Notes and observations from Ohio State football's student appreciation day practice
Ohio State held its student appreciation day for the first time since 2019, opening up more than an hour of its eighth spring practice on Saturday to OSU students.
Media members were also in attendance to observe later portions of a practice that included 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods.
Below are some news, notes and other observations from the latest workout at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
• Safety Josh Proctor continues progressing following the season-ending leg injury he suffered last September. He participated in 7-on-7 work, and it was a notable step forward for him, considering coach Ryan Day previously said he wasn’t expecting Proctor to take part in many team drills this spring.
• Neither wide receiver Kamryn Babb nor tight end Gee Scott Jr. was seen at practice. Babb, who is coming off another ACL surgery, was considered to “full go” to start practice. The reasons for their apparent absences were unclear. Day did not speak with reporters after practice. His next news conference is scheduled for Monday.
• Not long after switching positions from linebacker to tight end, Cade Stover was working with the first-team offense. He caught a touchdown in a red-zone period.
• While Emeka Egbuka was the backup slot receiver behind Jaxon Smith-Njigba last season, he saw plenty of reps at outside receiver on Saturday, including lining up with the first-team offense. He was at the outside receiver spot opposite Marvin Harrison Jr., while Smith-Njigba remained in the slot.
• Sophomore Donovan Jackson is in line to start at left guard next season, but he also took reps at left tackle with the second-team offense, an indication he might fill in at one of the tackle spots in case of an injury to either Paris Johnson or Dawand Jones. He could also move there next offseason in the event of departures by Johnson or Jones, who are both eligible to enter next year’s NFL draft.
• With Cameron Brown limited during team periods, sophomore Jordan Hancock saw first-team reps at the outside cornerback spot opposite Denzel Burke. The rest of the first-team secondary during 11-on-11s included Ronnie Hickman as the free safety and Tanner McCalister and Bryson Shaw at the other safety spots. Proctor did not participate in 11-on-11s.
• Linebackers Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg began with the first-team defense during the final red-zone period. Both of them started in the Rose Bowl.
• The first-team defensive line often included sophomore Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau as the ends and seniors Jerron Cage and Taron Vincent as the tackles.
• One of the highlights of the day involved quarterback C.J. Stroud connecting with Harrison on a deep pass in a 7-on-7 drill. Harrison had outrun a defensive back, and in order to catch up with the pass thrown by Stroud, laid out to make the grab. It occurred right in front of athletic director Gene Smith, who was chatting with former Buckeyes receiver and ESPN analyst Joey Galloway.
• Backup quarterbacks Kyle McCord and Devin Brown also made a series of impressive throws, showing off the Buckeyes’ deep collection of arm talent at the position. Late in practice, Brown hit fellow freshman Kyion Grayes on a fade route in the corner of the end zone. The pass went at least 30 yards.
• Stroud was the Buckeyes' last player to leave the indoor field at the facility as he signed autographs and took photos with a horde of students that surrounded him. “My mom always told me to give back,” he said.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman