1. Who will be the most prolific quarterback?
James Grega: For Ohio State’s sake, it should be J.T. Barrett. There will likely be some kinks to be worked out with new pass patterns and concepts so it won’t be perfect, but I do believe Barrett will look the best of the four quarterbacks.
That said, I expect Joe Burrow to play well, as he did in last seasons spring scrimmage and in mop up duty in 2016. I am very excited to see Dwayne Haskins in live action for the first time and see if he has added more accuracy to his cannon of an arm. I expect Tate Martell will be the only signal caller not wearing a no-contact jersey when he gets in, which could be an adventure in itself.
Ryan McGlade: I agree with James, it should be J.T. Barrett. With it being the spring game, the offenses are going to throw a lot of deep passes. And from what the media was allowed to watch this spring, Barrett seemed to be one of the more accurate passers.
If there is one signal caller that will challenge Barrett, I expect it to be Joe Burrow. Aside from Barrett, Burrow has the most experience at the college level among the Buckeye quarterbacks. He too seemed to be fairly accurate with the deep ball this spring.
Tim Moody: I actually disagree with James and Ryan on this one. I don’t think J.T. will get a ton of playing time, and I don’t think he should. There’s no reason to risk injury in a short scrimmage when they’ve had all spring to see his improvement.
Instead, I’d expect a pretty even split in PT between Haskins and Burrow and, since I have Burrow as the better player right now, I expect him to shine in the spring game once again.
2. Who will rush for the most yards?
JG: It is really hard to predict rushing yards in a spring game because it is a pass-heavy scrimmage. However, in these scenarios, Urban Meyer likes to see how young players perform in front of a large crowd, so I will go with J.K. Dobbins. We all know what Mike Weber is capable of now, so I don’t expect him to get more than five carries. I do expect Demario McCall to finish a close second behind Dobbins in yardage and carries, but he has played in front of the large crowds already. Dobbins will get the most yards and carries.
RM: It’s tough for me to go with Mike Weber because he probably won’t get a whole lot of reps with the team focusing on the passing game and just the fact that he’s a starter so he won’t be in the game considerably long. James’ choice of J.K. Dobbins is a logical choice. The coaches will want to see what these young guys can do in front of a large crowd. If it’s not one of those two, Parris Campbell may have a shot at being the Buckeyes’ leading rusher at his new H-back position.
TM: I’ll go a bit outside the box and say Campbell. With him working at a new position, I’d expect Ohio State to try and get a few handoffs and I think he’ll break an end-around for 40 or so yards.
3. Which early enrollee will stand out the most?
JG: I’m going with either Dobbins or Kendall Sheffield. Dobbins will have his chance to shine, but probably against a second team defense, whereas Sheffield will almost certainly be going up against the Ohio State first-team wide receivers. In a spring game that features plenty of passes, he will have his fair share of opportunities to make plays. I expect him to get plenty of reps with the first-team defense and have a spring game similar to what Malik Hooker had a year ago.
RM: I am going with Kendall Sheffield. The cornerback position seems to be loaded with young talent and Sheffield appears to be at the top of that pecking order. The coaches have really liked what they have seen from him this spring, and it sounds like he has a legitimate shot at being one of the starters in the fall.
TM: Based off what we’ve seen in practice, I think Sheffield will be the guy in the rotation at cornerback. That said, in a spring game setting, I expect Isaiah Pryor to turn some heads with his physical play. He could be the leading tackler tomorrow.
4. Who will make the Malik Hooker or Jerome Baker-esque interception?
JG: Hard not to go with either Sheffield or Baker himself again, but just for kicks, I will throw another name out there: Jeff Okudah. One of the top defensive back recruits in the 2017 class, I think he has the ability to play significant minutes this season, especially if the Buckeyes plan on continuing their rotation. If not, he will at least be on OSU special teams next season, but a big play or two on Saturday could plant the idea of defensive back reps in the back of coaches minds heading into the offseason.
RM: Oh man, I might have to go with Sheffield again for this one. With him defending receivers, he naturally has a higher chance of snaring a remarkable interception. If not Sheffield, then maybe Damon Webb just because of the fact that he has experience at his safety position.
TM: Guys Like Ward, Sheffield and Okudah are great options, but I’m going with Shaun Wade here. I’ve seen him make some really athletic plays in practice, and he could be the one to make a highlight reel pick at The ‘Shoe.
5. What will the attendance be?
JG: With capacity already set at 84,000 due to C-deck renovations, and with rain in the forecast, I am going to set my prediction for 70,000. The intrigue of early enrollee’s and the enhanced offense will still draw a sizeable crowd though.
RM: I’ll go with about 75,000, a little more than James’ prediction. I think the draw for fans will be to see what the early enrollees have to offer as well as young guys who have yet to play for the Buckeyes but will likely see action this fall.
TM: It seems like the weather projection is improving and let’s not forget that Ohio State drew better than 100,000 last year. In the end, I think they’ll “sell out” the full allotment of 84,000ish seats.