Depth Chart Projection: An Early Look at Ohio State's 2017 Lineup

By Eric Seger on January 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm
An early 2017 depth chart projection for Ohio State football.

Let's get some facts out of the way first.

Fact: Ohio State made the College Football Playoff with the youngest and most inexperienced roster in the sport.

Fact: Billy Price and Sam Hubbard each said they are returning to Columbus for the 2017 season despite both being eligible to turn pro.

Fact: Unanimous All-American safety Malik Hooker declared for the NFL Draft on Monday. Gareon Conley did on Tuesday.

Fact: There are more NFL Draft declarations looming. J.T. Barrett, Curtis Samuel and Raekwon McMillan all said they are undecided, though it sounds like Barrett is leaning towards staying.

The Buckeyes finished 11-2 this season, royally flopping in the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson in a 31-0 loss in the national semifinal. The defeat is the only time in Urban Meyer's career that his team failed to score a point.

Such an ugly performance leads to changes everywhere in the program. Tim Beck is leaving Columbus to join up with Tom Herman at Texas, replaced by Ryan Day. Meyer promised the media that the Buckeyes will become a good passing team next year. Does that mean more reshuffling with the names on the offensive staff? Probably. But since the season ended with such a thud, it makes sense to look at the personnel the new coaches will have to work with in 2017.

Such a young roster means many of the same names on the depth chart this year will be back again next. It all revolves around how many underclassmen declare for the NFL Draft, which we also tried to project below.


  • SENIORS, OFFENSE: C Pat Elflein, WR Corey Smith, H-back Dontre Wilson
  • POSSIBLE EARLY ENTRANTS, OFFENSE: H-back Curtis Samuel, QB J.T. Barrett, TE Marcus Baugh
  • RETURNEES: Billy Price, who said he will move to center to fill the void left by Elflein
  • ASSUMED EARLY ENTRANTS, DEFENSE: S Malik Hooker, MLB Raekwon McMillan, CB Gareon Conley, CB Marshon Lattimore, DE Tyquan Lewis
  • RETURNEES: DE Sam Hubbard

Lewis was named the Big Ten's 2016 Defensive Lineman of the Year, is a fourth-year junior and thus has his degree and has played well the last two seasons as a starter. It only makes sense that he would turn pro. McMillan was on a fast track to three years and out when he enrolled early at Ohio State as a five-star recruit in 2014. Plus, with Luke Fickell heading to Cincinnati, his position coach is gone. Time for a fresh start.

Same goes for Conley and Lattimore, who are both projected to be early round draft picks this spring. Conley graduated in December as a fourth-year junior and Lattimore experienced a rise this season similar to Hooker in his first season as a starter.

Another fourth-year junior, Baugh's game could use another year in college but it is pretty evident he doesn't like school. Kevin Noon of Buckeye Grove reported that he plans to stay in college but with three tight ends sitting on the roster from the 2016 recruiting class as well as 2016 backup A.J. Alexander, it is more plausible Baugh will bolt then hang around.

Potentially the biggest question is what Barrett decides to do with his future. He already said it would be difficult to leave after Clemson skunked the Buckeyes 31-0 but a new quarterbacks coach coming into the fold might change is mind. He is not projected as a draft pick, however. Could he transfer? Not likely. Could he declare for the NFL Draft? Maybe. Regardless, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, Tate Martell and Meyer will need answers.

With all that in mind, here is a projection of the depth chart with those early entrants listed above gone except for Barrett, the wild card. Please keep in mind we tried to keep it at just a two-deep, thus the reason there are only so many wide receivers listed. That position is the most difficult to figure out because of how much it struggled this year.

Offense Defense
LT   74 JAMARCO JONES 6-5 310 SR   DE   6 SAM HUBBARD 6-5 266 JR
    75 EVAN LISLE 6-6 308 SR   OR   11 JALYN HOLMES 6-5 274 SR
LG   73 MICHAEL JORDAN 6-7 310 SO   DT   86 DRE'MONT JONES 6-3 280 SO
    78 DEMETRIUS KNOX 6-4 308 JR   OR   93 TRACY SPRINKLE 6-3 293 JR
C   54 BILLY PRICE 6-3 315 SR   DT   77 MICHAEL HILL 6-3 305 SR
    79 BRADY TAYLOR 6-5 300 JR       67 ROBERT LANDERS 6-1 285 SO
RG   66 MALCOLM PRIDGEON 6-7 315 JR   DE   97 NICK BOSA 6-4 265 SO
    75 EVAN LISLE 6-6 308 SR       13 RASHOD BERRY 6-4 252 SO
RT   57 ISAIAH PRINCE 6-7 310 JR   SLB   35 CHRIS WORLEY 6-2 228 SR
    76 BRANDEN BOWEN 6-7 315 SO       17 JEROME BAKER 6-1 225 JR
TE   88 A.J. ALEXANDER 6-2 254 SO   MLB   33 DANTE BOOKER 6-2 236 JR
    81 JAKE HAUSMANN 6-4 205 FR       38 JUSTIN HILLIARD 6-1 230 FR
WR   80 NOAH BROWN 6-2 218 JR   WLB   17 JEROME BAKER 6-1 225 JR
    21 PARRIS CAMPBELL 6-1 208 JR       33 DANTE BOOKER 6-2 236 JR
QB   16 J.T. BARRETT 6-2 225 SR   CB   12 DENZEL WARD 5-10 185 JR
    10 JOE BURROW 6-3 218 SO       28 JOSHUA NORWOOD 5-10 185 SO
OR   7 DWAYNE HASKINS 6-3 220 FR                
RB   25 MIKE WEBER 5-10 212 SO                
    26 ANTONIO WILLIAMS 5-11 210 FR   SAF   34 ERICK SMITH 6-0 203 SR
                    19 ERIC GLOVER-WILLIAMS 5-9 178 JR
H-B   30 DEMARIO McCALL 5-9 182 SO   SAF   7 DAMON WEBB 5-10 195 SR
OR   14 K.J. HILL 6-0 200 SO       4 JORDAN FULLER 6-2 205 FR
WR   83 TERRY McLAURIN 6-0 204 JR   CB   3 DAMON ARNETTE 6-0 195 SO
    9 BINJIMEN VICTOR 6-4 185 SO       15 WAYNE DAVIS 5-10 190 FR
Special Teams
K   92 SEAN NUERNBERGER 6-1 227 JR   H   91 DRUE CHRISMAN 6-3 200 FR
P   91 DRUE CHRISMAN 6-3 200 FR   PR   30 DEMARIO McCALL 5-9 182 SO
                OR   14 K.J. HILL 6-0 200 FR
KO   92 SEAN NUERNBERGER 6-1 227 JR                
                OR   14 K.J. HILL 6-0 200 SO

Note: True freshmen are hard to peg because they have not yet enrolled at Ohio State, so they are not included. 

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