Ohio State football spring practice is in the books. With that, here are five players, listed in alphabetical order, who caught our eye throughout the last six weeks.
Though he missed the latter half of spring camp, Browning made himself known in the limited time he was on the practice field. Browning, who will be out with a shoulder injury approximately until June, did an excellent job of covering his man on pass routes during seven-on-seven drills. The five-star linebacker out of Kennedale, Texas, enrolled early this winter and could very well see action in the 2017 season.
Hilliard really made his presence known in the spring game, recording seven tackles, four of which were solo. The third-year sophomore linebacker, who tweaked his bicep earlier in spring camp, seemed to routinely be near the action during the scrimmage on Saturday. With the likes of Jerome Baker, Dante Booker and Chris Worley manning the three starting linebacker jobs, though, Hilliard will be fighting for playing time come fall.
Jones, who replaced Tracy Sprinkle as one of Ohio State’s starting defensive tackles last season after Sprinkle suffered a knee injury in the opener, continued to make progress this spring. Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson tasked Jones with working on his ability to get to the opposing quarterback, and it appears he has made some strides in that area of his game. Earlier this month, Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer even went as far as to say Jones is the most improved defensive tackle on the team.
Another one of Ohio State’s 10 early enrollees, Sheffield had some notable moments this spring. The junior college transfer from Blinn College in Texas got his black stripe removed from his helmet prior to the halfway point of spring ball. The discarding of the black stripe signifies he has proven he's worthy of being a Buckeye. Sheffield did, however, have his fair share of missteps, such as being flagged for pass interference a few times in practice and giving up a deep touchdown pass in the spring game. He had some flashes as well, though, including a thunderous hit on running back Antonio Williams during the exhibition.
Wade is the third early enrollee who made the cut as a defensive standout this spring. The Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian academy product seemed to hold his own multiple times during seven-on-seven drills in practice. And like Sheffield, Wade allowed a scoring grab in the spring game but bounced back, as he broke up a pass in the red zone late in the contest.
For more in-depth coverage of Ohio State’s spring practice, sign up for four free trial issues of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. Signing up for the four free issues now would give you BSB’s spring game wrap up issue as well as BSB’s 2017 Big Ohio State Football Preview. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.