April 30, 2012

Hot 11 - Post spring edition

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Sometimes it can be very difficult to come up with an initial Hot 11 after spring for various reasons. We get to see bits and pieces of practice, certain players are held out for nagging injuries and ultimately it is a lot easier to go through game tape on the DVR to break things down whereas in spring we get one shot to see things live and build off of that.

Under camp Urban Meyer we did get a chance to see a lot of good competition with his winners and losers set ups on Wednesday and that did make a job a little bit easier in identifying the top 11 players. But there were some ground rules that we had to take into account and without seeing Nathan Williams participating in live hitting, we just couldn't put him on the list even though we know that once things start to count for real, he will be on the list.

Even with all of that we still had a great deal of debate on our ballots and as always we know that our results will be put up for debate in The Horseshoe Lounge but with all of that, we present our post-spring list of the Hot 11.

1. John Simon
Senior - DE
6-foot-2, 260 pounds
John Simon will be a player that Urban Meyer falls in love with based upon his performance on the field, off the field and in the weight room. He did not have to do much to lock down the spot at the top of the list but anyone that knows Simon knows that he only has one setting and that is 'On'.
2. Johnathan Hankins
Senior - DT
6-foot-4, 317 pounds
'Big Hank' is not as big as he was in years past but that comes down to some of the new practices by the strength staff and the newly installed dietician. Hankins is primed to have a huge year this year (and what could be his last year with the Buckeyes), being flanked by two all-conference caliber DEs.
3. Jordan Hall
Senior - RB
5-foot-9, 198 pounds
While we did not get to see a lot of Hall in action in practice he is a player that Meyer has singled out as a top offensive playmaker on the team and that is good enough for our voting to know that the coaching staff really likes what this versatile offensive weapon will be able to do, be it running or catching.
4. Braxton Miller
Soph. - QB
6-foot-2, 210 pounds
Everyone will be anxious to see what Miller is able to do this upcoming season. He showed a lot of gains during the spring practice sessions and appears to be working through some of the mechanical issues that came out of the transition from high school to college. He still may not have the biggest arm in the league but he is poised to be one of the top signal callers when he puts it all together.
5. Ryan Shazier
Soph. - LB
6-foot-1, 226 pounds
Shazier is just one of those players that can be 'scary good'. His speed and instincts put him at a level that few players can get at and he should be able to pick up where he left off come September. His body has changed some from his first year to his second and he looks more defined and could have even more burst than he did as a freshman, bad news for opponents.
6. Bradley Roby
Soph. - CB
5-foot-11, 190 pounds
Roby continues to progress as one of Ohio State's top defensive backs and he has what it takes to be playing on Sundays when his Ohio State career is finished. As he gets older and more experienced his recognition of plays will only increase and his ability to shut down one side of the field will come in time.
7. Zach Boren
Senior - FB
6-foot-1, 246 pounds
Boren has already been mentioned as a potential team captain by Meyer and we saw a little more diversity of play calling involving Boren during the spring. While you can't take exactly what plays that you see in April and move them to September it is obvious that Meyer and Tom Herman will be looking to use the fullback this year before the position morphs into something else after his graduation.
8. Jake Stoneburner
Senior - TE
6-foot-5, 245 pounds
Ohio State will start to see more two tight end sets and Stoneburner will become an even more vital part of the offense. The senior tight end had a great spring and looked good out during scrimmages and showed the hands and speed that made him such an intriguing prospect right out of high school. Meyer has had success promoting talented tight ends and Stoney fits that description well.
9. Michael Bennett
Soph. - DT
6-foot-3, 277 pounds
Bennett is the 4th defensive lineman to make the list and could start the season on the second team. His understanding of the game is unparalleled and he continues to impress his teammates and his coaches with his natural ability. Bennett came in as a freshman making the transition of a player who played on both sides in high school, this extra year of defense only has really paid off.
10. Michael Thomas
Freshman - WR
6-foot-2, 193 pounds
It is always dangerous to put a true freshman on a list like this but Thomas had a great spring game to go along with a great spring. The Buckeyes currently do not have a No. 1 receiver and Thomas is looking to fill that role. It will be a lot different when things are not as scripted but for now it appears that Thomas has a good understanding of route running and the mechanics of making the easy and the more difficult catches.
11. Jack Mewhort
Junior - OL
6-foot-6, 310 pounds
Mewhort has played all along the offensive line during his time with the Buckeyes and now could end up at tackle. His teammates have loved his tenacity (and toughness) on the field and as the Buckeyes look to replace three starting linemen, Mewhort is proving that he can slide over after playing starting guard last season if that is what it called.

Receiving Votes: Carlos Hyde, Travis Howard, C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown, Corey Linsley

Other noteworthy players: Nathan Williams (inj.), Curtis Grant (inj.), Se'von Pittman (inj.), Jacoby Boren (inj.)


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