close
close

Quarterback, offensive line still flowing

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Barring yet-to-be-released last-minute entries, Ohio State football exited the post-spring transfer portal window with minimal impact on its one-two punch.

Nor has anyone been added yet at the spot where the depth chart most needs a boost at safety. The five starters on offense could be players who wore scarlet jerseys in last month's spring game.

Considering the alternatives known to be available through the portal, what OSU needs most is a new addition like Dawand Jones in 2021. He, too, was already on the roster. However, he only spoke up in the preseason camp and demanded a starting place with his training performance.

Latest Ohio State Buckeyes news

The mixing and matching continues on the right side of the attack line. But we'll start this prediction with quarterback, where spring training limited the competition but didn't end it.

quarterback

Will Howard OR Devin Brown

Julian Sayin

Lincoln Kienholz

Air Noland

We won't go five deep on every position, but in this case full representation makes sense. Howard appeared to end the spring with at least a small advantage, having started the spring game taking extra reps with the No. 1 offense.

However, he simply didn't play significantly better than Brown that day and during the practice windows open to reporters throughout the spring. Brown trailed Kyle McCord last spring and finally caught up and briefly overtook him in the preseason. It's too early to rule him out from possibly doing it again.

Sayin didn't have his best day in the spring game. However, the way the coaching staff spoke about him all spring showed where he is and where he is going.

Run back

TreVeyon Henderson AND Quinshon Judkins

James Peoples

Don't expect the Buckeyes to line up in a T formation at the start of every game. More likely, someone will be the only running back on the field against Akron on August 31, and it will almost certainly be Henderson. However, he and Judkins have been viewed as dual threats for months.

The transfer of Dallan Hayden removed a crucial third level on the depth chart. If a veteran joins through the transfer portal, they could get in here. But there's no guarantee he'll beat Peoples and be next in line.

X receiver

Carnell Tate

Brandon Inniss

Tate certainly received the starter treatment during the spring game with a small workload. He has been groomed for a starting job since last season. With all the Jeremiah Smith hysteria, people forgot how high the Buckeyes were on Tate as a true freshman.

I use Inniss here partly because it makes the two-deeps a little cleaner. He might appear in this slot more than anywhere else. An injury held him back this spring, but he's easily one of the team's top six receivers.

Z receiver

Jeremiah Smith

Jayden Ballard

This may not be his most natural position on offense, but based on what we've seen this spring, Smith needs to start. He could be one of the more dynamic players in the Big Ten and beyond, regardless of class. Remember, he really just got his feet wet this spring.

With a soft non-conference schedule, receivers coach Brian Hartline could rotate a lot of lineups. This would be a good opportunity for Ballard to show what he can bring as a fourth-year receiver to an otherwise young group.

After an injury-hit 2023 season, Emeka Egbuka looked more like himself this spring.

Slot receiver

Emeka Egbuka

Bryson Rodgers

Maybe we all forgot that a year ago many thought OSU had two first-round receivers. Injuries hampered Egbuka's attempt to move to Marvin Harrison Jr. The talent that made him a 1,000-yard receiver as a sophomore hasn't gone away.

Rodgers pulled out of the transfer and stepped in in Inniss' absence to have one of the more insightful players in the squad. He may have secured part of this offense in the process.

Close end

Gee Scott Jr.

Will Kacmarek

Scott started the spring game, for what that's worth. He's also now a fully formed tight end, and a veteran one at that. He knows this offense from multiple angles and his blocking has improved.

However, Day and Chip Kelly want to utilize multiple tight ends, and that's why Kacmarek came from Ohio. Fans are certainly eager to see Jelani Thurman play a larger role in this conversation as well, as his combination of size and athleticism continues to be enticing.

Left tackle

Josh Simmons

George Fitzpatrick or Zen Michalski

What OSU asked of Simmons last year — transferring from a Group of Five program after not playing spring ball and starting at left tackle on Opening Day — was borderline unfair. However, getting him involved and sticking with him could pay off big for everyone involved this fall. This spring he looked noticeably better.

Michalski is one of the few players who was on the cusp of bigger roles last year. They will be a crucial depth as the offense looks to continue to avoid major injury issues during Day's tenure.

Donovan Jackson's leadership will once again be crucial on Ohio State's offensive line.

Left guard

Donovan Jackson

Austin Siereveld

Everyone can see Jackson's advantages on the field. As he continues to strive to achieve that goal more consistently, he has emerged as one of the offense's certified leaders.

Siereveld has already started to become a long-term fixture on the charts in his second season. He is one of several players continuing to develop on the inside. Ohio State needs more of these options to develop at tackle.

center

Seth McLaughlin

Carson Hinzman

Whatever snap issues plagued McLaughlin at Alabama, they didn't seem to bother him this spring. He should make this position even more stable by continuing to work with his new quarterbacks.

If Hinzman doesn't get the right guard job, he'll settle in nicely here, making center the only spot on the line with two known starter-quality players. Joshua Padilla is pushing for his spot on the second line in case Hinzman slips.

Right guard

Hinzman OR Luke Montgomery OR Tegra Tshabola

Hinzman started the spring game and came off the bench throughout the spring to take his guard candidacy from theory to reality. Tshabola, with his unusual size and ability to move, gets stuck in both places on the right side.

Earlier this spring, Montgomery appeared to be the frontrunner here. However, at this point both Hinzman and Tshabola appeared to be focused on their other positions. The other name to remember here is Fryar for another tackle transfer who can handle his old job.

Real attack

Josh Fryar

Fitzpatrick or Tschabola

Fryar worked all spring like he was going to make it at right tackle. It may not be his best choice, but he could be the best one for the Buckeyes once again.

Finding someone to give the No. 2 right tackle spot to is hardly a problem right now. There are lots of candidates. Again, Montgomery can help if needed if he can't claim the guard position.

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *