Ohio State Football: Week 2 Spring Practice Stock Report
Ohio State is like every other high-profile college football program. Every year starters graduate or leave early for the NFL and open up spots for other players. Then big-time recruits sign with the program and fans immediately insert the newest 5-star prospect into their make-believe starting lineup.
It's easy to get caught up in the signing of, say, players like Vonn Bell and Eli Apple. But recruiting ranking stars don't show up on a player's practice jersey, so until spring practice starts, fans are left guessing.
Due to spring break, Ohio State's football team has only practiced twice, on March 5 and 7. The team hasn't practiced in pads since before the Michigan game on November 24.
Because of all of that, this stock report is far from conclusive. But there was enough news out of the first two days of practice to see trends with several players.
It's hard to imagine so much excitement and so many questions about a fifth-year senior, yet Jordan Hall was a huge topic of conversation this offseason. That continued through the first two days of practice.
Most of the noise coming from Ohio State's first practice was about Hall's resurgence as a potential playmaker for the Buckeyes offense. The former running back has been moved to the slot or hybrid position where Percy Harvin starred at Florida.
Hall's talent level will likely never be confused with Harvin's, but the hybrid role fits the 5'9'', 198-pound Pennsylvania native much better than the I-back role he shared with Daniel "Boom" Herron and Carlos Hyde during his first three seasons in Columbus.
His stock has been dropping ever since he lost his starting spot early in the 2012 season, although the downward trend has flattened some since he was working with the first-team defense this spring.
But, as Grant said himself, if a player isn't making plays by his junior year he may never be a playmaker. That's why until he is a legitimate starter, Grant's stock will be going down because it started so high.
Two weeks ago, I probably could have asked a handful of diehard Buckeye fans to give me their two-deep for Ohio State's defense in 2013, and I never would have heard the name Tyvis Powell.
I'm not blaming anyone. He certainly wouldn't have been on my list.
But apparently he was on the list of the Buckeyes' coaching staff, the only one that actually matters.
Powell was thought to be behind the four starters, as well as fifth-year senior Corey Brown, who started a handful of games at the nickelback or "star" position in 2012.
It remains to be seen if Powell will hold on to this spot when Devan Bogard returns from injury and Vonn Bell gets on campus. But either way, his appearance with the first team definitely shows his stock is rising.
The news out of Ohio State's spring practice was that Braxton Miller has a great day throwing the ball and that his mechanics were good.
Few doubt that Miller has the natural ability to throw the ball. He's made some great throws and has had full games in which he's thrown well. But it's consistency that is the problem for Miller.
The Buckeyes' star QB spent much of the winter working on his footwork. He proved it with his first day of spring practice. However, let's remember there were no pads, no defensive linemen trying to drive him into the ground and no run/pass decision-making.
I'm as exciting to see Miller return to the Ohio Stadium field as anyone, but until he shows consistency on a day-to-day basis his stock remains the same.
Which is pretty high considering he'll be a preseason Heisman candidate.
Thanks to an impressive showing during Ohio State's first week of practice, Bradley Roby's stock is rising. If that's even possible.
Roby decided to come back to Ohio State to join "The Chase" and improve his draft status. Something tells me if he continues to play like he did during the team's first practice (two INTs for TDs) the latter will occur and the former will become more likely.
Dropping Rod Smith may be a little reactionary on my part. The junior will be a part of an offense loaded with ball-carriers.
With Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Corey Brown, Devin Smith and Jordan Hall already established at the skill positions, it will be interesting to see how many touches the backup running back gets, let alone the third-string running back.
And that's what Smith appeared to be during Ohio State's first week of spring practice.
Despite finishing the season strong and earning carries late in the year, Smith appears to have dropped behind Bri'onte Dunn on the running back depth chart.
Once again, remember that pads haven't been put on and nothing is official until August 31, but as of right now Smith's chances of stardom could be dwindling.