2024 Special Teams Discussion

Discussion in 'Football Talk' started by OSUBasketballJunkie, Dec 31, 2023.

  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  2. TexasBuckeye

    TexasBuckeye Well-Known Member

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    Terminate Fleming.
    Go Bucks
     
  3. ScarletMerica

    ScarletMerica Super Buckin' Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank goodness Fleming is gone but when tf will we return a punt/kickoff for a td?? It’s been a whole decade and some change for both
     
  4. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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    Pretty embarrassing to not be elite on special teams with all the athletes..........
     
    ScarletMerica and TexasBuckeye like this.
  5. ScarletMerica

    ScarletMerica Super Buckin' Moderator Staff Member

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    There’s no reason for this to ever be the case with a team and program like us
     
  6. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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    SPECIALISTS (1)
    Returners: John Ferlmann
    Departures: Jesse Mirco, Parker Lewis

    Ferlmann, Ohio State’s starting long snapper, is the only specialist who was recruited to OSU as a scholarship player. Jayden Fielding returns as Ohio State’s kicker from last season and is a likely candidate to end up on scholarship if post-spring transfers leave OSU under the 85-man scholarship limit, given that Fielding made 80 percent of his field goal attempts in 2023.

    Joe McGuire, a walk-on from the same ProKick Australia program that produced Mirco and Cameron Johnston, is the only returning punter on the roster from last season. Ohio State may be content to have him handle punting duties rather than adding a transfer punter, though it will need to add another walk-on punter for depth.
     
  7. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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    KICKER
    1. Jayden Fielding
    2. Austin Snyder
    3. Casey Magyar

    Fielding is back for his second year as Ohio State’s starting kicker after making 80% of his field goal attempts as a true freshman.

    PUNTER
    1. Joe McGuire
    2. Austin Snyder

    McGuire is currently the only punter on Ohio State’s roster, so he is presumably in line to be the new starting punter after Jesse Mirco’s transfer to Vanderbilt. Ohio State will need to add another walk-on punter for depth. Snyder is listed as a kicker on the roster but has experience punting at Findlay University before transferring to Ohio State.

    LONG SNAPPER
    1. John Ferlmann
    2. Morrow Evans
    3. Max Lomonico

    Ferlmann is currently Ohio State’s only scholarship specialist and is entering his second year as the Buckeyes’ starting long snapper. Evans, who is walking on with the Buckeyes but was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 long snapper in the 2024 class, should be his top backup as his likely eventual successor.

    KICK RETURNER
    1. Lorenzo Styles Jr.
    2. Carnell Tate
    3. Mylan Graham

    Given that Xavier Johnson was Ohio State’s lead kickoff returner all of last season and the players who served as secondary returners (Chip Trayanum and Steele Chambers) are also now departed, there’s no clear frontrunner to be the kick returner in 2024.

    Styles has experience returning kicks from his time as a wide receiver at Notre Dame, so he would be a logical choice as the Buckeyes look to find a role for him this year. Tate and Graham are high-upside options who have experience returning kickoffs in high school, though Ohio State could be hesitant to use Tate on kick returns now that he’s in line to play a big role on offense.

    Sam Williams-Dixon is also a candidate to eventually return kickoffs for the Buckeyes as a shifty hybrid back with a similar skill set to Johnson, but he’s likely in line to redshirt as a freshman with the talent in front of him on the running back depth chart.

    PUNT RETURNER
    1. Caleb Downs
    2. Brandon Inniss
    3. Jayden Ballard

    Ballard and Emeka Egbuka split punt return duties last season, but Ohio State has reason to make a change this year. Egbuka only returned punts for one of Ohio State’s final eight games (the Michigan game) last season after suffering a midseason ankle injury while Ballard never looked fully comfortable fielding punts.

    Downs says he has talked to Ohio State about potentially returning punts after doing so occasionally last year at Alabama, where he had an 85-yard punt return touchdown last season. If the Buckeyes decide they don’t want their new star safety returning punts, Inniss saw occasional reps at punt returner as a freshman and also has the skill set to be a dynamic weapon in that regard.
     
  8. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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    SIX PLAYERS ROTATE AT PUNT RETURNER
    Ohio State rotated through six return men during its punt practice period the media observed on Tuesday, with Emeka Egbuka leading off the group.

    The Buckeyes’ No. 1 wideout for 2024 has filled return duties in the past, starting as the team’s punt returner at the beginning of last season with seven returns for 23 yards before suffering an injury during the Maryland game in Week 6. Wide receiver Jayden Ballard took over return duties following Egbuka’s injury and held onto the job after his teammate’s return, likely in an effort to preserve Egbuka’s health for the rest of the year, except for the Michigan game.

    Ballard, back with Egbuka for their fourth year, was fourth in line fielding punts. Before him were second-year wide receivers Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss. Inniss, a five-star prospect with plenty of dynamic athletic traits as a former high school quarterback, should be an intriguing option at the spot.

    Sophomore wide receiver Bryson Rodgers and freshman wideout Jeremiah Smith rounded out the rotation during that punting period. Cornerbacks Jermaine Mathews Jr. and Lorenzo Styles Jr. repped at punt returner during warm-ups as the Buckeyes’ punters got loose.

    Notably absent from either round of punt returning viewed by the media was safety Caleb Downs. Downs returned four punts for Alabama as a freshman in 2023 and amassed 87 yards off of those runbacks, most of them coming on an 85-yard punt return touchdown. That single return accounted for more yards than all of Ohio State’s punt returners combined in 2023.
     
  9. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  10. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  11. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  12. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  13. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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