With no Ohio State game this past weekend, it’s time for Snap Counts to take a look back at the season to date and a look ahead at which players appear likely to see the most playing time for the rest of the season.
A total of 82 players have seen the field for the Buckeyes for at least one play this season. Ohio State has played 34 different players on offense and 38 different players on defense, while an additional 10 players have seen the field on special teams only.
How much each of those players has seen the field has varied, with some players seeing regular playing time in every one of Ohio State’s first seven games, while others have only had their number called in a blowout or two.
No matter how much or how little each of those Buckeyes have played, Snap Counts has been here all season to track every snap along the way.
Taking a look back at the snap counts from the first seven games of the season should give us a good idea of which Buckeyes will play key roles down the stretch of the season. The Buckeyes could make some tweaks to their rotation before they play Penn State on Saturday, having had two weeks between games to potentially implement new packages or for individual players to potentially earn more playing time. For the most part, though, the players who have played the most so far this year – or the players whose playing time has trended up over the course of the year – are likely to be the ones counted on to play key roles the rest of the year, barring injuries or off-field issues.
Our report on how many snaps each Buckeye has played this season, how they have been utilized and which players you should expect to see the most playing time at each position is as follows. A breakdown of which players have seen playing time on each special teams unit, with how many games each player has seen snaps on each unit and analysis on which players will likely see the most playing time on those units the rest of the year, is also included.
Author’s note: All snap counts listed in this article were tracked by Eleven Warriors through film review and should be considered unofficial, as Ohio State does not release its official snap counts. The players listed with each special teams unit are the players who have been on the field with those units most frequently, but exact special teams snap counts are not included because it is not always possible to identify all 11 players on a special teams unit from TV camera angles.
J.T. Barrett: 450 snaps
Dwayne Haskins: 104
Joe Burrow: 17
Barrett has played every meaningful snap at quarterback for the Buckeyes. Barring an injury to Barrett, that is unlikely to change at any point this season. Haskins, who has been the first quarterback off the bench in each of the five games Ohio State has played a backup quarterback, appears to be the next man up should an injury situation arise. But it’s still possible that Burrow, who has played in three games this year, could factor into the equation.
J.K. Dobbins: 293
Mike Weber: 147
Antonio Williams: 84
Demario McCall: 36
Jordan Leasure: 11
Jared Drake: 8
While Dobbins has played almost twice as many snaps as Weber, that’s because Weber missed two of the Buckeyes’ first four games and was limited in the other two. Weber has played slightly more snaps than Dobbins in each of the Buckeyes’ last three games, but the two running backs should split snaps nearly equally for the rest of the year as long as both stay healthy.
Williams has played primarily in mop-up duty and will likely only see the field in garbage-time situations as long as Dobbins and Weber stay healthy. McCall has seen playing time at both running back and wide receiver, but only in blowout situations, and does not appear to be in line for a regular role in the Buckeyes’ offense this season.
Leasure and Drake, both walk-ons, have only played and likely will only play in lopsided games.
Zach Turnure: 10
After playing only on special teams in the Buckeyes’ first five games, Turnure has found an occasional role on offense as a fullback in the last two games. He has only played alongside other backups on offense, and is unlikely to be a regular contributor on offense, but the door could potentially be open for him to enter the game with the starters on package plays where the Buckeyes use a fullback, where Ohio State’s tight ends have also been lining up on some plays in recent weeks.
Terry McLaurin: 316
K.J. Hill: 301
Binjimen Victor: 269
Austin Mack: 252
Johnnie Dixon: 222
Parris Campbell: 192
C.J. Saunders: 115
Jaylen Harris: 43
Trevon Grimes: 32
Elijaah Goins: Special teams only
Ohio State has maintained a true rotation with its top six wide receivers throughout the season, with Victor and Mack rotating at X receiver, McLaurin and Dixon rotating at Z receiver and Hill and Campbell rotating at slot receiver. McLaurin, who is regarded as the Buckeyes’ best blocker, has led all wide receivers in snaps in four of Ohio State’s seven games. Mack and Campbell typically start alongside McLaurin, with the other receivers rotating in, though the Buckeyes have made a conscious effort to protect Campbell by playing him less than the other receivers in games where the outcome has been decided early.
Saunders is on the outside looking in on Ohio State’s regular receiver rotation, and is likely to remain there if the top six receivers stay healthy, but he has been mixed in for some snaps at slot receiver with the starters since a breakout 102-yard game against UNLV.
Harris, a true freshman, has seen playing time in three of Ohio State’s last four games but appears unlikely to crack the regular rotation this year. Grimes, also a true freshman, saw playing time in two games but is currently away from the team due to personal reasons, leaving his status uncertain for the rest of the year and making it unlikely he will see regular playing time this season.
Marcus Baugh: 309
Rashod Berry: 115
Luke Farrell: 89
Jake Hausmann: 9
Derrick Malone: Special teams only
While Baugh has played more snaps this season than the rest of Ohio State’s tight ends combined, Berry is trending up after playing a season-high 33 snaps in the Buckeyes’ most recent game against Nebraska. Although Baugh played nearly all of the first-team snaps at tight end in Ohio State’s first six games, it appears likely that Baugh and Berry could rotate playing time more equally in the second half of the year.
Farrell has played some occasional snaps with the first-team offense as well, but Berry’s rise could make it tough for the redshirt freshman to see the field for the rest of the season. Hausmann, also a redshirt freshman, has seen the field only sparingly near the end of one-sided games and does not appear likely to play a significant role this year.
Michael Jordan: 469
Isaiah Prince: 469
Jamarco Jones: 462
Billy Price: 445
Branden Bowen: 389
Demetrius Knox: 129
Brady Taylor: 126
Joshua Alabi: 103
Matthew Burrell: 102
Thayer Munford: 102
Malcolm Pridgeon: 59
Kevin Woidke: Special teams only
Jordan, who starts at left guard, and Prince, who starts at right tackle, have played the most snaps on the entire team this year. Each player has come out of the game only in situations where the Buckeyes have taken the majority of their starting offensive line off the field.
Jones, the starting left tackle, has been on the field for all of those snaps with the exception of seven that he missed due to two separate occasions where he left games briefly due to minor injuries. Price has started every game at center but has occasionally been replaced in the lineup by Taylor before the other starting offensive linemen come out of the game.
Bowen was the team leader in snaps played before he suffered a season-ending leg injury against Maryland. Knox replaced him as the starting right guard against Nebraska and appears set to keep that spot after a strong first start. Burrell has also seen playing time at right guard, including playing time alongside the starters. Pridgeon has seen occasional playing time with backups at left guard and right guard.
Alabi is the only player other than Jones and Bowen who has seen playing time at left tackle this season, making him the apparent backup at that spot, while Munford is the only player other than Prince who has seen playing time at right tackle.
Jalyn Holmes: 254
Nick Bosa: 240
Sam Hubbard: 235
Tyquan Lewis: 233
Chase Young: 139
Jonathon Cooper: 135
Nick Seme: 9
With the exception of a two-game stint where Holmes moved inside to defensive tackle, the quartet of Holmes, Bosa, Hubbard and Lewis have rotated almost equally with one another throughout the season at the defensive end position, with all four players taking the field in nickel packages. That rotation should continue as long as each of those four defensive ends remain healthy.
Young and Cooper have played opposite one another at defensive end on the second-team defense when the Buckeyes have taken their starters out of the game. Both of those players have also seen occasional snaps in the rotation with the starters, but while both – particularly Young – have played well enough to earn more playing time, it’s unlikely either of them will cut significantly into the playing time of the top four defensive ends.
Seme, a walk-on, saw his only defensive playing time of the season to date against Maryland and is unlikely to see regular playing time on defense this year.
Dre’Mont Jones: 191
Tracy Sprinkle: 153
Robert Landers: 141
Jashon Cornell: 111
Davon Hamilton: 93
Haskell Garrett: 53
Malik Barrow: 16
Dylan Thompson: 11
Michael Hill: 7
Jones leads all defensive tackles in snaps played despite missing two games with a leg injury. While Sprinkle has started all seven games for the Buckeyes this season, with five starts alongside Jones and two starts alongside Holmes, Sprinkle rotates out of the lineup more frequently with Landers at the nose tackle spot than Jones rotates out of the lineup with Cornell at the 3-technique spot.
Behind Landers and Cornell in the rotation, Hamilton has also played occasional snaps with the starters on defense. Garrett, Ohio State’s other third-string defensive tackle, has seen most of his playing time alongside backups.
A candidate to potentially move up the depth chart and see more playing time the rest of the season is Hill, who started for the Buckeyes in 2016 but played his first seven snaps of the year off the bench against Nebraska after being suspended for the team’s first six games.
Barrow is out for the season with a torn ACL, while Thompson saw his only playing time of the season against UNLV and is unlikely to see regular playing time this year.
Jerome Baker: 387
Dante Booker: 243
Chris Worley: 210
Tuf Borland: 132
Malik Harrison: 116
Baron Browning: 89
Keandre Jones: 66
Pete Werner: 35
Justin Hilliard: 24
Hayden Jester: Special teams only
Baker has been a mainstay for the Buckeyes’ defense at weakside linebacker, playing every meaningful snap of the season to date. Booker has been a staple in the Buckeyes’ base 4-3 defense at strongside linebacker.
Worley began the season as a mainstay in both the base and nickel defense at middle linebacker, but was replaced at middle linebacker by Borland after spraining his foot against Army and missing three games. Upon Worley’s return to action against Nebraska, Borland played middle linebacker in the base defense while Worley lined up alongside Baker in the nickel defense. It remains to be seen whether Worley was just being eased back in and will ultimately regain his role as a three-down player, or whether Borland will continue to start in the base defense with Worley starting in the nickel.
Harrison lined up alongside Baker in the nickel defense while Worley was sidelined and also rotated occasionally with Booker at strongside linebacker earlier in the season, but could be relegated to a backup role now that Worley is healthy and Booker has established himself as a starter. Browning saw some playing time with the first-team defense at middle linebacker while Worley was out, but his opportunities to play with the starters could fade too now that Worley is back in the lineup.
Jones, Werner and Hilliard have only played in late-game defensive situations with backups and appear unlikely to see regular playing time at linebacker this season unless there are injuries in front of them on the depth chart.
Kendall Sheffield: 308
Denzel Ward: 300
Damon Arnette: 295
Jeffrey Okudah: 106
Marcus Williamson: 60
Amir Riep: 25
Trevon Forte: Special teams only
Ohio State has continued to use a three-man cornerback rotation this season with Ward, Arnette and Sheffield, with the three cornerbacks rotating in and out at the outside spots in the base defense and Arnette moving inside to the slot cornerback spot in the nickel defense. Ward and Arnette typically play the majority of snaps in the base defense when all three cornerbacks are available to play, but Sheffield has seen extended playing time with the backup defense as well as in the last two games, when Ward and Arnette missed time due to targeting penalties, moving Sheffield to the top of the board in snaps played.
Okudah has seen occasional snaps as an outside cornerback in the first-team nickel defense on an as-needed basis, but has played primarily with the second-team defense in games that have already been decided. Williamson and Riep, who like Okudah are true freshmen, have only played on defense when the backups have checked into the game. Barring an injury to any of Ohio State’s top three cornerbacks, it appears unlikely that any of them will see regular playing time with the defensive starters this season, though Okudah is the most likely candidate of the trio to do so.
Damon Webb: 404
Jordan Fuller: 338
Erick Smith: 206
Isaiah Pryor: 96
Jahsen Wint: 19
Wayne Davis: 10
Brendon White: 5
Webb leads all Ohio State defenders in snaps played this season, having played every snap with the first-team defense and even seeing some extra playing time after backups have checked into the game at other positions. Fuller began the season rotating with Smith at the second safety spot, but Fuller has become a mainstay alongside Webb – also playing every snap with the starters in the Buckeyes’ last three games – since seizing the starting job for himself.
Smith rotated with Fuller for the Buckeyes’ first four games before being suspended for Ohio State’s next two games. He returned to the field against Nebraska, checking in with the first-team defense at safety when Fuller moved to slot cornerback in nickel packages, but Smith will likely be relegated to backup duty with Arnette back at the slot cornerback position after serving a first-half suspension against Nebraska.
Pryor has been a staple on the Buckeyes’ second-team defense but is unlikely to see playing time with the starters unless two of the three safeties ahead of him on the depth chart suffer injuries. Wint, who only saw defensive playing time in the two games Smith was suspended, and Davis and White, who each saw their only defensive playing time against Rutgers, are unlikely to become regular contributors on defense this year.
Field Goals/Extra Points
Sean Nuernberger (kicker): 7 games
Drue Chrisman (holder): 7
Liam McCullough (long snapper): 7
Rashod Berry (blocker): 7
Jonathon Cooper (blocker): 7
Malcolm Pridgeon (blocker): 7
Branden Bowen (blocker): 6
Davon Hamilton (blocker): 6
Demetrius Knox (blocker): 6
Brady Taylor (blocker): 6
Kevin Woidke (blocker): 5
Matthew Burrell (blocker): 4
Thayer Munford (blocker): 2
Joshua Alabi (blocker): 1
Nick Seme (blocker): 1
Chase Young (blocker): 1
Ohio State has kept its main place kicking battery consistent with Nuernberger kicking, Chrisman holding and McCullough snapping. Berry and Cooper have lined up as the outside blockers on the line in every game, while Pridgeon has also been a mainstay on the unit. Bowen, Hamilton and Knox were all mainstays on the unit until the Nebraska game; while Bowen is out for the season, it’s uncertain whether Hamilton or Knox will eventually return to the unit, as Young and Alabi could remain on the unit going forward after being added to the unit for the Nebraska game.
Taylor has been on the place kicking unit for every game but one, and appears likely to remain a mainstay on the unit going forward. Burrell, who missed two games due to injury, is also likely to be a mainstay on the unit with Bowen out for the season. Woidke has been on the place kicking unit for every game except the road games at Indiana and Rutgers, for which he did not travel, but he was on the Buckeyes’ travel roster for their trip to Nebraska.
Munford was replaced on the place kicking after allowing a field goal to be blocked against Maryland, so it remains to be seen whether he will be given another shot. Seme’s only playing time on the place kicking unit came in the second half against UNLV, so he appears unlikely to become a regular participant on the unit.
Blake Haubeil (kicker): 7
Sean Nuernberger (kicker): 1
Bryan Kristan (kicker): 1
Elijaah Goins (gunner): 7
Justin Hilliard (gunner): 7
Keandre Jones (gunner): 7
Amir Riep (gunner): 7
Zach Turnure (gunner): 7
Isaiah Pryor (gunner): 6
Baron Browning (gunner): 5
Austin Mack (gunner): 5
Jeffrey Okudah (gunner): 5
Erick Smith (gunner): 5
Jahsen Wint (gunner): 5
Malik Harrison (gunner): 4
Pete Werner (gunner): 4
Jared Drake (gunner): 4
Marcus Williamson (gunner): 3
Brendon White (gunner): 3
Wayne Davis (gunner): 2
Rashod Berry (gunner): 1
Hayden Jester (gunner): 1
Trevon Forte (gunner): 1
With the exception of one kick by Kristan against Army and one half by Nuernberger against Maryland, Haubeil has been the Buckeyes’ primary kicking specialist for the rest of the season. He will still have to prove he deserves to keep that job for the rest of the year, as Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has expressed disappointment with his performance, but it is his job to lose for now.
Goins, Hilliard, Jones, Riep and Turnure have all been and appear likely to remain mainstays in kickoff coverage. Smith has been on the unit in every game he has played in. Browning and Werner, both true freshmen, did not begin the year on the kickoff coverage but appear to have established themselves as regulars on the unit now. Okudah and Wint filled the final two spots on the unit at Nebraska, but Pryor and Mack have also seen regular playing time on the unit and could also be rotated back in.
Among the other players who have seen time on kickoff coverage this year, the most likely to earn regular playing time on the unit again this season would be Harrison and Williamson. Each of the other players listed have seen snaps on kickoff coverage but only as substitutes for starters on the unit in blowout situations.
K.J. Hill (returner): 7
Parris Campbell (returner): 6
Demario McCall (returner): 2
Antonio Williams (returner): 2
Jared Drake (returner/blocker): 2
Tuf Borland (blocker): 7
Jordan Fuller (blocker): 7
Malik Harrison (blocker): 7
Keandre Jones (blocker): 7
Elijaah Goins (blocker): 6
Justin Hilliard (blocker): 6
Jeffrey Okudah (blocker): 6
Zach Turnure (blocker): 6
Austin Mack (blocker): 5
Johnnie Dixon (blocker): 4
Brendon White (blocker): 2
Marcus Williamson (blocker): 2
Jahsen Wint (blocker): 2
Rashod Berry (blocker): 1
Jonathon Cooper (blocker): 1
Wayne Davis (blocker): 1
Luke Farrell (blocker): 1
Isaiah Pryor (blocker): 1
C.J. Saunders (blocker): 1
Pete Werner (blocker): 1
Campbell has been the primary kickoff returner in every game except for the Nebraska game, when he left the game early for precautionary reasons, and will regain that role as long as he is healthy going forward. Hill was the Buckeyes’ secondary returner in each of the first six games, essentially serving as a blocker in that role, but took Campbell’s place as the primary returner against Nebraska. Williams lined up alongside Hill against Nebraska, while McCall has seen time as the primary returner and Drake has seen time as a secondary returner or blocker in garbage-time situations.
Borland, Fuller, Harrison and Jones have all been mainstays on the kickoff return unit; Hilliard and Turnure have been as well since the second game of the season. Okudah also seems to have established himself as a regular player on the unit. Goins was a regular on the unit until the Nebraska game, when he did not play on kickoff returns, but remains a likely candidate to play on that unit in the future along with Mack and Dixon, with two of those three players likely to fill out the lineup each week unless other players emerge as regulars.
Drue Chrisman (punter): 6
Liam McCullough (long snapper): 6
Tuf Borland (upback): 6
Sam Hubbard (upback): 6
Malik Harrison (guard): 6
Zach Turnure (guard): 6
Jerome Baker (wing): 6
Terry McLaurin (wing/gunner): 6
Parris Campbell (wing/gunner): 5
Keandre Jones (wing): 4
Elijaah Goins (gunner): 4
Denzel Ward (gunner): 4
Jeffrey Okudah (gunner): 3
Johnnie Dixon (gunner): 2
Isaiah Pryor (wing/gunner): 2
Kendall Sheffield (gunner): 2
Pete Werner (guard): 2
Chris Worley (wing): 2
Marcus Williamson (gunner): 1
Ohio State did not use its punting unit against Nebraska. Before that game, Chrisman had punted in every game with McCullough, Borland, Hubbard, Harrison, Turnure, Baker and McLaurin all holding regular roles, though Harrison could potentially end up being replaced in his role by Werner.
Worley was a regular on the punting unit as a wing until his injury. He has since been replaced in that spot by Jones. It is likely the Buckeyes will continue to use of the two players, depending on whether they want to return Worley to special teams, in that role for the rest of the season.
The other spots on the punting unit have varied, often within games themselves, depending on the situation and whether the Buckeyes put extra gunners or extra blockers on the field.
K.J. Hill (returner): 7
Demario McCall (returner): 4
Keandre Jones (rusher/blocker): 6
Terry McLaurin (rusher/blocker): 6
Kendall Sheffield (rusher/blocker): 6
Damon Webb (rusher/blocker): 6
Damon Arnette (rusher/blocker): 5
Rashod Berry (rusher/blocker): 5
Justin Hilliard (rusher/blocker): 5
Dante Booker (rusher/blocker): 4
Jeffrey Okudah (rusher/blocker): 4
Denzel Ward (rusher/blocker): 4
Jonathon Cooper (rusher/blocker): 3
Johnnie Dixon (rusher/blocker): 3
Elijaah Goins (rusher/blocker): 3
Pete Werner (rusher/blocker): 3
Isaiah Pryor (rusher/blocker): 2
Erick Smith (rusher/blocker): 2
Trevon Forte (rusher/blocker): 1
Malik Harrison (rusher/blocker): 1
Austin Mack (rusher/blocker): 1
Derrick Malone (rusher/blocker): 1
Amir Riep (rusher/blocker): 1
Marcus Williamson (rusher/blocker): 1
To truly list every player who has been on the punt return/block unit for Ohio State this season would mean listing just about every player who’s been on the field on defense this season, as the Buckeyes often leave their regular defense on the field for opposing punts depending on field position and game situation. The players who are listed above are listed by how many games they have been on the Buckeyes’ primary punt return unit or have played exclusively on the punt return unit.
Outside of Hill as the primary punt returner – with McCall seeing snaps as the dual returner in the season opener and in garbage time in three games since – the punt return unit’s lineup has varied greatly, but players who have seem to have established themselves as regulars for the unit include Berry, Cooper, Hilliard, Jones, Webb, Werner, Arnette and Sheffield.
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