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Three Thoughts on the 2023 Ohio State Spring Game

Certain position groups seem to have taken a step forward for 2023

Ohio State Spring Football Game Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images

Spring football has concluded for Ohio State. Now, we Ohio State fans have to wait until September for our next dose of football.

As one of the counted 75,122 people who were there on April 15 in Ohio Stadium with family and friends, I can say that there were positive and encouraging moments. Yes, I know not to get too caught up in the spring game — the legend of Bam Childress still rings strong, even after 20 years. For all of the hand-wringing over Kyle McCord’s performance in the spring game, how quickly fans have forgotten Justin Fields’ performance in the 2019 spring game that was... meh.

I realize that Chris Renne and Michael Citro have contributed their thoughts on the 2023 Ohio State spring game. I am going to look at the spring game through three specific position groups, as I focused on position groups leading into the spring game.

  1. The Ohio State defensive line: Pass rushers are there

I have to temper my enthusiasm and remember that the Ohio State defensive line was playing against an Ohio State offensive line that is still a work in progress, especially at the offensive tackle positions. Even with that asterisk, Kyle McCord and Tristan Gebbia were both under siege throughout the game.

The hype this spring surrounding Kenyatta Jackson seems well placed. Jackson, Caden Curry, and Omari Abor will all be able to supplement the projected starters J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer, while Tyliek Williams, Michael Hall Jr., and Hero Kanu all flashed moments along the interior defensive line with pressuring the quarterback.

2. The Ohio State linebackers: Depth was represented

Considering projected starters Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers were not in the spring game, this was an opportunity for the backups to play and represent themselves, and they rose to the challenge. Gabe Powers, Cody Simon, Reid Carrico, and C.J. Hicks all flashed during the spring game. Hicks especially stood out, as he had two near-interceptions.

3. The Ohio State wide receivers: The hype is justified

Fans were treated to Marvin Harrison Jr., and he did not disappoint, even in limited appearances. Considering that Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming, and Xavier Johnson were not participating in the spring game, here was the fans’ first opportunities to see the ballyhooed reserves that Ohio State offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has recruited to Columbus.

Jayden Ballard had an impressive one-handed catch near the sideline, and showed that he is more than just a straight-line deep threat. 2022 signees Kaleb Brown, Kyion Grayes, and Kojo Antwi were all in the game. And true freshmen early enrollees Carnell Tate and Noah Rogers each scored touchdowns, which will only increase the speculation as to what the depth chart will look like this coming season for the wide receiver group.