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Scarlet Sunrise: 5 things to watch for during Ohio State football’s spring game

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Ohio State's spring game will be held Saturday. (Joe Maiorana/USA Today Sports)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: 5 things to watch for during Ohio State football’s spring game

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Ohio State spring game is here

Ohio State’s spring practice period will come to an end Saturday with the annual spring game. Here are five things to keep an eye on during the scrimmage:

1. Justin Fields vs. Matthew Baldwin

Obviously we start here. This will be fans’ first glimpse at Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin, the latter of whom was injured last spring. One thing to keep in mind, though: Ohio State’s policy of avoiding full tackling in the spring game takes away the quarterbacks’ abilities to make plays with their legs, so keep that in mind when thinking about how they played.

2. The kicking game

In the past, the Buckeyes have including a field goal period in the spring game, stringing together at least a few attempts in a row that don’t go on the scoreboard. Blake Haubeil seems to have a higher ceiling than Sean Nuernberger did, given that he drilled one from 47 yards in his first game taking over last season. He went 10 of 13, but two of those misses were from 27 and 33 yards. It’s a super small sample size, but it will still be interesting to see how Haubeil is booting it on Saturday.

3. Young wide receivers

Ohio State lost three fifth-year senior receivers, but the Buckeyes still return plenty of experience with Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill and C.J. Saunders. Those guys are established, so it will be worth looking at how Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson perform.

4. Defensive pairings

Spring games feature a lot of mixing and matching, so it’s impossible to project regular season starting lineups or infer too much meaning from who’s on the field and when. But with an overhauled defense and versatile players, it will still be interesting to look at which linebackers are playing to together (and at what spots). The same goes for the defensive backs.

5. Boomtown

It could be a great recruiting weekend for Ohio State after Lejond Cavazos got things started on Friday night. Even if there aren’t any commitments, the visitor list is tremendous and should help the Buckeyes make inroads with some must-land players.

How to watch Ohio State spring game

Ohio State’s spring game will take place on Saturday. For those who won’t be in Columbus for the game, here’s how to follow it.

2019 Ohio State spring game

Date: Saturday, April 13

Time: Noon

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Radio: 97.1 FM

Lejond Cavazos commits again

Four months after decommitting from Ohio State, Lejond Cavazos announced his commitment to the program. It’s been the familiar feeling that has always kept the Buckeyes at the top of the list for Cavazos as programs like Georgia, Oregon, LSU, Miami and others came calling. He gets the same feeling in Columbus now as he did when he committed last June.

“I chose Ohio State because that’s where I belong,” Cavazos told Lettermen Row. “For football, life after football and just becoming a man. I can see myself developing into my better self at Ohio State.”

But it’s been about more than that according to C.J. Cavazos, the father of the newest Ohio State verbal.

“Ryan Day did a phenomenal job from [the day Meyer retired] to today. I’ve talked to him 100 times,” C.J. Cavazos said. “He’s made us feel comfortable. Jeff Hafley, from the day he’s been certified to talk to recruits, he reached out to us immediately. That shows us that there’s a need. It shows us that they they want Lejond.”

Lejond Cavazos impact

Here’s Birm on what Ohio State is getting with Lejond Cavazos:

As a player, Cavazos is built to play cornerback in the Big Ten. He’s got the speed to compete for playing time already and the time to hone his craft as a defensive back, but what’s most appealing about Cavazos is his combination of length and speed. He’s the 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback that college coaches covet and is an explosive athlete despite the aforementioned injury suffered last season.

In his first real competitive action this year, Cavazos ran a blistering 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and recorded a stunning 44-inch vertical leap at The Opening regional in Miami. He’s still raw as a football player, but every tool is in the toolbox. He has the makings of a future NFL player with the right development.

Chimdi Chekwa on Jeffrey Okudah

The first-round potential in Jeffrey Okudah has been projected since the moment he stepped foot on campus, and now Jeff Hafley gets his turn to help unlock that. For the most part, the Ohio State staff has tried to avoid singling many individuals out during spring ball as it sits back and allows a revamped group of defensive assistants a chance to evaluate before making a depth chart. But the work Okudah has done during open portions of practice this spring has been as impressive as the way he flew around the field against Washington, and expectations are again soaring for him heading into his junior season.

What makes Jeffrey Okudah so dangerous in the secondary? How could tweaking the approach for defensive backs help him take the next step? Will he be preparing for the NFL Draft at this time next year? Former Ohio State and NFL defensive back Chimdi Chekwa was back in the Lettermen Row film lab breaking down what Okudah is bringing to the table for the program in the latest episode of BuckIQ.

WATCH: Chimdi Chekwa analyzes Jeffrey Okudah’s skills

Counting down

  • Oho State spring game: Today
  • NFL Draft: 12 days

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.

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