Recapping the Position Groups That Took the Biggest Hit at Ohio State This Offseason

By David Regimbal on January 21, 2019 at 9:35 am
K.J. Hill

Eleven Warriors

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Ohio State didn't just lose a future Hall of Fame head coach this offseason — it also lost stars at a number of key positions.

A lot of those players left Columbus to enter the NFL draft. That's how it goes for most college football blue bloods, but the Buckeyes have been hammered by recent early deflections.

It's not just players forfeiting their eligibility for the next level, however. In addition to the players who graduated, a number of now former Ohio State players made the decision to transfer this offseason.

Here's a recap of the position groups that were hit the hardest.

Quarterback

Ohio State fans got just one season from its record-setting quarterback. Dwayne Haskins, who rewrote school and conference record books in the only 14 starts of his collegiate career, piled up 4,831 passing yards while completing 70.2 percent of his passes to complement 54 total touchdowns.

Most assumed backup Tate Martell would battle Matthew Baldwin for the starting spot next season, but Martell transferred to Miami after Day landed the highest-rated prospect to ever sign with Ohio State in Justin Fields.

The former 5-star stud and No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class transferred to the Buckeyes from Georgia after just one season, and if he's granted immediate eligibility, he'll have a chance to compete with Baldwin this spring.

Running Back

The Buckeyes return their top rusher from the last two seasons in J.K. Dobbins, who followed up his 1,403-yard rushing output as a freshman with 1,053 yards a season ago. He's a versatile back who excels as both a runner and pass-catching threat, and he gives Ohio State some much-needed stability at a position that lost a lot of experience and depth behind Dobbins.

Mike Weber anchored Ohio State's 2016 rushing attack as a redshirt freshman before serving a complementary role to Dobbins over the last two seasons. He gave up his last year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, leaving Columbus with over 3,000 total yards 25 touchdowns.

The depth took another hit when Brian Snead entered the transfer portal. Ohio State will turn to Master Teague and Demario McCall to provide some backup for Dobbins.

Offensive Line

The offensive line took the biggest hit of all, losing four of five starters with left tackle Thayer Munford the lone returning big man up front.

The new starting group should be solid, as there's some playing experience among the group. There's Brandon Bowen at left guard, who started for the 2017 squad until breaking his leg midway through the season. Wyatt Davis (guard) and Joshua Alibi (tackle) anchored the right side of the line during Ohio State's postseason run as they admirably filled in for injured starters. And at center Michael Jordan will likely be replaced by former 5-star Josh Myers.

The big questions emerge in the two-deep. There are highly touted guys like Nicholas Petit-Frere and Max Wray, but there's very little experience waiting in the wings if one the presumed starters go down.

Wide Receiver

The wide receiver room won't be short on talent or experience, but it will lose three seniors who anchored the unit for multiple seasons.

Three of Ohio State's top four pass-catchers are set to graduate — Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon. The trio combined to haul in an unbelievable 167 passes for 2,433 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2018.

But K.J. Hill is back, and after registering 70 catches for 885 yards and six touchdowns last year, he's expected to lead a deep group. Austin Mack should be healthy and ready to return next season and Binjimen Victor is back as well.

Then there's Chris Olave, who broke out against Michigan with two touchdown catches, and a week later hauled in five more passes for 79 yards and another score against Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.

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