We’re just days away from the season-opening matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana. Here are six impact players to keep an eye on:
Tegray Scales, Linebacker
Senior linebacker Tegray Scales from Cincinnati, Ohio put up some big numbers last year.
- Led the country in tackles for loss in 2017 with 23.5.
- Was first in solo tackles with 93.
- Ranked 10th in total tackles with 126, good for first in the Big Ten.
- Has received national attention this summer too as he was named an AP preseason All-American and is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the country’s top defensive player.
With a few question marks surrounding Ohio State on the offensive side of the ball, look for Scales to pounce early if there’s any hesitation in the offense on Thursday night.
Parris Campbell, Receiver
Senior Captain Parris Campbell appears poised to be a major weapon for the Buckeyes in 2017.
Campbell is expected to play the H-back role on offense this year, similar to the one Curtis Samuel filled last season. Against Indiana in 2016, Parris Campbell didn’t touch the ball once on offense. He did, however, make an impact in the return game. He averaged better than 37 yards on four returns for a total of 149 yards. With a couple outstanding questions on offense, Parris Campbell has been a popular topic of discussion this offseason.
Expect Campbell to make some noise in front of the national audience on Thursday night.
Richard Lagow, Quarterback
IU’s senior quarterback had mixed results in 2016.
On the positive side, his 3,362 yards were second in the Big Ten (behind only Trace McSorley) and his 19 touchdown passes ranked fifth in the conference.
As for the negative, he also threw 17 interceptions to go along with those 19 TDs, which was the second-highest total in the Big Ten.
With a new secondary on the other side, expect Lagow to trust his arm and take plenty of shots downfield.
J.K. Dobbins, Running Back
Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins has received a lot of hype this summer.
Dobbins came to Ohio State rated as the number two running-back recruit in the country according to 247sports and was the first true freshman to lose his black stripe in camp. Dobbins has been turning heads in practice, and with returning running back Mike Weber nursing a hamstring injury, Head Coach Urban Meyer has said Dobbins will play in the opener and added:
He’s earned that right.
Although Weber is expected to be healthy in time for Thursday’s contest, expect Dobbins to get some looks and perhaps be a change-of-pace player if things don’t immediately go the Buckeyes’ way.
Nick Westbrook, Receiver
Despite being officially listed as the number two wide receiver on the depth chart, junior Nick Westbrook is set to be “the guy” for the Hoosiers.
Westbrook played second fiddle to Ricky Jones last season, and appears to be penciled in for the same role this year. His numbers, however, speak for themselves. His 995 yards were second in the Big Ten and he also hauled in 6 TDs over the course of the year.
With Richard Lagow’s confidence heading into the season and Westbrook’s propensity to make big plays, expect that duo to try to set the tone early against the Buckeyes.
In case you missed it, Westbrook had 2 receptions for 67 yards against Ohio State last October, including one for 50 yards.
Tyquan Lewis, Defensive End
Entering 2017, senior DE Tyquan Lewis is a big part of the most highly-anticipated defensive line in recent memory for the Bucks.
Lewis led the team in sacks last year with 8 on his way to being named the Big Ten defensive lineman of the year. He was also atop the team leaderboard in tackles for loss with 10.5. He’s picked up a few preseason accolades too, finding himself on the watch lists for the Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski Awards, as well as being named an AP preseason All-American.
With an untested secondary behind him against a pass-first QB, expect the loaded D-line to get after the quarterback with Tyquan Lewis leading the way.