[This is the seventh in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]
Taron Vincent came to Ohio State from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He was ranked the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 20 player overall in the 2018 recruiting class. He signed with Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Texas. He was also the 2017 Maxwell Football Club Defensive National High School Player of the Year.
Vincent played in 10 games last season as a true freshman. As a reserve, he primarily backed up Haskell Garrett, who was backing up starter Dre’Mont Jones.
He played in the first two games of the season, but then did not see action at TCU. Vincent played in the fourth game (Tulane), but then did not see the field in the next two (PSU, IU). It was after the Indiana game, however, that his role grew and he found some rotational snaps in seven of the final eight games, including the final three against Michigan, Northwestern, and Washington.
He finished the season with three tackles. Two of those tackles came in the season opener against Oregon State, and the third came in the Big Ten Championship Game three months later. That third tackle was a fourth-quarter sack of Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson, which was a great way to cap a freshman season and provide a glimpse of what his sophomore season should look like.
So Now What
With Dre’Mont Jones off to the NFL, Taron Vincent will be competing for a starting spot as Ohio State’s three technique.
Vincent is quick and stays low to the ground, so when he is getting upfield he maintains solid leverage against taller linemen. If he proves himself as a pass rusher in spring and fall camp, he could even see the field in OSU’s rushmen package on passing downs like Jones did last year.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson can’t say enough about last year’s freshman class of defensive linemen, and Vincent is one of the reasons why. Dre’Mont Jones was one of the most active defensive tackles in the nation, and Johnson believes Vincent has those same abilities.
Whether or not he wins a starting job, Vincent will likely be splitting time in the rotation with rising junior Haskell Garrett. The Buckeyes have the depth, so Larry Johnson will continue with his standard rotation for however deep it can go.
Vincent was given more responsibilities as he gained more experience last year, and the same will happen this year. He was not an early enrollee, so his process didn’t start until last summer. With a full offseason and his first spring under his belt beginning next month, the possibilities this year are rather intriguing.
There is still plenty of room for growth, but Vincent closed his freshman season just as you’d want him to do.
When paired with Robert Landers’ quickness at nose tackle, the two of them should provide the quickest twosome of interior linemen in the Big Ten, just as Landers and Dre’Mont Jones did the two years prior.