Ohio State Spring Game: 5 young players to watch Saturday

The Ohio State spring game is an opportunity for fans to see some players who have not gotten on the field much yet.

Here are five to keep in mind:

C.J. Hicks

The sophomore-to-be from Dayton has been a big topic of conversation all spring because he is blocked by seniors at linebacker. The No. 1-ranked recruit In Ohio State’s 2022 class should get lots of run with the top unit Saturday since Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers are both out while recovering from injuries.

Sonny Styles

Another five-star signee from last year, Styles also has great size and speed but not necessarily a spot in the startling lineup because of returnees Josh Proctor and Lathan Ransom. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said he wants to see youngsters dominate on the second team before finding them playing time with the starters, and this should be an opportunity for both Styles and Hicks to do just that.

Jelani Thurman

A true freshman from Georgia, the 6-6, 253-pound tight end stood out on the practice field all spring and might be too talented to keep out of the game plan this fall.

Ohio State has a returning starter at the position (Cade Stover) and some veterans stepping up this spring, but Thurman was hard to miss during public practices.

Malik Hartford

A true freshman fro Lakota West, Hartford was the top-ranked in-state recruit for Ohio State in December. He faces an uphill climb for playing time at safety, but this will be his first chance (along with the rest of the 2023 early enrollees) to don the Scarlet and Gray at Ohio Stadium in front of a live audience.

Kenyatta Jackson

The No. 60 recruit in the country in the 2022 class, the defensive end from Hollywood, Fla., did not get a chance to show much on the field last fall, but the coaches have raved about him this spring after a year in college workout and nutrition programs.

He could be the edge-bending pass rusher Ohio State has lacked the last two seasons even if he only has a part-time role this fall.

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