COLUMBUS, Ohio — With fall practice growing closer every day, it’s a good time to look at the lineup Ohio State might field in 2018.
The Buckeyes return a lot of talent from the 2017 team, which makes parts of the depth chart easy to fill in. However, injuries kept a number of key players from participating in spring practice.
While it’s been nice to see how some players have fared given the opportunity to see more reps, it’s important not to forget the players who beat them out in the first place.
The depth chart is also a reminder of how much talent Ohio State has accumulated during the last few recruiting cycles. There are extremely talented players listed in the third-team boxes, and in some cases, it seems unfair. But at positions where everyone is a former top-100 recruit, someone has to be third- or fourth-team selections.
Note: Class of 2018 members are included in some cases, and those members are noted in bold.
Projected 2018 Ohio State depth chart, offense
|QB||Dwayne Haskins||Tate Martell||Matthew Baldwin|
|RB||J.K. Dobbins||Mike Weber||Master Teague|
|WR-X||Johnnie Dixon||Terry McLaurin||Jaylen Harris|
|WR-Z||Austin Mack||Binjimen Victor||Kamryn Babb|
|H||Parris Campbell||K.J. Hill||Demario McCall|
|TE||Luke Farrell||Rashod Berry||Jeremy Ruckert|
|LT||Thayer Munford||Joshua Alabi||Nick Petit-Frere|
|LG||Michael Jordan||Wyatt Davis||N/A|
|C||Brady Taylor||Josh Myers||Matthew Jones|
|RG||Demetrius Knox||Malcolm Pridgeon||Gavin Cupp|
|RT||Isaiah Prince||Branden Bowen||Max Wray|
|K||Sean Nuernberger||Blake Haubeil||N/A|
- Not that it wasn’t already obvious, but Urban Meyer said on June 15 that Dwayne Haskins will start at quarterback in 2018.
- It’s clear looking at this list how much the Buckeyes bring back on this side of the ball, especially compared to defense. It will be much harder for freshmen to find their way onto the field with so many wide receivers and running backs returning. Nearly twice as many first-year players are on the defensive depth chart compared to offense.
- Though he’s not listed here, I expect Jaelen Gill to find his way onto the field in 2018. But that H-back situation is going to be a crazy battle for snaps with so many quality options. Tight end Jeremy Ruckert also could be a name to watch.
- The offensive line situation gained some clarity when offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said in late April that Isaiah Prince would likely stay at right tackle, with sophomore Thayer Munford taking over for Jamarco Jones at left tackle.
Projected 2018 Ohio State depth chart, defense
|DE||Nick Bosa||Jonathon Cooper||Tyler Friday|
|DE||Chase Young||Jashon Cornell||Tyreke Smith|
|DT||Dre’Mont Jones||Haskell Garrett||Davon Hamilton|
|DT||Robert Landers||Antwuan Jackson||Tommy Togiai|
|SLB||Malik Harrison||Dante Booker||Pete Werner|
|MLB||Tuf Borland||Baron Browning||Justin Hilliard|
|WLB||Keandre Jones||Baron Browning||Dallas Gant|
|CB||Kendall Sheffield||Jeffrey Okudah||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|
- Ohio State might have the best top-end talent at defensive end in the country, as both Nick Bosa and Chase Young could end up as top-10 picks in the NFL draft down the road. However, one glance at this chart is all that’s needed to see how important it was for Ohio State to land some defensive ends late in the 2018 recruiting cycle. The possibility of moving Jashon Cornell to end helps, but the additions of Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday give the Buckeyes a much bigger cushion at that spot.
- Chase Young is listed as a starter while Jonathon Cooper isn’t, but I doubt it ends up mattering. The primary three defensive ends are going to play a similar number of snaps. Cornell might be able to make it a four-man rotation if the coaching staff likes what it sees from him at that spot.
- There’s not much separation between the defensive tackles. Even players listed here on the third team wouldn’t be a surprise to earn meaningful playing time. The depth chart might not mean much at this spot if the Buckeyes can find enough players they like and rotate them.
- Linebacker is a weird spot for Ohio State. Tuf Borland is the best middle linebacker but he missed spring practice with an Achilles injury, so this is essentially a projection that he’ll eventually return healthy and be as good as ever. Baron Browning can play either spot he’s listed as the second-team choice for, and I believe he’d be the next man in if either of those players exited the game. There’s a ton of variability here, especially with several players who have the ability to play multiple spots.
- There’s an outrageous amount of talent at cornerback. Four of the six cornerbacks listed here were 5-star recruits coming out of high school.
- 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.