Jalyn Holmes has played in 35 games in his career, but has yet to record a single start. Despite coming off of the bench for the Buckeyes throughout his first three seasons, he had an NFL decision to make this past winter. Ultimately, he decided to return for his senior season, and the Ohio State defense is better off for it.
Holmes has shown the NFL the ability to play outside on the edge, and also to slide inside on passing downs, giving offensive linemen fits at both places. Even though his mind is no longer on the NFL, he knows that what he has done over his career will be seen by the right people. What they will see is a football player who loves what he’s doing, and is willing to do whatever is asked.
“I feel like that I’m just showing NFL scouts that I love to play football,” Holmes said. “They can see me standing up. If coach wants me to play tackle, I’m playing tackle. I just have a deep love for this game and whatever Coach Johnson tells me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones‘ job is to stop the run and also to get to the quarterback, so when asking him which young offensive players are standing out to him right now, it makes sense that he would mention freshman quarterback Tate Martell and freshman running back J.K. Dobbins.
We have covered his Martell comments already, and when it comes to Dobbins, Jones says he has traits that you want every running back to have.
“J.K. has really come on,” he said. “He runs hard, like he does not care. He just goes. I like that in him. I’m close to him too. I kind of took him under my wing a little bit.”
It isn’t just the new players who are impressing the vets, it is also the new coaches. Plenty has already been said about new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, but nobody has said it quite like center Billy Price did recently.
“We’re doing some weird, chaotic things that we never did before, and they’re working,” Price said. “It’s kind of cool to see those kinds of things, so the mad scientist, yeah, Kevin ‘the mad scientist’ Wilson.”
If Kevin Wilson is a mad scientist, then perhaps Kerry Coombs is a not-so-evil genius. The way he has continued to develop cornerbacks over the years almost isn’t natural.
Four more freshman cornerbacks will be on the practice field for the Buckeyes this fall, and three of them are already on campus this spring. Shaun Wade, Jeffrey Okudah, and Marcus Williamson are all getting plenty of quality reps in practice, but they were impressing Coombs long before spring camp started.
“Shaun, Jeff, and Marcus are really good players,” he said. “They should be going to the prom, and they’ve put themselves through mat drills, Mickey’s strength program, my anguish for the first three months of this year, and they’ve come out the other side as effective players. Are they good enough yet? No, but we’ve got a long time between now and August 31st. They have all the skill set that they need to be phenomenal players, and they will be.”