Looking at Ohio State's 2014 Defensive Tackle Depth Chart
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — There appears to be quite a bit of depth on the Ohio State defensive line in 2014, and much of that depth is versatile enough to play in more than one spot. That versatility means that positions may be rather fluid as we move from spring football to fall camp.
We have already looked at the situation at defensive end, and some of those names will be repeated here because of their ability to play multiple positions. In fact, this depth chart is more of a rough outline given that there will be rotations and substitutions throughout every game.
There is also the small matter of new defensive line coach Larry Johnson's preferences. Even though everybody returns from last season's defensive line, each player will be given a clean slate because there is a new coach running things. Spring will be Johnson's first real look at what he has, and his initial conclusions will be based on those 15 practices.
Michael Bennett (Sr. 6-3 285)
Bennett was probably the Buckeyes' most consistent defensive lineman last season, and frequently made plays from his tackle spot. He is quick and strong and has an NFL future. A second-team All-Big Ten pick this past season, he will warrant some All-America attention in 2014. He played some nose tackle late in the season in an effort to get Adolphus Washington into the mix. He is not the ideal guy in that spot, but he is smart and versatile enough to move around. Larry Johnson wants his defensive linemen to get upfield, and that's one of Bennett's specialties.
Adolphus Washington (Jr. 6-4 295)
Washington has the size and athleticism to play in a few spots on the defensive line, be it strong side defensive end or defensive tackle. Whether or not he's in the starting lineup somewhere, he'll be on the field a lot. He dealt with injuries this past season as a sophomore, but showed that he was one of the team's better pass rushers as a freshman. If he can stay healthy – and there's no reason to think that he can't – he will make the Ohio State pass rush even better than it was in 2013. After a bit of a sophomore slump, Washington will be looking to prove himself much like Michael Bennett did a year ago.
Michael Hill (rFr. 6-2 305)
Hill showed flashes immediately in fall camp last year as a true freshman. He played in three games before being lost for the season due to an injury. Hill can get up field with speed and power, and is big enough to play either tackle spot. As an active defensive tackle, there will almost certainly be a spot for him in Larry Johnson's rotation. While injuries are never a good thing, Hill's injury last season has given him a redshirt season, so he still has four years left on his eligibility clock. It will be interesting to see which tackle spot he ends up playing, as he's different than most OSU nose tackles.
Tracy Sprinkle (rFr. 6-2 275)
Sprinkle played at defensive tackle in practices last season despite being undersized for the position. He is bigger now, and probably bigger than what Ohio State is currently listing him at. He is another who could play strong side defensive end or defensive tackle. He will get his first real crack at breaking into the lineup next season now that he's big enough to handle whatever his coaches plan on throwing at him. What little we do know about him is that he has good burst and gives complete effort while the play is happening.
Donovan Munger (rFr. 6-4 290)
Munger missed last season with a blood clot, so we have yet to see him in any type of football action. As a high schooler he was viewed as a prospect on both the offensive and defensive line, so that may still be in play eventually here as well. He's an athletic prospect with good feet and an excellent punch according to high school football scout John McCallister. Per McCallister, Munger improved every season in high school, so it wouldn't be unlikely for him to do the same as a college football player. That being said, Munger is simply an unknown quantity at this point.
Dylan Thompson (Fr. 6-5 280)
Thompson is “just” a three-star prospect who had offers from the likes of Ohio State, Clemson, USC, Tennessee, Missouri and Ole Miss. He will probably start out at strong side defensive end, and he may never actually make it to defensive tackle. However, he is already college-sized, and will likely only get bigger once he gets to Columbus. There may not be a spot in the rotation for him immediately because he's just a true freshman, but the coaching staff liked him early in the recruiting process, so they'll be eager to get him on the field just as soon as he is ready for it.
Joel Hale (Sr. 6-4 310)
Hale started 11 games last season and finished with just 0.5 tackles for loss. Of course, getting into the backfield wasn't necessarily his job last season as the nose tackle. As a nose tackle, Hale isn't asked to do too much, but that may change under Larry Johnson. Hale has never put up big numbers, but he's always done what he's been asked to do. He was one of the team leaders in the weight room prior to last season, and he is again right now. He may not be an All-Big Ten candidate in 2014, but he's certainly a candidate to be an Ohio State captain.
Tommy Schutt (Jr. 6-1 299)
Schutt is a former five-star signee who has dealt with injuries during his first two seasons as a Buckeye. He has just seven career tackles and three career starts to his credit. He was originally committed to Penn State and Larry Johnson, so there is no doubt that Johnson has some plans for him. Despite his lack of production to this point, he is certainly a candidate to start at nose tackle for the Buckeyes this coming season, and he will definitely be in the rotation regardless. This is Schutt's third year as a Buckeye, so his production in 2014 alone should dwarf the first two years of his career.
Chris Carter (rJr. 6-4 340)
Carter played in 13 games last season, finishing with 11 tackles and a sack. His teammates have been talking about the amount of push that he is able to get for two years now, and he showed some of that last year. He is one of the strongest members of the football team and is still learning the nuances of playing on the defensive line. This coming season he will have a new teacher and he will likely learn some new things as well. There is no reason to expect anything other than Carter's best season as a Buckeye in 2014.
Chase Farris (rJr. 6-4 308)
Farris made the switch back to defense last season, but we don't know if that was a temporary move or permanent. He tore his ACL later in the season, so he will have to deal with that this coming season, and who knows how much he'll be able to do in the spring. Despite being switched back to defense, he did manage to start a game at defensive tackle last season. He was productive in the games in which he played and showed quite a bit of promise. He only played in seven games last season, but finished with 1.5 sacks in his limited minutes.
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.