Projected Post-Spring Offense

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Last updated: 04/23/2012 11:00 AM

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The stands in Ohio Stadium are probably still being cleaned from Saturday’s LiFE Sports Spring Game, but there was a clear pattern that unfolded this spring when it comes to Ohio State’s depth chart.

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.

A number of players emerged during the last few weeks, including freshmen like Michael Thomas, Taylor Decker and Bri’onte Dunn. Meyer expects all three to contribute on offense for the Buckeyes in the fall, with Thomas coming off a 12-catch performance on Saturday.

There are a number of big names still set to join the Buckeyes this summer, and a handful of guys will be back in the field in the fall—including (we hope) defensive end Nathan Williams and wideout Verlon Reed.

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

Braxton Miller
Photo by Jim Davidson

QUARTERBACK

5 Braxton Miller (6-3, 210, So.)
13 Kenny Guiton (6-3, 206, rJr.)
*12 Cardale Jones (6-5, 226, Fr.)

(Comments: Miller is clearly the guy who is going to run this offense for Meyer and Tom Herman in the fall. They want/need Guiton to be ready to play if anything happens, but it appears they weren’t very concerned with getting Jones up to speed during the spring. He didn’t take a single snap in the Spring Game.)

TAILBACK

7 Jordan Hall (5-9, 198, Sr.)
34 Carlos Hyde (6-0, 235, rSo.)
2 Rod Smith (6-3, 230, rSo.)
*25 Bri’onte Dunn (6-1, 214, Fr.)

(Comments: Hall and Hyde were expected to be the top two backs heading into the spring, and nothing has changed. If anything, those two have separated themselves as the main two ball-carriers for OSU this fall. Hall will be used in a variety of ways, while Hyde should have great success in the new tight zone-read game. Smith and Dunn should also be involved, and injuries are bound to happen at the running back position. DeSales product Warren Ball will also join this group in the summer.)

H-BACK

44 Zach Boren (6-1, 246, Sr.)
49 Adam Homan (6-3, 245, Sr.)

(Comments: Meyer loves Boren as a football player and he is going to find a number of different ways to get him on the field, even if that means giving him the ball on handoffs up the middle.)

Devon Smith
Photo by Jim Davidson
Devon Smith

SPLIT END

15 Devin Smith (6-1, 196, So.)
18 Tyrone Williams (6-6, 229, rSo.)
+9 Verlon Reed (6-0, 200, rSo.) – Limited activity (knee)

(Comments: It was a good spring for Williams, who desperately needed one heading into his third year at Ohio State. It wasn’t enough to leapfrog Smith, who should be one of OSU’s primary playmakers this fall. Williams will also be in the mix and should see some looks in the red zone.)

FLANKER

*83 Mike Thomas (6-2, 193, Fr.) OR
+16 Evan Spencer (6-1, 190, So.)
85 Frank Kangah (6-0, 190, Fr.)

(Comments: Before he injured his shoulder, it was Spencer who was having a noteworthy spring in Meyer’s new offense. Thomas, a true freshman, replaced him with the first group and the Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat. If anything, Thomas actually took his play to another level, and he all but earned a spot in the two-deep heading into the fall.)

SLOT RECEIVER

10 Corey Brown (5-11, 182, Jr.)
80 Chris Fields (6-0, 180, rJr.)

(Comments: It was a rough start to spring practice for Brown, who found himself on the second team, but it pushed him to be an even better player. Meyer named him as one of the top playmakers of the spring, and probably the top receiver over those 15 practices.)

Jake Stoneburner
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jake Stoneburner

TIGHT END

11 Jake Stoneburner (6-5, 245, rSr.)
+86 Jeff Heuerman (6-6, 247, So.) OR
81 Nick Vannett (6-6, 248, rFr.)

(Comments: We didn’t really get to see it in the Spring Game because Heuerman was hurt and Stoneburner wasn’t allowed to do much, but the Buckeyes are loaded at TE heading into the fall. They add another guy in Blake Thomas this summer, but the top three guys should all see the field.)

LEFT TACKLE

74 Jack Mewhort (6-6, 310, rJr.)
#76 Darryl Baldwin (6-6, 292, rSo.) OR
*68 Taylor Decker (6-8, 313, Fr.)

(Comments: No player on the line solidified himself more this spring than Mewhort. He is locked in at the left tackle spot and has to be considered a candidate for captaincy in the fall. Decker is probably the next guy in the game at either tackle spot, but Baldwin wasn’t completely out of place in his first 15 practices on the offensive line.)

LEFT GUARD

78 Andrew Norwell (6-6, 304, Jr.)
69 Eric Kramer (6-4, 285, rSo.)

(Comments: Give Kramer some credit, because he had a nice spring, but the fact a walk-on is in the two-deep after 15 practices says a lot about the team’s depth up front. Incoming freshman Joey O’Connor should have a chance to get in the mix during fall camp.)

CENTER

71 Corey Linsley (6-3, 292, rJr.)
*+50 Jacoby Boren (6-2, 283, Fr.) OR
51 Brian Bobek (6-2, 275, So.)

(Comments: It was surprising to see Linsley come in and lock down the starting center spot this spring, but he seems to have matured as much as anyone on the team from last year. Boren and Bobek are both serviceable backups, and they both have the ability to play guard, if needed.)

RIGHT GUARD

79 Marcus Hall (6-5, 315, rJr.)
73 Antonio Underwood (6-2, 301, So.)
+64 Ivon Blackman (6-3, 310, rJr.)

(Comments: In terms of physical transformation, Hall might have won the award on offense, especially after Chris Carter moved over to defense. Hall looks much trimmer than he did last year and he’s moving better. Underwood is a solid backup, who can play either guard spot.)

Reid Fragel
Photo by Jim Davidson
Reid Fragel

RIGHT TACKLE

#77 Reid Fragel (6-8, 298, Sr.)
*68 Taylor Decker (6-8, 313, Fr.)
55 Tommy Brown (6-4, 310, rFr.)

(Comments: It is still tough to get a complete gauge on Fragel after his first spring as a right tackle, but the good news is that he has a chance to be pretty good. His body is NFL-caliber and he has tremendous footwork in runblocking. He still has to work on his pass protection and his ability to maintain leverage on the outside.)

Key

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

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