Every year one of the primary points of interest in spring football is which of the newest Buckeyes are standing out in spring drills.
You often hear comments like players are “flashing” or “jumping out at the coaches” with their performance. Those are the players that garner interest in the ranks of the fans following the team. They also have a leg up in the quest to get on the field early in their career.
Sometimes it’s surprising who stands out, and sometimes just as surprising who doesn’t.
OSU defefensive line coach Larry Johnson talked about that with reporters last week . Johnson mentioned that freshman defensive end Jack Sawyer was having a good spring, then added that one of the reasons Sawyer is doing so well is becausse the Pickerington native is a local recruit.
Talent is certainly one of the reasons Sawyer is doing well, you don’t stand out without it, but there are plenty of other talented freshman on the practice field who are not as far along as Sawyer at this point. The advantage that Sawyer has as a local player is that during his high school years he was able to get access to coaching by the OSU coaching staff during high school clinics.
“Local players are on campus more. He attended all the clinics,” said Johnson. “In doing so he learned how we do things, how we do drills, how we teach technique. It’s a big edge for him,” Johnson said.
The opposite is true of players who come from out of state.
“Long distance players need more time,” said Johsnon
They need the time not because they have less talent, but because they just aren’t fully up to speed on how the OSU coaching staff does things and what is expected. While they are learning that, they are not learning other things that might get them on the field more quickly. That has worked out so well for Sawyer that he is very likely to get on the field this year.
“Sawyer can earn a role,” said Johnson. “I’m not afraid to play freshmen.”