COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the 2018 recruiting class in the books, Ohio State’s depth chart projection is coming into clearer view as spring football approaches.
The Buckeyes added a lot of talent during the early signing period and brought in some much-needed defensive line depth on National Signing Day. Unlike the offensive side of the ball, there should be plenty of opportunities for first-year defenders to work their way into the two-deep for 2018. What follows is a glance at how the defensive depth chart could look for the 2018 Ohio State football season.
Note: Class of 2018 members are included in some cases, and those members are noted in bold.
Projected 2018 Ohio State depth chart, defense
|DE||Nick Bosa||Jonathon Cooper||Javontae Jean-Baptiste|
|DE||Chase Young||Tyreke Smith||Tyler Friday|
|DT||Dre’Mont Jones||Jashon Cornell||Haskell Garrett|
|DT||Robert Landers||Antwuan Jackson||Taron Vincent|
|SLB||Malik Harrison||Dante Booker||Pete Werner|
|MLB||Tuf Borland||Justin Hilliard||Teradja Mitchell|
|WLB||Keandre Jones||Baron Browning||Dallas Gant|
|CB||Jeffrey Okudah||Kendall Sheffield||Marcus Williamson|
|CB||Damon Arnette||Shaun Wade||Tyreke Johnson|
|S||Jordan Fuller||Jahsen Wint||Josh Proctor|
|S||Isaiah Pryor||Brendon White||Wayne Davis|
|P||Drue Chrisman||Jake Metzer||N/A|
- A quick glance at defensive end makes it obvious how important it was for Ohio State to finish strong by landing a trio of 4-star prospects in January — Tyreke Smith, Javontae Jean-Baptiste and Tyler Friday. Without those additions, the depth at that position would be in shambles, especially since Nick Bosa will likely bolt for the NFL after the 2018 season.
- Chase Young is listed as a starter while Jonathon Cooper isn’t, but I doubt it will matter. The primary three defensive ends are all going to play a similar number of snaps.
- There’s not much separation at defensive tackle. Even players listed here on the third team wouldn’t be a surprise to start opposite Dre’Mont Jones. The depth chart might not mean much at this spot if the Buckeyes can find four or six guys they like and rotate them.
- It was a really tough call to put Dante Booker below the first team, and it won’t be a shock if his experience wins him the job. But Malik Harrison has shown himself to be a better option, in my opinion, so I went with that.
- I’m a little surprised Ohio State listed Tyreke Johnson as a cornerback. The need at safety is real. He went back and forth about a dozen times late in the season but I think Brendon White could make a quicker impact at safety (especially with every receiver coming back and two safeties departing), so that’s where I listed him.
- Looking at all the bold names on defense compared to offense, it’s not hard to tell which side of the ball was hit hardest by attrition. Luckily for Ohio State, the top-end talent is there and the recruiting class features some standouts.