Redshirt Forecast Part 2: On the Fence
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the first part of our Redshirt Forecast, we looked at the freshmen who are likely to see the field in 2011 . That doesn’t mean, however, that they have a copyright on early playing time.
Every year there is a group of rookies who could go either way. Half of them usually end up redshirting while the other half gets thrust into immediate action right away. With all the losses on both sides of the ball, this could be a season where more of the youngsters get to play, but only time will tell.
We take a look at the 2011 freshmen who are on the fence heading into the last week of fall camp.
Photo by Dan Harker
WR Evan Spencer (Vernon Hills, Ill.) — After a slow start, Spencer has really come on strong over the last week. He seems to have settled into his role and the OSU legacy has become a favorite target for the quarterbacks. He has good size and quickness to go with his hands, but the one thing keeping him off the field this fall could be classmate Devin Smith. The Buckeyes have a good amount of talent at the receiver position, especially with the development of Verlon Reed. If Spencer doesn’t get on the field early, they may decide to redshirt him, especially with DeVier Posey coming back in week six.
OL Tommy Brown (Akron Firestone) — Unlike Brian Bobek and Antonio Underwood, Brown probably isn’t ready to play as a true freshman. He started out playing right tackle in the spring, but quickly found himself behind Underwood in the fall. He moved to left guard last week and then moved back to right tackle, which shows he is versatile enough to help the Buckeyes if they find themselves in a pinch because of injuries.
Photo by Jim Davidson
DE Steve Miller (Canton McKinley) — Miller is one player who barely missed being on the list of guys who are sure bets to play this fall. He has made an instant impact at the Leo position and has the talent to play early, but a lot will depend on how many guys Jim Heacock decides to rotate up front. Right now, Miller is behind Nathan Williams and J.T. Moore at the Leo spot. He would also be behind Solomon Thomas if he were healthy/not suspended for five games. It will be interesting to see how they handle Miller.
Photo by Jim Davidson
LB Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va.) — The one name everyone was hoping to see on the first list shows up here as a guy on the fence for a redshirt. The former 5-star prospect has admittedly struggled to pick up the defense so far in camp, and a redshirt year might not be a bad thing so he can get his mind caught up to his body. It says a lot that they are still repping him behind Jordan Whiting, who is suspended for the first game, but the low numbers at linebacker make Grant a candidate to play early. If nothing else, he could be asked to contribute on special teams in order to get him ready for next season.
LS Bryce Haynes (Cumming, Ga.) — Another guy who seemed to be a lock to get some playing time this fall was Haynes. The scholarship long-snapper from Georgia has a rare talent for what he does, but right now he is still behind George Makridis for the team’s long-snapping role. That could change, but a redshirt year wouldn’t be the worst thing for Haynes as he tries to bulk up a little for the college level.
DB Ron Tanner (Columbus Eastmoor) — Before Saturday, Tanner seemed liked a defensive back destined to spend his first year learning on the sideline. He has hardly been in the rotation at safety this fall, but all of a sudden he showed up on the first-string kick coverage unit during Saturday’s kick scrimmage. He is physical for his size, and eager, but it’s not often the coaches decide to burn a kids redshirt just to play him on special teams. Of course they did that with Jermale Hines a few years back and that turned out just fine.
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