New Ohio State Football Starters Who Could Dominate the Big Ten in 2020

By David Regimbal on February 13, 2020 at 10:12 am
Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson
© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State was one of the most dominant teams in college football last season, but it has to replace over half its starters with the departures of 12 key players via graduation and the NFL draft.

Identifying those new starters will be one of Ryan Day's biggest challenges this offseason. Spring and fall camp will be a crucial time for the Buckeyes as those positional battles wage on.

The good news for Ohio State is that it has a strong history of putting first-year players in a position to dominate.

Look at Justin Fields a season ago. After transferring from Georgia and essentially undergoing a complete reset with a new program, team and playbook, he went out on the field and put up video-game numbers as a first-year starter. Going into the College Football Playoff matchup against Clemson, he had amassed an absurd 50 total touchdowns against one interception all season.

When the Buckeyes go up against Bowling Green to kick off the 2020 season, 12 new players will see their names on the first line of Ohio State's depth chart. These three players in particular have the inside track to their respective spots in the lineup, and they have the potential to dominate for the Buckeyes in 2020.

Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver 

Arguably nothing has been hotter for the Ohio State football program than its recruiting efforts for wide receivers, and Garrett Wilson has been a big part of that.

A 5-star prospect from Austin, Texas, he was long thought to be a Longhorn lock considering he played his high school football in their backyard. But Wilson was drawn to Columbus by the opportunity to play in Day's offense, and as a freshman last year, he flashed superstar potential.

In his debut season he hauled in 30 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns, highlighted by a season-high 118 yards (and one touchdown) in Ann Arbor against rival Michigan.

With the opportunity to start opposite Chris Olave on the perimeter, Wilson could put up big numbers for the Buckeyes offense this fall.

Master Teague, Running Back 

Remember when there was concern about Urban Meyer's ability to produce and develop a dominant running back.

The legendary coach came to Columbus without ever having a 1,000-yard running back on his various teams, but over the years the Buckeyes have churned out Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, all of whom easily eclipsed the century mark with varying levels of dominance.

Master Teague is next in line with the departure of Dobbins, who set the single-season rushing record with 2,003 yards last fall. 

To Teague's credit, he became one of the most productive backup running backs in school history in 2019, running for 789 yards on 135 carries. He's not as elusive as Dobbins, but he packs a similar punch and showcased breakaway speed when he found openings in the line.

Zach Harrison, Defensive End

When Chase Young is inevitably selected by the Washington Redskins with the second overall pick in the NFL draft this spring, it'll make three Buckeye defensive ends who were taken within the first three picks of the draft in the last four seasons.

That's a staggering run of top-flight pass-rushers, and amazingly, Harrison has the potential to continue that trend.

The former 5-star standout was ranked the No. 12 overall player in the 2019 recruiting class, and as a rotational contributor on last year's defensive line, he registered 24 total tackles 3.5 sacks.

But with the departure of Young and several key players up front, Harrison is in line to start and see his playing time skyrocket in 2020.

The sophomore has elite speed and strength, and under Larry Johnson's direction he has the potential to be Ohio State's next great defensive end.

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