With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore in 2013 of an undefeated season is spring practice. Before those workouts begin, BuckeyeNation will take a look at each position to see where the roster is at — and where it’s going.
- Who’s back: The Buckeyes don’t exactly have a shortage of talented defenders returning to the fold up front, but it’s what they’re missing that will dominate the discussion heading into spring and the summer workouts. The storied career of John Simon is over after one more dynamic season on and off the field, and after battling back from injuries to contribute on the other end of the line, Nathan Williams is out of eligibility also. There’s never been much doubt about how bright the futures are for Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, and in limited action as true freshmen last fall, they showed flashes what they can do. But the Buckeyes won’t need potential when September rolls around — they’ll need production, and those two and rising junior Steve Miller are at the head of the line and waiting for redshirt freshman Se’Von Pittman to join them.
- New faces: The possibility for early playing time was relatively easy to sell in the front seven, and with a defensive line that is facing a complete renovation, the Buckeyes were able to land signatures from six guys capable of supplying some depth or potentially fill out the rotation. More important for defensive line coach Mike Vrabel — he’s got two of those athletes already on campus, and Tyquan Lewis and Tracy Sprinkle should benefit from the early transition and the head start on the practice field.
- Projected spring depth chart: Spence has the prized combination of quick-striking speed and the power to win battles with blockers that allows the Buckeyes to get creative with him in the formation, and he’ll likely be backed up by Miller in camp. Washington spent some time on the inside before closing the season at end and turning heads with a jaw-dropping sack and forced fumble against Michigan, making him a solid favorite at the other end spot. J.T. Moore or Pittman are in the mix for second-team work on the edge as well.
Continue reading this article: Spring forward: DEs breakdown