Junior college transfer Kendall Sheffield always had a head start this spring at Ohio State over three freshman early enrollees at cornerback, and the former Alabama signee evidently maintained it.
“Kendall Sheffield is ahead of the three freshmen corners who are here,” coach Urban Meyer said today on a Big Ten teleconference, referring to Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Marcus Williamson. “Which you would expect, just because he’s an older, veteran guy who has been out of high school for two years.”
Meyer said he has been impressed with the other three. But headed toward the spring game Saturday at Ohio Stadium, Sheffield — a five-star prospect when he signed with Alabama in 2015 only to transfer to Blinn College in Texas near his hometown for a reset in 2016 — is in the primary rotation with returning regular Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette.
Sheffield is among several who have caught Meyer’s eye the past few weeks. Another is defensive end Dre’Mont Jones.
“Dre’Mont has gone from a good player to a very good player bordering on great player,” Meyer said. “Our four defensive ends (returning regulars Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, Nick Bosa) are outstanding players and are where I thought they would be.”
He said returning starting safety Damon Webb “has gone from a decent player to a very good player this spring. He’s one of the most improved players on our team.”
On offense, he again noted the effort of receiver/hybrid back Parris Campbell, who “has had an exceptional spring. And I think (running back) Mike Weber is a lot like Damon Webb. He’s gone from a good — just the third freshman (at Ohio State) to ever rush for a 1,000 yards, so he had a good year. But he’s really having a good spring.”
Early enrollee J.K. Dobbins has been competing with Demario McCall for backup running back, and Meyer said Dobbins has shown enough for him to say “J.K. is going to play in the fall.”
As for the lone open starting spot on offensive line, right guard, Meyer said it has yet to be solidified. Demetrius Knox, considered the frontrunner going into the spring, had to miss last week’s Student Appreciation Day scrimmage because of an academic issue, though he practiced today. Coaches have indicated Matt Burrell followed by Malcolm Pridgeon are challenging for attention there.