Ohio State Football Redshirt Forecast: The Likely Redshirts

Chris Olave, Kamryn Babb, Keenan Bailey Ohio State Football Buckeyes

As everyone knows, Ohio State does not redshirt players. (Except for when they do, of course.)

Despite that steadfast rule, players still end up redshirting somehow, and they will also redshirt this year as well.

No year is the same when it comes to how many freshmen redshirt. The intention is always to get as much out of a freshman class as possible, but sometimes that’s just not possible.

The 2015 class, for instance, featured 25 signees, and only four of them played as true freshmen. Many of those players now comprise a veteran presence for the 2018 Buckeye football team.

This year when trying to forecast the redshirt situation, the new rule allowing players to play in up to four games at any point in the season without losing a year of eligibility makes things a bit more difficult.

If a player gets a taste of playing time, they may react in a very positive manner and produce so well that there is no choice but to burn their redshirt. If everyone gets a chance to play this season, then those who succeed in their auditions could make for some difficult coaching decisions.

Still, there are depth chart concerns to worry about, and that will be one of the main factors when it comes to predicting the most likely redshirts this year.

Tomorrow we will look at the players on the cusp of playing, and then on Wednesday we will look at the players who will definitely play.

Of course, this whole exercise if being made considerably more difficult by the media blackout of practice, but we must press on even in the absence of light.

So who are the players most likely to redshirt this season?

Kamryn Babb, WR

Kamryn Babb tore his ACL in the spring, so he will be out for the regular season at the very least. There probably won’t be a need to rush him back for the postseason, but the new rules could make it a possibility.

Matthew Baldwin, QB

The Buckeyes haven’t played a true freshman quarterback since Braxton Miller in 2011, but that will change this year. That doesn’t mean Matthew Baldwin will play in a fifth game, however. Barring injury, there should be no need to burn Baldwin’s redshirt.

Cameron Brown, CB

There are three true freshman cornerbacks on the roster, but Cameron Brown is the only one who didn’t enroll early. With Ohio State having five corners back from last year and two early enrollees, there probably isn’t a need for an eighth cornerback unless Brown moves past classmates Tyreke Johnson or Sevyn Banks.

Marcus Hooker, SAF

Marcus Hooker has already been suspended one game for his DUI charge, but that doesn’t mean he won’t still see four games of action this season. The Buckeyes aren’t overly deep at safety, but Hooker has an uphill battle to get into the mix.

Javontae Jean-Baptiste, DE

Javontae Jean-Baptiste is currently listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, so he’s got some work to do in terms of getting big enough and strong enough to be a Big Ten defensive end. There is no shame in redshirting, just ask Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis.

Matthew Jones, C

With the likes of Brady Taylor, Josh Myers, and Michael Jordan all getting snaps at center, there probably won’t be a need for a true freshman to burn his redshirt. Matthew Jones has tons of promise, but the normal procedure for most interior offensive linemen is to redshirt.

L’Christian Smith, WR

The Buckeyes will have at least three X receivers this season even without L’Christian “Blue” Smith, so snaps are going to be difficult to find. If Smith can make some noise in a couple of early games, then maybe he can earn a spot and see more than just four games this season. That would be a lot to ask considering how many snaps Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor will already require, and how many up-and-coming sophomore Jaylen Harris may need as well.

Max Wray, RT

It is not easy for an offensive lineman to play as a true freshman. Max Wray enrolled early and has already gotten a ton of reps in the spring and during fall camp. Still, offensive tackle is a position of depth for the Buckeyes, and it got even deeper with the return of Branden Bowen. Ohio State has four “veteran” tackles already established, which is going to make it difficult for any freshman to play more than four games.