Best Guessing the Final Spring Ohio State Football Depth Chart — Defense

Ohio State Football Defensive Line Buckeyes

Now that we have seen everything that Ohio State spring football has to show us, there is a pretty good feel for where the two-deep stands for the Buckeyes.

Having already projected the offensive depth chart for OSU, it is now time to jump to the other side of the ball.

Defensively, Ohio State returns six starters, but went into the spring looking for seven or eight more.

Not every job has been filled, but for the most part the coaches feel good about where they stand. Urban Meyer may have concerns, but the position coaches are all convinced they’ve got the players they need for success.

Defensive End
97 Nick Bosa, Jr
9 Jashon Cornell, rJr

The Wrap: Nick Bosa is now the leader of the defensive ends and he worked to become the vocal leader the Buckeyes need. He also had no problem leading by example. Jashon Cornell got plenty of reps this spring at his new position.

Nose Tackle
67 Rob Landers, rJr
53 Davon Hamilton, rJr
51 Antwuan Jackson, rSo OR
98 Jerron Cage, rFr

The Wrap: Larry Johnson told me that Antwuan Jackson can play either position, but for now he’s at nose tackle. He was slowed this spring by a broken foot, but Johnson said he’s incredibly hungry to be full go. They gave him about 23 snaps in the spring game just to push him a bit. Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton had great springs. Jerron Cage is progressing as well.

Defensive Tackle
86 Dre’Mont Jones, rJr
92 Haskell Garrett, So OR
72 Tommy Togiai, Fr
55 Malik Barrow, rSo

The Wrap: Urban Meyer said Dre’Mont Jones may have had the best spring of any of the Buckeyes. Tommy Togiai was the only true freshman to lose his black stripe. Haskell Garrett went through his first spring, but dealt with a concussion toward the end of camp. Malik Barrow was limited all spring as he recovers from ACL surgery last season.

Defensive End
2 Chase Young, So OR
18 Jonathon Cooper, Jr

The Wrap: Things here went about as well as you would expect for a pair of former 5-star defensive ends. Ohio State football appears to be in good hands, as Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper both had productive springs. They got all of the reps they could handle. Both will be in the rotation this year at defensive end.

Sam Linebacker
39 Malik Harrison, Jr
33 Dante Booker, rSr
19 Dallas Gant, Fr

The Wrap: The Sams and Wills were moving back and forth this spring. Malik Harrison would frequently start practices at Will and then move to Sam halfway through. Harrison has the most experience of the healthy linebackers and is the leader here. Dallas Gant had a very good spring for a freshman. The staff loves his intelligence and go-hard. Dante Booker is expected back this season. He missed the spring due to injury. Bill Davis said he’d stick at outside linebacker when he returns.

Mike Linebacker
47 Justin Hilliard, rJr OR
5 Baron Browning, So
32 Tuf Borland, rSo (Inj.)

The Wrap: Tuf Borland had the middle linebacker job wrapped up, but will now have to work his way back following an Achilles injury. He is slated to return in September, which means Justin Hilliard or Baron Browning will be starting at middle linebacker to begin the season. Hilliard and Browning were even throughout camp, but it was Hilliard who started with the first-team defense in the spring game. Both were productive and gave Bill Davis and Urban Meyer confidence that the Buckeye defense will be okay in the middle until Borland is 100%.

Will Linebacker

16 Keandre Jones, Jr
20 Pete Werner, So

The Wrap: Pete Werner moved to Will from Sam during spring, so it took him a little bit of time to get accustomed to the position. He is still getting to know it as well as he needs, but the staff loves the way he plays. Keandre Jones is now in his third year at Will, having been the backup to Jerome Baker the last two years. This will be a competition in the fall, and could eventually include Baron Browning, who would have been at Will if not for the injury to Tuf Borland.

8 Kendall Sheffield, rJr
21 Marcus Williamson, So
12 Sevyn Banks, Fr

The Wrap: If the staff wasn’t confident in Kendall Sheffield’s progression in the offseason, they never would have allowed him to run track. Things are going just fine with Sheffield under new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson. Marcus Williamson received reps at both cornerback and nickel, playing well at both spots. Sevyn Banks has progressed and learned a ton this spring.

Falcon (Free/Field)
4 Jordan Fuller, Jr
10 Amir Riep, So OR
15 Wayne Davis, rSo

The Wrap: Jordan Fuller moved over from boundary safety and had a fantastic spring. He showed his previous cornerback skills when defending OSU’s H-backs in the slot. Amir Riep moved over from cornerback to compete with Wayne Davis, who made the same move a year ago.

Boundary (Strong)
14 Isaiah Pryor, So
25 Brendon White, So OR
23 Jahsen Wint, rSo

The Wrap: Isaiah Pryor didn’t leave spring having locked the spot down, but he was out there with the first-team defense in the spring game. Jahsen Wint had a very good spring and is legitimately pushing for a starting spot. Brendon White gets more comfortable every day. This position is not yet settled and has greatly concerned Urban Meyer.

46 Damon Arnette, rJr OR
29 Jeff Okudah, So
24 Shaun Wade, rFr
13 Tyreke Johnson, Fr

The Wrap: Jeff Okudah didn’t play this spring as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the staff is comfortable enough with him to already include him in the starting three-man rotation. The question now is whether or not Shaun Wade or Marcus Williamson can get in there as well. Wade has prototypical cornerback measurables and showed them off all spring long. Tyreke Johnson is a very mature freshman. Like Sevyn Banks, he’s probably a year away, but expect him to be a productive member of the special teams.

Special Teams

Long Snapper: 49 Liam McCullough, rJr
Place Kicker: 96 Sean Nuernberger, rSr
Kickoffs: 95 Blake Haubeil, So
Punter: 91 Drue Chrisman, rSo
Kick Returner: 30 Demario McCall, rSo
Punt Returner: 30 Demario McCall, rSo

The Wrap: Special teams went about as well as could be hoped for the Ohio State football coaches. Sean Nuernberger was accurate as the lone kicker on placements, and Blake Haubeil improved his accuracy on kickoffs. The new kickoff rule in college football will still need to be figured out as it concerns the Buckeyes, however. Drue Chrisman, despite not being Australian, continues to perform well. Excitement is high for Demario McCall as the team’s primary returner.


4 Responses

  1. I know he got beat a few times by Bin Victor, but I really liked what I saw from Sevyn Banks in the Spring Game. Victor was in the zone that day but Banks never backed down from his one on one coverage and showed me that as a true freshman he will be another great CB for us. He went up against arguably the best WR on the team on a day where running the ball was an after thought and held up well. He might not get much more then mop up time this year and be a special teams stud, but in 2019 and beyond I think we might have another All Big10 or better player for us.

  2. Not that it really matters, but I think Shaun Wade will be backing up Sheffield in the fall. Also I think Browning beats out Hilliard for the Mike LB spot, he’s just too athletic.

  3. Looks pretty solid to me. It sucks that you didn’t present anything controversial for us to argue about! LOL

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