Which Freshmen Will Make Their Buckeye Debut in Ohio State on Saturday?
The opening game of Ohio State's 2012 season against Miami is not just a first glimpse at what the new offense of Urban Meyer looks like. It's also the debut of Meyer's much-hyped recruiting class, a consensus top-five class.
Meyer pulled an unbelievable magic act by taking a recruiting class that was marginal by OSU standards and turned it into an incredible class in just over two months. Many of those freshmen have broken into the OSU two-deep depth chart.
Among the cornerstones of the class are two defensive linemen who are expected to play—likely quite a bit—in DE Noah Spence and DT Adolphus Washington.
Spence is the prototypical, dominant-edge pass rusher who has gotten tremendous praise from veteran teammates on the offensive line.
RT @kylerowland Noah Spence is the young guy that has stuck out to Fragel. He said he’s great off the edge and will be a "special player."
— Alex 11W (@alex11w) August 17, 2012
Washington, who was a defensive lineman in high school, added about 40 pounds and will move to defensive tackle. His growth means he could potentially have a Cameron Heyward-type impact defensively.
The hope is that both Spence and Washington will see plenty of action, Spence in particular because of the uncertainty of Nathan Williams' and Michael Bennett's statuses leading up to game time.
The other position where fans should expect to see freshmen quite a bit on Saturday, if not further down the road, is at linebacker.
LB was a major disappointment last year, and the lack of experienced talent shows because three true freshmen and a redshirt freshmen are in the two-deep.
Any combination of Camren Williams, Josh Perry, David Perkins and Connor Crowell will likely find its way onto the field, either in the base look or special teams.
On offense, Bri'Onte Dunn will be the backup to Carlos Hyde. Dunn is almost the same type of back as Hyde, which means he will provide an extra dose of power in the inside zone running attack, giving the changeup to Braxton Miller's quickness and speed.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas, who dazzled in the spring game back in April, is a backup at receiver, but should see plenty of snaps on Saturday based on the connection he had with Miller back in the spring.
Thomas also provides a change-up to the smaller, quicker receivers because he is about 6'3" and more of a possession receiver.
But one more guy to watch that has had just as strong a fall as any freshman was the first to lose his black stripe, Glenville's Devan Bogard.
Bogard isn't listed on the two-deep, but he seems like the guy that Meyer absolutely wants to find playing time for. He could be a guy we see on the punt block team, something that Meyer takes very seriously because he puts his best athletes on the punt block team.
We can only imagine what that group will look like until they step on the field, but Bogard might be a guy you could see rushing the punter on Saturday.
While we obviously won't see all of OSU's 2012 recruiting class, fans should expect a good number, say about nine or 10, to make their Buckeye debut in the Horseshoe—like Meyer—on Saturday against the RedHawks.
Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.
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