Arguably the most praised player of the spring, Brown entered spring after a true freshman season in which he gained playing time as the year progressed but finished with just one carry and one reception. The Sparta, N.J., native lost 20 pounds in the offseason, and his noticeably slimmer figure helped propel him into the shift from lining up at “H” to contributing as a true wide receiver. Meyer believes he could be in line to start as a sophomore.
“Noah Brown has had an excellent spring, made some plays,” Meyer said.
Campbell showed up to Ohio State last summer as a 16-year-old and didn’t play as a true freshman, but he spent last fall making waves on the practice squad and took advantage of his opportunities this spring. He got on the board in the spring game with his first touchdown as a Buckeye, and Meyer said afterward that he liked the way Campbell responded to his challenge.
“Here's a kid that just turned 17 years old, about to hyperventilate – he's really not. He's fine. And I grab him: ‘I need you to win the game right here.’ I need you to score. It was like on the 4 yard line.
“And he looked at me … he took the ball, put his left foot in the ground and dove in, made a great cut and scored, and I saw his celebration in the end zone. That's one I remember from the spring game. That's going to help him get into the rotation.”
Conner should be getting ready for his senior prom, but instead he graduated early from Dublin (Ohio) Scioto and enrolled at Ohio State a semester early. His time at spring practice paid off. He intercepted a pass in the spring game and finished with a game-high seven tackles. The instinctual linebacker caught the attention of both his teammates and Meyer, who said he expects Conner to contribute on special teams this year at the very least.
“He was good,” Meyer said. “We had high expectations for him, though. Hope he doesn't redshirt and gets involved in the kicking game. He had a very good, had a good day today. He's a tough guy who plays hard. Good qualities to have.”
Conley’s play in 2014 didn’t always inspire confidence, most notably in the Michigan State game when he was yanked after two series in favor of the banged-up Eli Apple after getting picked on by MSU quarterback Connor Cook. However, safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell said Conley operated like a starting cornerback this spring, and Meyer agreed. Following the spring game, Meyer said that Conley will head into fall practice as the presumed starter opposite Apple.
“Conley is penciled in now,” Meyer said. “We're going to make the call to the family and say your son earned a right to start at Ohio State.”
Dunn has been an afterthought for much of his Ohio State career, but that could change in his junior season. Meyer has stated his preference for having up to four capable running backs, and with sophomore Curtis Samuel primed for a switch to the “H” spot, Dunn could be the recipient of more carries. As Meyer said after the game, Dunn’s spring earned him a chance to contribute for Ohio State this fall.
“Bri'onte Dunn has earned a right to contribute to the Buckeyes next year,” Meyer said.
There was one spot open on the offensive line, and Farris appears to have beat out sophomore Jamarco Jones for that role. He spent 2014 as the sixth man of the offensive line, a versatile player who could line up at tackle or guard depending on where he was needed. He’ll get a chance to match the performance of Darryl Baldwin, who had success in that spot as a senior last fall.
“Chase Farris has earned his way, he's a starting right tackle at Ohio State,” Meyer said.
After being shuttled back and forth between linebacker and tight end to start his Ohio State career, the player who spent his high school career as a safety finally found a home at defensive end. His transition to the trenches began in the middle of last season, but this spring is the first time he got to take reps at a reasonable weight for that position. He did well enough that Meyer said he’ll be in the rotation this fall, and Joey Bosa referred to him as his protégé.
While Hubbard performed well, the spot opposite Bosa belongs to Lewis until someone else proves otherwise. After a redshirt season in 2013, Lewis began to show flashes of production last season. However, this spring was when he began to make his move and show he could take on a starting role. His spring was cut short with a mild shoulder injury, but Meyer saw enough to proclaim him the starter.
“The other name is Tyquan Lewis,” Meyer said. “He's a guy that's penciled in to be in the rotation, along with Sam Hubbard. So I would say on that end, right decision, now we've got to somehow – this is a really valuable next few months.”
Price started all 15 games in 2014, but it wasn’t until the final three games that he felt truly comfortable on the offensive line. Spring practice gave him a chance to show what he could do at center, and Price says he feels more confident than ever with his level of play. Meyer said his improvement from last spring has been night and day.
“Billy Price is playing outstanding football for us right now,” Meyer said. “Billy Price is night and day what he was years ago.”
Schutt’s shortcomings throughout his career have mostly been because of foot and ankle injuries as opposed to any missteps of his own. With just one season left to make his mark, he appears to be on his way to finally shining at defensive tackle. If he can stay healthy, he’s good enough to start opposite Washington in the middle of the defensive line.
“Tommy Schutt has had a very good spring,” Meyer said.