The Buckeyes lost both starting tackles and their starting center, all of whom could have come back to school. Tackles Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones were expected to leave, but center Luke Wypler’s departure caught OSU off guard. Ohio State went to the transfer portal for Vic Cutler to be a possibility at center. Starting guards Matt Jones and Donovan Jackson return. Sixth man Josh Fryar should win a tackle job, but the other starting tackle spot is wide open. This is a big room with a ton of names, but how many true options?
Matt Jones, SSr, 6-4 315
Back for a sixth year to anchor the line at right guard.
Zen Michalski, rSoph, 6-7 310
Backup left tackle last year looking for more in 2023.
Enokk Vimahi, rSr, 6-4 310
Valuable utility man who could find a starting role.
Tegra Tshabola, rFr, 6-6 330
Moving from guard to tackle this spring.
George Fitzpatrick, rFr, 6-6 285
Second spring on campus could mean big jump.
Trey Leroux, rJr, 6-7 315
Still looking for a role now in fourth year.
Josh Fryar, rJr, 6-6 320
Will almost certainly be starting at left or right tackle.
Ben Christman, rSoph, 6-6 310
Hitting that window when production should start happening.
Grant Toutant, rJr, 6-7 320
Has yet to see the field for the Buckeyes.
Donovan Jackson, Jr, 6-4 300
Returning All-Big Ten starter at left guard.
Carson Hinzman, rFr, 6-4 290
Will be one of the options at center this spring.
Jakob James, rJr, 6-5 295
Won’t be able to compete for the open center job due to injury.
Vic Cutler, rSr, 6-3 302
Transferring in from Louisiana-Monroe to battle for center.
Luke Montgomery, Fr, 6-5 295
True freshman will get a first look at tackle.
Austin Siereveld, Fr, 6-5 330
True freshman who will start out at guard.
Josh Padilla, Fr, 6-4 285
True freshman who will begin his career at center.
Miles Walker, Fr, 6-6 285
Former 3-star prospect who will play tackle for the Buckeyes.
Josh Fryar is expected to be one of Ohio State’s starting tackles this year. Last year he was the backup at right tackle, but he will get a look this spring at playing on the left side. These next 15 practices should give offensive line coach Justin Frye a good idea of where he fits best. Once that question gets answered, then maybe the other starting tackle question can be answered. In the mean time, it is going to be interesting to see how the reps shake out at the tackle opposite Fryar, and how often those snaps take place at left tackle and right tackle. Some guys will be better on one side than the other. The best right tackle opposite Fryar at left tackle may not be the best left tackle opposite Fryar at right tackle. The depth chart below is a best guess written in light pencil. The moving parts will start to slow down this spring, but will they actually stop?
Vic Cutler came to Ohio State from Louisiana-Monroe where he was a two-year starter. Last year as a redshirt junior he started 12 games at left tackle. In 2021, he started the first four games at center before moving to left and right tackle the rest of the season. The Buckeyes brought him in to challenge at center, and since he has the athleticism to play tackle, he should have the athleticism to play center. The jump in competition will be an adjustment. Ohio State also has four true freshman in the class who have enrolled early. Don’t be surprised if one or two are able to pass some upperclassmen by the end of camp.
Spring Depth Chart
|70||Josh Fryar, rJr|
|65||Zen Michalski, rSoph|
|NA||Luke Montgomery, Fr|
|NA||Miles Walker, Fr|
|74||Donovan Jackson, Jr|
|66||Enokk Vimahi, rSr|
|NA||Austin Siereveld, Fr|
|54||Toby Wilson, rSoph|
|NA||Victor Cutler, rSr OR|
|75||Carson Hinzman, rFr|
|NA||Josh Padilla, Fr|
|78||Jakob James, rJr (Inj.)|
|55||Matt Jones, SSr|
|66||Enokk Vimahi, rSr|
|71||Ben Christman, rSoph|
|69||Trey Leroux, rJr|
|65||Zen Michalski, rSoph OR|
|67||Tegra Tshabola, rFr OR|
|68||George Fitzpatrick, rFr|
|73||Grant Toutant, rJr|
What’s the Latest?
The Buckeyes are going to spend the spring trying to find a starting tackle out of a crew of inexperienced options. It’s not an ideal situation to be in, but if somebody breaks out, that would be a huge development. Ohio State needs some of their recent recruiting classes to start panning out, particularly at tackle. As of right now, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come out of the competition as the second starter. Also at center, just because the Buckeyes went to the portal, doesn’t mean Vic Cutler is going to be handed the job. There will still be an opportunity for Carson Hinzman to win the job. Maybe walk-on Toby Wilson gets some reps there again. What happens if nobody can play center the way Justin Frye wants? Will they move Matt Jones over from guard? Will they head back to the portal? The tackles may get most of the ink, but what happens at center this year for the Buckeyes will be just as important.
Matt Jones and Donovan Jackson will give the Buckeyes a pair of All-Big Ten guards to build around. They will provide some stability. Josh Fryar will be at one of the tackle spots — and likely both at some point. The rest of the offensive line will feature a daily mix of side swapping and rotating as everything is documented, measured, and weighed in search of five starters and three backups.
One Question Needing An Answer
Justin Frye is going to start his five best offensive linemen, so what happens if only one of those five is a tackle? Say a top five emerges of Josh Fryar, Matt Jones, Donovan Jackson, Enokk Vimahi, and Vic Cutler, what does Frye do? All three of Jackson, Vimahi, and Cutler have spent time at tackle, but in very varying degrees. Cutler has spent the most time there, but it’s been a while since OSU started a 6-foot-3 offensive tackle.
This would be considered a successful spring if one of the second- or third-year guys emerges as a starter. Can redshirt freshmen Tegra Tshabola or George Fitzpatrick win a spot at tackle? Could redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman beat out Vic Cutler at center? Or maybe redshirt sophomore Zen Michalski makes everybody’s life easier by starting out at left tackle and winning the job quickly and outright. It is unfortunate that the Buckeyes will be without Jakob James this spring to add to the competition at center.