It is quiet in Columbus. Compared to the previous two, this offseason has been just that for this Ohio State football program—quiet. With the tumultuous exit of Jim Tressel, followed by the one-year postseason ban, there has been no lack of drama surrounding the Buckeyes. Let’s take a look at the top ten storylines surrounding the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes.
10. Incoming Class
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Ohio State comes into this season with one of the best incoming freshman classes throughout the college football landscape.
The Buckeye’s defense will get an upgrade to an already solid core. Five-star safety Vonn Bell and 4-star defensive backs Eli Apple, Cameron Burrows and Gareon Conley headline the freshman secondary newcomers.
On the defensive front, there are several fresh and talented faces as well. The nationally ranked No. 2 middle linebacker in this class, Mike Mitchell, will join the linebacking corps. Newcomer 5-star defensive end Joey Bosa will also see heavy action.
Defense isn’t the only place where the scarlet and gray will see improvements, however.
Four-star running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Dontre Wilson will also be expected to contribute early in the wake of senior RB Carlos Hyde’s three-game suspension.
9. How the Buckeyes Handle Player Departures
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Where there is a pro, there is always a con—and with incoming freshman, there are always key departures. The Ohio State Buckeyes were not immune to the rule this past offseason.
The 2012 team captains in John Simon, Etienne Sabino and Zach Boren are all gone, graduated and into the NFL. Valuable tight end Jake Stoneburner also graduated and is now with the Green Bay Packers.
Starting offensive tackle Reid Fragel? Drafted in the seventh round by the Bengals. Quite possibly one of the biggest departures, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (pictured above), was a second-round pick by the New York Giants.
Whether or not the loss of veteran leadership will affect the Buckeyes remains to be seen. Nobody would be surprised either way. But look for Coach Meyer and the rest of the staff to rely heavily on the aforementioned incoming class to help fill the gaps.
Continue Reading: Top 10: Hottest Storylines as Ohio State Football Kicks off the Season