August 9, 2013

Which scholarship newcomer will lose his black stripe?

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On Thursday, Ohio State announced that walk-on freshman Joe Ramstetter was the first newcomer to the 2013 Buckeyes to lose his black stripe, signifying that the Cincinnati, Ohio native and walk-on wide receiver is "officially" a member of the OSU roster. All scholarship players in the Buckeyes' highly-touted 2013 class who are in attendance for fall camp remain with their black stripes in tow, although it shouldn't be long before one of those 23 Buckeyes loses his.

With that in mind, here's a look at five (scholarship) freshmen who should be "officially" joining the Ohio State roster sooner, rather than later.

Eli Apple, cornerback, Voorhees, N.J.

While much has been made of the Ohio State newcomers on the offensive side of the ball, Apple has stood apart from his classmates on defense, and has been the most impressive fresh face for the "Silver Bullets." An early-enrollee for spring practice, fall camp hasn't been as much of a shell shock for Apple as it has been for some of teammates, and the easier transition has paid dividends for him in the first week of fall camp.

Whether or not Apple cracks the Buckeyes two-deep or is relegated to special teams play this fall remains to be seen. But with Bradley Roby possibly facing a suspension for OSU's season-opener, playing time at cornerback for Apple is there for the taking.

Dontre Wilson, running back, DeSoto, Texas

You've seen all of the headlines and tweets by now, but Wilson has proven to be worth the hype in the limited availability that the media has had to Ohio State practice. The former four-star prospect simply has a different gear than most players at the college level, and Urban Meyer has already stated that he sees immediate playing time in the multipurpose back's future.

While Wilson has been the most impressive freshman in the first week of fall camp, the hype surrounding him could make it harder for that black stripe to come off. Nevertheless, he'll be a significant contributor this season, as he attempts to live up to sky-high expectations.

Jalin Marshall, wide receiver, Middletown, Ohio

The hype that Wilson's received in the early weeks of the preseason have allowed Marshall to fly under the radar, but don't expect that to be the case for long. Marshall showed impressive polish and capable route running skills during Wednesday's open practice, catching multiple touchdowns from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

Having played quarterback, wide receiver, and running back throughout his high school career, Marshall could play the 'Pivot' hybrid role in the Buckeyes offense this season. Based on his play alone, Marshall's black stripe shouldn't be attached to his helmet for long.

Darron Lee, linebacker, New Albany, Ohio

Not the most highly-touted member of this year's class, Lee looks like he could be a player this season, although his contributions will likely come on special teams. A safety and quarterback in high school, Lee is still growing into his role as a linebacker at the college level, but appears to have all of the intangibles to make an impact at his new position.

Just like he earned a scholarship offer at last year's Ohio State camp, the New Albany product again appears to be proving his worth with his play. Lee's tenacity has already been lauded by his coaches, which is usually a sign that a player could be getting ready to "officially" join the Buckeyes' roster.

Joey Bosa, defensive end, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A four-star prospect, Bosa was one of the biggest gets for the Buckeyes this season on either side of the ball. His coaches have been getting after him throughout the start of fall practice, but that's usually just a sign that they think he's worth getting after.

Bosa has already spent time working with the Buckeyes' first-team special teams and defensive units, and could be used in various roles in both this season. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder certainly has the frame to make an instant impact, and will first need to lose his black stripe to do so.


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