COLUMBUS, Ohio — With Spring Football in our rearview mirror, all we can do now is look back at the month that was and either ignore it, or pick it apart like the vultures we are.
Handing Out the Spring Football Hardware, MLB Style
By Tony Gerdeman
Rather than focus on the negative, however, I thought it best to focus on the positives by handing out some awards. And since Spring is in full bloom, what better way to recognize this time of year than by borrowing Major League Baseball's awards and using them for my own personal gain without any express written consent whatsoever?
Granted, not all of these awards have a football counterpart, but I'll try to make it work.
Most Valuable Player
H-Back Dontre Wilson. Wilson didn't close the spring as strongly as he opened it, but it was clear early on that he will be a very busy player this season. Right now he is the early bet to lead the Buckeyes in receptions, and it might not be that close.
Runners Up: Joshua Perry; Tyvis Powell
Joshua Perry and Tyvis Powell both stepped up for their respective positions and solidified some question marks moving forward.
Quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones stayed with the ones throughout the spring, which many would have considered a surprise if asked about it in February. Still needs to be more consistent, but he has done everything that he has been asked to do by his coaches.
Runners Up: J.T. Barrett
J.T. Barrett performed well enough this spring to warrant further consideration to be Braxton Miller's backup this season.
Rookie of the Year
Linebacker Darron Lee. After being "sent down" last year as a true freshman, Darron Lee emerged this spring as a redshirt freshman and has earned a starting linebacker spot. He has tremendous range, which allows him to get to the ball before it's 7-10 yards downfield.
Runners Up: Curtis Samuel; Raekwon McMillan
It was a very good spring for some young Buckeyes, and no two first-year rookies earned as much praise from Urban Meyer as Curtis Samuel and Raekwon McMillan.
Manager of the Year
Cornerbacks Coach Kerry Coombs. While there are deeper positions on the team, perhaps no position was as consistently productive as the Ohio State cornerbacks. Each of Doran Grant, Armani Reeves, Gareon Conley and Eli Apple looked like starters this spring, and even walk-on Nik Sarac performed well.
Runners Up: Stan Drayton; Luke Fickell
Urban Meyer wanted more from his linebackers, and he got a glimpse of the possibilities this spring. That credit should go to Luke Fickell at least a bit, don't you think? Meanwhile, the Buckeyes are as deep as anybody in the nation at running back, and somehow Stan Drayton was able to get a freshman to work his way into the two deep.
Cornerback Eli Apple. When your #4 cornerback wins a an award such as this one, that should tell you what kind of spring the cornerbacks had. Apple closed the spring in tremendous fashion, and with the way he also hits, I'm not sure he shouldn't also be a candidate for the next award.
Runners Up: Michael Thomas, Gareon Conley
Michael Thomas is on this list for his one-handed grab in the Spring Game that actually lost yards. That's dedication to a reception, people. Gareon Conley also caught a few passes that led to negative yards for the offense this spring.
Defensive End Joey Bosa. It's not that Joey Bosa necessarily dominated this spring, because he didn't. But the fact that he is just a sophomore and is already receiving "the John Simon treatment" during practice is very telling. Think of it as Barry Bonds getting intentionally walked time after time.
Runners Up: Michael Bennett; Adolphus Washington
I don't really know how this award fits into football parlance, but I know this defensive line can hit, so they seemed like a good area to focus on.
Hank Aaron Award
Linebacker Chris Worley. This award goes to the best hitter in the league, and Chris Worley threw his body around enough this spring to deserve this award. The great thing about Worley is that he doesn't care where the ball is either, he'll just go and get it.
Runners Up: Eli Apple; Bri'onte Dunn
Eli Apple may have been the hardest hitter in the secondary this spring. Ask any tight end on the team and they'd likely agree. Offensively, running back Bri'onte Dunn brings the north-south running style that leads to some seriously loud paint trading.
Rolaids Relief Man
Free Safety Cameron Burrows. When Vonn Bell went down, the Buckeyes went to the bullpen and called upon Cameron Burrows, and Burrows stepped up. In fact, he did so well in a relief role that there is talk of turning him into a starter down the road.
Runners Up: Michael Thomas; Curtis Samuel
Michael Thomas stepped in for an injured Evan Spencer, and may never give the spot back. Curtis Samuel, meanwhile, took advantage of Rod Smith's absence, as did the rest of the running backs.
Comeback Player of the Year
Cornerback Armani Reeves. Armani Reeves has been been written off so many times since last season that it's a wonder he can even face you in a mirror anymore. When word first broke that Reeves was repping with the ones, some fans weren't exactly thrilled. But when you consider that Reeves hasn't budged off of that first line despite how well backup corners Gareon Conley and Eli Apple have played, you should find your nerves calmed a bit.
Runners Up: Michael Thomas; Corey Smith
Both Michael Thomas and Corey Smith redshirted a season ago and showed this spring that they are ready to contribute. The Buckeyes will need at least one of them to step up and be a legitimate producer this season.
Roberto Clemente Award
(This award goes to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball (football), sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team.)
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett. This award goes to Michael Bennett because he does best exemplify the game of football and his contribution to said team. The other aspects of the award, as loosely understood by me, boils down to having the best Twitter account on the football team, which is where Bennett locks up this award.
Runners Up: There is no runner up to Michael Bennett.
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