Ohio State is now two weeks out from opening spring ball and the Buckeyes will be looking to find a new starting running back, a group of at least six receivers they can trust, two new starters on the offensive line, a replacement for Chase Young, at least two starting defensive tackles, a new Will linebacker, and three new starters in the secondary.
This being Ohio State, there are options.
With so many lopsided games last season, plenty of non-starters saw considerable time. And that’s not even including the positions where rotations occurred.
Even though the Buckeyes are replacing a number of departed starters, they’ll be doing it with players who aren’t new to playing time.
We’re going to give our best guess as to what the first Ohio State depth chart will look like this spring — which will not include any of the freshmen who have yet to enroll.
And we’ll begin with the offensive side of the ball.
JUSTIN FIELDS, JR
Gunnar Hoak, rSR
Jack Miller, FR OR
CJ Stroud, FR
The spot to watch here will be the two freshmen. Don’t expect them to be able to catch Gunnar Hoak in the spring, but it will be interesting to see if one separates from the other.
Master Teague, rSO
Steele Chambers, rFR OR
Demario McCall, rSR
Marcus Crowley, SO (Inj.)
Master Teague finished seventh in the Big Ten with 789 yards rushing last season, but Ryan Day still wants to see him do it in the first half with the game in doubt. Marcus Crowley probably won’t be ready in the spring simply based on the normal nine or so months it takes to recover from an ACL tear. This will be a key spring for Steele Chambers, who flashed in his four games last season.
Garrett Wilson, SO
Jaylen Harris, SR
Gee Scott, FR
Garrett Wilson isn’t technically a returning starter, but only KJ Hill, Chris Olave, and Binjimen Victor played more snaps among the receivers than Wilson. Wilson played about four fewer snaps per game than Olave and Victor, which means he’s a returning starter as far as experience is concerned. Jaylen Harris has emerged as a leader with the freshmen, so we’ll see if that maturity shows up in production. Gee Scott is the eventual successor at this position, but don’t expect it to happen right away.
Jaelen Gill, rSO OR
CJ Saunders, rSR
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, FR
Mookie Cooper, FR
There is still no resolution on CJ Saunders returning for a sixth season. Jaelen Gill had some great moments last spring and you can anticipate that happening again this year. Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Mookie Cooper are both very different players, but both have something that the Buckeyes can use this year.
CHRIS OLAVE, JR
Jameson Williams SO
Kamryn Babb, rSO
Ellijah Gardiner, rJR
Julian Fleming, FR
Perhaps Kamryn Babb is at X in the spring. Or more likely, almost everybody is almost everywhere. There will certainly be some names to watch here, beginning with Babb who has missed his first two seasons with knee injuries. Jameson Williams may be the fastest player on the team. Julian Fleming is the top recruit in the country per ESPN. Oh, and then there’s Chris Olave.
LUKE FARRELL, rSR
Jeremy Ruckert, JR
Jake Hausmann, rSR
Cormontae Hamilton, rFR
When it comes to the Ohio State tight ends, spring springs hopes eternal. This is the time when they get the ball thrown to them and they get to be a focal point of the Buckeye offense. This will also be the first look at Cormontae Hamilton, who redshirted last season. Can he and Jeremy Ruckert find a role down the field? And we’ll find out in a couple of weeks if the rumors about Cade Stover moving to tight end are legit.
THAYER MUNFORD, SR
Paris Johnson, FR OR
Max Wray, rSO
All eyes will be on Paris Johnson, whether he’s at left tackle or right tackle.
Harry Miller, SO OR
Matthew Jones, rSO
Ryan Jacoby, rFR
People are already giving this job to Harry Miller, but Matthew Jones and others will have a say about it.
JOSH MYERS, rJR
Luke Wypler, FR
Luke Wyper is one of the top centers in the 2020 recruiting class, but it’s probably asking a lot for him to be the actual backup to Josh Myers this season.
WYATT DAVIS, rJR
Gavin Cupp, rSR
Enokk Vimahi, rFR
Gavin Cupp could be anywhere on the interior. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Enokk Vimahi get a good number of snaps this spring and really begin to blossom.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, rSO
Dawand Jones, SO
Trey Leroux, FR
Nicholas Petit-Frere battled for the right tackle spot a year ago and fell just short. That experience should help him land the job either in the spring or the fall. They may hold off on naming him the starter in the spring so that they can continue to push both NPF and Dawand Jones.
wondering how ‘the narrative’ on Miller ‘shifted’ from center to OG…
I expect him to be one of the top five linemen, but not the top center.
right now we’re still grinding the pieces to toughen and fit.
the engine’s still in the shop and the hemis are revving with the quads.
in a couple weeks the assistant coaches will do qui pro quos for their choice pieces to plug the gaps and
and in a a couple months we’ll see the early test drives and ‘out of nowhere’s’ for 2021 surprises and hopes…
=== the grass smells Fall and we Spring forward….
This year’s offense could be better than last. The OLine should be improved. I think Master will definitely surprise.
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