Redshirt Forecast Part II: On the Fence
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In Part I of our Redshirt Forecast we looked Ohio State’s 2012 freshman class, specifically the players who are all but certain to see the field as rookies this fall.
That group included four players on offense and six on defense, but there could be even more guys in this recruiting class who get on the field as freshmen for the Buckeyes this fall, and most of them happen to be on the defensive side of the football.
Photo by Dan Harker
95 DE Se’Von Pittman (6-3, 268, Canton McKinley) — Pittman is an intriguing prospect because he was at Ohio State in the spring, but didn’t play much because of a knee injury. He looks like a veteran before the whistle, but still has a lot of freshman in him once the football is snapped. Pittman could get some opportunities to play strongside end, but the emergence of Noah Spence on the other side could cost Pittman if Steve Miller ends up playing some strongside end this year. Right now it’s up in the air whether Pittman can crack the defensive line rotation as a freshman.
34 LB Jamal Marcus (6-2, 225, Durham, N.C.) — Marcus seems like the perfect candidate to see the field as a rookie in 2012, and he probably will. He wasn’t in the recently-released two-deep – which is the main reason we have him sitting on the fence right now – but that doesn’t mean he is not living up to the hype. Marcus has a long way to go in terms of learning the defense, but he is a point A to point B as fast he can kind of player. That should land him a spot on special teams, if nothing else.
Photo by Jim Davidson
15 LB Josh Perry (6-4, 238, Olentangy) — This is another kid who probably should have made our first list of guys who are going to see the field. After all, he is listed as the backup to Etienne Sabino at Sam linebacker. He is a massive backer and will be in the mix as long as he can stay healthy. That’s been the big issue for Perry. He’s been battling asthma and a few minor lingering issues throughout spring and fall, but Perry should get a chance to play this year if he’s healthy.
42 LB Luke Roberts (6-1, 226, Lancaster) — Roberts is probably more of a lean to the kids who are going to redshirt in 2012 than the ones who are definitely going to see the field, but he has been in the mix at linebacker this fall. The return of Storm Klein probably hurts Roberts the most when it comes to playing time, but Klein won’t be available until week three. With Camren Williams emerging as the future at Mike linebacker, Roberts has to battle Conner Crowell for a spot on the depth chart. Right now, he’s on the outside looking in.
Photo by Jim Davidson
48 LB Joe Burger (6-1, 225, Cincinnati LaSalle) — As a preferred walk-on, Burger is kid who would seemingly be a lock to redshirt in 2012, but we’re not so sure that’s automatically the case. He probably isn’t going to get on the field at linebacker. There are just too many guys ahead of him right now, but Burger has been a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff this fall. He was one of the first players to get his rookie stripe removed, and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was evening singing his praises last week. If anything, Burger could get out there on some special teams as a rookie.
24 CB Armani Reeves (5-10, 194, West Roxbury, Mass.) — Reeves has been a bit of a mystery since he got to Ohio State. He certainly looks the part, but he’s been a little bit behind in picking up the system. It sounds like he is starting to come on as the season approaches, and he recently had his black stripe removed. Reeves could be a special teams guy early in the year, but it wouldn’t surprising to see him emerge as an option at corner later in the year.
18 CB Najee Murray (5-9, 178, Steubenville) — Murray was hampered by a minor injury at one point in camp, but he looks like a kid who could be an excellent special teams player for the Buckeyes early in his career. He is built like a corner, which is where is playing right now, but hits like a safety. He wasn’t listed in the recent two-deep, but No. 18 could be on a kick coverage team somewhere Saturday.
*Stay tuned tomorrow for Part III of our “Redshirt Forecast,” as we look at the freshmen who are probably going to have to wait until next year before they really get a chance to get on the field at Ohio State.
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