BuckeyeSports.com Preseason Awards, Part I

Everybody wants to know which Ohio State football players will have standout years, which players will surprise and which freshmen will impress. We on the BSB staff have our own guesses as to who those players will be, and now we'll declare it publicly with the BuckeyeSports.com preseason awards. First up is the Ohio State offense.

The early days of fall camp are a time for speculation for the upcoming season, and BuckeyeSports.com is more than ready to take part. What follows are preseason awards for the Ohio State football team that staff writers Adam Jardy, Jeff Svoboda and Marcus Hartman will hand out in a number of categories. Today's awards are given out on the offensive side of the ball in five categories. Have your own picks? Join the discussion on the BuckeyeSports.com premium message board.

Most Valuable Offensive Player
Adam: TB Chris Wells
This one is easy: Wells will run away – literally – with this award. Fully confident in his own abilities and secure in the knowledge that he knows what it takes to be the starter, Beanie is going to be in the race for the Heisman. The Buckeyes will be able to go only as far as his legs can take them.

Jeff: TB Chris Wells
I know you must be stunned with this choice, but there's no way around the fact that, barring injury, Wells will one of the most dominating college football players of 2008. Beanie certainly has the skill to be a 2,000-yard rusher at the collegiate level, though Ohio State's depth likely will keep him short of that mark. Still, I won't discount out of hand the possibility of that accomplishment.

Marcus: TB Chris Wells
Here's an easy one: Beanie Wells will challenge Eddie George's single-season school rushing record, provided he stays healthy and does not find himself on the bench in too many games that get out of hand early. There are a lot of Buckeyes with the potential to hurt defenses. Beanie is the only one totally proven at this point, though.

Offensive Surprise Player
Adam: WR Ray Small
It's put up or shut up time for Small, who has endured a rocky offseason spent in Jim Tressel's doghouse. He has all the tools to be a go-to threat, as we saw in limited action last season, and I have a feeling this is going to be the year we finally see him put it all together.

Jeff: TE Jake Ballard
I like Rory Nicol a lot as a player, but Ballard has tremendous upside as a player who excels at both blocking and receiving. Last year, Ballard made two touchdown catches, and he seems to have a knack for making important grabs. If Todd Boeckman focuses on getting the ball to the tight ends more often, I say it could be Ballard who steps up and becomes a reliable target.

Marcus: RT Bryant Browning
Jimmy Cordle told me last spring Browning was ready to play in 2007, so he has no doubts about him in 2008. On Sunday, Alex Boone had only good things to say for the big, brainy former Cleveland Glenville Tarblooder, and I am expecting him not only to seize the right tackle spot but also for him to excel there.

Offensive Most Improved Player
Adam: WR Taurian Washington
I'm going to go with Washington because he is the primary backup to Brian Robiskie and is not fighting off as many people for playing time as Dane Sanzenbacher, who would be second on my ballot. Washington displayed some speed and field-stretching abilities last season, and I look for his role to grow this season.

Jeff: RG Ben Person
Person's first year as a starter had its highs and its lows, but it says here that Person will be one of the standouts of the line this season. Person learned a lot from his first year starting, and seniors tend to have excellent years during their final go-round under Jim Tressel.

Marcus: LT Alex Boone
Boone knows this is a money year for him. He's an accomplished run-blocker who could turn himself into a first-round NFL draft pick if he can improve as a pass-protector. He looked lean and ready on day one of practice, and I'm expecting big things from him as a senior.

Offensive Unsung Hero
Adam: C Jim Cordle
In his second year as the starting center, Cordle will prove he's another in a long line of accomplished OSU centers capable of effectively managing the game in the trenches. Like all offensive linemen, he will not get enough credit for his role.

Jeff: C Jim Cordle
The junior from Lancaster quietly became one of the better centers in the Big Ten last season, and that won't change this year. A year of experience is always huge, but it's even more important at the center spot because that player makes all of the line calls. A big year from Cordle helps the line keep Todd Boeckman's shirt clean and Beanie rolling downhill.

Marcus: LG Steve Rehring
Here's another one I did not struggle with. The big fella from West Chester Lakota West quietly had a great year last year, showing that even at well over 300 pounds he could be effective not just as a drive-blocker but also pulling on power plays and traps. He'll be better this year.

Offensive Freshman With The Biggest Impact
Adam: WR DeVier Posey
Terrelle Pryor might be the obvious pick, but I'm going to peg Posey here. A big, fast target that has all the tools to be a fantastic wide receiver at OSU, Posey is not taking long getting his feet wet: He has been running fourth in some drills early in camp.

Jeff: QB Terrelle Pryor.
Yet again I had to make the obvious pick, but the presence of Pryor will loom over almost everything Ohio State does this year. At least a small fragment of fans will scream for Pryor every time Boeckman makes a mistake, and that fact alone gives Pryor the ability to make an impact unparalleled by any other first-year player. For the record, I think Pryor excels in a reserve role while DeVier Posey shows glimpses of the great things he'll achieve in scarlet and gray.

Marcus: WR DeVier Posey
I see the wide receiver group as one that could use an influx of playmaking, and I think Posey is the man to bring it. He's already got the size and speed, and anyone I ask seems to be impressed with the Cincinnati LaSalle profile. Malcolm Jenkins said he showed lots of poise this summer and a willingness to learn. That's enough for me.


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