Ohio State has a bunch of new players that will enter the rotation this season that didn't exactly see a ton of playing time last year. With only 13 returning starters, there are position battles open and plenty of new faces looking to make an impact.
With the new guys stepping on the scene, there are also underrated players that are looking to make a name for themselves. These are the players that are either pushed to the side on the depth chart, overcoming an injury or just aren't really well-known yet by the Buckeyes fanbase.
Whatever the reason, we see players rise to unexpected stardom each and every season.
Here are some of the guys few are talking about that will have a successful 2013 season for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Cameron Burrows could easily be the best recruit for almost any other school in the country, but he is a little overshadowed by Eli Apple, who could earn a starting job at cornerback by the time the offseason comes to an end.
Still, Burrows is somebody who will see the field early and often as a true freshman as well. Not nearly as polished as Apple is in coverage, Burrows does play the ball well and has great instincts. He reacts well, and while his tackling skills do need to improve, he is a factor in run support and has no issues getting his hands dirty.
He is a physical player who can get lost in coverage at times, which is why a move to safety will likely be in the works at some point down the line.
But regardless of where Burrows ends up on the field, he is somebody who wants to improve and seems to be ahead of his time as far as leadership is concerned. With the physicality he brings to the table and his ability to play the ball well, Burrows will make his fair share of key plays this season and have an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
The running back depth has many folks in Columbus excited about the possibilities. Warren Ball enters the year a little buried on the depth chart, especially with the fact that he missed all of last season with a foot injury.
But if there is any back capable of carrying the workload for the Buckeyes, it is Ball. Weighing in at nearly 220 pounds, this is a big running back that could easily average 20 carries a game. Ball is much more than size, though, as he carries his weight well by running with above-average speed and having solid hands as well.
A terrific between-the-tackles runner, Ball has the look of your prototypical workhorse running back.
While Jordan Hall is expected to become that Percy Harvin-type player within the offense, Ball should not be slept on within this offense. Once he gets going and breaks off a few big runs, everybody will fall in love with the underrated 2012 recruit.
The entire defensive line of the Buckeyes is going to undergo a facelift. With many top recruits expected to enter the rotation, Tommy Schutt seems to be a somewhat forgotten man.
It's easy to forget about the big man with flashier players like Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington being tossed around.
However, Schutt is the X-factor in all of this defensive line talk. A big boy at 6'3", 300-plus pounds, he moves extremely well for his size and actually played defensive end at the high school level. He gets off the line well and does an impressive job of using his hands to separate himself from offensive linemen.
Schutt is a hustle player that does a great job in pursuit and should help make everybody's job that much easier by demanding double-teams.
He will be a disruptive defender in the middle of the line for the Buckeyes and soon become one of the more popular names within this revamped defensive front.
One of the most talked-about topics last season had to do with the lack of playmakers on this offense. In the Urban Meyer spread offense, he wants guys who can make plays and take it the distance any time the ball is in their hands.
Look no further than Michael Thomas.
Thomas turned heads in last year’s spring game, but he had a real disappointing season, hauling in just three receptions for 22 yards. With his size at 6'2" and speed, Thomas has the potential to be that true outside receiver in this offense who can stretch the field. He gets down the field in a hurry and can make plays after the catch, as he is elusive in the open field and takes long strides with each step.
The sophomore receiver will have his work cut out for him with Evan Spencer and Corey Smith making a case for playing time, but Thomas should have a much bigger impact in his second season on campus.
Along with the defensive line, Ohio State also has its work cut out at the linebacker position. With only one familiar face expected to remain in the starting lineup, guys see an opportunity for playing time this upcoming season.
One of the names you should get real familiar with is Camren Williams. After watching just a couple of minutes of him on film, it doesn't take long before you start to like what you see. A real disruptive defender that is terrific at making tackles in the open field, Williams brings a lot of wonderful things to the table at linebacker.
He flies to the football, is capable of dropping back nicely in coverage and displays good instincts as well.
You simply don't see many players as physical and polished as Williams was when coming out of high school. He spent much of last season riding the bench, but he will have a huge impact on the Ohio State defense this year.