Redshirt Forecast: Part I

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Last updated: 08/29/2012 5:16 PM

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Football
Redshirt Forecast Part 1: Look for Me on Saturdays

By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 2012 season is rapidly approaching and it won’t be long before the Ohio State coaches have to start making some hard decisions about which players are going to be on the field.

New OSU head coach Urban Meyer doesn’t recruit players with the intent of redshirting them, but that doesn’t mean those days are over in Columbus. The Buckeyes had eight true freshmen in their recently released 2-deep for the Miami (Ohio) opener, with two more guys being listed as third-teamers on the depth chart.

We will take a look at the 2012 freshman class in our three-part “Redshirt Forecast” series, starting with the guys who are all but certain to see the field this fall.

OFFENSE

Bri'onte Dunn
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bri'onte Dunn

25 RB Bri’onte Dunn (6-1, 210, Canton GlenOak) — Dunn’s story has already been all over the board since getting to Ohio State. He came in early and looked good in the spring, but then ran into some legal troubles over the summer.

He was able to navigate those choppy waters unscathed, and turned in a fine performance during fall camp. Running backs coach Stan Drayton raved about Dunn’s ability with the ball in his hands, and now he will get a chance at both running back and kick return.

According to the depth chart, Dunn beat out redshirt sophomore Rod Smith for the backup tailback spot this fall, and he will also be used as the off returning on kick returns.

68 OT Taylor Decker (6-7, 313, Vandalia Butler) — The only freshman who may see the field more quickly than Dunn on offense is Decker. He has been battling senior Reid Fragel for the right tackle spot since he got to OSU in the spring, and he’s going to play for the Buckeyes this fall.

Offensive line coach Ed Warinner plans to start Fragel in the opener, but Decker is the backup at both tackle spots and Warinner would like to get him in for some early reps against Miami on Saturday.

Michael Thomas
Photo by Jim Davidson
Michael Thomas

83 WR Michael Thomas (6-2, 198, FUMA) — Another kid who could see early reps in the opener is Thomas, a California kid who ended up in Columbus by way of Fork Union. He had a strong performance in the spring, capped by a 12-catch day in the spring game, and it looks like Thomas will be in the mix at receiver.

He hasn’t been talked about a whole lot this fall since his big showing in Ohio Stadium, but he’s listed as the backup to Devin Smith and should see the field early in the year.

50 OL Jacoby Boren (6-2, 287, Pickerington Central) —  The OSU coaches were so impressed with Boren in the spring, they asked him to get his shoulder surgery done so he would be back in the fall. He missed the start of camp, but Boren is back healthy and he will be Ohio State’s backup center for the 2012 season.

DEFENSE

Noah Spence
Photo by Jim Davidson
Noah Spence

8 DE Noah Spence (6-3, 240, Harrisburg, Pa.) — Of all the freshmen, nobody seems more ready to contribute this year than Spence. The former 5-star defensive end has been on the lips of every offensive lineman at OSU this fall, and he will get a chance to contribute as a pass rusher at the Leo spot behind John Simon. Expect to see No. 8 on the defensive line this weekend.

92 DL Adolphus Washington (6-3, 289, Cincinnati Taft) — Washington is another guy who made an immediate impact as a freshman during fall camp. He’s bigger and stronger than people realized, but still has a unique ability to rush the passer. He should see plenty of time as the backup to Johnathan Hankins in the opener against Miami.

Tommy Schutt
Photo by Dan Harker
Tommy Schutt

90 DL Tommy Schutt (6-2, 295, Glen Ellyn, Ill.) — This is one guy who almost didn’t make this first list. He’s listed as a third-team player on the official two-deep, but it seems like the staff thinks highly enough of Schutt that they want to get him some playing time this fall. He was one of the first guys to have his black stripe removed and could benefit the most from the absence of Adam Bellamy.

25 LB David Perkins (6-2, 220, South Bend, Ind.) — This is a kid who can just fly. He’ll have to add some muscle if he wants to be the next great Will linebacker at Ohio State, but he should get a chance immediately on special teams.

Camren Williams
Photo by Jim Davidson
Cameron Williams

5 LB Camren Williams (6-1, 225, West Roxbury, Mass.) — Williams is another guy who should play immediately on special teams. He’s bigger and more cerebral than Perkins, and looks like the prefect future Mike linebacker. One thing that could keep him off the field this year is the return of Storm Klein.

30 DB Devan Bogard (6-2, 192, Glenville) — We don’t know exactly where Bogard will play, but he’s going to be out there. He was the first freshman to have his black stripe removed, and he’s just a football player. He could play some safety, but will more likely be at the “Star” position in the nickel. He will probably get his start on special teams.

*Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of our “Redshirt Forecast,” as we look at the freshmen who are sitting on the fence right now as far as getting on the field as a rookie at Ohio State.

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