With the closing of spring practice and summer workouts steadily approaching, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer has finally released his post-spring depth chart. For the most part, the depth chart went according to plan, but there were a few eye-openers in it.
With this release, we now know which players have solidified themselves as starters as well as those players who still have something to prove to this coaching staff. Despite its few surprises, there's still a thing or two we can take from this depth chart.
Taylor Decker was one of the countless recruits Meyer was able to steal in his short recruitment of the 2012 class, and while Decker was an excellent high school prospect, he's coming along even faster than Meyer expected. The young freshman has the perfect size to play tackle in Meyer's system and could work himself into the starting lineup this fall.
As of now, former tight end Reid Fragel is listed as the starting right tackle but this is certainly not definite. According to Meyer, Fragel is "in a dogfight for that position" with Decker. Obviously Decker has made a solid impression on Meyer and the other coaches, and it would be very impressive if he's able to uproot Fragel from that starting position.
Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: The Buckeyes have quite a young talent in Taylor Decker.
The California native was the dominating story of the spring game and rightfully so. The freshman wideout hauled in 12 catches for an impressive 131 yards. Clearly Thomas was Braxton Miller's favorite target in that game, and the two seemed to have established quite a connection.
Despite this stellar spring game performance, Thomas was listed behind Devin Smith at the "X' as opposed to the starter at "Z". Instead of Thomas, Evan Spencer, who missed the spring game due to injury, is listed as the starting "Z."
This isn't the biggest shocker in the world, but it does prove that Thomas still has something to prove before he can solidify himself as a definite starter. This is no sweat though. Thomas is still a very talented playmaker and will make a solid impact this season. He just hasn't impressed the coaching staff enough to become a definite starter, as of now.
Meyer was quoted as saying, "It's hard for me to say that he (Bennett) isn't one of the four best," but Michael Bennett was still listed as Johnathan Hankins backup today. The sophomore defensive lineman has been one of the biggest surprises of this spring period, and it seemed as if he had worked his way into the starting lineup.
No one expected Bennett to surpass Hankins, but many expected the young d-lineman to replace Adam Bellamy as the other starting defensive end. This, of course, was not the case, and although it initially puzzled me, I can see what the coaches are thinking.
By listing Bennett as simply a backup, this allows the coaching staff to utilize his versatility. It makes perfect sense to just start Bellamy and use Bennett to add serious depth to the defensive front. With Bennett coming off the bench, this defensive line has a solid rotation for Bellamy and Hankins because Bennett is fully capable of filling in at both positions.
Rather than limit Bennett to a starting position, the Buckeyes now have a great rotation for three spots on the defensive line.
Going into last season, many expected Travis Howard to emerge as the next dominant corner at Ohio State. Instead, Howard struggled throughout the season and redshirt freshman Bradley Roby solidified himself as the Buckeyes' top CB.
Despite his struggles, Howard has the size and flashes the potential to be a solid cornerback for OSU. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, it appears as though Howard is still having some setbacks.
The senior CB was listed as a co-starter alongside sophomore Doran Grant. Clearly Howard is still struggling, and the fact that he wasn't able to solidify himself as the sole starter is alarming to say the least. Buckeye fans are counting on Howard to be a reliable corner opposite side of Roby, and he better get his stuff together, or he may be viewing games from the bench next season.