Even though Ohio State has to replace four starters along its offensive line, three starting wideouts, a quarterback who rewrote the conference history record book and a number of key defenders, Ryan Day still has the most loaded roster in the Big Ten.
That's something we established earlier this week. The Buckeye roster has more former 5-star or top-50 players from their respective recruiting classes than the rest of the Big Ten combined.
That gives new head coach Ryan Day a lot of options during fall camp as he sets his first depth chart in stone. Many of the open position battles were won and lost during spring practice, but a few key spots are still up for grabs.
While some of the projected starters listed below are technically in ongoing position battles, I'm comfortable calling these shots, particularly for the sole defender who made the list.
These three new starters have the potential to make a lot of noise for Ohio State and play at an all-conference level this fall.
Justin Fields, Quarterback
When Justin Fields announced his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State, he instantly became the highest-rated former recruit to join the Buckeyes — edging former quarterback Terrelle Pryor for the distinction.
With that has come a hype for the 5-star Georgia native, the assumed starter who'll replace Dwayne Haskins behind center.
Fields had a busy offseason learning the ins-and-outs of Day's vast playbook, but he brings a skillset to the Ohio State offense that his predecessor couldn't, and that's the added element to the run game.
Rated the top dual-threat quarterback as a recruit in 2018 and the No. 2 overall prospect, Fields put that on display as a change-of-pace option for the Bulldogs a season ago. He completed 69.2 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions and averaged 6.3 yards per rush and added four more scores on the ground in 2018.
Don't expect Fields to threaten 5,000 passing yards like Haskins did last year, but his output in Day's offense should be nothing short of explosive.
Two of the last three starting centers at Ohio State have won the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top center in the country. Last year's center, Michael Jordan, was named a first-team All-American by both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports.
Those are the expectations Josh Myers is stepping into, but after a superbly strong spring camp, it looks like he's up to the task.
Myers came into the program as a blue-chip recruit known for his strength. As a senior in high school, he was throwing around weights in the weight room with an almost comical ease.
Why use two arms when you only need one... (via @BR_TheFuture)https://t.co/fxfX0W4uWO— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2016
Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is excited about his potential.
“Josh has stepped in and really taken the bit,” Studrawa said in April. "He’s doing excellent. Before we practiced and went to the Rose Bowl, I really felt confident in that kid. Something clicked during bowl practice before we left and went out there, and his mindset, everything about him, how he carries himself, everything changed. So I’m confident, and now after watching him in nine practices, I really think he’s going to be exceptional.”
With him in the middle of a line that features four new starters, the Buckeyes need him to anchor the unit and live up to his potential.
Ohio State's linebacker play caused a lot of issues defensively last season, and a big part of that was a lack of speed at the middle of the defense.
Tuf Borland returns after starting at middle linebacker last season, but Teradja Mitchell has pushed him for the starting role all offseason. That's a sentiment that was echoed by Ryan Day last month.
“Tuf Borland played a lot for us last year and he's being pushed,” Day said. “He's being pushed by Teradja Mitchell.”
If Mitchell wins the job, he could explode in Ohio State's revamped defense.
Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and new linebackers coach Al Washington come from Michigan after grooming several high-caliber linebackers. Mitchell's combination of speed and power should allow him to thrive in that overhauled defense.