Ohio State Football: Buckeyes With Most To Prove This Spring

Tom CzajaContributor IApril 2, 2013

Nov 24, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer reacts on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Michigan Wolverines 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With March Madness winding down to its Final Four and the Ohio State Buckeyes being (shockingly) out of the NCAA tournament, many Buckeyes supporters have already set their sights on a new season of football.

With the success of an undefeated 12-0 season last year, there is, understandably, a lot of optimism in spring camp. With the spring game coming up fast on April 13th at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, the practices are quickly becoming more intense as position battles pick up.

As they do every year, the Buckeyes have their fair share of talented recruits coming in to bolster the team and prove they belong. There will also be holdovers looking to make just as big an impression to the coaches. Below are just a few.


Eli Apple

Mr. Apple may just end up being the apple of Urban Meyer's eye if he can live up to the lofty expectations he's accrued coming out of high school. The five-star recruit had offers from fellow Big Ten teams Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska, as well as the likes of Alabama and Notre Dame.

He was a beast in college, playing wide receiver, quarterback, and of course, cornerback, the position Ohio State sees him filling for several seasons.

Apple has been said to have all the essentials to be a star corner—a good first step, football instincts, size, and the athletic ability to make spectacular play after spectacular play.

Bradley Roby concretely fills one corner position, but don't be surprised if Apple comes in as a freshman and can make some impact on the team and at least challenge for some playing time on the other side.


J.T. Barrett

Mr. Barrett isn't one that has a lot to prove this spring, but he is a guy that can really show a lot and be the face of the Buckeyes in the future. He is a dual-threat quarterback out of Texas that is coming in known for being an above-average passer.

More important than even his satisfactory skill is the fact that he is a leader. His high school coach gushed about his leadership abilities, saying they were immeasurable and that he was an emotional leader.

Having an experienced player like Braxton Miller there to watch and learn from should only make him better so that when his time does come, he can step on the field with the teaching and personality needed to take charge and win.


Rod Smith

Being blessed with a plethora of running backs isn't something Buckeyes fans are going to complain about. Rod Smith, though, may wish his path to playing time wasn't so crowded.

The likes of Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall have Smith staring at third string unless he comes out with a renewed sense of purpose and proves he needs to be given the rock.

In his first collegiate game in 2011, Smith rushed for 74 yards against Akron and showed glimpses of the player he might be able to be.

Yet after that solid start, he finished the season with only 116 yards, unable to match his output in that first game for the rest of the games combined. 2012 saw a slight increase of yardage, albeit with limited action on the gridiron.

Smith is big, physical-style running back that has a lot to prove. Barring injuries or a surprising decline with the guys in front of him, he may have trouble breaking through. Still, it is too early in his college career to completely give up on him.