Ohio State depth chart review: Offensive line and tight end

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ohio State OC Kevin Wilson on the different a tight end makes in the running game

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Tight end and offensive line are distinct positions, but they are often grouped together at Ohio State.

That is because tight ends traditionally do more blocking than receiving and some tackles have the athleticism to kick outside in a pinch.

ExploreDepth still lacking at two positions

The two position groups must work together frequently, and they ended the spring in different states.

Depth appears to be on the upswing at tight end while there remain major questions on the offensive line beyond the starting lineup.

After starting with a review of the offensive skill players, here is a look at both groups heading into the summer:

Tight end

Starter: Cade Stover

Backups: Mitch Rossi, Joe Royer, Gee Scott Jr.

Future: Sam Hart, Bennett Christian

Stover is the No. 1 tight end after experimenting at linebacker early in the spring. He has the size and athleticism to be a standout player not only at the college level but the NFL, and he should benefit from spending a second full year at the same position after moving around a lot early in his career at Ohio State.

At this point, Stover may be the only player in the room with the ability to handle every duty a tight end has in the Buckeyes’ offense, but Rossi and Scott could both play niche roles.

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Rossi is an H-back/fullback type who can line up in the backfield, wing or line of scrimmage and block, catch or run the ball. Scott is a converted receiver who could present mismatches in coverage with his feel for running routes but must continue developing as a blocker.

Royer has made progress in all phases of the position since arriving on campus two years ago while Hart and Christian are second- and first-year freshmen (respectively) who should get plenty of time to develop physically and mentally.

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Offensive line

Starters (L-R on the line): Paris Johnson Jr., Donovan Jackson, Luke Wypler, Matt Jones, Dawand Jones

Backups: Enokk Vimahi, Jakob James, Toby Wilson, Grant Toutant

Also in the mix: Josh Fryar, Ben Christman, Trey Leroux, Zen Michalski, George Fitzpatrick

Future: Tegra Tshabola, Carson Hinzman, Avery Henry

Wypler, Johnson and Dawand Jones are returning starters.

Johnson moved to left tackle, which is viewed as his natural position, after starting at left guard last season. He had some trouble with sophomore Jack Sawyer in the spring game, but that could be more an indication of Sawyer’s development. Matt Jones was the team’s sixth offensive lineman last year and is more of a natural guard than Johnson while Jackson is a natural guard with the athleticism and long arms to play tackle in a pinch.

Jackson was, in fact, working as the No. 2 left tackle in the spring game, something the coaching staff indicated was a matter of building depth at the position. James and Toutant are scholarship sophomores trying to climb the ladder while Wilson is a walk-on who has grabbed an opportunity with depth lacking.

Fryar likely would be in the “backups” group if he had not missed the spring because of injury. He was the subject of much praise from Ohio State defensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine and is viewed as an up and comer.

Christman, Leroux and Michalski were all out at the end of spring, leaving reps for true freshman Fitzpatrick to soak up before his classmates Tshabola (a four-star recruit from Lakota West), Hinzman and Henry arrive this summer.

Hinzman is a four-star prospect from Wisconsin while Henry is a three-star from St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Head coach Ryan Day has indicated they will need some of the summer enrollees to hit the ground running if the team wants to be comfortable with its depth up front this fall.

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