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Buckeyes take on fastest students

04/13/2014, 12:00am EDT
By DAVID BRIGGS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Ohio State senior Malcom Bransen competes against the Buckeyes’ Doran Grant in a 40-yard dash. Grant won against the student. COLUMBUS DISPATCH/CHRIS RUSSELL

COLUMBUS — Dontre Wilson is not the fastest man on Ohio State’s campus.

But neither was the student gunning for his mythical title.

In a highlight of Ohio State’s trudging spring game Saturday, senior cornerback Doran Grant narrowly held off a field of the the school’s fastest students — including blistering senior criminal justice major Malcolm Branson.

Branson appeared to win a 40-yard halftime race among three of Ohio State’s top burners — Grant, Wilson, and sophomore receiver James Clark — and five undergraduates determined in previous qualifiers. But to the dismay of the Ohio Stadium crowd, a tie was called. Grant beat Branson by less than a step in a run-off, celebrating with a backflip before congratulating his competitor.

"Me and James Clark were talking trash beforehand, so I had to make sure I beat him," Grant said, smiling.

As for the first race, Grant said, "They said he got me the first time. And he probably did get me because I eased up."

Branson wasn’t going to argue. A former sprinter at Massillon Perry, Branson ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds during a recent qualifier at the Buckeyes’ football facility. He meant business Saturday, training last week by running with a parachute strapped to his back.

"I personally thought I had [Grant]," Branson said. "They have video of it. We’ll see when we look at the video. ... [But] it was fun. It was electric. I can’t even explain it."

Wilson, meanwhile, will look to claim the title next year while at full strength. The sophomore receiver ran the race despite missing the game with a stinger suffered in practice last week.

INJURED LIST: The Buckeyes’ roster of inactives Saturday included quarterback Braxton Miller (shoulder), safety Vonn Bell (knee), receiver Evan Spencer (ankle), receiver Jalin Marshall, tight end Jeff Heuerman (foot), defensive end Jamal Marcus (academics), and Wilson.

Urban Meyer also rested left tackle Taylor Decker and guard Pat Elflein, which he kept in mind when asked to evaluate the Buckeyes’ shaky offensive day.

"It's not fair to say I’m discouraged," he said. "Jeff Heuerman, Braxton Miller, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, Decker, all stand next to me, and then I chew out the coaches? Probably not the best thing to do. But they all know what it is. I just wanted to see them cleaner throwing the ball and we didn't do it, but I'm fine. We had a good spring."

RUMBLE IN THE ’SHOE: Could WrestleMania be headed to the Horseshoe?

The Wrestling Observer reported representatives from Columbus, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Toronto attended last week's Wrestlemania in New Orleans, with Ohio's capital city pitching the idea of holding the WWE event at Ohio Stadium in 2018.

The biggest selling point: a sellout at the 102,329-seat stadium would smash the Wrestlemania attendance record of 93,173 at the Silverdome in 1987. ...

EXTRA POINTS: Redshirt freshman safety and Central Catholic graduate Jayme Thompson had three tackles in his first Buckeyes close-up. Thompson missed last season with a severe high ankle sprain. ... Five-star running Kentucky running back Damien Harris, a former Michigan commit in the Class of 2015, headlined the roster of recruits in attendance. ... Ohio State’s three first-team All-Americans last year — former OSU left tackle and St. John’s Jesuit graduate Jack Mewhort, linebacker Ryan Shazier, and cornerback Bradley Roby — were honored Saturday. The trio will have a tree planted in their honor in Buckeye Grove next to the stadium. ... Mewhort and ex-Buckeyes offensive lineman Andrew Norwell will be signing autographs from 1-3 p.m. today at the Buckeye Store and More, 5700 Monroe St., Sylvania. 

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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