COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coaches met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since spring practice ended in the middle of April.
Here are seven takeaways from the day:
1. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is looking for transfer Tywone Malone to add depth this season and thinks he has a chance to really develop now that he will be doing football full time. He also played baseball at Mississippi.
2. Johnson is excited to see linebacker/defensive end Mitchell Melton at full strength this fall. They held him back in spring after he had two season-ending injuries the previous two years, but he has some pass-rushing ability that not everyone possesses.
3. Cornerbacks coach Tim Walton liked how Lakota West grad Jyaire Brown looked at nickel in the spring. He’s a natural cornerback but can help them inside because he has some short-area quickness.
4. Offensive line coach Justin Frye said he was really happy with the spring Lakota West grad Tegra Tshabola had. Frye praised his God-given ability and said the redshirt freshman has a really good career ahead of him.
5. Frye also liked what he saw from all of the early enrollees on the line, including Joshua Padilla of Wayne High School and Austin Siereveld of Lakota East.
6. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said he thought sophomore safety Sonny Styles looked more comfortable at high safety than he might have expected, and they are going to have to get him on the field one way or another. (That ability to play deep should make that easier.) He took reps at all three safety spots in the spring.
7. Knowles was also very positive about his other five-star sophomore defensive prodigy: C.J. Hicks. The veteran coach predicted the Alter High grad will have a breakout this fall, though he wasn’t sure if it would be as part of a rotation at linebacker or in his own role. He continued to talk about Hicks and Melton as potential hybrid players with their own special role in the defense.