Spring football is now over and done with for the Ohio State Buckeyes, which means it is time to try and piece together what the depth chart looks like.
Yesterday, we looked at the offense, so today we will move on to the defense.
With the bulk of the defensive starters returning from last season, the depth chart shouldn’t look too differently than it did a year ago.
Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and cornerback Kendall Sheffield are the only starters who won’t be returning, and Sheffield’s departure will be made easier to handle by Ohio State likely not opting to have a three-man rotation any longer.
Despite the large number of starters returning, some names will be in different spots, and incumbents will have to convince their new position coaches that they should be starting this coming season as well.
Let’s take a look at where things stand following spring ball.
2 Chase Young, Jr (6-5 265)
54 Tyler Friday, Soph (6-3 260)
33 Zach Harrison, Fr (6-6 255)
17 Alex Williams, rFr (6-6 270)
The defensive ends will move from one side of the other, so this is just half of the population at the position. Tyler Friday missed a good portion of spring, which is unfortunate. He showed great promise last season and should build on what he started. Zach Harrison doesn’t need any more hype heaped on him than he already has, but he has impressed this spring. Don’t sleep on Alex Williams.
9 Jashon Cornell, rSr (6-3 280) AND
6 Taron Vincent, Soph (6-2 293)
92 Haskell Garrett, Jr (6-2 295)
98 Jerron Cage, rSoph (6-2 295)
I believe the plan is for Jashon Cornell and Taron Vincent to rotate quite a bit this season. Haskell Garrett will get in there as well, and could earn more playing time with consistent performances.
67 Robert Landers, rSr (6-1 285) AND
53 Davon Hamilton, rSr (6-4 310)
72 Tommy Togiai, Soph (6-2 300)
90 Antwuan Jackson, rJr (6-2 299)
You could include Tommy Togiai in the ANDs and I don’t think you’d get any argument from Larry Johnson. Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton have seen everything, so there is a level of comfort with them. Togiai can provide an offense so much discomfort, however, that it will be difficult to keep him out of any rotation.
18 Jonathon Cooper, Sr (6-4 257)
11 Tyreke Smith, Soph (6-4 267)
38 Javontae Jean-Baptiste, rFr (6-5 245)
97 Noah Potter, Fr (6-6 252)
There’s just a lot of good defensive ends on this roster. Arguably no two defensive ends stood out more during the spring game than the last two on this list. Let that sink in for a bit.
39 Malik Harrison, Sr (6-3 245)
19 Dallas Gant, Soph (6-3 232)
47 Justin Hilliard, rSr (6-1 235) Inj.
We don’t know if Justin Hilliard will be back from injury this season. We do know that Malik Harrison will be just fine this year, and Dallas Gant should be able to learn quite a bit from watching him.
32 Tuf Borland, rJr (6-1 232) OR
5 Baron Browning, Jr (6-3 248) OR
7 Teradja Mitchell, Soph (6-2 242)
Tuf Borland missed most of the spring with a knee injury. Even without that injury, however, it sounds like this position was going to be opened back up this year regardless.
20 Pete Werner, Jr (6-3 239)
36 K’Vaughan Pope, Soph (6-1 231)
Even with the move to the Bullet, the Buckeyes are still going to have a Sam, as you saw in the spring game. The two positions are essentially interchangeable and Pete Werner has been with the ones throughout camp.
25 Brendon White, Jr (6-2 215)
23 Jahsen Wint, rJr (5-11 200)
We didn’t see much, if any, of the Bullet in action on Saturday. I doubt it was because of a lack of confidence, but rather the coaches having no desire to tip their hand. Both players are excited about their new roles, which was apparent from watching them this spring.
3 Damon Arnette, rSr (6-0 195)
13 Tyreke Johnson, rFr (6-1 195) OR
26 Cameron Brown, Soph (6-0 188)
Damon Arnette had a feisty spring, which is not all that unusual for him. All reviews were positive, and Arnette could frequently be seen on the practice field teaching his younger teammates. Tyreke Johnson and Cameron Brown both comported themselves well on Saturday.
14 Isaiah Pryor, Jr (6-2 200)
15 Josh Proctor, Soph (6-2 205)
28 Ronnie Hickman, Fr (6-1 200) inj.
I’m still unsure what is going to happen at safety because Jordan Fuller isn’t listed at either spot and we all know he’s going to be starting somewhere. Does he have the range to be the one-high safety? If so, maybe this is where he’ll be. If not, then he’ll be down at strong safety and Shaun Wade will likely just see time at nickel and corner.
24 Shaun Wade, rSoph (6-1 194)
10 Amir Riep, Jr (5-11 195)
29 Marcus Hooker, rFr (5-11 200) inj.
Moving Shaun Wade at this point might be a mistake because he was one of the best players on the Ohio State defense all spring long. Amir Riep was great in the spring game as well, capping a solid spring. If you’re looking for a spot for Jordan Fuller, the argument could be made that free safety needs him more than strong safety.
1 Jeff Okudah, Jr (6-1 200)
12 Sevyn Banks, Soph (6-1 200)
21 Marcus Williamson, Jr (5-10 186)
Credit the Buckeye cornerbacks for learning Jeff Hafley’s techniques as quickly as they did. Jeff Okudah’s progression may not have been easily recognizable on the field this spring, but Hafley saw growth in technique every day. Marcus Williamson needs to get healthy if he’s ever going to make a push. This should be the last season that Sevyn Banks isn’t in the starting lineup.