Ohio State Players Claim Spotlight at Senior Bowl

Bruce Hooley

On the four-week anniversary of their loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl, five Ohio State players vanquished in that College Football Playoff defeat get their chance to impress future NFL employers Saturday in the Reese's Senior Bowl.

Wide receivers, K.J. Hill and Austin Mack, defensive tackle Davon Hamilton, guard Jonah Jackson and linebacker Malik Harrison are scheduled to play in the 2:30 p.m. game from Mobile, Ala. (NFL Network)

Mack will play for the South, while his former teammates will play for the North.

The rosters are balanced by position groups, hence splitting Mack off onto a different roster.

The coaching staffs of the Cincinnati Bengals, who have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and the Detroit Lions, who select third, are coaching in the Senior Bowl.

Only players who have completed their college eligibility or who have graduated are permitted to play in the game, hence OSU's Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and J.K. Dobbins will not participate.

Young is widely expected to be the Washington Redskins' selection at second overall in the April draft, which many projections placing Okudah third to the Lions.

Former Buckeye Joe Burrow, who declined a Senior Bowl invitation, is the likely Bengals' pick at No. 1.

Hill, Hamilton and Jackson have flashed in practices throughout the week, hoping to duplicate the solid impressions Buckeyes like Nick Mangold and Terry McLaurin have made in the past at the Senior Bowl.

Hill was voted the North's best receiver by the defensive backs he competed against because of his outstanding footwork and impressive catch radius.

Pro Football Focus said Jackson "might be the only offensive lineman in attendance this week to not have a convincing loss in the one-on-ones. His independent hand usage has been nothing short of elite this week. The ability to latch and not let go is something that you love to see from an interior lineman. His build may not be the most impressive, but the tape is."

Likewise, PFF had high praise for Hill, who it said is, "always open" and was "easily the most impressive route-runner in Mobile. He created separation with ease and made his competition look foolish in the process."

Hamilton's raw power got overlooked during OSU's season because of Young's spectacular pass rushes off the edge, but some team is going to get a force inside with him.

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