We opened this five-part series with a look at the offensive backs and receivers. We continued with the tight ends and offensive line.
Next, we looked inside the huddle on the defensive line and at linebacker. Then, we examined the secondary and specialists.
Today, we will tie all of this data together.
Let's go inside the numbers:
* OL -- OSU has 11 returning scholarship linemen. The Buckeyes also have three incoming freshmen for 2006 in Bryant Browning, Josh Kerr and Connor Smith. OSU will lose four linemen after the season (Doug Datish, T.J. Downing, Drew Norman and Tim Schafer).
* DL -- OSU has 11 returning scholarship linemen. OSU has three incoming freshmen for 2005 (Robert Rose, Walter Dublin and Dexter Larimore). The Buckeyes will lose four seniors after the season (Quinn Pitcock, David Patterson, Joel Penton and Jay Richardson).
* LB -- OSU has six returning scholarship linebackers (not including Indiana transfer John Kerr, who must walk on). OSU has five new linebackers coming in with JUCO transfer Larry Grant and incoming freshmen Ross Homan, Tyler Moeller, Mark Johnson and Thaddeus Gibson. The Buckeyes will lose one senior scholarship linebacker (Mike D'Andrea).
* CB -- OSU has eight returning scholarship corners. The Buckeyes have two incoming freshmen for 2006 (Kurt Coleman and Chimdi Chekwa). OSU will lose two senior corners (Mike Roberts and Antonio Smith) after the season. The Buckeyes have one verbal (Donnie Evege) for 2007.
* S -- OSU has five returning scholarship safeties. OSU has two incoming freshman safeties in Grant Schwartz and Aaron Gant as well as one verbal (Nate Oliver) for 2007. OSU will lose one senior (Brandon Mitchell) after the season.
* K-P -- OSU has three returning specialists on scholarship.
* Summing Up -- That gives OSU 85 players on scholarship once the incoming freshmen are added in.
For a class breakdown of scholarship players, OSU has 16 seniors, 12 juniors, 26 sophomores, 11 redshirt freshmen and 20 true freshmen.
With 85 scholarship players and 16 seniors, OSU can presently sign up to 16 players in the 2007 class. But that number could fluctuate due to the usual attrition factors (injuries, academics, transfers, etc.) as well as when or if any underclassmen decide to leave for the NFL after the coming season.
As we have noted, OSU already has three verbals as a start on that 2007 class. So, as of today, there would only be 13 open spots left. Obviously, that figure could fluctuate – both up and down -- over the next 7-1/2 months before signing day in February 2007.
And, looking ahead to 2008, Ohio State will be in a tough spot with just 12 juniors on the current team. That means they may only be able to sign a class of roughly 12-15 players in that class.
More than likely, the 2007 class will end up somewhere around 18 signees.
Looking at position needs, I think OSU could end up signing one quarterback (they lose two, so they need one here), two tailbacks (would be a luxury to get one to go with Saine), no fullbacks (provided they are fine with Olson), two wide receivers (might be three if Small is needed on defense or fails to qualify or if Ted Ginn Jr. goes pro), maybe one tight end (not a priority if Ballard and Miller are truly tight ends), three offensive linemen (an important area as they lose three and need to maintain depth here), one defensive end (always room for a difference-making defensive end), two defensive tackles (they lose three and must rebuild depth), two linebackers (looking for two good ones), two safeties (they already have Oliver) and two cornerbacks (they already have Evege) to fill out this class. That adds up to 18.
Obviously, OSU's scholarship situation is constantly changing. But we offer The Big Board at least three times throughout the year to get a snapshot of where things stand at that time. We will update it early in the 2006 season, when roles within each position group will be more firmly established.
Here are the archives from the previous installments of the post-spring edition of The Big Board: