Over 100,000 fans packed the Horseshoe last Saturday, (April 16) for the 2016 Ohio State spring football game and I happened to be on hand to take it all in.
Besides the fact that Urban Meyer got what he asked for getting 100k people to attend a spring game, there were a few interesting things to take away from Saturday’s game.
This year’s Ohio State team will enter the season with a number of question marks. So many new faces with little to no experience playing in meaningful action.
Well, the good thing about attracting 100,000 fans to a spring game is you can actually see who will perform when the lights come on.
The spring game gave us a glimpse of what we can expect from the number of unknown talent of the Buckeye roster.
With the number of starters from last year’s team set to be taken in next week’s NFL Draft, you would think there would be not much talent left for Ohio State to even think of competing in the Big Ten next season.
But that’s why the Urban Meyer’s and Jim Harbaugh’s of the world recruit with the relentlessness that they do. When you recruit well year after year those recruits, if coached up well enough, will become stars in their own right given their newfound opportunity.
A few players stood out to me on Saturday, some that I expected, and others that were a bit of surprise. Regardless, it was good to see some of the projected new playmakers for Ohio State performing on a bigger stage.
Torrance Gibson, a redshirt freshman who was one of the most highly recruited players in the country out of high school had a tremendous game, scoring two touchdowns for the gray team, including this one.
I was really impressed with the body control Gibson showed when going up to get the ball. I’ve been saying this for a while now, but look out for Torrance Gibson to be one of the next stars at Ohio State.
There is much talk about the running back position as well, with one of the schools all-time greats in Ezekiel Elliott headed to the NFL.
For the limited carries he received, redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber also impressed. He rushed for two short touchdowns showing good vision and a tough running style.
Weber is battling with Senior Bri’onte Dunn for the starting spot. But with Dunn not participating in the spring game due to injury, Weber and true freshman Antonio Williams received a bulk of the work.
Although J.T. Barrett is the clear-cut starter, redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Burrow had a very good game hitting on a few deep throws and tossing three touchdown passes.
Burrow showed enough promise to believe he the future starting quarterback for the Buckeyes.
On defense, Malik Hooker was a name that really stood out. Hooker tallied two interceptions returning one all the way back for a touchdown.
All in all, some of the new faces expected to step up next season showed they had some ability.
Whether the team can put it all together by the September 3 opening against Bowling Green State remains to be seen.