Thursday, August 25, 2011
Fresh faces: Ohio State
By Adam Rittenberg
The fresh faces series continues with an Ohio State Buckeyes team that likely will need some newcomers to fill big holes this fall. These players are true freshmen, redshirt freshmen, transfers or returning players who will take on bigger roles this fall.
OFFENSE: Chris Fields, WR, sophomore, 6-0, 180
There's plenty of opportunity at wide receiver for the Buckeyes, and Fields is one of several young players who figure to play bigger roles this season. Billed by former receivers coach Darrell Hazell as a potential contributor in 2010, Fields recorded only three catches for 22 yards in eight games. He seems to have stepped up his play during the offseason and recorded a 58-yard touchdown reception in Saturday's jersey scrimmage. He joins classmate Corey "Philly" Brown and redshirt freshman Verlon Reed in Ohio State's first crop of wideouts, who will be big factors during DeVier Posey's five-game suspension to begin the season.
DEFENSE: Johnathan Hankins, DT, sophomore, 6-3, 335
Hankins is a big reason (literally) why Ohio State doesn't expect much of a drop-off along the defensive line despite losing Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore. Hopes are very high for the massive sophomore, who can be an explosive, difference-making interior lineman for a defense aiming to maintain its standard of excellence. Hankins recorded 16 tackles last season but should log much more playing time this fall and appears to be in better condition to remain on the field longer. He's extremely strong and could command double teams from opposing offensive lines.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Drew Basil, K, sophomore, 6-1, 212
Basil is ready to step in for Devin Barclay, who connected on 20 of 24 field-goal attempts in 2010. The sophomore handled kickoffs last season and recorded nine touchbacks, but his impact will be much more significant this fall. Basil boasts a strong leg and converted four of five attempts in Saturday's jersey scrimmage. He had two attempts last season and both were blocked, but he has had the entire offseason to prepare to be the starter.
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