The Ohio State Buckeyes are just one of those programs that’s always been competitive and they have a hard core fan base.
It was announced that they had 100,000 fans in attendance at the Spring Game, but there were quite a few empty seats. It was still an impressive turnout.
The 2014 national champions have a lot of holes to plug before next season with 16 openings. They were probably the hardest hit school in the country by players defecting for the big bucks of the NFL. I wrote about that here: NFL
But, everyone always wants to know about the Quarterback. Last year, the Buckeyes had a plethora of bodies at Quarterback.
This season, J.T. Barrett has the Quarterback job completely to himself and he is experienced and good.
This year’s question is who will back up Barrett.
That should be Joe Burrow, a redshirt freshman from Athens, Ohio. He isn’t on the same level athletically as Barrett, or even Cardale Jones. But, he gets the ball where it needs to be.
Stephen Collier is another Quarterback in the competition, but he’s a year ahead of Burrow and has already fallen behind.
Coming in the summer will be Dwayne Haskins from Maryland. Haskins is a 4 star recruit and one of the top Quarterback recruits in the country.
Curtis Samuel will probably receive the unenviable task of replacing Ezekiel Elliott if that is even possible. Samuel heads into his junior season with around 600 rushing yards total in his career.
If not Samuel, then possibly redshirt freshman Mike Weber. The Buckeyes signed 2 Running Backs in the 2016 recruiting class. Demario McCall is the 2nd ranked Running Back in the 2016 class, but I really like 9th ranked Antonio Williams.
McCall is really small, but quick. Williams is the total package and could be a great Power Back for the Buckeyes. I really like what I have seen out of Williams and he could be a big time player.
The Wide Receiver positions took some huge hits, but the talent is there. Most think that Noah Brown and Parris Campbell are the starters, but watch out for redshirt freshman Torrance Gibson here. He is a former 5 star out of Florida that is definitely one of the top athletes around.
True freshman Austin Mack made a great impression in the Spring and could make an early impact here. Keep an eye on sophomore Johnny Dixon here, too.
Dontre Wilson, from Dallas, has been the H-Back when not injured. But, it’s time for Wilson to step up because he has the ability. This will be his last chance at greatness in Columbus. KJ Hill could play here, or true freshman Demario McCall who is really too small to be an every down back.
Marcus Baugh has been working hard and hanging around and his time has come at Tight End. He is my pick for break out player of the year for the Buckeyes.
True freshmen Jake Hausmann or Luke Farrell are going to have to come in ready to play at Tight End and be prepared to start in 2017 because Baugh will no doubt leave for the NFL.
The Offensive Line had a couple of losses including 1st round draft pick Taylor Decker and Center
But, the Buckeyes usually have plenty of huge beasts up front. Left Tackle should be manned by last year’s Right Tackle, Jamarco Jones.
Kyle Trout and Kevin Feder should be his back ups. Trout is not a weakling at 6-6, 310, but Feder is a giant at 6-9, 310.
Last year’s starter at Left Guard has been switched to Right Guard. True freshman Michael Jordan is supposedly slated to start at Left Guard and backed by Demetrius Knox.
Long term starter at Center, Boren is gone. But, last year’s starter at Right Guard moves over to Center. Pat Elflein is a sturdy and dependable Offensive Lineman that won some honors last season at Guard. His back up should be Brady Taylor.
Replacing Elflein is Billy Price who is supposedly one of the team’s strongest players. Evan Lisle is back to lend support and add depth to the position. So, is talented youngster Matthew Burrell.
Moving into Right Tackle will be talented Isaiah Prince who will be backed by Brandon Bowen. Both of these guys have a really good chance at being outstanding players.
Joining true freshman Michael Jordan in the summer time will be one of the best Guard prospects in the land, Tyler Gerald. Plus, Junior College transfer Malcolm Pridgeon, Center Jack Wohlabaugh, and Offensive Guard Gavin Cupp.
Grant Schmidt, Blake Pfenning and Kevin Woidke are young guys looking for playing time. The Midwest is the place to go for talented Offensive Linemen and the Buckeyes are nearly always loaded up front.
Across the ball, the losses are great. Joey Bosa was the 3rd pick in the draft. But, Outside Linebacker Darren Lee went 20th in something of a surprise.
They also lost super Linebacker Joshua Perry and Cornerback Eli Apple.
Defensive Tackle Adolphus Washington is gone as is Tommy Schutt and Joel Hale. The secondary also lost Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell.
These guys will be tough to replace.
Tyquon Lewis is the only returning starter in the Defensive Line and he actually led the team in
Quarterback sacks a year ago.
Sam Hubbard played a lot and the former Lacrosse player was impressive. Sam Hubbard
Maybe the most exciting player that the Buckeyes signed in the 2016 recruiting class is Joey Bosa’s little brother, Nick. Nick Bosa
People involved with the incredible St Thomas Aquinas program down in Fort Lauderdale say that Nick might be a little better than his older brother, Joey. Seems impossible, but we will find out soon enough. Nick Bosa was definitely very impressive when I saw him play. Just an incredible talent in the Defensive Line. On the negative side, he was injured last Fall and who knows when he will be completely healed.
Jalyn Holmes is a good player at Defensive End that provides more than just quality depth. Redshirt freshman Darius Slade and true freshman Jonathon Cooper could provide depth even though they lack experience.
Defensive Tackle could be a problem for the Buckeyes this season, at least early on.
Michael Hill and Donovan Munger are slated as the starters. Jashon Cornell moved inside in the Spring to provide depth, but he looked really good and could be a force there. He was a 4 star recruit out of Minnesota last year.
Dre’Mont Jones is a talented young guy that redshirted a year ago. Supposedly, he looked really
good in bowl game practices.
Tracy Sprinkle is a junior who has played very little. Then, there are redshirt freshmen Joshua Alibi, DaVon Hamilton and Robert Landers. True freshman Malik Barrows could also help.
The Buckeyes return only one Linebacker, but Middle Linebacker Raekwon McMillan is a good one to return. McMillan led the team in tackles a year ago with 119 total.
Redshirt freshman Nick Conner will back up McMillan, but he injured his knee in the Spring. Tuf Borland was only a 3 star recruit out of Illinois, but he could be the future of the MLB position at Ohio State.
Darron Lee and Joshua Perry will be difficult to replace at Linebacker. But, the Buckeyes have depth and Dante Booker should step up at Weakside Linebacker and he has seen enough playing time for us to know that he can get it done. He has shown enough to hold off former 5 star recruit, Justin Hilliard.
Chris Worley should start on the Strong Side and be backed by Jerome Baker. Keandre Jones is a multi-talented true freshman from Maryland that will emerge at some point.
The secondary was decimated by early declarations and Cornerback Gareon Conley is the only returning starter. Denzel Ward will back him up and he is an up and coming star. Ward may be the fastest player on the team.
Damon Ward, Marshon Lattimore and maybe Ward are in a battle for the other Cornerback spot.
Erick Smith and Cameron Burrows should hold down the two Safety positions.
Malik Hooker and true freshman Jahsen Wint are in contention and Hooker picked off 2 passes in the Spring Game which won’t hurt his chances. Hooker was a basketball player and didn’t play football until his junior season in high school and he is a gifted athlete.
Lattimore needs to be on the field somewhere and he picked off a pass, also.
Urban Meyer is 50-4 in 4 years at Ohio State which is pretty incredible. They do have a fairly tough schedule in 2016 starting in September with Oklahoma in Norman.
They have a lot of new starters and leadership will be extremely important and Urban Meyer named team captains already so they could lead the younger players in the off season.
The Buckeyes lost a lot, but they have been stockpiling talent over the past few seasons and they should be fine in 2016.