COLUMBUS, Ohio — Now that National Signing Day has come and passed, we have a clearer picture of what Ohio State’s depth chart will look like in the coming year.
The Buckeyes will replace three offensive starters from a season ago and will lean heavily on their second-ranked 2017 recruiting class in order to fill their holes.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what Ohio State’s offensive depth chart is now set to look like and the biggest questions facing the Buckeyes heading into 2017.
|1.||J.T. Barrett||RS Senior|
|2.||Joe Burrow||RS Soph.|
|3.||Dwayne Haskins||RS Fresh.|
Analysis: With J.T. Barrett back as a fifth-year senior, there’s no question who the Buckeyes’ starting signal-caller will be in the coming season. The most intriguing battle on the quarterback depth chart comes behind him, as Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins jockey for the right to serve as Barrett’s primary backup. As a true freshman, Tate Martell is expected to take a redshirt season in 2017.
|1.||Mike Weber||RS Soph.|
Analysis: Like quarterback, Ohio State’s starter at running back is settled as Mike Weber returns, but who will serve as the sophomore’s top backup remains unclear. With J.K. Dobbins enrolling early and getting a head start on his college career, look for the No. 2 all-purpose back in the 2017 class to push sophomore Antonio Williams — and potentially Weber — for carries.
Analysis: With Curtis Samuel headed to the NFL, sophomore Demario McCall possesses an ideal skill set to play the “Percy Harvin position” in Urban Meyer’s offense. After spending the first two seasons of his college career on defense, Eric Glover-Williams indicated last month he’d be converting to wide receiver and at H-back, and the 5-foot-9, 178-pound player could serve as a dual threat. Wide receivers Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill could also potentially see time at Ohio State’s hybrid position.
Analysis: After Noah Brown opted to declare for the NFL draft, Ohio State found itself forced to replace the premier position in its receiving corps. With the flashes he showed as a freshman and ability to stretch the field, Binjimen Victor should get the first shot at starting for the Buckeyes at the X-position. Behind him Austin Mack, Trevon Grimes and Jaylen Harris should provide depth, but ideally each would find a way to get on the field on a consistent basis in 2017.
|1.||K.J. Hill||RS Soph.|
|2.||Parris Campbell||RS Junior|
|3.||Terry McLaurin||RS Junior|
Analysis: Although Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin each possess an experience advantage, neither has shown the playmaking ability of Hill, whose skill set should lend itself nicely to new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson’s scheme. Elijah Gardiner, a late addition to the Buckeyes’ 2017 class, is a likely redshirt candidate.
|1.||Marcus Baugh||RS Senior|
|2.||A.J. Alexander||RS Soph.|
|3.||Jake Hausmann||RS Fresh.|
|4.||Luke Farrell||RS Fresh.|
Analysis: Having returned to Ohio State for his redshirt senior season, Marcus Baugh will serve as the Buckeyes’ unquestioned starter at tight end in 2017. Behind him, A.J. Alexander, Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell will duke it out for playing time and the right to become Baugh’s replacement in 2018 and beyond. It’s worth noting that tight end is one position Ohio State didn’t take a player at in its 2017 class.
|2.||Branden Bowen||RS Soph.|
Analysis: A second-team All-Big Ten selection as a junior, Jamarco Jones returns to Ohio State for his second season as a starter in 2017. Branden Bowen received playing time as a blocking tight end a season ago, but the Buckeyes lack depth behind Jones at the most important position on their offensive line. True freshman Thayer Munford is a likely redshirt candidate.
|2.||Demetrius Knox||RS Junior|
Analysis: After starting as a true freshman a year ago, Michael Jordan will return to his left guard spot as one of the anchors of Ohio State’s offensive line in 2017. A former highly touted recruit, Demetrius Knox has little to show for his college career after his first three seasons on campus and could get jumped by 4-star prospect and early enrollee Josh Myers if he doesn’t show noticeable improvement this offseason.
|1.||Billy Price||RS Senior|
|2.||Brady Taylor||RS Junior|
|3.||Gavin Cupp||RS Fresh.|
Analysis: A first-team All-American at guard in 2016, Billy Price will look to solidify the Buckeyes offensive line from the center position in 2017. Behind him, however, depth and experience appear to be lacking, as neither Brady Taylor nor Gavin Cupp has taken significant snaps. Myers is also a candidate to spend time at center in the coming year.
|1.||Malcolm Pridgeon||RS Junior|
|3.||Matthew Burrell||RS Soph.|
Analysis: The top-ranked offensive guard in the 2017 class, Wyatt Davis would be a candidate to start as a true freshman had he enrolled early as Jordan did a year ago. Instead, look for Meyer to give Malcolm Pridgeon, a junior college transfer from a year ago, a look at guard, with Davis possessing the potential to take over as the starter by season’s end. Matthew Burrell arrived in Columbus as a highly touted prospect in 2015 but has yet to take a meaningful snap at Ohio State.
|2.||Malcolm Pridgeon||RS Junior|
|3.||Kevin Feder||RS Soph.|
Analysis: Although Pridgeon possesses the versatility to start at guard, he could also push incumbent starter Isaiah Prince for his starting right tackle job throughout the offseason. Ideally, however, Price would show enough improvement that the Ohio State staff would feel comfortable sliding Pridgeon to guard in order to piece together its most experienced offensive line as possible.