Three offensive players among the early enrollees from Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class have made their presence known in spring drills, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said after practice Thursday.
Whether that will translate to playing time in the fall, or even a strong showing in the spring game on April 15, remains to be seen. But running back J.K. Dobbins, receiver Brendon White and quarterback Tate Martell have had their moments thus far, Jones reported.
“J.K. has really caught my eye,” said Jones, a third-year sophomore. “He just runs hard. He does not care. He just goes. I’m close to him, too. I kind of took him under my wing a little bit.
“And I’d say Brendon White, receiver. I haven’t really talked to him too much but I’ve noticed him.”
Then there is Martell, who won the Maxwell Club award as the national high school national player of the year. Listed at 5 feet 11 and fourth in line behind returning starter J.T. Barrett, Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins Jr., Martell evidently has taken his role as scout-team quarterback and run with it against the No. 1 defense.
“Tate is giving us a really good look at scout,” Jones said. “I don’t know how he does it, being like 5-10, 5-3, whatever, but he’s doing a good job.”
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has seen the same thing from Martell, a native of Las Vegas.
“Absolutely quick, tough, can run, can go hang in the pocket and throw the ball,” Johnson said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a guy you can’t count out (on a play) because he can run, he can throw the ball. And I like his attitude.”
The fact he’s short of 6 feet seems to matter little.
“I think Doug Flutie was 5-10, right?,” Johnson said of the 1984 Heisman Trophy winner from Boston College who actually was more like 5-9. “He had a great career.
“Coach (Ryan) Day is doing a great job with him. And he’s young, so he’s got time."
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