COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s first depth chart released today cast little light on several ongoing position battles.
As the fifth-ranked Buckeyes prepare for Saturday’s opener at Navy in Baltimore, at least two possible starters were listed at seven positions.
Among the highlights:
• In the only listing that required a double take, defensive tackles Michael Bennett and junior Tommy Schutt are pegged as co-starters. Bennett is a captain, preseason All-American, and possible first-round draft pick, but Schutt has demanded attention during camp.
• Defensive end Steve Miller will start in place of Noah Spence, who is suspended for the first two games after reportedly failing a drug test before last year’s Big Ten championship game.
• Seniors Devin Smith and Evan Spencer are the starting receivers while Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall are co-starters at H-back. Coach Urban Meyer plans to play six wideouts, though, which means Corey Smith and Michael Thomas will also be part of the rotation.
• Expect the carries to be spread around. Ohio State listed three possible starters at running back: sophomore Ezekiel Elliott — the clear favorite before fracturing his wrist early in camp — junior Rod Smith, and freshman Curtis Samuel.
• Junior Antonio Underwood, once thought to be the frontrunner at left guard, will instead back up Taylor Decker at left tackle. That narrows the battle at guard to redshirt freshman Billy Price and senior defensive line convert Joel Hale.
• Curtis Grant is the defined starter at middle linebacker. While heralded freshman Raekwon McMillan pushed the senior hard, coaches said Grant — a five-star recruit who has yet to live up to his billing — responded with the best offseason of his career.
Elsewhere, there were no surprises. Jacoby Boren and graduate transfer Chad Lindsay are co-starters at center while the team was not ready to name starters at two spots in the secondary. Gareon Conley and Eli Apple are competing at cornerback and Vonn Bell and Cam Burrows are contending at safety.