Projected Depth Chart: Defense

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Last updated: 05/03/2012 1:50 AM

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Football
Projected Post-Spring Depth Chart: Defense
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring practice is over, and a new crop of freshmen are set to embark on their collegiate journey this summer.

That includes a talented group of defensive linemen and a few key linebackers who could be asked to step in and contribute right away for Luke Fickell and the Ohio State defense.

Head coach Urban Meyer wanted to coach his first 15 practices without preconceived ideas about who his best players were going to be, but he also made it a priority to have the majority of his two-deep set by the end of spring practice.

There weren’t a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball, but a few players made a lasting impact on the coaches during the 15 spring practices.

Ohio State plans to release an official post-spring depth chart—the first of its kind under Meyer—sometime next week, but we decided to get a head start on filling out the two-deep on defense.

In case you missed it, here was our best guess at the offense

Defensive Depth Chart - the-Ozone Best Guess

Michael Bennett
Photo by Dan Harker
Michael Bennett

STRONGSIDE DEFENSIVE END
63 Michael Bennett (6-3, 277, So.)
93 Adam Bellamy (6-4, 292, rJr.)
*+11 Se’Von Pittman (6-5, 245, Fr.)

(Comments: Though Bellamy started spring practice with the first-team, it seemed like Bennett was destined to be in that first group. He is an excellent young talent who all but wrapped up a starting spot this spring. Bellamy gives them a versatile fifth guy who can play inside or out.)

NOSE TACKLE
53 Garrett Goebel (6-4, 285, rSr.)
51 Joel Hale (6-4, 295, So.)
#72 Chris Carter (6-4, 358, rFr.)

(Comments: The decision to move Carter to defensive line seemed insignificant at the time, but he actually looked pretty good in the spring game. Given, it was against backups on the offensive line, but not many teams have a 350-pound nose tackle they can throw out there.)

Johnathan Hankins
Photo by Jim Davidson
Johnathan Hankins

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
52 Johnathan Hankins (6-4, 317, Jr.)
57 Chase Farris (6-4, 286, rFr.)
96 Kharim Stephens (6-2, 280, rSr.)
+86 Kenny Hayes (6-5, 285, rFr.)

(Comments: Hankins should be one of the more dominant defensive linemen in the Big Ten. Had his knee scoped at the end of spring ball, but should be fine for the start of fall practice. Farris also had a nice spring and could be in the rotation to start fall camp. Hayes missed most or all of spring practice with an unspecified health issue.)

WEAKSIDE DEFENSIVE END (LEO)
54 John Simon (6-2, 260, Sr.)
88 Steve Miller (6-3, 255, So.) OR
50 J.T. Moore (6-3, 250, rSo.)
+43 Nathan Williams (6-3, 255, rSr.) ~ No football activity in spring (knee)

(Comments: Simply put, Simon was the most dominant player on the football field at OSU this spring. He could have a monster season, especially if the Buckeyes get Williams back from micro fracture surgery. He didn’t do much in the spring, but is expected to be ready sometime during fall camp. Miller and Moore will have to show more in the fall if they want to hold off incoming freshmen Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence.)

Ryan Shazier
Photo by Jim Davidson
Ryan Shazier

WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER (WILL)
10 Ryan Shazier (6-1, 226, So.)
*42 Luke Roberts (6-2, 230, Fr.)

(Comments: It’s clear that Shazier is the star of the LB group at Ohio State heading into his second season. He added 10+ pounds of muscle in the off-season, and now has some power to match his explosive speed. The key for Shazier will be harnessing that speed and playing under control.)

MIDDLE LINEBACKER (MIKE)
14 Curtis Grant (6-3, 235, So.)
+32 Storm Klein (6-2, 242, Sr.)
36 Connor Crowell (6-1, 233, rFr.)

(Comments: The key here will be the development of Grant, who was working as the 1st team MLB before a stinger kept him out of the spring game. Klein should also be healthy in the fall after missing most of spring ball, and Crowell flashed some potential in the spring, but Grant is the key guy here.)

Etienne Sabino
Photo by Jim Davidson
Etienne Sabino

STRONGSIDE LINEBACKER (SAM)
6 Etienne Sabino (6-3, 237, rSr.)
*+15 Josh Perry (6-4, 231, Fr.) OR
59 Stewart Smith (6-3, 230, rSr.)

(Comments: Sabino established himself as the starting Sam LB in the spring, but the Buckeyes are very thin at both outside linebacker position. Perry has a good-looking frame and Smith had a solid spring, but there should be some opportunity here for the new guys.)

NICKEL BACK (STAR)
2 Christian Bryant (5-10, 190, Jr.)
3 Corey Brown (6-1, 197, rJr.)

(Comments: The Buckeyes didn’t play a lot of nickel defense in the spring, and they would like to be in base 4-3 more of the time if they have the right linebackers, but the “Star” spot still might be the most suited for Bryant. The only other guy we saw there this spring was Brown, who seems to be pushing for some playing time.)

CORNERBACK
7 Travis Howard (6-1, 196, rSr.)
9 Adam Griffin (5-8, 180, rSo.) OR
*23 Tyvis Powell (6-3, 196, Fr.)

(Comments: Griffin had a pretty solid spring, all things considered, but there are still serious depth issues at cornerback. Powell has great size, but doesn’t move like a cornerback just yet. He might be playing safety right now if they had more corners, but he came along under Kerry Coombs tutelage in the spring.)

CORNERBACK
25 Bradley Roby (5-11, 185 rSo.)
12 Doran Grant (5-11, 188, So.)
13 Julian Vann (5-10, 178, rSo.)

(Comments: New CB’s coach Kerry Coombs said Roby will be an All-American if he works hard enough. Coombs also said he has no reservations about starting Grant at corner if one of their main two guys was out.)

SAFETY
2 Christian Bryant (5-10, 190, Jr.)
19 Orhian Johnson (6-3, 210, rSr.)
28 Ron Tanner (6-0, 192, rFr.)

(Comments: With Bryant banged up at the end of camp, Johnson saw a lot of time with the 1st team defense this spring. He also comes into the game in nickel situations, but Bryant and Barnett will likely start the season at safety.)

SAFETY
4 C.J. Barnett (6-1, 202, rJr.)
3 Corey Brown (6-1, 197, rJr.)
+21 Jamie Wood (6-1, 207, rJr.) ~ Underwent shoulder surgery in Jan.

(Comments: Barnett missed the Spring Game with a leg injury, but he is one of the team’s top playmakers on defense and should be ready to return for summer conditioning. Brown gives them good depth at safety, while Jamie Wood and Zach Domicone could both be back in the fall.)

Key

*Class of 2012 member who enrolled early for spring practice
Returning Starter
+Has missed all or part of spring practice because of injury
#Position change this spring
 

 

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