Ohio State football: What to know about Buckeyes’ offensive line, tight ends

The guys who throw the ball, catch it and run it will always get the most publicity in college football, but everyone knows they can’t do their jobs without a lot of help.

After starting our season preview with a breakdown of the Ohio State football depth chart at quarterback, running back and receiver, we turn our attention to the glue of the Buckeye offense: The tight ends and offensive line.

Both groups have veterans to lean on and talented youngsters looking to step into larger roles.

Tight end

Returning starter: None

New starter: Jermey Ruckert

Also in the mix: Gee Scott Jr., Cade Stover, Mitch Rossi, Corey Rau, Sam Hart, Joe Royer

Ohio State lost starter Luke Farrell and steady reserve Jake Hausmann to graduation, but there is still reason to believe this will be a strong group again this season.

That’s because Jeremy Ruckert made the somewhat surprising decision to return for his senior season and a couple of former four-star prospects who were recruited at other positions bring intriguing talent and potential to the room.

Cade Stover, Ohio’s Mr. Football in 2018, arrived as a linebacker and moved to defensive end, but he appears to be at home on offense where his size, strength and athleticism could make him a force on the end of the line and down the field.

Gee Scott Jr. was part of a star-studded receiving recruiting class last season, but he is changing positions to try to get on the field and become a mismatch on inside routes.

Coach Kevin Wilson often says every Ohio State tight end needs to be able to do everything, but Scott could be used in situational roles this fall with an eye on a larger one in the future.

Senior walk-ons Mitch Rossi and Corey Rau could also provide depth and find different niches while Hart and Royer are scholarship youngsters still being groomed for the future.

Also joining this group this summer was walk-on Zak Herbstreit, the son of Centerville native, former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Offensive line

Returning starters: Thayer Munford, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Harry Miller

Possible new starters: Paris Johnson Jr. and Matt Jones or Dawand Jones

Also in the mix: Luke Wypler, Enokk Vimahi, Jakob James, Ryan Jacoby, Josh Fryer, Trey Leroux, Grant Toutant, Donovan Jackson, Zen Michalski, Ben Christman

Munford is another player using the extra year granted by the NCAA. He and Petit-Frere, a five-star recruit in the class of 2018 who blossomed last year, form perhaps the best tackle duo in the country this season.

Miller had an up-and-down first season as a starter at guard last season, but he is expected to move back to his natural position of center this fall.

Matt Jones performed well in spots last season and had a great spring according to coach Greg Studrawa while Johnson and Jones have both been generating excitement among the coaching staff since they arrived on campus.

Johnson is a five-star prospect who was expected to start at tackle if Munford moved on, but the senior’s decision prompted the staff to move him inside because he is too talented to keep on the sideline.

Dawand Jones was just a three-star recruit and a late addition to the 2019 recruiting class who brings a massive presence and the athleticism of a basketball player to the line.

Studrawa said he was thrilled with the depth he saw developing in the spring, and there should be some spirited competitions for spots on the No. 2 line this fall.

Joining the mix is Jackson, a five-star recruit from Bellaire, Texas, who joined the team in June.

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