Plenty of personnel developments as Buckeyes begin spring ball
02 January 2014: Team Nitro (Green) linebacker Raekwon McMillan (42) during the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game between Team Highlight (Red) and Team Nitro (Green) at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Although the temperature in Columbus dipped into single digits on Monday night, Ohio State is set to begin spring football practice Tuesday afternoon, and the school announced a few personnel developments before the Buckeyes hit the field.
The most significant was a confirmation of something that was reported in early February: sophomore linebacker Mike Mitchell is no longer practicing with the team. A five-star prospect who signed out of Plano, Texas, reportedly is looking to transfer to a school closer to his hometown to be near his ailing father.
Others who won’t be practicing this spring because of their own health reasons are receiver Evan Spencer (ankle), offensive lineman Chase Farris (knee) and linebacker Devan Bogard (knee) while quarterback Braxton Miller (shoulder) and receiver James Clark (leg) will be limited in what they can do.
Farris moved back to the offensive line after spending part of 2013 on defense to shore up depth there, and he is not the only one on the move. Joel Hale, a senior who has played 29 games at defensive tackle, has moved to guard while sophomore Cam Burrows is now a safety after playing 124 snaps at cornerback last season.
Burrows, a highly regarded prospect from Trotwood (Ohio) Madison who was among the first verbal commitments in the 2013 class, joins a position group that had three seniors graduate and was the source of inconsistent play last season.
Also new this spring will be seven players who enrolled early from the 2014 class: quarterback Stephen Collier, wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, offensive linemen Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout, running back Curtis Samuel, linebacker Raekwon McMillan and kicker Sean Nuernberger as well as secondary coach Chris Ash and defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Sr.
Nuernberger will have a shot at winning the place-kicking job with the graduation of Drew Basil, though he will have to beat out senior walk-on Kyle Clinton.
McMillan also is expected to make a strong push for early playing time with All-Big Ten linebacker Ryan Shazier having chosen to skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft.
The Buckeyes will hold two practices this week then take off 11 days for spring break before returning to the field March 18.
The annual spring game will be held at Ohio Stadium on April 12.