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Picking under-the-radar freshmen to emerge for Buckeyes in spring

Ohio State running back Evan Pryor is pushing for a role right away. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Picking under-the-radar freshmen to emerge for Buckeyes in spring

COLUMBUS — Ohio State is finally going to have a full spring practice session.

After squeezing in just three practices last spring before the COVID-19 shutdown, the Buckeyes will begin spring practice March 19 with nearly a full roster.

Of the 21 signees in the 2021 recruiting class, the Buckeyes already have 15 of them on campus as early-enrollees, a much higher number than they typically welcome mid-year. With the new faces, Ohio State will have nearly everyone in the spring that they will in the fall. It’ll create a better sense of where the roster is heading into summer.

“The great thing is we’re going to have a good portion of our team here now from Feb. 1 all the way until the first game of the season, which is great because usually when you don’t have a chunk of your guys in at mid-year, it’s close to a quarter of your team or 20 percent of your team isn’t there until the summer,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said last month when the early-enrollees were just arriving. “Now, we have the majority of these guys already here. So we can already start on all that stuff and they can get ahead of the game.

We have to do a great job of getting them in here with Mick and figuring out where they are and what’s their baseline. … So we’ll get a feel for it.”

Now, that period of figuring out their baseline is over. Winter workouts are completed and mat drills are nearing their finish. It’s almost time for spring practice, and for the 15 newest members of the program, a good first impression could go a long way.

Which early-enrollee freshman will make the biggest splash in spring practice? How can each of them fight for playing time early in their Ohio State career? Who has the best chance of getting on the field in September for Ohio State? Lettermen Row’s Austin Ward, Jeremy Birmingham and Spencer Holbrook broke it down in the first Practice Report presented by Byers Auto of the spring.

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