"But on Sunday afternoon, the Buckeyes upperclassmen took the field for their first practice of training camp. That’s where you get a better idea of where the depth chart stands"
-Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
With so many vacant starting spots to fill for the Ohio State Buckeyes prior to the start of the 2016 season, the start of fall camp will play a crucial part in determining the much-anticipated depth chart. The upperclassmen took the field for the first time yesterday for the start of fall training camp, with incoming freshmen joining tomorrow. Even so, very few of these newcomers have a realistic shot at earning a starting role before the Buckeyes take on Bowling Green Sept. 3 (offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon, a junior college transfer, is perhaps one of the exceptions).
While J.T. Barrett has the starting quarterback job on lockdown, he, along with linemen Pat Elflein and Billy Price, are the only returning starters on offense. Urban Meyer named junior Jamarco Jones, who played in all 13 games last season, as the starting left tackle in April. Other potential starters received playing time last year and, with a solid start to training camp, could secure a starting role early on. Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, for instance, are two of the most experienced players remaining on offense from last season, and are shoo-ins for H-back and receiver spots, respectively. Redshirt freshman Mike Weber is the leader for the starting running back role, while sophomore Noah Brown is the frontrunner for the other receiver spot.
On the defensive side, defensive ends Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard bring back significant playing experience alongside tackles Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill. Incoming freshman Nick Bosa could shake things up as the season progresses in either role on the defensive line. Junior Raekwon McMillan anchors the linebackers, alongside potential starters Dante Booker and Chris Worley. The secondary is less certain, as cornerback Gareon Conley is the only player with a clear starting role. Safeties Damon Webb, Cam Burrows, Malik Hooker, Erick Smith and Eric Glover-Williams are all vying for spots alongside Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward at the other corner spot.
"He’s done a tremendous job. There’s a lot of guys I can say that about, but he’s taken this opportunity and is trying to make the most of it. He’s worked extremely hard."
-Browns head coach Hue Jackson, via Mitch Stacy, Associated Press
After a five-year ban from playing on-campus at Ohio State, former Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor made his return to the Horseshoe--this time as a receiver for the Cleveland Browns as part of the Orange and Brown scrimmage played at Ohio State prior to the start of the NFL preseason. More than 43,000 people attended the second edition of the scrimmage Saturday as part of the Browns’ training camp.
While official records were not kept in the no-pads scrimmage, Pryor ended the day with six receptions, including one touchdown each from quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. Pryor celebrated the second touchdown--a 75-yard haul from McCown which concluded the scrimmage--with an "O-H-I-O" cheer in the endzone, much to the delight of the dual Ohio State/Cleveland fans there. Pryor is the only remaining former Buckeye on the Browns’ roster, which last year included former Ohio State standouts Brian Hartline and Donte Whitner.
Pryor did not compete in last year’s Orange and Brown scrimmage at the Horseshoe, owing to a hamstring injury which kept him sidelined, but it was unclear if he would have been able to compete anyway, as he was still serving an Ohio State-imposed suspension for his role in the 2011 scandal which ultimately cost Jim Tressel his job as head coach. The university only lifted the ban this past month. Still, some of Pryor’s former teammates, such as his former guard, Alex Boone, have not been as forgiving of Pryor’s behavior.
“There are Ohio State fans and graduates in the military over there (in Japan). There were a couple people that came to every game and after every game they would look at me and do ‘O-H’ and I’d do ‘I-O’ back. It was crazy."
-Thad Matta, via Adam Jardy, Columbus Dispatch
Not all former Thad Matta pupils get to chase their NBA dreams, but that doesn't mean the window is completely closed on their playing basketball professionally.
See former Buckeye big man Evan Ravenel.
The one time Boston College transfer has been a bit of an international man of mystery, playing everywhere abroad from Bulgaria to Japan -- and seemingly everywhere in between.
But with a two-year deal to head to Israel, where former Buckeye LaQuinton Ross recently honed his craft, Ravenel seems set to keep his dreams alive, while laying the groundwork for a fulfilling life after basketball.
If his former college coach is any indicator, Ravenel may well have the ability to transition into coaching when everything's said and done on the court. Either way, he's had quite the career arc, letting basketball take him all around the world. And the best may be yet to come.
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