Even though it's May and Ohio State is still three months away from kicking off the 2014 season, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes just suffered a huge loss.
According to a report from Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors, defensive end Jamal Marcus has been dismissed from Ohio State for an unspecified violation of team rules.
The junior pass-rusher played sparingly in his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, but that was expected to change this season—especially early.
Marcus was primed to fill in for Noah Spence, who will miss the Buckeyes' first two games as part of a three-game suspension he received before last year's Orange Bowl. Spence's suspension was handed down by the Big Ten for using an "unapproved dietary supplement," according to Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch.
Marcus played in place of Spence against Clemson and was one of the few defensive bright spots during a game in which the Buckeyes surrendered 576 total yards and 40 points. Marcus piled up six tackles, which led all defensive linemen, and recorded a pass breakup in the loss.
Ohio State was counting on Marcus to provide a similar lift to start the season.
The Buckeyes are slated to open against Navy and its vaunted triple-option attack in Baltimore. A week later, Ohio State will play its home opener against Virgina Tech in a prime-time matchup.
Those are the two toughest nonconference games of the year, and Ohio State will be down its top two edge-setters outside of Joey Bosa.
That could prove particularly costly against Navy, which uses unique blocking schemes to attack and outnumber a defensive front. Players such as Noah Spence and Jamal Marcus are talented enough to neutralize that, but now the Buckeyes will turn to a host of unproven players to start the season.
The impact of Marcus' dismissal reaches far past the first two games, though.
As Rowland of Eleven Warriors pointed out, new defensive line coach Larry Johnson wants to take advantage of Ohio State's depth up front by using a heavy rotation.
There’s not a first group, there’s not a second group. There’s a group of guys trying to get better. I’ve sold them on the idea that there are going to be eight or nine guys. The game has changed. You’re talking about spread offense, quick snaps, so that number of plays can go from 65 to 90 really quick. You add that times 12 games, that’s a lot of football.
What I want to do is play fresh. I want to play eight or nine guys every time and be relentless. That way every guy can play as hard as they can every play. That's how you play defense.
With Ohio State losing Marcus, Meyer is also losing out on one of the prospects he was most excited about in his first recruiting class with the Buckeyes.
Back in 2012, moments after signing the nation's No. 5 class that featured two 5-star defensive ends, Meyer couldn't stop talking about Marcus.
The guy that when you flip him on tape, and not knowing anything else, without reading rankings or without listening to everybody else's opinions, the guy that is really impressive to me is Jamal Marcus.
I just heard about him two weeks ago. We put on the film. He just blew us away on the videotape. I never heard of him.
Meyer was thrilled to sign such a talented player so late in the recruiting process. It's safe to assume he's just as upset about losing that player just as he was on the verge of making an impact.
All recruiting information via 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!