The Dread of Red

By Joe Beale on July 25, 2013 at 11:30a

The one thing that almost every freshman college football player will be trying to avoid this season is the redshirt. While it is true that some players will publicly proclaim their "team first" attitude by saying something along the lines of "I really needed that redshirt season in order to get acclimated to the college experience" (and so forth, in vintage Tressell-ese), inside you know darn well that what he wanted to say was "I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a tire iron than take a redshirt." These guys want to play, not sit.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Ricky beam down to the planet. Guess who's not coming back.No, not that kind of red shirt, the football kind.

Redshirting was once a more common practice than it is now. I can remember very clearly hearing Indiana head coach Bill Mallory say back in 1988 that the key to how well his team played was having so many 5th year seniors (imagine that...Indiana was a contender and Ohio State was not). Experience and time in the system was important, and redshirting was a key component; a freshman only played if he was Chris Spielman or someone like that.

What has caused that to change dramatically over the years is the trend of players leaving early for the NFL, even marginal players who are 3rd to 5th round picks at best. Urban Meyer understands the trend, and he has no hesitation about playing a freshman, even if there is an established starter ahead of him (like Chris Leak was in front of Tim Tebow in 2006).

Last year, 11W Alumnus David Sokol predicted who would be redshirted on the 2012 roster, and he was nearly spot-on. I'm going to give it a try this year, only a bit earlier and before fall camp starts. As a result, the picks will be considerably more speculative in nature.

One player who will not count in the equation is Timothy Gardner, the incoming offensive lineman who was removed from the team on Monday. Assuming there are no untimely injuries to key upperclassmen that would lead to a possible medical redshirt (as was the case with Jordan Hall last season), we should only be talking about incoming freshmen for this list. With that in mind, here are my predictions.


Besides the fact that Baugh has spent the off-season earning a large suite in Urban Meyer's doghouse, he plays a position that has not just one established player but two. Junior Jeff Heuerman is backed by Sophomore Nick Vannett at the tight end position. It is doubtful that Baugh was going to see the field much in any event; now it is certain he won't play in the opener and possible that he will sit for the entire season.


Regardless of where you plan on playing the outstanding athlete from New Albany, he's running into a lot of depth even in his own class. If you're looking at him as a DB, he's competing with the likes of Eli Apple, Cam Burrows, and Vonn Bell for time. If he's a WR, then he's going against James Clark and Corey Smith. If you think of him as a runner, then he's up against Jalin Marshall, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dontre Wilson. Tough luck, Darron.


Conley is a cornerback prospect, and a good one. He could also play safety in a pinch. Last year three freshman DBs got playing time, one cornerback and two safeties. One of the top prospects in this class is a cornerback (Eli Apple) and it is almost a certainty that he will play. I like Conley as a prospect, but not as much as I like Apple. Besides, I'd like to see some more weight on that 6-foot-2 frame.

Learn to fear this man.Bosa: Not on the redshirt list.


I don't believe that both of these incoming defensive tackles will be redshirted, but I do think one of them will. While it is true that Ohio State is losing their entire starting defensive line from last year, it is also true that there are lots of quality players ready to step up. There is already a solid group of eight players plus incoming freshman Billy Price. I think Price and one other will see the field this year but not all three.


The situation at defensive end is similar to that of defensive tackle, but in this case I think it's possible that both could redshirt. The difference is the presence of Joey Bosa in this class. Compared to Bosa, Lewis and Sprinkle both seem undersized. Give them a year to put on some weight.

On the other hand, if Lewis can handle a move to strongside linebacker (as Vico has suggested), I think he has a good chance at getting some playing time. In that case, I would say only Sprinkle takes the redshirt.


The Glenville product is another player who looks undersized for his position (linebacker, although he could move to the "star" position) at only 185 pounds. A redshirt and some extra helpings at training table will be a good idea for Worley.


The only quarterback in the 2012 class (Cardale Jones) took a redshirt last season and I think that scenario repeats itself in 2013. With Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton returning this season, and with Jones having shown some flashes of potential in the spring game, I think the only way Barrett sees the field this season is for both Miller and Guiton to get injured. In other words, don't count on it.


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willshire58's picture

Does anyone know if JT will be completely healthy when fall camp starts?

hit_the_couch's picture

An ACL tear is major and he may not be completely healthy ever

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

3GB's picture

ACL tears are a dime a dozen to sports orthos these days, especially with a med center like OSU.  The repair process is pretty darn reliable now too.   What used to be a 12+ month recovery process can now be done in 7-8 months.  Look at Jake Ryan.
JT is going to be fine.

hit_the_couch's picture

Technology has advanced in the area, but it doesn't mean the kid will be 100% ever again. He tore his LCL too, which isn't as bad but still. I doubt he had the surgery performed at Ohio State.
Can't compare different kids that had ACL tears. They aren't the torn the same and have different genetics etc. 
I hope he does comback though and is a stud.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Toilrt Paper's picture

The surgery was done in an even better place. Texas, by the Cowboys Orthopedic Surgeon. It WAS set up by the Ohio State medical staff though.

nickma71's picture

Yeah. Mark Price will tell you all about it.

BED's picture

Did I miss something about Jones transferring?  Barrett is 4th on the depth chart, and fighting an injury.  He definitely redshirts this season.

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Oyster's picture

Up until '72, freshmen were not allowed to play anyway, per NCAA rules. 

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

DbuckiMcG's picture

In addition Munger announced that he would be making the transition to offensive line. This that knocks out Michael Hill most likely. Would you say it is almost certain Munger redshirts as an OG or is there just to little depth on the O-line for it?

gwalther's picture

Love the Star Trek reference. Gotta admit though, I'm #TeamPicard

Class of 2008

Calgarybuck's picture

Marcus will not redshirt, he's too talented of an option to leave on the bench, plus there's only 2 players ahead of him, if one is even out a week or two it leaves us with one solid option.  Now I can see them trying to squeek one in by having him dress and what not BUT! I see him having a 10-12 catch season with 2 Td's for about 130 yards..

Joe Beale's picture

Neither Heuerman nor Vannett got to double-digits in receptions last season, and no other tight end had any, unless you count Stoney (and I don't). I wouldn't be shocked if he plays, but in that case I think he would have to displace one of the others.

Hovenaut's picture

There is a fourth TE on the roster - redshirt freshman Blake Thomas, Cleveland St. Ignatius, for depth.

Fugelere's picture

Looked good in the spring game too.

Calgarybuck's picture

I did forget about Blake who did have a nice spring game, but I can't overlook how he was chased down from behind vs a linebacker.
Maybe it's just me but I view Thomas as a 90's TE and Marcus as more modern version with how fast he accelerates off the blocks and really creates mismatches.

Squirrel Master's picture

actually Chase will be more suited to a TE-H. He will play a TE that will lineup in the backfield every now and then as a half back blocker. I don't anticipate him being the kind of player that needs to run away from a linebacker. If anything, he'll catch a ball and try to run over the linebacker or defender. There was a few times in that spring game he trucked a defender or two after catching the ball. 
I would be very confident if Urban uses him in some crafty short yardage situations. 

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Calgarybuck's picture

Good observation, I honestly think both will reach the double digit plateau rather easily this year, it's hard to go off of one year with Brax in the system as our whole offense was him and Hyde moving the chains.  I think with the work Brax has been doing we should see him pass for 500-600 more yards during the season and the TE's to make their presense felt as our outside receiving is still lacking and we need some big bodies out running routes to move the chains.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

My son played D-1 soccer and was redshirted his freshman year. It wasn't a lack of talent (his coach told him "if i didn't think you could play at this level I wouldn't have wasted a spot on the team for you"), but there ARE adjustments a kid makes from HS to college. Also, as Joe pointed out in the article, it may be the case that there are several upperclassmen at the same position in front of a kid, so the coach doesn't want to waste a year of eligibility with a kid warming the bench; also, kids develop at different times. During his redshirt year my son grew 2" and put on 15 lbs of muscle.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the "star system" indicates: a 5-star kid is one scouts feel can contribute right away, while a 3-star may need more time to develop?

BuckeyeSki's picture

Tune in next week for Nicky Saban's all new article on Grey-Shirts

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pjtobin's picture

I have no differing opinion. I hope that each redshirt case helps the kid. It must be hard to tell a young person that they need to grow a year. Especially since most of these young ppl were complete studs in hs. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

unholy bucknut's picture

Red shirting does have to be hard on a guy. How hard does that conversation have to be try telling a high caliber recruit he just isn't ready.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Hard on a guy?? Only if he REALLY thinks he can leave early and get drafted high.
THINK ABOUT IT. Being redshirted means you get a FIVE YEAR scholarship. One of 2 things, take the minimum of classes per semester and ease your way through five years for your degree. OR get your first year of your Master's Degree paid for. ALSO get 5 pairs of Gold Pants. :)