Updated: Sep 28, 2022
The Ohio State Buckeyes look to return to center stage this year under head coach Ryan Day who finally took his first loss in the Big Ten in last year's upset against The Team Up North (TTUN). Day currently holds a record of 34-4 and is heading into his fourth full season as head coach of the Buckeyes. He has been touted as one of the best young coaches in all of football and has put together a staff and team this year that expects to compete for a National Championship once more. However, after two regular season losses last year for the 2019 Big Ten Coach of the Year, the pressure is on to win the Big Ten and get back to the National Championship again this year..
Ohio State returns one of, if not, the best QB in the nation in C.J. Stroud, who just received a massive NIL car deal and remains the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season. He had a sluggish start to his first season going against Minnesota and Oregon to start the year, but after taking a game off against Akron to heal an offseason shoulder injury, he took off and quickly became beloved by the Buckeye fan base, becoming one of the best QB’s in Buckeyes history. This is likely to be his last season with Ohio State before putting his name in the 2023 NFL Draft next spring. Needless to say, Stroud can not afford to make any slip ups this season if he hopes to win the Heisman, the Big Ten Championship, the National Championship, and of course, beat TTUN.
Kyle McCord seems likely to snag the backup position for this season, but true freshman Devin Brown comes in with a lot of noise and a willingness to compete for the top spot in the depth chart. Brown is a guy that could be next in line for Ohio State once Stroud leaves for the NFL. With only three QB’s on the roster this year, any injuries could leave the Buckeyes stuttering this season.
The Buckeyes also return the most promising running back in the nation in former five star recruit TreVeyon Henderson, who looks like he could also put his name in the running for the Heisman this year after a breakout record breaking freshman year in the Scarlet and Gray. Miyan Williams and Marcus Crowley should be expected to split the second string reps this season, with Evan Pryor and Cayden Saunders filling out the running backs room. Depth for the Buckeyes at the running back position should not be a problem for a team that has a running back in the conversation as the best in the nation every year.
The Buckeyes still have the best wide receiver group in the nation in my opinion, thanks to Brian Hartline, who has earned the honor of one of, if not, the best recruiter in all of college football, despite losing two Buckeye legends in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. They will be led by the new No. 1 in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the last remaining member of Earth, Wind, and Fire from last season. He will lead a talented group of guys made up of Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr., and a bunch of other talented young wide receivers. Fleming and Egbuka haven’t had the starts they were hoping for when they committed to Ohio State, and this season is make or break for two of the nation's former best recruits. If the offseason videos haven’t convinced you of how great Marvin Harrison Jr. can be, then you are in for a shock this fall when I expect Harrison to quickly take over the No. 2 spot that Garrett WIlson had for the last two years and keep Fleming locked in behind him at the three.
The biggest question on the offensive side is the tight end position after the Buckeyes also lost Jeremy Ruckert to the draft, Ruckert was a two year starter at the TE spot before being drafted No. 101 to the New York Jets in the draft The Buckeyes have had some great tight ends over the last decade, and this will be the first time the Ohio State offense might lack a star at this position. Mitch Rossi, Gee Scott, and Cade Stover will fight for TE No. 1 this summer and will likely split reps to start the year. Rossi saw the most playing time last year behind Ruckert and is expected to be the starter, but the race is very tight. Zach Herbstreit, son of former Buckeye QB and ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit, could also hunt for playing time if he can take a big step up going into his sophomore year with the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes offensive line may be questionable again this season, but they will be working with much more experience than they had last year. The center will once again be Luke Wypler, with returning senior guard Matt Jones playing to his left and sophomores Donovan Jackson and Trey Leroux splitting time at the right guard position. With Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere moving into the NFL, Paris Johnson Jr. will move back to his recruited position of left tackle. At 6’6 Johnson has the potential to be another Buckeye lineman sent to the NFL. Finally, 6’8 Dawand Jones will lock down the right tackle spot. The O-Line for Ohio State should at least be bigger than most of their opponents this season, so hopefully the running lanes will open up for Henderson..
On the defensive side, the Silver Bullets are led by former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who created one of the best defenses in the Big 12 over the last few seasons. Oklahoma State's defense ranked fifth in the nation in 2021 and 14th in 2020. He has sent six players to the NFL from Oklahoma State during his tenure from 2018-2021. Three of those were drafted in this year's NFL Draft. Two were taken in the sixth round, and one was taken in the seventh. Knowles should bring the edge and help bring back what was at one point the best secondary in college football. After last year's defensive struggles from every defensive position, no one is guaranteed a spot this year. Expect some new names to make some appearances.
The defensive line will be coached by one of the best in Larry Johnson. This line will look to live up to their potential, as the Buckeyes will be led by their edge rushers once again. They will rely on two of the most promising young edge rushers Ohio State has ever seen in J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. They both have shown flashes of greatness for the Scarlet and Gray but have yet to come into their own. They will be accompanied with plenty of depth as well with Zach Harrison, Tyler Friday, and Javontate Jean-Baptiste, who will all see plenty of playing time. The Buckeyes line is famous for their ability to change out positions to match the offensive scheme, and the depth this year should bring that long standing tradition back to Larry Johnson’s playbook.
The defensive tackle position does find itself with some question marks that need to be addressed over the summer. Taron Vincent and Jerron Cage have the most experience at this spot, but some up and coming young guns may be looking to sign their name on the opening day starting lineup.
Nine returning linebackers will likely fight for playing time this season, as this unit has seen prolonged struggles over the last few years. Tommy Eichenburg and Steele Chambers are the likely candidates to lead the unit. This is a spot for Ohio State they need to see make a resurgence. Long are the days of this being the best linebacker core in the nation, something needs to change in a big way this season.
The Buckeyes brought in a new defensive backs coach in Perry Eliano, who coached last year's top corner at Cincinnati in Sauce Gardner. Eliano wasted no time getting under the skin of his new defensive backs in the spring, causing a few to transfer out of Columbus. This unit will look to get back to sending top prospects to the NFL. They are being led by Denzel Burke and Cameron Brown. A lack of depth at these positions may hurt the Buckeyes this year, as they have only six scholarship corners this season.
However, the safety position this year for Ohio State may be one to get excited about. One of the best tacklers on the team in Ronnie “The Hitman'' Hickman returns for another year of domination, and he will be helped on the other side by Josh “The Doctor” Proctor, who will look to deliver equally damaging hits at the strong safety position. Depth is a bit concerning here, as after the starters, the group becomes young, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, they are just untested. Transfer Tanner McCallister has played four years under Jim Knowles at Oklahoma State and will take over the spot of nickel safety.
Ohio State’s special teams will remain the same with kicker Noah Ruggles and punter Jesse Mirco. They will only get better, as Noah Ruggles not only has one of the best names in football, but is also one of the best field goal kickers as well.
Full 2022 Schedule:
● Sept. 3rd - vs Notre Dame- 7:30 p.m.
● Sept.10th - vs Arkansas State- 12:00 p.m.
● Sept. 17th - vs Toledo- 7:00 p.m.
● Sept. 24th - vs Wisconsin- TBA
● Oct. 1st - vs Rutgers- 3:30 p.m.
● Oct. 8th - at Michigan State- TBA
● Oct. 15th - Bye Week
● Oct. 22nd - vs Iowa- TBA
● Oct. 29th - at Penn State- TBA
● Nov. 5th - at Northwestern- TBA
● Nov. 12th - vs Indiana- TBA
● Nov. 19th - at Maryland- TBA
● Nov. 26th - vs TTUN- 12:00 p.m.
● Dec. 3rd - Big Ten Championship- 8:00 p.m.
Enter coupon code BELIEVELANDMEDIA and get 10% off your purchase!