Senior Leaders Attend Buckeye Kickoff

Ohio State staged a special welcome to its students on Saturday with the annual Buckeye Kickoff event. The pep rally was attended by OSU staffers as well as six seniors who could be looked upon as leaders for the Buckeyes in 2013.

Photo Gallery of the event

Ohio State University freshmen might have gotten the first look at OSU football's captains for the upcoming season.

The Buckeye Kickoff event, held Saturday at Ohio Stadium, introduces first-year students to some of the traditions associated with the OSU football program. In the past, the event has also at times introduced Buckeye Nation to the team's captains for the coming season.

So, there's a reason to think that the six OSU football seniors in attendance for the most recent installment of the event – including quarterback Kenny Guiton, offensive tackle Jack Mewhort, center Corey Linsley, left guard Andrew Norwell, safety C.J. Barnett and kicker Drew Basil, are in the running for captaining the 2013 Buckeyes or will at least serve as team leaders.

The Buckeye Kickoff event has served as the first public appearance for OSU captains in the past. In 2012, the first group of captains overseen by head coach Urban MeyerJohn Simon, Etienne Sabino, Zach Boren, Garrett Goebel and Jordan Hall – took part in the event.

Barnett confirmed to BSB that the six players at this year's event have not been given the honor of captaining OSU — yet. Captains are still to be determined, Barnett said as he exited the Horseshoe, something confirmed with a school spokesman by BSB today.

Barnett also said he was not aware of a timetable for naming the team's captains prior to next Saturday's season opener against Buffalo.

Minus any certainty regarding their respective statues as captains, the six Buckeyes still appeared to enjoy their visit with OSU freshmen.

After arriving fashionably late with assistant strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, the Buckeyes led a tutorial on the "Quick Cals," the pregame ritual instituted by Meyer and head strength coach Mickey Marotti in 2012.

Freshmen enjoyed "Ohio Dogs," beef hot dogs topped with bacon, cheese, mashed potato, scallions and barbeque sauce, and were then treated to a private performance by the Ohio State University Marching Band.

Guiton said he enjoyed sharing the traditions with the new OSU students.

"It's a cool experience," Guiton said. "I'm a senior and I remember the day I first came on campus and my first game. So, I just want them to have a good experience."

Each of the players in attendance brings their own résumé into a leadership role for the Buckeyes this season.

As far as backup quarterbacks go, Guiton saw significant playing time in 2012, throwing for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Most notably, he stood in for an injured Braxton Miller against Purdue on Oct. 20 and helped OSU bridge a deficit late in regulation before helping lead the Buckeyes to a 29-22 overtime victory.

Mewhort, who has started 25 consecutive games at left tackle coming into 2013, would seem a likely candidate for captain as he was just one of three players on the team entrusted with attending and speaking at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago in late July. Linsley is the returning starter at center for OSU and Norwell is a returning first-team All-Big Ten selection, as voted by the media.

Barnett has been lauded by coaches during the 2013 preseason, including co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Everett Withers, who said the player has grown by "leaps and bounds" during the offseason.

"I always thought (Barnett) was a good football player, but he's really gotten better fundamentals, really worked on his technique in the offseason," Withers said.

For his part, Basil contributed greatly to OSU's undefeated 2012 season as he connected on 8 of 11 field goal tries as well as 56 of 57 PATs. By season's end, Basil was the team's third-leading scorer with 80 points behind Miller and Carlos Hyde.

Other candidates would seem to include quarterback Braxton Miller and safety Christian Bryant, OSU's other two representatives at the Big Ten Media Days, as well as senior wideout Corey Brown and junior linebacker Ryan Shazier.

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