"As you walk on by Will you call my name?" ~ Don't You Forget About Me, Simple Minds
These song lyrics from a classic 1980s song "Don't You Forget About Me" represent to me what it must be like to football players redshirted at major college football programs. While there is always considerable fanfare when players sign their respective letters of intent, players who redshirt seem to fall by the wayside of fans.
Below are players who signed with Ohio State in 2012, but redshirted during the 2012 season. Will any or all of these players be able to make a dent in the depth chart to be factors in the 2013 season?
RB Warren Ball: Ball faces a crowded backfield, with the return of Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith, and Bri'onte Dunn. Compounding the issue is the return of Jordan Hall at the slot/hybrid position, as well as the signings of Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson. Will Ball be able to move up in the running back rotation this spring and summer?
OT Kyle Dodson: Dodson was the last player to commit to Ohio State in 2012, choosing the Buckeyes over Wisconsin. Dodson redshirted in 2012 due to a lingering shoulder injury, but could possibly work his way into the two-deep this spring.
OL Pat Elflein: Elflein received a scholarship offer from Luke Fickell in the summer of 2011, after Jim Tressel had resigned. Will Elflein be able to show enough in the spring and summer to move into the two-deep along the offensive line?
WR Frank Epitropoulos: Epitropoulos committed to Ohio State as the Ohio State "Tatoogate" scandal was raging. The son and nephew of former Buckeye lettermen, Epitropoulos redshirted due to a lingering injury in 2012. With the departure of punter Ben Buchanan, and the backlog of players at the wide receiver position, will Epitropoulos seize the opportunity to win the starting punting position this spring?
QB Cardale Jones:
Jones has taken a long and winding path to Columbus. Delaying
enrollment until 2012, Jones is actually in the same high school
graduating class as starter Braxton Miller. With Miller firmly
entrenched as the starter, and senior quarterback Kenny Guiton, Jr. back
as the top backup quarterback, will Jones be able to show enough in the
spring and summer to warrant playing time in the fall?
DL Se'Von Pittman: Pittman flipped to Ohio State from a Michigan State commitment, after the hiring of Coach Urban Meyer. An early enrollee in 2012, Pittman sustained an injury during the spring that resulted in Pittman being redshirted for the 2012 season. Will Pittman be able to emerge along the defensive line this spring and summer?
TE Blake Thomas: The last verbal commitment before Jim Tressel's resignation, Thomas redshirted the 2012 season with tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett securing the top two spots on the depth chart. Will Thomas be able to make a move in the spring and summer to warrant playing time for the 2013 season?
"As you walk on by
Will you call my name?" are the lyrics I began this post with about the 2012 redshirted players. This question will be on the minds of these respective players as spring football begins for Ohio State.