Ohio State football: 2 captains among Buckeyes to miss Florida Atlantic game

With the season-opener against Florida Atlantic one day away, Ohio State released its first depth chart of the season Friday morning.

For the first time, reporters also received an injury report for the Buckeyes.

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Here is what you need to know from the release:

1. Two captains are out. 

Confirming previous reports, senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper is “unavailable” Saturday. Fellow captain C.J. Saunders, a slot receiver, is also among the 12 players on that list.

Joining them are tight ends Rashod Berry and Cormontae Hamilton, defensive tackles Taron Vincent, Jaden McKenzie and Noah Donald, receiver Kamryn Babb, safeties Ronnie Hickman and Owen Fankhouser, cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar.

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Babb and Hilliard were both injured during spring practice and not expected to be ready for the start of the season.

Tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said last week Hamilton, a true freshman, had been dealing with an injury in the preseason and is likely to redshirt.

2. Three potential major contributors are game-time decisions. 

The confirmation of Cooper’s status came with the news Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith also might not play. Sophomores who were four-star recruits last year, they would be among the top candidates to take the snaps Cooper will miss.

Also uncertain to play is Demario McCall, a junior coach Ryan Day said was in the lead to be the No. 2 running back behind J.K. Dobbins.

McCall has dealt with injuries throughout much of his career but displayed dynamic ability when healthy.

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He is listed as the top kickoff returner along with sophomore receiver Chris Olave, who is also listed as a co-starter with senior Austin Mack at “Z” receiver (flanker).

Three freshmen — Master Teague, Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers — are all listed as potential backups for Dobbins with McCall’s status uncertain.

3. Two spots on defense have returning starters sharing a spot at the top of the depth chart. 

Robert Landers, a fifth-year senior from Wayne, is listed as a co-starter at nose tackle with sophomore Tommy Togiai. Landers has been in the rotation for three seasons and was a starter last year when healthy, but he has battled some nagging injuries and sat out most of spring practice.

Tuf Borland, a fourth-year junior, captain and returning starter, is listed as a co-starter at middle linebacker with third-year junior Baron Browning, a former five-star recruit who struggled in spot duty last season but has been praised as one of the standouts of the preseason.

The other starters at linebacker remain Pete Werner (backed up by K’Vaughan Pope) and Malik Harrison (Teradja Mitchell).

4. Injuries appear to have led to a shuffling of the defensive line. 

The starter at the other defensive tackle spot is senior Davon Hamilton, who backed up/subbed for Landers last season and was grouped with the nose tackles in the spring and preseason camp. He is backed up by Haskell Garrett or Antwan Jackson.

Jashon Cornell, another fifth-year senior, was penciled in as the other defensive tackle leaving spring practice, but the converted end is back on the outside to start the season with the injuries to hit that position.

Preseason All-American Chase Young is the other starter at end with Smith or redshirt freeman Javontae Jean-Baptiste listed as his back. Jean-Baptiste has been mentioned as one of the preseason's stars.

5. Both a third linebacker and third cornerback are listed. 

One of the big storylines of the offseason has been Ohio State’s experimentation with a hybrid linebacker/safety being called the “Bullet,” a version of the “Viper” position at Michigan where new OSU defensive coordinator Greg Mattison worked the previous eight seasons or the “Star” linebacker from the years Jim Tressel was Ohio State head coach and Jim Heacock was his defensive coordinator.

Although it might not mean much (or anything), the Bullet doesn’t get a spot on the official depth chart. Instead juniors Brendon White and Jahsen Wint, who have been identified as the primary players practicing there, are listed as the Nos. 1 and 2 strong safety, respectively.

Returning starter and captain Jordan Fuller is the No. 1 free safety with camp star Josh Proctor and part-time 2018 starter Isaiah Pryor behind him.

Meanwhile, Shaun Wade is listed as the third cornerback. He was the team’s nickel back last season and also has the ability to play outside. His backups are special teams ace Amir Riep, a former safety, and Marcus Williamson.

How and when the strong safety, third linebacker and third cornerback are deployed will be one of the things to watch early in the season.

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