Starting with the offense today and the defense tomorrow, I'll be giving out my projections for Ohio State's spring 2017 depth chart. That means any of the freshmen not currently enrolled (there will be 11 arriving this summer) are not listed, even though some could crack the two-deep this year.
While my projection is based at least partially on what we saw during the Buckeyes' practice on March 7, I don't put a ton of weight on what order players were lining up in, since it was the first practice of the spring, meaning veterans almost always get priority even if a younger player is likely to overtake them. This is a projection for what I think Ohio State's depth chart will look like after spring ball wraps up, and I'll take another look after the Spring Game on April 15.
Starter: J.T. Barrett
Backups (in order): Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins
Thoughts: Barrett is going to be the starter this season barring injury, that's a fact. Beyond that, Burrow and Haskins will battle it out this spring for the backup duties, and really I could see either coming out in front. For now, Burrow keeps his No. 2 spot. (Also, Tate Martell is almost definitely going to redshirt this season, even though he is very talented.)
Starter: Mike Weber
Backups (in order): J.K. Dobbins, Antonio Williams
Thoughts: Weber is the starter, so that one is easy. Williams went through drills ahead of Dobbins, but the latter, an early enrollee, is much more explosive and probably more talented overall. Since he's already on campus and going through practice, Dobbins should be able to pass Williams this spring. (Note: Don't worry, I didn't forget Demario McCall, more on him later.)
Wide Receiver 1
Starter: Binjimen Victor
Backups (in order): Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin
Thoughts: Victor just might be the most talented receiver in camp this spring, and I see no way he doesn't end up as a starter this season. That said, Campbell had a really good practice and will play a ton – especially in the slot – in 2017. McLaurin will likely be a rotation player once again unless he takes a big step forward.
Wide Receiver 2
Starter: K.J. Hill
Backup: Austin Mack
Thoughts: There's an argument to be made that Hill was Ohio State's most consistent receiver last season, maybe outside of Noah Brown. Now, with Brown gone, Hill has a chance to step up and become a go-to target for Barrett, and he'll play early and often next season, both outside and in the slot. Mack is another really talented player who barely got his feet wet last season, but he has all the tools to be a big contributor in 2017.
Starter: Demario McCall
Backups: Eric Glover-Williams
Thoughts: McCall showed off his explosiveness in small doses last season, but he'll be one of the key playmakers in this offense in 2017 as the H-back, taking over for Curtis Samuel. I could see McCall putting up really solid numbers both rushing and receiving next season. Glover-Williams is a transplant from the defense, and he showed flashes of his ability as a receiver during the first spring practice. He could be an X-factor of sorts going forward.
Starter: Marcus Baugh
Backups (in order): Jake Hausmann, A.J. Alexander
Thoughts: Baugh is working back from injury, but he's the starter without question. Alexander was working as the next guy in line at practice, but I really think this spring will be Hausmann's time to overtake him, especially with Baugh limited.
Starter: Jamarco Jones
Backup: Branden Bowen
Thoughts: Jones is the starter, so that's an easy one. Bowen will likely be listed as the backup, but really if Jones were to be injured I would expect Isaiah Prince to slide to left tackle and Bowen to go in at right tackle.
Starter: Michael Jordan
Backup: Josh Myers
Thoughts: As a returning starter after a solid true freshman season, Jordan has nothing to worry about. Behind him could be another young talent in Myers, who enrolled early and already looks the part of a collegiate player.
Starter: Billy Price
Backup: Brady Taylor
Thoughts: Price is the heart and soul of this offensive line, and his goal is likely to replicate what Pat Elflein did last season when he also moved from guard to center. Taylor is the backup for another year, but if Price were to suffer a long-term injury there could be some mixing and matching going on that would lead to someone else (maybe Myers?) playing center.
Starter: Malcolm Pridgeon
Backups (in order): Demetrius Knox, Matt Burrell
Thoughts: According to Urban Meyer, this is a battle between Knox, Pridgeon, Burrell and Bowen. Knox worked with the first team on day one of practice, but some Ohio State fans might still be having nightmares about what happened in the Fiesta Bowl. The goal here will be to get the best five players on the field, which means Pridgeon will likely win this spot.
Starter: Isaiah Prince
Backups (in order): Pridgeon, Bowen
Thoughts: Prince is going to keep his starting spot, and if he were to go down either Pridgeon would slide over from right guard (assuming he wins that spot) or Bowen would enter into the lineup.
Starter: Sean Nuernberger
Thoughts: He's pretty much the only option for Ohio State this spring.
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