Linebacker Jerome Baker’s eyes lit up on Thursday when he was asked who from the Ohio State offense had caught his attention in preseason camp. He zeroed in on freshman J.K. Dobbins.

“He brings it every single play,” Baker said of the running back from La Grange, Texas. “It’s fun to watch him play. It’s fun to tackle him, it’s fun to try to chase him down. Even when you get close to him, you know he’s got the moves to make you miss.”

Dobbins was the first OSU player from the 2017 class to have the black stripe removed from his helmet, a symbolic gesture for each newcomer signifying he has the ability to help the team in a real game. Coach Urban Meyer praised Dobbins this week for his play in last Saturday’s scrimmage while returning starter Mike Weber works back from a hamstring strain.

Dobbins was an early enrollee in January, but he picked up the system quickly. Baker said the freshman has been working more like a veteran in camp.

“He’s played like he’s been here for a few years,” Baker said. “He’s definitely a good guy, he’s fun to be around. But on the field he’s a monster.”

Back to 16

Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class took a step back this week with the decommitment of Andrew Chatfield, dropping the list of pledges to 16. But the decision by the four-star defensive end from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to reopen his recruiting did not send a shock wave through the ranks of the analysts who cover recruiting. Chatfield is said to be leaning toward Florida.

“Defensive end is the one position where Ohio State could afford something like this to happen in this class,” said Marc Givler, an analyst for Rivals. “With Brenton Cox (of Stockbridge, Georgia) already in the fold, that still gives them one big-time pass-rusher.”

The Buckeyes also are still in the picture with defensive ends Tyreke Smith of Cleveland Heights; Jayson Oweh of Blairstown, New Jersey; and Micah Parsons of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Parsons is a five-star prospect ranked No. 1 nationally at his position and the No. 5 recruit overall.

“All three are national-level pass-rushers,” Givler said. “Even with the loss of Chatfield, this looks like it’s going to be one of the best defensive line hauls in the country, if not the best, if they can close on a couple of those other defensive ends.”

Coffey grounds

As has become custom, Meyer moved the team’s workouts for this week and next to the recreational fields off Coffey Road, across the Olentangy River from Ohio Stadium. He said it gives the preseason a camp feel, though the team still dresses at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center before taking buses to Coffey and back.

Well, except for defensive line coach Larry Johnson. He was spotted on Thursday riding a bike back to the WHAC.