COLUMBUS, Ohio — With less than two weeks until the first game of the season, Ohio State’s depth chart continues to take shape.
At his Monday news conference, OSU coach Urban Meyer said many of the remaining decisions on starting spots will be made in the coming days.
“This is that week that we start making those phone calls about, ‘Hey Mom and Dad, get ready to make some trips because your son is starting at Ohio State,’ so that’s what this week is all about,” Meyer said.
He added that such a call would be going out today to the parents of Sam Hubbard, the sophomore defensive end who finished second on the team in sacks in 2015 and has clinched his place in the starting lineup alongside junior Tyquan Lewis.
While many of the starters have been announced, there are still several positions that remain undecided. What follows is a look at the players Meyer described as starters as well as those who are close or still have work to do.
J.T. Barrett, quarterback: Barrett was always going to be the starter. He beat out redshirt freshman Joe Burrow and true freshman Dwayne Haskins, both of whom are still battling to win the backup job.
Noah Brown, wide receiver: Brown is in but Corey Smith is also in the mix in this department, but whoever starts might be more of a formality anyway. Meyer and wide receivers coach Zach Smith have both expressed a desire to rotate players.
Marcus Baugh, tight end: Baugh won the job over a handful of younger players, none of whom have ever played at Ohio State. Redshirt freshman A.J. Alexander is banged up right now, and Meyer said true freshman Jake Hausmann is coming on strong.
Jamarco Jones, left tackle: Jones has had this job locked up since the end of spring practice. Right tackle Isaiah Prince would probably slide over to Jones’ spot in the case of an injury.
Pat Elflein, center: There really isn’t a close second at this position but right guard Billy Price would move to center in the event of an injury.
Billy Price, right guard: Now in this third year as a starter, Price faced no challenge.
Isaiah Prince, right tackle: Prince was once in battle for this spot, but a season-ending injury to JUCO transfer Malcolm Pridgeon handed him the job.
Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard, defensive ends: Lewis has long been slated to start but Meyer announced Monday that Hubbard would join him at the other spot at end. Junior Jalyn Holmes and true freshman Nick Bosa are also expected to get plenty of playing time.
Raekwon McMillan, middle linebacker: A returning starter and All-American candidate, McMillan faced no serious challenge for this spot.
Gareon Conley, cornerback: Much like McMillan, Price, Barrett and Elflein, Conley is a returning starter who was penciled into this spot from the moment the 2015 season ended.
Close to becoming official
Mike Weber, running back: Meyer said he expects Weber to be named the starter later this week.
Curtis Samuel, H-back: Samuel is the guy, but Dontre Wilson is also in contention and figures to get his share of touches.
Corey Smith, wide receiver: Others who garnered mentions from Meyer were Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Austin Mack
Michael Jordan, left guard: The leader at this spot since spring practice, the true freshman early enrollee is on pace to beat out Demetrius Knox and Matthew Burrell and become just the second true freshman offensive lineman to start for Meyer. The first was Maurkice Pouncey at Florida.
Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill, defensive tackles: These two players both got experience in the Fiesta Bowl and lead Dre’mont Jones and Davon Hamilton.
Dante Booker and Chris Worley, outside linebackers: Both players are expected to be named starters. Booker beat out redshirt freshman Justin Hilliard and Worley outperformed sophomore Jerome Baker.
Malik Hooker and Damon Webb, safeties: Like outside linebacker, both players have led throughout training camp and should be named starters in the next few days. They are poised to win the jobs over Cam Burrows and Erick Smith.
Still up for grabs
Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette, cornerbacks: Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs has said he wouldn’t mind a rotation at the spot opposite Conley, so there may not even be a true winner of this competition. Lattimore and Ward are neck-and-neck, but Arnette is still a contender.