By now just about everybody that has been following Ohio State probably has heard all the news about all of the freshman in this year’s edition of The Ohio State Buckeye football team. From the dominating defensive efforts of the uber-talented defensive end Noah Spence, to the versatile, dedicated, but little known wide receiver/punter Frank Epitropolous, the freshman class is loaded with interesting talents, personalities, and potential future Buckeye legends. But of all these young Bucks, who will be the best contributor this season? Who will impress? Who will underwhelm? These are all questions that many fans are wondering, and questions that will soon start to be answered this Saturday.
The easiest pick to be the biggest impact freshman for the Buckeyes this year is the quickly rising star on the defensive line from Pennsylvania, Noah Spence. Spence, who was one of the first freshman to have his black stripe stripped from his helmet, comes in to the season as one of the gems of the recent recruiting class, and from the rumblings in camp, it’s not hard to understand why. Spence has the rare opportunity, as a freshman, to break into the starting rotation on a defensive line already stacked with much talent and experience. With the high praise he has received so far, only time will tell if he can live up to the hype surrounding the highly talented buckeye.
Another pick that the vast majority of fans would believe to be an easy one is wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas, as many may remember, showed just how dangerous the passing game could be, raking in 12 receptions for 131 yards. Now whether the spring game was an omen of things to come from the talented freshman from Los Angeles remains to be seen. Thomas has a chance to prove himself in a crop of sometimes underwhelming wide receivers, and it’ll be up to him to secure the amount of playing time necessary to make a great impact on this offense, which has suffered from a poor passing game.
A player that may surprise in becoming an impact player early is Armani Reeves. When speaking of the freshman defensive backs, Najee Murray and De’Van Bogard get frequently mentioned. But as it stands, those two players are more attuned to the safety position than the cornerback position, which Reeves is a natural fit. Reeves, while not making much news, has received praise from the coaching staff, and may yet see a good amount of playing time in the fall, and could help a unit depleted of true cornerbacks.
While we watch the Buckeyes this Saturday, we should always keep in mind that anything is possible. From injuries forcing younger players into action, to others simply just having a spectacular game, fate has ways of finding those destined for greatness and glory. It would be easy to assume that names like Spence, Washington, Thomas, and Dunn will ultimately find their way into Buckeye lore and onto NFL draft cards, but it is up to them to live up to the great expectations placed upon them. So keep a close eye out Buckeye Nation. You never know who might just jump out and become the next big thing at THE Ohio State University.