in the ratings. Urban wants the right player to fit his system  and be a team player. The one thing I am very happy about how the OSU players are high quality of don't hear them running there mouth about beating scum every year.

MN Buckeye's picture

That's right!  It's up to us to run our mouths about beating scum every year!

ArizonaBuckeye's picture

He reminds me of Thaddeus Gibson. I'm pretty sure he, also, was a 3 star who played with a constant chip on his shoulder and did great things for tOSU. I see the same in Tracey. I see this kid being special in the years to come.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

Buckeyejason's picture

30 tfl and 19 sacks? BEAST!


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Good info on Tracy.  Glad to see him in the Scarlet and Grey!  Go Bucks!

jestertcf's picture

3*  because he didn't attend any camps. Instead he enrolled early

~Because we couldn't go for three~

sharks's picture

Been said already, but dude must be tough coming from Elyria.

A man got to have a code...

OSUinFl's picture

That like 40 yards times are joke. The players are not running with pads when getting times. I rather see his lateral times around a the cones. How times in a games do  players actual run a straight 40 yards not often.