Ohio State’s already inexperienced linebackers room took another hit this week as head coach Ryan Day announced on Monday that redshirt freshman Mitchell Melton will be sidelined with a “long-term injury,” though he did not offer further details.
The 6-foot-3 and 242-pound Melton – who came to Columbus as a four-star prospect from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel – could be seen on crutches during the portion of Monday’s practice that was open to the media.
Though Melton appeared in just two games last season on special teams, he is one of just seven returning scholarship linebackers with experience, joining seniors Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell and K’Vaughan Pope, as well as sophomores Craig Young, Cody Simon and Tommy Eichenberg.
Gant is also out for the spring as he deals with a foot injury, though he’s expected to be healthy by the time fall camp rolls around.
“We’re going to have to do a great job in developing the young guys,” Day said. “We’re going to be a little bit thin as we head into the preseason, but I think we have a great plan.”
Linebackers coach Al Washington spoke highly of Melton during his media availability on March 25.
“Cody Simon and Mitchell Melton, those are just two young studs, man,” Washington said. “They handle themselves like pros. They handle themselves the right way. They’re very talented. I think everybody who comes to Ohio State has a certain foundation of talent. They’re very bright and they just need reps. They need repetition. They need to be coached. They need to be evaluated. They need to be pushed. They’re going to be pretty doggone good.”
Of course, the injury is a setback for Melton in that regard, but the hope is that he’ll return to 100 percent and be able to contribute for the Buckeyes in the future.
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