Redshirt Forecast Part II: On the Fence
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Yesterday we looked at the Ohio State freshmen that you should expect to see on the field this season. Today, we examine those newcomers who may or may not get in on the action.
While there is quite a bit of talent on this list, most of it comes at positions of depth. There isn't necessarily a need for any of these players to see the field this season, but if they do, it's because the coaching staff has plans for them immediately, and down the road.
Photo by Dan Harker
82 WR James Clark (5-9 185, New Smyrna Beach, Florida)
Clark is certainly part of the speed quotient that Urban Meyer wants for his offense, but with so many available weapons right now, he may not be needed. At the moment he's battling to be the #5 receiver, and he's probably third or fourth in that race. The return game is locked up right now by Dontre Wilson and Philly Brown, so there may not be a spot there either. Still, Clark has the kind of skill that Meyer covets, so he could be in the mix somehow.
84 WR Corey Smith (6-1 191, Akron, Ohio)
While Smith is a junior and not a freshman, he is still having to find his way at a new school. The transition hasn't been an easy one, and a redshirt may not be a bad idea here. Smith is in the same mix for the #5 receiver as Clark and Michael Thomas, and even if he wins the job, how many snaps can he expect when the staff wants to throw the ball to two tight ends and two running backs, not to mention the rest of the receivers?
Photo by Jim Davidson
35 S Christopher Worley (6-1 204, Cleveland, Ohio)
Worley looked good in the one practice we saw him participate in, though he did receive a targeting penalty during redzone scrimmaging. Worley would initially be expected to show up on special teams, and he would be in the three-deep at best among the safeties right now. However, there will need to be two new starting safeties next season, so the more experience a potential candidate can get this year the better.
59 DE Tyquan Lewis (6-3 255, Tarboro, North Carolina)
Lewis brings more speed and athleticism to the Ohio State pass rush, but the question remains whether the Buckeyes will need anymore speed and athleticism than they already have at the viper/leo position. With Noah Spence starting and Jamal Marcus backing him up, is there a role for a #3 here?
Photo by Jim Davidson
43 LB Darron Lee (6-1 219, New Albany, Ohio)
Lee was a safety and quarterback in high school, so he's still learning the linebacker position. Would it be better for him if he was able to sit for a year and learn behind the likes of Ryan Shazier? Probably. However, there could also be a spot on kick coverage for him, which would be a great opportunity for him to gain some experience. He was a playmaker on both sides of the ball for New Albany last year, and could add something on special teams this season.
85 TE Marcus Baugh (6-4 240, Riverside, California)
When the Ohio State coaches tout tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett like they have, it makes you wonder if there's room for a third guy here. And with J.T. Moore moving from defensive end to tight end following Blake Thomas' injury, it makes you wonder even more. Urban Meyer doesn't want to redshirt players, but if you don't need them, why burn a year of eligibility for a handful of snaps?
Photo by John Porentas
75 OT Evan Lisle (6-6 297, Centerville, Ohio)
When Urban Meyer talks about the offensive line and who he has faith in, he isn't mentioning Lisle to this point. He is, however, talking about tackles Kyle Dodson and Darryl Baldwin. If he has confidence in his top four tackles, how badly does he need a fifth? Plus, it's generally better for offensive linemen to season for a year before being called upon.
36 LB Trey Johnson (6-2 220, Lawrenceville, Georgia)
Part 1 - Those who will play.
Johnson has had his struggles throughout camp, and special teams is where he will see most of his action. Likely a weakside linebacker, he is no better than third on the depth chart behind Ryan Shazier and Camren Williams. Will he be given a chance to get his feet under him by redshirting, or will he find his legs immediately on special teams?
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