Finalizing Ohio State’s Post-Spring Depth Chart on Defense

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We have already looked at the best guess at the post-spring offensive depth chart for the Buckeyes, which means that it’s time to give the same treatment to the Silver Bullets. There is a lot of talent returning for the Buckeye defense despite some heavy losses to the NFL.

There only real concern at this point is in the secondary, where the Buckeyes must replace three starters. Over the 15 practices of spring camp, there are still some jobs to be won.

Note: Only freshmen that participated in spring football will be listed below.

Defensive End
6 Sam Hubbard, rJr (6-5 266) OR
11 Jalyn Holmes, Sr (6-5 274)
13 Rashod Berry, rSoph (6-4 252)
42 Darius Slade, rJr (6-4 258)

Defensive End
59 Tyquan Lewis, rSr (6-4 266) OR
97 Nick Bosa, Soph (6-4 265)
18 Jonathon Cooper, Soph (6-3 248)

There isn’t much to say about the defensive end spots because they kind of speak for themselves. Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa may not start a single game this year, but don’t ever think of them as “backups.”

Defensive Tackle
86 Dre’Mont Jones, rSo (6-3 280)
93 Tracy Sprinkle, rSr (6-3 293)
9 Jashon Cornell, rSo (6-3 280)
55 Malik Barrow, rFr (6-2 288)
94 Dylan Thompson, rJr (6-5 275)

Tracy Sprinkle didn’t participate in contact drills this spring as he recovers from his knee injury from the season opener last year. Dre’Mont Jones has taken another step. Jashon Cornell and Malik Barrow benefited from increased reps due to the injuries along the defensive line this spring and the both responded well.

Nose Tackle
67 Robert Landers, rSo (6-1 285)
77 Michael Hill, rSr (6-3 305)
53 Davon Hamilton, rSo (6-4 297)

Davon Hamilton broke his foot and missed most of the spring, but he’ll be fine for the season. This isn’t the deepest group, so don’t be surprised if a three-technique or two helps out. Robert Landers received more reps with the ones than Michael Hill throughout the spring.

Will Linebacker
17 Jerome Baker, Jr (6-1 225)
16 Keandre Jones, Soph (6-2 225) OR
32 Tuf Borland, rFr (6-1 229)

Keandre Jones actually finished the spring at Sam due to the injury to Malik Harrison, but I would expect him back at the Will during fall camp. He’s athletic enough to play anywhere.

Mike Linebacker
35 Chris Worley, rSr (6-2 230)
47 Justin Hilliard, rSo (6-1 230)
5 Baron Browning, Fr (6-4 230)
43 Nick Conner, rSo (6-3 232)

Chris Worley secured the middle linebacker spot and Justin Hilliard played well as the No. 2. Baron Browning and Nick Conner both went down to injury during the spring, so the rest of the depth chart is a bit of a mystery right now. The staff does love Browning’s potential, though he is raw.

Sam Linebacker
33 Dante Booker, rJr (6-3 236)
39 Malik Harrison, Soph (6-3 228)

Urban Meyer has already said that Malik Harrison is going to push for the job in the fall once he returns from a shoulder injury. Somebody may get moved here due to the depth, like Keandre Jones did in the spring. The good thing about the Sam and Will, however, is that they are interchangeable. The only real difference is that the Sam plays the wider side of the field.

12 Denzel Ward, Jr (5-10 185)
24 Shaun Wade, Fr (6-1 180)
21 Marcus Williamson, Fr (5-9 180)
28 Joshua Norwood, rSo (5-10 185)

3 Damon Arnette, rSo (6-0 195)
10 Kendall Sheffield, rSo (6-0 183)
29 Rodjay Burns, Soph (6-0 180) OR
1 Jeffrey Okudah, Fr (6-1 190)

If you were to line up the eight scholarship cornerbacks and rank them, I think right now it might go 1) Denzel Ward; 2) Damon Arnette; 3) Kendall Sheffield; 4) Shaun Wade; 5) Jeffrey Okudah, Marcus Williamson, Rodjay Burns; 8) Joshua Norwood. The freshmen really grew a lot in the spring, and Kendall Sheffield picked things up as quickly as expected. Damon Arnette made a jump as well and solidified his spot as a starter.

Free Safety
7 Damon Webb, Sr (5-10 195)
4 Jordan Fuller, Soph (6-2 205)
15 Wayne Davis, rFr (5-10 195)

There could very well be a rotation at both safety spots between Damon Webb, Jordan Fuller, and Erick Smith, so a depth chart is a bit of a wispy thing right now.

Strong Safety
34 Erick Smith, Sr (6-0 203) OR
4 Jordan Fuller, Soph (6-2 205)
23 Jahsen Wint, rFr (5-10 190) OR
14 Isaiah Pryor, Fr (6-2 195)

Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller are fighting for this job and it is going to continue into the fall. I may be mistaken, but it looked like Fuller was getting more run with the ones at the end of spring, at least while we were watching.

96 Sean Nuernberger, rJr (6-1 227)

Sean Nuernberger was the only scholarship kicker in camp.

Long Snapper
49 Liam McCullough, rSo (6-2 228)

Liam McCullough begins his second season as the Buckeyes’ long snapper and as long as you continue to not hear about him, then he’s doing his job as well as could be hoped.

91 Drue Chrisman, rFr (6-3 200)

Chrisman was solid this spring probably. Urban Meyer never complained about him, so that’s a positive.