How Many of Ohio State's Redshirt Freshmen and Early Enrollees from the 2019 Recruiting Class Break the 2-Deep Rotation?

By David Regimbal on March 7, 2019 at 10:10 am
Zach Harrison

Eleven Warriors.

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Ohio State has six early enrollees from its 2019 recruiting class and 12 redshirt freshmen on the roster who will be fighting for playing time as the Buckeyes go through spring practice over the next five weeks.

That quest for those 18 freshmen began on Monday when Ohio State kicked off the first spring camp under new head coach Ryan Day. 

The Buckeyes lost a number of talented starters on both sides of the ball, but key reserves lost to graduation and transfer will have Day and an overhauled coaching staff looking to fill out a majority of its two-deep rotation during spring practice.

Which of Ohio State's freshmen on the roster this spring have the best chance of clawing their way up the depth chart this spring?

Offense

The Buckeyes were hit hard by deflections on the offensive side of the ball, primarily along the offensive line and on the perimeter at receiver.

In the trenches, the Buckeyes need four new starters after graduation and the early deflection of center Michael Jordan ravaged the group. Multi-year players such as Brandon Bowen, Thayer Munford, Wyatt Davis, Josh Meyers and Gavin Cupp will certainly compete for starting and backup roles, but redshirt freshmen Max Wray and Nicholas Petit-Frere will compete for playing time.

At wide receiver, there's an enormous opportunity for younger players to step up after the Buckeyes lost seniors Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin—three of the top four leading receivers from a season ago.

Five-star wideout Garrett Wilson has a chance to make a lasting impression this spring.

The Austin, Texas native was one of the crown jewels of Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class. Rated the No. 20 overall recruit nationally and the second-best wideout among qualifying players, Wilson could slide into a number of spots on the perimeter to provide Ohio State's new starting quarterback with a playmaking option.

Joining Wilson outside is Jaelen Gill, who has the chance to earn serious playing time with his explosiveness and the departure of Campbell at H-Back. 

In the backfield, returning starter J.K. Dobbins is primed to emerge as a featured back and Demario McCall looks to be in line for the backup spot, but redshirt freshman Master Teague has the opportunity to fight for playing time.

And of course, redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin is competing with Georgia transfer Justin Fields to replace Dwayne Haskins at quarterback.

Defense

Despite the defense's incompetence last year, there aren't as many opportunities for freshmen with the return of so many starters and upperclassmen.

There are guys like redshirt freshman cornerback Tyreke Johnson who could crack the two-deep with a strong offseason, but that's largely dependent on how many corners Ohio State plans to field in its overhauled defense.

The player to watch on this side of the ball is true freshman Zach Harrison, who enrolled early to take part in winter conditioning and spring practice.

The 5-star defensive end spurned Big Ten rivals Michigan and Penn State, and even though the Buckeyes have loads of talent on the edge with the likes of Chase Young, Jonathan Cooper, Jashon Cornell and Tyreke Smith in the fold, Harrison is the kind of special talent that will be too hard for the staff to keep off the field.

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