With Ohio State's Many Departures, Who Will Lead the Buckeyes in 2009?

Jeremy JeffriesCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2009

The Ohio State Buckeyes in 2009 are going to rely heavily on a 20-year-old sophomore from Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Luckily for me and all the other Buckeye fans around the world, this 20-year-old sophomore is Terrelle Pryor, a 6'6", 235-pound quarterback.

Pryor is an awesome talent. On Sept. 20, 2008, he threw four touchdowns (an Ohio State record for a freshman) and one interception in his first career start for the Buckeyes. Ohio State beat Troy 28-10. He showed he could throw the ball in that game, and his ability to throw only improved throughout the season.

We already know about his running ability. Pryor became the first player in Pennsylvania history to run for 4,000 yards and also throw for 4,000 yards. He runs with such ease, it is truly a thing of beauty to watch this kid play football.

OSU lost a ton of talent. Seven Buckeyes are currently making their case as first-round picks in this year's NFL draft.

James Laurinaitis is one of the best linebackers to ever put on the scarlet and gray.

He was named 2007 Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by the Big Ten media.

Laurinaitis won the Butkus Award for most outstanding linebacker in 2007. He was also named an All-American by multiple media outlets, including Walter Camp, FWAA, AFCA, Sporting News, AP, and Rivals.com. He was honored as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Marcus Freeman is another great linebacker who finished his career with 264 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, and two interceptions.

Malcolm Jenkins is a great cornerback who, during his freshman season at Ohio State, spent most of his time at nickel back. He finished the season with 37 tackles in 10 games. In 2006 he started all 13 games at cornerback and was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection. He finished '06 with 55 tackles and four interceptions. As a senior in 2008 he won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back.

Then there's Chris "Beanie" Wells, a big, powerful running back who finished his career as a Buckeye with 5,546 yards and 54 touchdowns.

Alex Boone was a three-year starter and an Outland Trophy candidate—a real cornerstone for the Buckeyes' offensive line.

A pair of great receivers is also gone—Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. Together they caught 217 balls for 3,295 yards with 36 touchdowns.

So the Buckeyes definitely have some holes to fill. Players like DeVier Posey at receiver will have to step up. Dan Herron will probably shoulder the load at running back, and top recruit Jaamal Berry may see some carries as well. Receiver Dane Sanzenbacher showed some talent last season.

On defense, Austin Spitler at linebacker will get his shot, and freshman Dorian Bell could see some playing time at linebacker.

I truly believe that young Pryor can lead this team to a Big Ten title and maybe, if lady luck is on the Buckeyes' side, a national title.