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Reloading but Vulnerable? A 2021 Ohio State Overview

Somehow there are questions surrounding a coach who’s never lost to a Big Ten team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 12 Ohio State Fall Camp Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello all, and welcome to Ohio State Week. I’m going to provide a few tidbits and #taeks about the 2021 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Offense

Quarterback: It appears CJ Stroud will be the guy at QB. He has been pressed by teammates Jack Miller and Kyle McCord for the starting job.

Even though Stroud (or any of the other OSU QBs for that matter) have yet to attempt a pass at the college level, expectations are high for the former 4* recruit from California. Will he live up to the lofty expectations we’ve come to see from the Ohio State starting quarterbacks? That remains to be seen.

Running Back: It appears that the RB position will likely be by committee, for at least the start of the season. There are rave reviews coming out of camp for true freshman TreVeyon Henderson — who I am personally excited to see play. But ahead of him on the very early depth chart are Miyan Williams and Master Teague. Teague is the seasoned vet and leader of the room.

Other RBs pushing for playing time are true freshman Evan Pryor, and Marcus Crowley. Steele Chambers has moved to LB.

Offensive Line: The offensive line should be stout once again, with returning starters Thayer Munford, Nick Petit-Frere, and Harry Miller all set to continue play. One of the stories of the offseason, is that Munford has moved to LG from LT, and Petit-Frere has moved from RT to LT. This gives Dawand “Big Thanos” Jones the opportunity to lock down the RT position. It’s assumed Paris Johnson will get the nod at the RG position, with Harry Miller starting at C. This should be a solid group.

Wide Receivers: I won’t type too much about the WRs — other than they’re supposed to be really good this year, if the QB can feed them the ball. Olave, Wilson, and Smith-Njigba are the presumed starters with guys like Fleming, Egbuka, Harrison Jr, and Ballard expected to get some run.

Tight Ends: The TE room, outside of Jeremy Ruckert, is very interesting. Competition for the 2nd TE spot is up for grabs, with converted defensive player Cade Stover likely to get the nod. But Gee Scott Jr has moved from WR to TE, and will be a flex TE-type guy they can use. Other players that will push for PT are Joe Royer, Sam Hart, and walk-on Mitch Rossi.

The Defense

Defensive Line: Defensively, it all starts up front. The D-line should be the best unit on this side of the ball. Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith will likely be the starters at DE, with Haskell Garrett getting the nod at one of the DT positions.

The other DT position is up for grabs, with guys like Taron Vincent, Jerron Cage, Antwuan Jackson, and true frosh Mike Hall all vying for the starting job. Superstar true freshman Jack Sawyer will be a guy to watch in the rotation here, as well as JT Tuimoloau. A key rotation player, Tyler Friday, is out for “most of the year” due to injury.

Linebacker: At linebacker, things get a little dicey. All 3 starters from last season have moved on to the NFL, and OSU is switching to a 4-2-5 this year, so there will likely only be 2 “true” linebackers on the field at once. Teradja Mitchell is likely a starter at one of the LB positions, with the other spot being contested between guys like Cody Simon, Dallas Gant, Tommy Eichenberg, and USC transfer Palaie Gaoteote. Veteran K’Vaughan Pope will also see some run.

This position group is very thin, and will likely be a weakness for the Bucks this year.

Secondary: Finally, the defensive backs. With likely 5 DBs on the field at once, there are quite a few competitions going on for starting positions. Sevyn Banks and Josh Proctor are your surefire starters at CB and FS.

At the new-ish “Bullet” position, it seems Craig Young is the penciled-in starter, but he is being pushed by Ronnie Hickman. The Bullet is a hybrid S/LB — similar to what we’ve been seeing become more popular across CFB these days.

At the “cover safety” position, competition goes on between Marcus Williamson and Lathan Ransom. At the other CB spot, Cam Brown is the likely starter, yet he’s coming off an Achilles injury and is being pushed primarily by true freshmen Denzel Burke.

Hopefully Coombs can shore up the back group here. Last year’s performance was abysmal by OSU standards.

Thanks for “reading”! Feel free to grill me in the comments — this is my first contribution to OTE.