One constant from spring football drills at Ohio State has been the improved play of receiver Parris Campbell, and it continued in Tuesday’s practice.
“He’s standing out big-time,” coach Urban Meyer said after the indoor session. “He’s one of my favorite players because he’s so unselfish and he goes so hard. He deserves a great year. He’s one of our best playmakers right now.”
Meyer had similar words about Curtis Samuel before the 2016 season. Samuel, playing hybrid back (sometimes receiver, sometimes running back) went on to lead the team in receptions and was the third-leading rusher before declaring for the NFL draft.
Samuel’s departure means the hybrid spot is open, and Meyer said Campbell is getting a look there and has been impressive. A former high school running back at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Campbell was a project at receiver the past two seasons, though he was an occasional starter, based more on his blocking ability than his pass-catching prowess.
This spring he has been more aggressive to the ball and more consistent with his catching, reminiscent of the way Michael Thomas played in 2014 and ’15.
In general, Meyer was upbeat about the offense after Tuesday’s practice as the Buckeyes head toward the April 15 spring game. Under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, the emphasis has been on increased use of the up-tempo approach.
“Today was a big push for that. Today was our best day offensively,” Meyer said.
Among who have caught Meyer’s eye is freshman running back J.K. Dobbins, an early enrollee. Meyer said Dobbins has moved past Antonio Williams, who was out Tuesday with a hamstring pull, and is battling Demario McCall for the backup spot behind returning starter Mike Weber.
On the injury front, Meyer said linebacker Baron Browning, a five-star recruit, will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday but is expected to be ready for the regular season. Defensive lineman Davon Hamilton had foot surgery on Monday for a broken bone but should be back to 100 percent by summer, Meyer said.