COLUMBUS — With Ohio State finishing up spring practice, the time has come to assess what changed, what’s the same and what is still to be determined.
We begin with a look at the offense:
Quarterback: Still open
Competitors: Kyle McCord, Devin Brown
McCord had his ups and downs in the spring game, but the junior still seems to be the man to beat in the race to replace C.J. Stroud.
McCord, who has more time in the system and more playing time under his belt, looked better during a scrimmage earlier in the spring, and evaluating any spring game can be a challenge.
That was no doubt true in this one with protection issues and many veteran receivers not playing.
Running back: Still loaded
Competitors: TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Dallan Hayden, Chip Trayanum, Evan Pryor
Henderson tweeted Sunday he has been fully cleared for the summer, expected but still welcome news for Ohio State fans anxious to see the nation’s top running back recruit in 2021 return to form this fall. He was limited in spring while recovering from a foot injury that bothered him significantly last season.
Williams did not do much during practices and scrimmages that were open to the media, but he is a known commodity when healthy.
The absence of those two allowed Hayden and Trayanaum to get lots of work and show some potential to be a strong one-two punch even if they weren’t third and fourth string.
Pryor remains an unknown after missing last season with a knee injury and being limited this spring.
Tight end: Looking better
Starter: Cade Stover
Also in the mix: Gee Scott Jr., Joe Royer, Sam Hart, Bennett Christian, Jelani Thurman
Stover is a proven commodity, but Scott and Royer appear to have had good springs in the eyes of the coaching staff. That could go a long way toward determining how the offense is assembled this summer.
With Thurman, a true freshman from Georgia, also flashing great potential, this looks like a position of strength.
Offensive tackle: Still open
Competitors: Josh Fryar, Tegra Tshabola, Zen Michalski
Fryar is the man to beat at left tackle, but he had some rough moments in the spring game, and prior to that Day said he had not locked it up yet.
Tshabola and Michalski shared reps at right tackle all spring (when both were healthy), and neither won the job in the spring. They also had trouble with Ohio State’s talented edge rushers in the spring game, so this is a question mark heading into the summer.
Day did not rule out the coaching staff determining it might need more help here via the transfer portal.
Offensive guard: Settled
Starters: Donovan Jackson and Matt Jones
Others: Enokk Vimahi, Ben Christman, Toby Wilson, Austin Siereveld
Jackson and Jones are both back after starting last season, and the pair of former five-star recruits should be expected to provide much-needed stability.
Vimahi was the third guard last year so he figures to be a solid depth option at least, and Siereveld is a true freshman from Lakota East who got some reps late in the spring game.
Center: Still open
Competitors: Carson Hinzman, Victor Cutler
Also in the mix: Jakob James, Joshua Padilla
Hinzman was a surprise of early spring with Cutler coming on later as a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe.
James rejoins the mix this summer after being out because of an injury, but he was the backup to Luke Wypler last season.
Padilla is a true freshman from Wayne who could be a long-term option for the Buckeyes.
Receiver: Also still loaded
Starters: Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming
Also in the mix: Xavier Jonson, Jayden Ballard, Carnell Tate, Noah Rogers, Bryson Rodgers and many others
Harrison might be the best receiver in the country, but Egbuka and Fleming are both former five-star recruits with production and room to grow.
The speedy Ballard has shown flashes of big-play ability, and Johnson could be a multi-faceted weapon when he returns from injury.
Some of those not mentioned likely won’t be back given the depth in this room and freshmen like Tate and Rogers potentially jumping over them on the depth chart.
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