Making an impact as a true freshman on a national title-contending team is no easy task, but there are a number of first-year players at Ohio State who are shining early.
Dontre Wilson, the 4-star all-purpose back out of DeSoto, Texas, has made a big impression in a limited role for the Buckeyes' offense.
Wilson is being utilized in Ohio State's H-back spot (the Percy Harvin position), and through two games, he has 86 yards on just 12 touches. The coaching staff is clearly making an effort to get him the ball, and Wilson has responded by showing flashes of his big-play ability.
Wilson later fumbled, effectively ending his day against Buffalo, but he bounced back against San Diego State, running for 51 yards on five carries to complement three short receptions. He started off fast against the Aztecs, taking an option pitch seven yards on the first drive of the game for his first career touchdown.
Wilson told Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer what he was thinking on his way to the end zone.
"I was just thinking no ankle tackles, no shoestrings. I've got to score. I'm way faster than a lot of people and I've got to prove that,” Wilson said.
Wilson isn't the only freshman playing like he has something to prove.
Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, a 4-star prospect from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has become a key member of Ohio State's rotation up front.
The 6'6", 275-pound lineman stepped in after Adolphus Washington injured his groin against San Diego State and played very well. Bosa registered two tackles against the Aztecs and showed great speed and power off the edge.
Four-star running back Ezekiel Elliot impressed last week, rushing for 36 yards on just six carries. Four-star linebacker Trey Johnson got a lot of playing time against Buffalo when Ryan Shazier left the field with cramps. Five-star safety Vonn Bell has thrived on special teams, registering four tackles.
Even Ohio State's Australian punter, Cameron Johnston, is playing well in his first year. Johnston is averaging 42 yards per punt and hasn't surrendered a single return yard.
But it's Wilson who is shining brightest. Via The Plain Dealer article, Lesmerises asked Wilson if he's been able to "hit top speed" yet.
“No sir, I haven't had the chance to,” Wilson said.
If Wilson keeps flashing, Buckeyes fans will see his top speed soon enough.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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