Ohio State Suddenly Has Its Most Talented Defensive Tackles Since Urban Meyer's Arrival

By Kevin Harrish on May 20, 2018 at 7:15 am
Dre'Mont Jones leads an enormously talented unit.

If you blinked, you might have missed it.

After years of questions surrounding the defensive tackle position at Ohio State, the Buckeyes suddenly have their deepest and most talented group of interior linemen since Urban Meyer's arrival in Columbus.

It happened seemingly overnight, but it was also a long time coming.

Ohio State's recruiting misses at defensive tackle over the years have been well documented. During Meyer's first five years, the Buckeyes signed a top-five player at every single position except defensive tackle. In fact, they only signed one player, Tommy Schutt, who was ranked in the top 10 at the position.

The Buckeyes chased, and missed out on talented tackles such as Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma), Christian Wilkins (Clemson), Rashard Lawrence (LSU), Antwuan Jackson (Auburn), Rashan Gary (Michigan), Marvin Wilson (Florida State) and Jay Tufele (USC).

Without those blue chip prospects, the coaching staff just had to work with what they had. That meant converting defensive ends into interior linemen and developing some of the under-recruited players into top-level linemen.

It hasn't always been ideal, but it's worked. Despite questions every offseason, Ohio State routinely dominates the middle of the line. Those converted defensive ends have come along – Adolphus Washington currently plays the position in the NFL and Dre'Mont Jones will do the same soon enough – and lower-rated guys such as Robert Landers have come along.

The past five years, Ohio State's made a fearsome interior defensive line out of unideal circumstances. But all of the sudden, those circumstances are pretty close to ideal, and if the Buckeyes were dominant in the trenches before, it's difficult to imagine what it will look like now.

Meyer didn't sign a single top-five defensive tackle in his first five years, now his roster features three. He signed just one top-ten defensive tackle in his first five years, now he has five in the past two.

Almost faster than you can blink, Ohio State has turned a position full of question marks into one overflowing with elite talent.

The unit is led by Jones, who was quietly one of the most dominating players on the roster last season and could have gone to the NFL, but chose to return to school. With him is Landers, whose short stature and quick twitch makes him one of the most disruptive interior linemen in the country.

The rest of the rotation will likely feature Davon Hamilton, Antwuan Jackson, Haskell Garrett, as well as true freshmen Tommy Togiai, who was the first member of the 2018 class to lose his black stripe, and Taron Vincent, who was the No. 1 tackle recruit coming out of high school.

The Buckeyes finally have the stacked defensive tackle lineup they've been hoping for, after years of dominating even without it. That's bad news for the rest of the country.

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