Ohio State enters the final week of the regular season relatively healthy with one major exception.
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Shaun Wade, who has played the fourth-most snaps of any defensive player this season, is listed as a game-time decision for Ohio State's matchup with Michigan on Saturday. He has played at least 25 snaps in all 11 games this season, developing into a possible first-round NFL draft pick in his third year.
|Ohio State Status Report for Michigan|
|CB Shaun Wade|
WR C.J. Saunders
S Josh Proctor
OG Gavin Cupp
RB Marcus Crowley
OL Matthew Jones
WR Ellijah Gardiner
S Ronnie Hickman
DT Taron Vincent
WR Kamryn Babb
DT Noah Donald (walk-on)
Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett will be back for the Buckeyes. Per the team's status report released on Friday morning, he's active after sitting out last week's 28-17 win against Penn State with a foot injury.
Offensive tackle Joshua Alabi is active, too, after missing the past five games.
Defensive end Jonathon Cooper is also not listed on the status report, meaning he will be available should the Buckeyes decide to play him. Ryan Day said Cooper will play once more this season before redshirting, though he has not said which game. Cooper is listed as a co-starter along with Zach Harrison at defensive end.
Safety Josh Proctor, offensive guards Matthew Jones and Gavin Cupp, wide receiver Ellijah Gardiner and running back Marcus Crowley remain unavailable for Saturday's game. C.J. Saunders, Kamryn Babb and Ronnie Hickman are also out as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.
Ohio State does not dictate a reason for any player's unavailability or an expected length of any player's absence in its status report.
The possibility of Wade missing the game versus the Wolverines creates a potentially dangerous situation for the Buckeyes. Shea Patterson has hit his stride recently, passing for 750 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception while completing 67.7 percent of his passes in the past two games. To defend him and a talented corps of wide receivers, Ohio State wants to rely on Wade playing along with Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette at cornerback rather than any inexperienced options. That trio has helped the Buckeyes give up 126.2 passing yards per game, the fewest in the nation.
Amir Riep and Marcus Williamson are listed as co-starters with Wade at slot cornerback for Saturday's game. Riep, a junior, has 14 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup this season. Williamson has seven tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this year.
It's also possible the Buckeyes could move Arnette inside, where he has played before, and play Sevyn Banks or Cameron Brown outside. Brown, a second-year riser, played a season-high 47 snaps against Rutgers two weeks ago when Arnette was sidelined. He has 10 tackles and a pass breakup this season. Banks, also a sophomore, started in place of Arnette in that game and has recorded 10 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.
A healthy Garrett will add to Ohio State's depth on the interior of its defensive line. Jashon Cornell his highest snap count against Penn State due to Garrett's absence. With Garrett back, Cornell should get more breathers and Antwuan Jackson Jr. will likely shift back to being the third-string 3-technique. Garrett and Jackson are listed as co-backups to Cornell.
Alabi's presence helps add depth to the Buckeyes' offensive line. He and Nicholas Petit-Frere are the backup offensive tackles to Thayer Munford and Branden Bowen, respectively.
Proctor missing his second game in a row leaves the Buckeyes with questionable depth at safety. The transfer of Isaiah Pryor to Notre Dame earlier this season suddenly leaves Ohio State with Marcus Hooker as its top backup to Jordan Fuller. Hooker has played just 58 snaps this season with all of them coming well after each game's result has been decided. Wade has also been an option to shift to safety in an emergency situation, but that might not be a possibility due to his undisclosed injury.
Harry Miller, a freshman center, remains the top backup interior lineman for the second week in a row due to the unavailability of Cupp and Jones. Ennok Vimahi is listed as the backup left guard and Ryan Jacoby and Kevin Woidke are co-backups at right guard. The Buckeyes, of course, would prefer not to have to rely on a first-year offensive lineman in the rivalry game on Saturday.
The full depth chart for Saturday's game, as released by Ohio State on Friday morning, can be viewed below.