Next Man Up: Ohio State Defensive Tackles

Ohio State has dozens of four-star prospects who have yet to see significant time because of a playing time logjam over the last two season. Our Next Man Up series will focus on the inexperienced players at each position group who could make the leap this fall and contribute for the Buckeyes. Today we focus on the defensive tackles.

To continue our Next Man Up series, we take a look at Ohio State's collection if defensive tackles, where the Buckeyes will be replacing both starters in 2016 after the departures of Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt.

Heading into spring practice Urban Meyer admitted that the interior defensive line was a point of concern, but the spot still boasts plenty of depth and a few very talented players. Leading the way will likely be Michael Hill, a former four-star recruit as well, who started against at nose tackle against Michigan and then again in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.

Other than Hill, there isn't a defensive tackle at Ohio State who has started a game, and the position took a hit from a depth standpoint when it was announced that Donovan Munger's career was over due to medical issues related to blood clots. A few players emerged as potential stars during spring practice, though, and there are still three more former four-star recruits who have yet to start a game.

One of the leading candidates to replace Washington at three-technique, Dre'Mont Jones was recruited to Ohio State as a four-star defensive end out of Cleveland St. Ignatius in the class if 2015. He redshirted last season while he was working back from a torn ACL, which he suffered playing basketball as a high school senior. Jones earned the praise of Meyer during spring practice, and showed off his ability in front of Ohio State's fans at the spring game when he collected two tackles and a sack that resulted in a 5-yard loss.

Like Jones, Jashon Cornell was a four-star defensive end coming out of high school, but the Saint Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham Hall product seems to have found a home at defensive tackle. Like Jones, Cornell was a fast riser in the spring, and he stole the show at the spring game with five total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

Robert Landers is the last of the former four-star defensive tackles who hasn't started a game for Ohio State, and depending who you ask he might be the best. As a true freshman last season Landers actually found his way onto the Buckeyes' depth chart, though he didn't play in a game and took a redshirt. He received high praise from both coaches and teammates during the bowl practices and will almost certainly be in the mix for playing time, if not a starting spot, this fall.

Apart from the four stars, Ohio State still has plenty of bodies to throw out there at defensive tackle. Tracy Sprinkle, a former three-star, saw extended playing time against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl while Davon Hamilton surprised with five solo tackles and three sacks in the Buckeyes' spring game. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy standout Malik Barrow enrolled early this spring, but he wasn't a full participant in practice because he was still working back from an injury suffered in high school. For added depth, the Buckeyes still have Dylan Thompson and Joshua Alabi at their disposal, but both might be facing an uphill battle for playing time in 2016.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories