Alter grad Hicks turns heads with Ohio State No. 1 defense

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Credit: Marcus Hartman

COLUMBUS — A handful of players from CoxFirstMedia coverage area high schools took part in Ohio State’s spring game.

None may be starters this fall, but all appear to have bright futures with the Buckeyes.

Here’s a look at what they did Saturday:

1. C.J. Hicks got the start at linebacker and appeared to take advantage

The Alter grad broke up two passes and was credited with six tackles, including one for a loss.

Head coach Ryan Day confirmed afterward he flashed more than once during the spring as he continues to learn the intricacies of the linebacker position and Jim Knowles’ defense.

“We’re still looking for that consistency, but you’re starting to see it more and more,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “He’s making plays. He’s showing up, and I think Jim and (graduate assistant James Laurinaitis) are doing a great job with him.”

He still faces another season sitting behind veterans Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers (who were both out with injuries but will be back by the start of preseason), but Knowles has talked about finding a role for him somewhere in the defense.

2. Tegra Tshabola got a lot of work with the first team

The second-year man from Lakota West alternated with Zen Michalski at right tackle in the first half then appeared to get the majority of the first-team reps at the position in the second.

Although all of the tackles struggled to contain the Ohio State pass rushers on the first and second team, Tshabola notably helped open up a hole for Chip Trayanum’s 65-yard run off tackle in the second quarter.

3. Jyaire Brown played cornerback with the second team.

The sophomore from Lakota West was primarily to the field (wide side of the formation) and finished with a pair of tackles.

He was in single coverage on a 37-yard touchdown by freshman Carnell Tate on the first play of the fourth quarter.

4. Austin Siereveld and Joshua Padilla saw time late with the second team.

Padilla (Wayne) came in at center with Siereveld (Lakota East) at left guard. They are both early-enrolling freshman who graduated from high school early in December.

5. Malik Hartford had four tackles at free safety.

He signed out of Lakota West in December with thoughts of being able to play any of the safety spots and was spotted at “Adjustor” or free safety on Saturday.

By all accounts, he had a strong first spring that included losing his black helmet stripe, a rite of passage that signals becoming a full member of the team.

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