The Toledo area is well represented on the Ohio State football team because of players like Ben St. John (Woodmore) and Jack Mewhort (St John’s Jesuit).
Starting in 2014 there may be another area athlete wearing the scarlet and gray. Michael Deiter, an offensive lineman from Genoa who is considering OSU, was invited to visit the Buckeyes spring practice last week at the Woody Hayes Center and then to the spring game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
With a “recruit” pass in hand, Deiter was able to see the big boys practice big time, up close. Deiter, a junior with one season on the prep gridiron remaining, last Fall he was voted second team All-Ohio defensive tackle and received Genoa’s “Top Defensive Lineman” award.
|Potential OSU recruit Michael Deiter from Genoa at Paul Brown
Stadium with parents Dave and Deanne. (Press photo by Harold
“Prior to arriving at Genoa, the two best linemen I ever coached were three-year starters in college. One of them “started for Urban Meyer at Bowling Green State University as a 17-year old nose tackle,” Spiess said. “The other was a three-year starter at Wake Forest and was an outstanding lineman in their bowl victory over Oregon.
“Michael Deiter has an opportunity to surpass everything those two players accomplished in college” Spiess added. “Michael is bigger (6-foot-5, 301 pounds), faster and stronger than both of those great players. His background in hockey, our weight room and the way we conduct our practices will give him an advantage over other incoming freshmen”.
Coach Spiess said that he has received phone calls and text messages from several other large BCS schools about Deiter.
Spiess said that despite all of the attention, “What I am really proud of is how humble Michael has remained. No matter the number of offers; Michael has assured me his decision will come down to whichever BCS schools he likes as well as BGSU and the University of Toledo.
“Coach Campbell (UT) and Coach Clawson (BGSU) are such good outstanding coaches and they run top notch collegiate programs. Having these outstanding programs in our backyard is a real bonus. I have had a few MAC schools tell me they may not recruit Michael because they are not certain they can compete against the BCS powerhouses. Coach (Dave) Clawson and Coach (Matt) Campbell have taken the other road and the Deiters (family) really appreciate their efforts.”
St. John sees action
The Ohio State spring game was held at the home of the Cincinnati Bengals, with its turf laid down by Oregon-based Maumee Bay Turf.
A surprisingly small crowd of only 37,643 watched as the Scarlet beat the Grey, 31-14, on a sunny but cool Saturday afternoon, perfect football weather. Lineman Ben St. John played on the winning scarlet team, seeing plenty of action, which could bode well for his upcoming season. There is an opportunity for him if he wants it because Coach Meyer is looking for a fifth starter on the offensive line.
“I would be disappointed if we aren’t the best offense in the Big Ten,” Meyer said. “The one glaring weakness is the fifth starter on the offensive line. We have legitimate concerns about who that player is. I feel good about four of the five starters, and unless we get that fixed, there goes the best offensive line in the Big Ten.”
Last year the spring game at “The Shoe” in Columbus drew 81,000-plus for Urban Meyer’s first at Ohio State. One would think that after last year’s 12-0 season coupled with the BCS bowl anticipations for this year, the 65,535 seat stadium would have been packed, but Cincinnati failed to show that kind of support this year.
For the second year in a row, the game was not much of a game and more of a practice or scrimmage. In the past, the pre-Urban Renewal days, the game was more free-flowing, kind of a fun game and a reward to the players for a month of hard spring practice. It was a good way to continue building the competitive spirit in a game environment.
The media keeps writing that the game is the last chance for the coaches to get a look at the players and the players a last chance to win or lock in their starting positions. I don’t buy that. It is difficult for me to believe that after a month of practice, less than 40 minutes of action in this game will change anything. A less controlling atmosphere would be more entertaining for the fans.
The action, it was a sarcastic surprise, surprise, dominated by quarterback Braxton Miller. He started, on the very first play, by throwing a 49-yard pass to Evan Spencer, who was wide open, caught it in stride, but then stumbled and fell on the 16-yard line. Miller scored three touchdowns in the game, two by passing for a 64 percent efficiency (16 of 25) and added one TD running.
Kenny Guiton, the backup senior quarterback, was the Gray team’s leader, although he also played for the Scarlet. He threw 13 completions in 22 attempts (59 percent). Both Miller and Guiton wore black jerseys, signifying that they were off limits as far as contact.
Many of the expected starters did not play or had limited time on the field either because they had injuries or fear of injury.
How good are the Buckeyes? Hard to tell.
This was only an inter-squad scrimmage and no one saw the full team together. One thing for sure, however, on an individual basis there is a ton of talent.
Quality running backs and receivers are more numerous this year and Miller, the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year and fifth place finisher in last year’s Heisman voting, appears to be more confident and a stronger leader.