Ohio State football: 10 Players Who need a good spring.

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Last updated: 04/12/2011 3:36 PM
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Football
10 Players Who Need a Good Spring
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring practice is more than half over at Ohio State and the annual Scarlet and Gray Spring Game is rapidly approaching.

This year’s game will likely feature a different format than in years past, but it still a place for players to show what they can do on the big stage.

The spring in general is a time for players to show the coaches what they can do, and here are 10 players who need to finish out the spring with a strong showing. 

Braxton Miller
Photo by Jim Davidson
Braxton Miller

10. Braxton Miller — This spring is a chance for Miller to make a big splash in his first 15 practices at Ohio State. People know the name, but now they need to know the game. He isn’t going to win or lose the quarterback battle this spring, but if he continues to excel like he did in Saturday’s scrimmage, watch the other guys start to get a little nervous.

9. John Simon — He was a starter, and by all accounts, a solid player for the Buckeyes last season, but this team is looking for guys who are ready to go from good to great. They have to replace a lot of talent on the defense, but no one more so than Cam Heyward. At first glance, there isn’t a guy who can step up and do that, but Simon could be that guy, or at least a part of the equation.

Carlos Hyde
Photo by Jim Davidson
Carlos Hyde

8. Carlos Hyde — With all the talk of Rod Smith this spring, Hyde needs to make some plays out there if he wants to keep people from forgetting about him. There is only one ball to go around, so being fourth on the depth chart while Boom Herron is out can’t be a good thing for a guy if he wants to get on the field. Hyde brings a unique set of skills to the position, but eventually he needs to start making a push.

7. Orhian Johnson — Yes, Johnson is a returning starter on a defense that lost seven starters from a year ago, but that doesn’t mean his starting job is not in danger. Johnson was serviceable last year after taking over for C.J. Barnett when he went down with a knee injury, but Barnett is back and the addition of Christian Bryant to the mix at safety means there are three legitimate candidates competing for two spots.

6. Chris Fields — It’s no secret the Buckeyes are in need of help at receiver, especially with DeVier Posey being suspended the first five games of the year. Fields came on with a big spring last year, but now is the time for him to put it all together. With Philly Brown penciled in at the flanker position, the other spot is wide open for Fields as he heads into his third season in Columbus.

Taylor Graham
Photo by Jim Davidson
Taylor Graham

5. Taylor Graham — With the nationalization of recruiting, it was hardly a surprise to Graham when Braxton Miller signed with the Buckeyes in February, but he might be a bit stunned by how quickly Miller is making an impact at Ohio State. Because of his big arm and pedigree, Graham has a legitimate shot to win the starting job while Terrelle Pryor is out, but he needs to show Jim Tressel and the staff consistency.

4. Marcus Hall — After not competing in a single game last season, Hall suddenly finds himself thrust into the mix for the starting left tackle job while Mike Adams is suspended. He is also in the mix for both starting guard spots, but senior right tackle J.B. Shugarts said the most important thing is to find out who will play left tackle while Adams is out. The coaches seem to like Hall for the job, but both Andrew Norwell and Jack Mewhort are also in the mix.

Jaamal Berry
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jaamal Berry

3. Jaamal Berry — With Herron facing a suspension and Jordan Hall getting more reps in the slot, it is as if the sea has parted for Berry this spring. He was third on the depth chart last fall, but he might be the most explosive back on the roster and he should finally get the chance to prove it. With a big spring and equally impressive fall, Berry could emerge as the top ball-carrier while Herron is out…and maybe after.

2. Kenny Guiton — He’s only a sophomore, but it might be now or never time for Guiton entering his third season at Ohio State. He has shown glimpses of greatness, including last year’s spring game, but the heat is turned up now that it is for real. If he can lock down the opening-day start while Pryor is suspended, it would make things very interesting around Ohio State heading into 2012.

Etienne Sabino
Photo by Jim Davidson
Etienne Sabino

1. Etienne Sabino — After agreeing to a redshirt last season, no one is more anxious to get on the field this fall than Sabino. Considering his hype coming out of high school, Sabino probably assumed he would be a returning starter by now, but the spot is wide open for him this spring. The Buckeyes would love to see Sabino grab this opportunity to play alongside Andrew Sweat in the starting lineup and never look back.


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