Cody Simon returns from injury; More from Ohio State football's first spring practice

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State opened spring practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday morning, holding the first of 15 workouts.

Media members were present for the first three periods of the practice, viewing stretching, special teams work and position drills that totaled a half-hour.

Some news, notes and other observations are below.

• Cody Simon, who missed the Rose Bowl after undergoing shoulder surgery, took part in drills with other linebackers. While starting at middle linebacker for most of last season, Simon was banged up and wore a protective brace on his right shoulder.

• After switching from tight end to linebacker to end of last season and finishing with the third-most tackles on the team in the comeback win over Utah, Cade Stover is remaining on the defensive side of the ball, working out with the rest of the linebackers.

Ohio State linebacker Cody Simon (30) and running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) warm up during the first practice of spring football for the Buckeyes at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

• Redshirt sophomore Mitchell Melton lined up with other defensive linemen during drills, signaling a possible position switch. He enrolled as a linebacker in 2020 before missing last season because of a knee injury.

• The handful of players who were off to the side in a rehabilitation group instead of taking reps with their position groups included defensive end Zach Harrison. It wasn’t clear why Harrison, who returned for his senior season and appeared in all but one game last fall, was limited.

• Others who were running on the sideline included safety Josh Proctor, defensive end Tyler Friday and defensive lineman Noah Potter. Proctor suffered a season-ending leg fracture in Week 2, while Friday and Potter are also coming off similarly long setbacks. Friday suffered an ACL injury, and Potter had emergency eye surgery in October.

• Interior offensive lineman Harry Miller was not spotted during the open practice periods. Miller missed most of last season with injuries, but started at left guard during the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020.

• Jaxon Smith-Njigba was up first to return punts, filling a role vacated by the departure of fellow receiver Garrett Wilson. Smith-Njigba’s right thumb is taped, but he didn’t appear to be held back.

• After missing last season following his fourth ACL tear, wide receiver Kamryn Babb was a participant on Tuesday. Babb was selected as a team captain due to his perseverance. 

• In the running back rotation, TreVeyon Henderson led off drills, followed by Miyan Williams and Evan Pryor. Walk-on running back Cayden Saunders was fourth. Marcus Crowley, who suffered an unspecified long-term injury last fall, was out. 

• Chad Ray, a walk-on quarterback from Dublin, has joined the program and rotated behind C.J. Stroud, Kyle McCord and Devin Brown in drills. Ray was a senior at Dublin Scioto in 2019 and threw for 1,310 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions in seven games, according to statistics listed by MaxPreps.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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