Head Coach Urban Meyer stepped into a great situation with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Sure, he had a team that was ineligible to go to a bowl game this year, but he also had a club that had 19 returning starters, including 10 of the 11 on the defensive side of the ball.
If we had to make our college football picks on this situation though, matters are going to be a lot more difficult in a hurry. At least six seniors are going to be leaving the club, and by all accounts, it seems like Johnathan Hankins and Bradley Roby are set to make the jump to the NFL as well. That would leave Meyer needing to replace his entire defensive line, both of his cornerbacks, and two-thirds of his linebacker corps.
Look for the next young star along the defensive front to be DT Adolphus Washington. He is an absolute slam dunk to be lined up in the A-gap next year for the Buckeyes, as he was one of the better linemen in the secondary rotation beyond the initial starters.
We know that LB Ryan Shazier will be back in the fold, but there is a big question about the rest of the players at the position. LB Curtis Grant was a starting middle linebacker at the start of this year, but he essentially fell out of favor after a few poor games in a row. DB Doran Grant was the nickel corner this year, and he will certainly be one of the starters, but the other starting corner is up in the air and could become a huge competition with all of the incoming freshmen as well as some of the special teams players from this year’s squad.
Ohio State ranked 36th in the nation in total defense at 361.0 yards per game and 33rd in the land in scoring at 22.8 points per game in its undefeated 2012 season.