- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michael Thomas provided the perfect fuel for the hype machine.
Coming on the heels of one of the worst passing seasons in the country, Ohio State had made a clear emphasis on improving through the air with a new coaching staff that was looking for playmakers on the perimeter.
A heralded recruit, Thomas stepped onto the big stage at Ohio Stadium in front of an enormous crowd for the first time and didn't back down from the opportunity he was given.
He even provided easy numbers for sake of comparison, making 12 catches in a single afternoon for an offense that didn't have anybody grab more than 14 balls over the entire season a year ago.
But while the anticipation for encores has only grown since Thomas made a splashy debut in the spring game back in April, the freshman is continuing to stress the importance of perspective as he prepares for something a bit more real than an exhibition.
"I still want to remain humble," Thomas said. "It was just a spring game, you know, still have 12 more games against different teams, different competition. So I feel like that was a great opportunity for me, but I feel like I could always do better. I feel like there’s room for improvement, and if I keep working, I feel like I can keep everything going.
"I just try to keep working hard. I don’t let it all get to my head."
That approach has been important through a little more than a week of training camp, because the Buckeyes aren't handing out jobs based on spring games -- regardless of how head-turning they might have been.
Thomas has drawn steady praise for his work ethic over the offseason, and his potential has certainly excited more than just fans based on the positive reviews from both the coaches and his teammates.
Meyer indicated during on Sunday that Thomas "picked up where he left in the spring," which was obviously on a high note. But Thomas isn't focusing on what he did then, nor does he really seem to want credit for it as he battles for playing time in a much-improved position group.
"I just try to step up when my name is called, when it’s my opportunity," Thomas said. "I mean, you may not get a lot of shots, I feel like when you get your shot, you have to step up.
"There are also a lot of guys around me. I mean, I had those 12 catches and a lot of yards, but the quarterbacks were throwing great balls, so it was like I had no other choice but to catch it."
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