Back in February, I gave you five (or so) predictions for Ohio State’s 2017 early enrollees, so I thought it would be a good idea to do the same for the rest of the freshmen now that they are all on campus. I’m going to use the same topics that I did in February. I could say it was for clarity’s sake, but in reality it’s because I’m quite lazy, as you know.
Anyway, we’ll only be talking about the Ohio State football players who did not enroll early, which excludes Baron Browning, J.K. Dobbins, Tate Martell, Josh Myers, Jeffrey Okudah, Isaiah Pryor, Kendall Sheffield, Shaun Wade, Brendon White, and Marcus Williamson.
Will you agree with my assessments? Do you ever?
Let’s get started.
1. Who plays, who redshirts?
There is nothing wrong with redshirting, just ask most of the players Ohio State has sent to the NFL over the last few years. The need for a redshirt can be about the player needing to develop more, or the prominent depth at the position he plays. As to who I think redshirts, I will go with defensive tackle Jerron Cage, receiver Ellijah Gardiner, receiver Jaylen Harris, offensive lineman Thayer Munford, and linebacker Pete Werner. Maybe defensive tackle Haskell Garrett too. There are just so many defensive tackles already on the roster.
I could see Jaylen Harris playing this year. He could have a similar trajectory as Binjimen Victor last year. Victor wasn’t ready early on, but by the end of the season he was working into the rotation. I really like Haskell Garrett, but where are the minutes? Josh Alabi already moved to the offensive line because of the lack of a need for another 300-pounder this year. Pete Werner could get some time on special teams, but they’ve already got Tuf Borland, Justin Hilliard, Keandre Jones, Malik Harrison, and more for that role. I suppose kicker Blake Haubeil should be mentioned here as well. We won’t know his situation until he either wins the job or doesn’t. If he doesn’t, there’s no need to play him this year.
So who plays? Everybody else. Offensive guard Wyatt Davis is going to push for a spot in the two-deep, but is that enough to burn his redshirt? Is a freshman Davis a better backup than Demetrius Knox or Gavin Cupp or fellow freshman Josh Myers? I don’t know.
I do expect wide receiver Trevon Grimes to play. He’s too athletically-proficient to sit. I see cornerback Amir Riep helping out on special teams eventually as well. Then there is defensive end Chase Young. There are no snaps available for him, but I don’t know if that matters.
2. Who is the first to start a game?
If I go with Blake Haubeil here, that’s not a cop-out, right? It’s not? Cool. Thanks for agreeing with me. I don’t really think Haubeil is going to beat out Sean Nuernberger, but that’s a whole helluva lot easier than somebody like Chase Young beating out Sam Hubbard or Tyquan Lewis. Anyway, I shouldn’t have to justify this pick to you. You already told me it wasn’t a cop-out.
I do wonder how out-of-the-box ready Trevon Grimes will be. I’ve had people tell me that he’s the best receiver to come through Ohio State in years and years. If he’s that good, then he should have a pretty good shot to start, right? Okay, I’ll go away from Haubeil and go with Grimes. Plus, I think it’s pretty cowardly of you to try and go with a kicker there. That’s a total cop-out by you in my opinion.
3. Who will be the first to score a touchdown?
Uh oh, I think this might be turning into a Five for Friday about Trevon Grimes, because he’s the pick here too. Jaylen Harris is really the only other option. I see Ellijah Gardiner as a redshirt this year as he gets stronger and gets acclimated to big-time football. You know what, I’m selling myself on the Jaylen Harris prediction right now. Hear me out. I’m expecting Grimes to be a guy who plays early in a game, whereas Harris is probably a mop-up-time contributor. I can see some fades being thrown to him in the end zone against Army and UNLV. Of course, this would mean that Grimes would have to stay out of the end zone for the first 11 quarters of the season, and I’m not sure that’s possible. Sorry, the only answer here is Trevon Grimes. Maybe you lily-livers can go with Blake Haubeil again here.
4. Who will be the first to win the Heisman?
Let’s do a little process of elimination here. You basically have to be a quarterback or a running back to win the Heisman, and Tate Martell and J.K. Dobbins enrolled in the winter. So who do you go with out of the 11 non-earlies? It’s Trevon Grimes, right? I suppose Chase Young could be a sleeper in 2019 as a junior. The Ohio State defensive ends are going to be one of the most-hyped positions in college football moving forward. That hype will be based off of recruiting, as well as the NFL production of Joey Bosa and the players to come.
It might even be easier for a defensive end to win a Heisman than a receiver nowadays. For one, Grimes likely won’t be used in the return game, which is pretty much a prerequisite for receivers. Alright, I’m going with Chase Young. If this was 2004, I might agree with your decision to go with Blake Haubeil here.
5. Who will be the first to win All-Conference honors?
Chase Young will be in the two-deep next year at defensive end, so he’s going to have a great shot to be the pick here. In 2018, it’s looking like the top four would be Young, Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and a Rushman-to-be-named-later. Given that voters understand the rotation, an Ohio State defensive end wouldn’t need outrageous stats to earn All-Conference accolades. Heck, Tyquan Lewis was the B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year last year with 8.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Yeah, Chase Young is my pick here.
Although, if you think about it, Blake Haubeil is a pretty good bet here too. He was one of the top high school kickers in the nation last year. He will be held down by Urban Meyer’s absolute disdain for field goals, however.
Bonus: First to be drafted?
We are talking about the 2020 NFL Draft here, and there will be members of this class selected. Who will be the first? Good question. Do you go with possibly the next Julio Jones in Trevon Grimes, or a defensive end to anchor your defense around, like Chase Young? It will depend on the needs, obviously, but I’m going with Chase Young here because Matt Millen is no longer around to draft a wide receiver. (Is that reference too overused and outdated now? Probably, right?) Oh, and don’t sleep on Haskell Garrett here. I think he is going to be someone to watch very soon, and certainly by 2020.