COLUMBUS — Ohio State is officially done with spring practice.
After an encouraging set of 15 sessions inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and a big day for the spring game at the Horseshoe, the Buckeyes are moving on to summer workouts.
Before the spring entirely wraps up, however, Lettermen Row is handing out Spring Superlatives for the Buckeyes offense, which showed plenty of promise despite missing multiple key pieces. Let’s dive in.
Biggest surprise: Carson Hinzman take majority of first-team reps at center
Maybe it shouldn’t come as too big of a shock because Jakob James missed all of spring with an injury. But it’s still quite notable that the Buckeyes gave nearly every first-team rep at center to second-year offensive lineman Carson Hinzman, who has only been at Ohio State since June. Hinzman is still in the middle of the starting center battle with Victor Cutler and James, but the spring was a big step forward for Hinzman, who enters the summer as the favorite to replace Luke Wypler. If he carries the momentum gained from spring into training camp, Hinzman very well could be the next starting center for Ohio State.
Biggest mover: Buckeyes running back Chip Trayanum
With top back TreVeyon Henderson out for a majority of spring drills, the Buckeyes were able to distribute carries among other ball-carriers for much-needed reps. Veteran tailback Chip Trayanum made the most of them and put himself in position to be considered for legitimate playing time in the fall. Trayanum had a 65-yard touchdown run in the spring game and a 70-yard score in one of the Buckeyes spring scrimmages a few weeks ago. He might be the fastest back on the roster, even though he’s certainly the heaviest. He’ll give Ohio State another option in its ground attack that should be good this fall. This spring was a big one for Chip Trayanum.
Best freshman: Wide receiver Carnell Tate
Who else would it be? There’s an argument for tight end Jelani Thurman, who was good in spring ball. But Carnell Tate showed up at Ohio State in January, began practice in March and lost his black stripe quicker than any other freshman. He showed maturity on and off the field during his first spring on campus, and he backed that up with impressive route running and catching ability when he was called upon. He even reeled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kyle McCord in the spring game last weekend.
Yes, the Ohio State wide receiver room is absolutely loaded with veteran talent. But after an impressive spring, Tate has a chance to make a real push for playing time as a first-year player. That’s rare when it comes to wide receivers for the Buckeyes.
Top position group: Wide receiver
This is the obvious answer, but that’s why it’s the answer. Led by Marvin Harrison Jr., the best receiver in college football, Ohio State had an incredible spring from the wide receiver position. It didn’t even matter that stars Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming were out for the entirety of spring. Or that Xavier Johnson missed the final two weeks of spring with an injury, too. The Buckeyes just kept showing why they are better at wide receiver than any other program. Third-year player Jayden Ballard made moves up the depth chart. Second-year weapons Kaleb Brown and Kojo Antwi flashed some of what they can do on the field. And the freshman class is already proving to be a special one as part of the next wave of receiver talent under Brian Hartline.
Spring MVP: Tony Alford
What a nice couple of months for the Ohio State running backs coach. Tony Alford has one of the best tailback rooms in the country, and he deserves plenty of credit for his spring development of both Dallan Hayden and Chip Trayanum, who both just kept getting better as spring drills progressed. Oh, and while Alford missed out on top-100 in-state running back Jordan Marshall to rival Michigan, he rebounded by restocking his room in the 2024 recruiting class by landing commitments from in-state back Sam Williams-Dixon and highly-coveted Texas four-star running back James Peoples.
To make it even better for Alford? He should have all five scholarship running backs returning to the field at full strength for training camp in August.
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