Nine Units Strong: Offensive Line

With four returning starters the Buckeyes have plenty of stability along the offensive line, but the second unit is filled with question marks.

OUTLOOK

The first-team offensive line is the most stable unit the 2015 Buckeyes have to offer, and it’s not really close.

Ohio State returns four starters – Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein, Jacoby Boren and Billy Price – from a unit that was flat-out mauling people last year. The Buckeyes have the luxury of plugging that lone vacancy with a fifth-year player who served as the sixth-man on the offensive line a year ago in Chase Farris.

“We’re very proud of Chase,” offensive line coach Ed Warriner said. “Chase is a guy who came as a defensive lineman, played offensive line then last year we had some issues and he went back over to D-line and he got injured then he came back to us on offense, so he’s been a team guy doing those position changes for the benefit of the team and now he’s got a home and a unit and a place and he’s really flourishing in it.”

Alongside Farris the Buckeyes boast two 2014 All-Big Ten performers in Elflein and Decker and a freshman All-American in Price. It’s a stark contrast from the position Ohio State was in a year ago, replacing four offensive lineman to start the season.

“That was a lot of responsibility earned,” Price said of anchoring the Buckeye offense. “That’s a title that we don’t take lightly at all. We set the foundation from the beginning of practice, we set the foundation on inside drill, we set the tempo. To have the entire team sort of bank off us and how we’re rolling and how our energy is, that’s a lot of responsibility. Coach always says this is an offensive and defensive line driven team, so to have that kind of responsibility it just makes it better for us.”

While the first-team offensive line can serve as the steadying force for the 2015 Buckeyes, the second unit is undergoing a transition.

The only certain member of the two-deep appears to be Jamarco Jones. The sophomore was used in relief of Decker at left tackle last season, often while the first-team quarterback was still in the game, and is clearly the most prepared offensive lineman outside of the starting five.

Jones is essentially treated as the sixth starter – when the “starting” offensive linemen made a visit to Children’s Hospital this summer Jones accompanied the five solidified starters – and will likely be the first linemen off the bench if any player along the line is injured. The Chicago native’s future is at tackle, but if one of the Buckeye guards suffer an injury Farris will likely move inside with Jones assuming the right tackle position. If Boren were to go down at center, Elflein would slide to center with Jones and Farris assuming new positions.

The rest of the offensive line depth is murkier and full of freshman. First-year tackle Isaiah Prince was the first freshman to have his black stripe removed and is already practicing with the second team.

Given their experience in the program it seems that Evan Lisle and Demetrious Knox will serve as the second-team guards, though Warinner remains high on the freshmen.

“Definitely a couple of them have enough talent to (play early),” the coach said of the freshmen. “Then we’ll just see how they go through camp and if they can sustain. They all looked good today but maybe Isaiah Prince might be a little bit ahead of the others.”

DEPTH CHART

Left Tackle

Awaiting Image
Taylor Decker
6'8" / 315 / Sr.
  • OT
  • 68

Notes

The most experienced and unquestioned leader of the offensive line, Decker enters his third year as a starter at Ohio State and his second year at left tackle. The senior has started 29 consecutive games for the Buckeyes and played in 41 games throughout his career. Decker is in line for national awards and in position to be a high draft pick following his final season.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Jamarco Jones
6'5" / 310 / So.
  • OT
  • 74

Notes

After playing in 10 games as a true freshman, Jones is expected to be the first offensive lineman off the bench as a sophomore. The heir-apparent at left tackle, the sophomore battled Farris for the open tackle spot this offseason and has been crafting his game behind starter Taylor Decker.

Player Profile

Left Guard

Awaiting Image
Billy Price
6'4" / 315 / RSo.
  • OG
  • 54

Notes

A freshman All-American last season, Price started every game for the 2014 national champions, switching from right to left guard after three games. Though he is the youngest starting lineman for Ohio State the redshirt sophomore is also known as one of the strongest.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Demetrius Knox
6'4" / 305 / RFr.
  • OG
  • 78

Notes

Though he appeared on the depth chart for the Buckeyes last season, Knox did not see time in a game in 2014 and enters the 2015 season as a redshirt freshman. Knox is working his way back after missing spring practice with a broken foot.

Player Profile

Center

Awaiting Image
Jacoby Boren
6'2" / 285 / Sr.
  • C
  • 50

Notes

The third member of his family to play at Ohio State, Boren started all 15 games for the Buckeyes in 2014 after playing in every contest as the second-team center in 2013. Though he is undersized for a typically center, Boren has used his strength and high football IQ to be productive anchoring the line.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Patrick Elflein
6'3" / 300 / RJr.
  • OG
  • 65

Notes

Elflein has played in the last 29 games for the Buckeyes including starting all 15 contests in 2014. A versatile player, Elflein served as the second-team center as well as starting at right guard for Ohio State last season. As a redshirt sophomore Elflein earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and expects to be in contention for national recognition in 2015.

Player Profile

Right Guard

Awaiting Image
Patrick Elflein
6'3" / 300 / RJr.
  • OG
  • 65

Notes

Elflein has played in the last 29 games for the Buckeyes including starting all 15 contests in 2014. A versatile player, Elflein served as the second-team center as well as starting at right guard for Ohio State last season. As a redshirt sophomore Elflein earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and expects to be in contention for national recognition in 2015.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Evan Lisle
6'7" / 305 / RSo.
  • OT
  • 75

Notes

Lisle has yet to play for the Buckeyes after redshirting in 2013 and not seeing the field in 2014. Still, Lisle took reps with the first team offensive line in the spring due to some injuries in front of him and the former four-star prospect should see some snaps in 2015.

Player Profile

Right Tackle

Awaiting Image
Chase Farris
6'5" / 310 / RSr.
  • OT
  • 57

Notes

The lone new starter on the offensive line, Farris was the first lineman off the bench last season. The senior is capable of playing guard or tackle and has played on the defensive side of the ball in his career, but will start at right tackle for Ohio State this season. His experience in the program should allow Farris to slide into the starting spot alongside four returning starters without disrupting chemistry.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Isaiah Prince
6'7" / 305 / Fr.
  • OT
  • 59

Notes

Prince came to Ohio State with high expectations as the No. 6 offensive tackle and No. 74 overall prospect in the class of 2015 and seems to be living up to the hype early. The Maryland native was the first Buckeye freshman to have his black stripe removed, signifying full membership on the team, and has drawn high praise from the coaching staff.

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ALSO IN THE MIX

Awaiting Image
Matthew Burrell
6'4" / 300 / Fr.
  • OG
  • 56

Notes

A four-star prospect out of Virginia, Burrell projects as a guard for the Buckeyes though he has indicated he would be willing to play center to get on the field. He comes to Ohio State as the No. 10 guard in the class of 2015.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Brady Taylor
6'5" / 300 / RFr.
  • OT
  • 73

Notes

After redshirting as a freshman, Taylor hopes to contribute to the Buckeyes in his second year in the program. The Columbus native and former three-star recruit, Taylor added 15 pounds to his frame during his redshirt season.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Branden Bowen
6'7" / 320 / Fr.
  • OT
  • 76

Notes

Already one of the bigger lineman on the roster as a true freshman, Bowen comes to Ohio State as a three-star offensive tackle. The No. 58 tackle in the tackle in the class of 2015, Bowen helped Corner Canyon High School to the Utah state semifinals in his senior season.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Kevin Feder
6'9" / 305 / Fr.
  • OT
  • 77

Notes

The tallest lineman on the roster, the 6-9 Feder comes to Ohio State as a project at offensive tackle. A three-star recruit out of New Jersey, missing time his junior year in high school because of a broken leg slowed his development.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Kyle Trout
6'6" / 310 / RFr.
  • OT
  • 71

Notes

A four-star offensive tackle, Trout took a redshirt in his first season in Columbus. During a year on the sidelines Trout was able to add 30 pounds to his naturally large frame.

Player Profile

Awaiting Image
Grant Schmidt
6'6" / 300 / Fr.
  • OT
  • 67

Notes

A three-star offensive tackle, Schmidt is the first player to be recruited to Ohio State out of South Dakota. While the level of competition he faced in high school could be a concern, Schmidt has the big frame necessary to play at the college level.

Player Profile


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