Ohio State Football Redshirt Forecast: Likely Burning the Shirt

Taron Vincent Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Earlier in the week we looked at which Buckeyes are most likely to redshirt this season. Now we delve into those freshmen who are more likely to see the field in more than just the four games allowed before losing a year of eligibility.

The factors which make somebody more likely to play include whether or not they enrolled early, what the depth chart looks like, how well they perform in camp, and how likely they are to be around for five years.

For most Buckeyes, it is that final issue which makes redshirting them pointless. After all, if you’re only going to get four years out of a player, you may as well get let all four of those seasons take place out on the field.

Today we look at those players who are likely to be playing in more than four games this season. Tomorrow we will look at the players who will definitely (probably) be burning their redshirts

Sevyn Banks, CB

Sevyn Banks was an early enrollee, which means he went through spring football against the likes of Terry McLaurin and Binjimen Victor. For a true freshman, practicing against veterans can only help — provided his confidence is not completely shot. For most freshmen, special teams will be their first foray into playing time, and that will be the case for Banks as well. The Buckeyes could be losing a pair of corners after this season, so getting Banks some experience on defense this year would be beneficial for 2019.

Tyler Friday, DE

The Buckeyes are somewhat thin at defensive end. They have four veterans — counting sophomore Chase Young, which means there are snaps available for a freshman like Tyler Friday. In fact, with four freshmen defensive ends enrolling this summer, it would not be a surprise to see at least three of them burning their redshirts this season. Friday is somewhere between fifth and eighth on the defensive end depth chart. Last season, Ohio State played six defensive ends, but that’s because that’s all they had. Would they have played more if they could have? Probably.

Jaelen Gill, HB

When I looked at Jaelen Gill coming into this season, I expected him to redshirt for a few reasons. For one, making the transition from running back to H-back is not easy. For two, Gill does need to get bigger and stronger. And for three, the H-back depth chart is simply too loaded for a freshman to come in and play. Each of these concerns, however, may be off base. For instance, Gill essentially played H-back at Westerville South. He was as comfortable running routes as he was running the football. And while he does need to get bigger and stronger, he still seems to be getting open and making plays in what little action we have seen released from Ohio State. The third concern isn’t going anywhere, but then we get back to whether or not Jaelen Gill is going to be at OSU for five years.

Chris Olave, WR

Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class was 26 members strong, and Chris Olave was the third-lowest rated player of the bunch. He was the 399th-ranked player in the nation and the No. 68 receiver in the 2018 class. Just based on that, a redshirt wouldn’t seem to be a stretch. Once Olave got to camp, however, he began turning heads early on. He has since had his black stripe removed and given the depth at his position — seemingly just Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin — it would seem there could be a place for Olave in this offense this season.

Tyreke Johnson, CB

Tyreke Johnson is in the same boat as Sevyn Banks. He enrolled early and got some fantastic experience this spring. That has made the transition to fall camp easier to handle. This isn’t all that new to him. Johnson is the third-highest rated player in OSU’s 2018 recruiting class. He was ranked as the No. 21 player overall and the No. 2 safety. He has only been at cornerback, however, and that is where he will continue until the staff is convinced he belongs somewhere else. Like Banks, he fits the mold of what OSU is looking at for help in special teams, which will then lead to some late-inning work at corner this season.

K’Vaughan Pope, LB

The Ohio State linebacker situation is a complete mystery right now, which could make it difficult for a freshman like K’Vaughan Pope to find a place this season. If Bill Davis and Greg Schiano aren’t happy with what they’re getting from the veterans, however, then perhaps they’ll turn to the young guys. Like the other freshmen, Pope will get his start on special teams. From there he will try to earn playing time on defense, much like Pete Werner did a year ago as a rookie.

Josh Proctor, SAF

Urban Meyer spoke very highly of Josh Proctor back on signing day. There are always a handful of freshmen that he expects to be in the two-deep, and it would seem Proctor is one of those. Having a true freshman in the two-deep at safety is nothing new for the Buckeyes. Last year it was Isaiah Pryor and the year before that it was Jordan Fuller. Now those two are the likely starters this season. If Jordan Fuller is looking to leave after this year, then getting Proctor on the field this year would be a good move.

Taron Vincent, DT

Tom Orr and I talked about this on the latest episode of Accost the Field, but I’m not sure where Taron Vincent finds snaps this year. But there’s also no way he is at Ohio State for five seasons, so you’ve got to play him somewhere at some point. Vincent already lost his black stripe, and as the second-highest ranked recruit in the class for the Buckeyes, that’s some confirmation of what they already thought they knew. There are a bunch of defensive tackles already on the roster, and most of them come off the field on passing downs. Vincent will play this year, but probably not as much as he’d like.

Alex Williams, DE

A local athlete from Pickerington North, Alex Williams was a late offer for the Buckeyes and was the second-lowest ranked recruit in the class. He was the No. 617 player and the No. 34 weakside defensive end in the nation. Initially, I expected him to redshirt this season, but he is already big and strong and has the motor that the coaches want. If he is going to stay at defensive end, then I could see him playing this season. If he is going to end up somewhere else — guesses have ranged from tight end to defensive tackle to offensive tackle — then a redshirt year would probably be for the best. I’ll admit it, however, once I saw the video below, my mind was changed on him redshirting this season.