Mitchell Melton CJ Hicks Sonny Styles Buckeyes

Projecting the Ohio State Depth Chart Following Spring

I have been updating my “official” Ohio State football two-deep for the 2023 season on the Buckeye Huddle message board since January 2 with Version 1.1. Today, I have finally produced my post-spring two-deep, which is Version 12.1. And because I am dangerous, I have turned the two-deep into a full-blown depth chart projection while also including the nine incoming freshmen who will enroll this summer.

If you would like to discuss this in the two-deep thread on our Huddle message board, you can do so here.

Version 12.1 | April 23, 2023 | Full Depth Chart (including incoming freshmen)

[Adjustments following the conclusion of spring ball.]


6 Kyle McCord, Jr OR
33 Devin Brown, rFr
14 Tristan Gebbia, Grad.
NA Lincoln Kienholz, Fr

No starter was named out of spring ball, as expected. Nothing has changed in terms of Kyle McCord being as much the favorite as he was before. Some might wonder that if he’s not creating distance, then how far ahead can he actually be?

Running Back
3 Miyan Williams, rJr OR
32 TreVeyon Henderson, Jr
5 Dallan Hayden, Soph OR
19 Chip Trayanum, Sr
21 Evan Pryor, rSoph

Dallan Hayden and Chip Trayanum took advantage of the bulk of the reps this spring, and I think both are 1,200-yard rushers with 225 carries. Both had impressive moments this spring. It was unfortunate that Evan Pryor wasn’t able to go yet.

X Receiver
18 Marvin Harrison, Jr
17 Carnell Tate, Fr
14 Kojo Antwi, rFr

Carnell Tate was one of the most popular topics during spring ball. How long before people complain that Marvin Harrison is taking reps that should be his? (Don’t worry, Marvin Harrison is going to be moving all over the place.)

Z Receiver
4 Julian Fleming, Sr.
9 Jayden Ballard, rSoph
80 Noah Rogers, Fr OR
7 Kyion Grayes, rFr
12 Caleb Burton, rFr

This was a productive spring for Jayden Ballard, Noah Rogers, and Kyion Grayes. Julian Fleming got healthy, which is good for everyone.

Slot Receiver
2 Emeka Egbuka, Jr
10 Xavier Johnson, Grad
13 Kaleb Brown, rFr
86 Bryson Rodgers, Fr
NA Brandon Inniss, Fr

The Buckeyes are deep here, especially when they’re moving Marvin Harrison into the slot at times. Will Xavier Johnson be a regular in the rotation? Will there be a rotation? Are the freshmen a year away simply because of the depth chart? Probably.

Tight End
8 Cade Stover, rSr
88 Gee Scott, rJr OR
84 Joe Royer, rJr
49 Patrick Gurd, rJr OR
15 Jelani Thurman, Fr
81 Sam Hart, rSoph OR
85 Bennett Christian, rFr

Jelani Thurman had a great spring for a freshman, but it’s going to be tough for a fourth tight end to find too many snaps. Also, I’ve seen walk-on Patrick Gurd repping as much as any of the other “bottom four,” which is why he is included here.

Left Tackle
70 Josh Fryar, rJr
68 George Fitzpatrick, rFr
51 Luke Montgomery, Fr

Josh Fryar will be starting for the Buckeyes somewhere this season. The Buckeyes left spring with OL concerns. Are those concerns mostly on the right side?

Left Guard
74 Donovan Jackson, Jr
71 Ben Christman, rSoph
67 Austin Siereveld, Fr

This is all pretty simple at left guard.

75 Carson Hinzman, rFr
78 Jakob James, rJr OR
59 Vic Cutler, Sr
62 Josh Padilla, Fr

Carson Hinzman didn’t quite get the full nod from Ryan Day after spring, but he was with the ones enough to put him there alone right now. I’m putting Jakob James together with Victor Cutler because I don’t know that Cutler did enough this spring to move past him.

Right Guard
55 Matt Jones, Grad
66 Enokk Vimahi, rSr
54 Toby Wilson, rSoph OR
64 Quinton Burke, rJr OR
73 Grant Toutuant, rJr OR
69 Trey Leroux, rJr

During the last quarter or so of the spring game, there was a constant rotation of bodies at right guard, including all four ORs above. Meanwhile, Austin Siereveld was in the game snap after snap at left guard. Toby Wilson and Quinton Burke are walk-ons.

Right Tackle
65 Zen Michalski, rSoph OR
77 Tegra Tshabola, rFr
76 Miles Walker, Fr

I saw Zen Michalski with the ones more than Tegra Tshabola this spring, but they weren’t separated enough to remove the OR.


Strongside Defensive End
44 JT Tuimoloau, Jr
92 Caden Curry, Soph
23 Omari Abor, rFr

Not much to say here. JT Tuimoloau is getting a bunch of hype this year, but I’m willing to hang back and just let it happen.

Defensive Tackle
91 Tyleik Williams, Jr
90 Jaden McKenzie, rJr
53 Will Smith, Fr
NA Jason Moore, Fr

Jaden McKenzie had a good spring when I saw him, but until he’s actually part of the rotation, I can’t project him there. I didn’t really see anything from Will Smith this spring, some of that was due to injury (if not all). Will Jason Moore be big enough to start out at defensive tackle when he arrives, or will he have to spend 4-5 months at defensive end?

Nose Tackle
51 Mike Hall, Jr OR
58 Ty Hamilton, rJr
93 Hero Kanu, rFr
NA Kayden McDonald, Fr

Seems strange to give Ohio State’s most dynamic defensive lineman an OR, but here we are. I think the Buckeyes only have three interior linemen who project into the rotation right now. Is that enough?

Weakside Defensive End
33 Jack Sawyer, Jr
97 Kenyatta Jackson, rFr
NA Joshua Mickens, Fr

This was a very productive spring for Kenyatta Jackson. He may have worked his way into a four-man rotation at defensive end. Jack Sawyer no longer having to worry about the Jack position should make him more productive as well.

17 Mitchell Melton, rJr
11 CJ Hicks, Soph

We didn’t get to see any of this in the spring, but everybody will be looking forward to it in the fall. How much this position plays will likely depend on how effective it is.

Will Linebacker
22 Steele Chambers, rJr
11 CJ Hicks, Soph
28 Reid Carrico, rSoph

CJ Hicks got the start in the spring game and didn’t look out of place. He wasn’t perfect, however, despite what you might have heard. I think the only people who look at his flaws right now are coaches.

Mike Linebacker
35 Tommy Eichenberg, rSr
30 Cody Simon, Sr
36 Gabe Powers, rFr
NA Arvell Reese, Fr

I was impressed by Gabe Powers throughout the spring. Cody Simon was solid last year and I saw nothing from him that changed my opinion on this depth chart. I do wonder, however, what would happen if Steele Chambers went down this season. Would it by Cody Simon or CJ Hicks. Right now, I’m probably siding with Simon. I do so not because of what I’ve seen from the players, but what I’ve seen from coaches my entire life.

6 Sonny Styles, Soph

Should probably call this the “Sonny” instead of the “Sam.” You can go ahead and put Cody Simon and Reid Carrico here, and maybe Mitchell Melton. There may be different weight classes for what the Buckeyes need when they need a Sam, but if Sonny Styles can handle all of them, why not? He may end up taking quite a few snaps away from the nickels.

13 Cameron Martinez, rJr
14 Ja’Had Carter, Sr
18 Jyaire Brown, Soph
29 Ryan Turner, rFr

I removed the OR with the last update, and that was before Ja’Had Carter got hurt. In retrospect, it was probably unfair to expect Ja’Had Carter to take that position in just 15 practices while he was still learning the defense. I don’t think the battle is completely over, but Martinez won the spring war. Jyaire Brown got reps at nickel when Ja’Had Carter went down.

10 Denzel Burke, Jr
18 Jyaire Brown, Soph
24 Jermaine Mathews, Fr

I don’t know if says more about Jyaire Brown or Davison Igbinosun that the defensive coaches allowed Brown to get some reps at nickel this spring. It’s probably both. They love Brown and trust his overall abilities, so why not give him an additional duty. And since Igbinosun played so well this spring, they could afford for Brown to give up some corner reps. This also helped Jermaine Mathews, who had his ups and downs this spring.

Free Safety
41 Josh Proctor, Grad.
37 Kye Stokes, Soph
25 Malik Hartford, Fr
NA Cedrick Hawkins, Fr

I’m putting Cedrick Hawkins here but he might be more of a nickel or bandit. This just feels like a position where there is going to be some movement. Josh Proctor has won a starting job in each of the past two seasons. He’s on track to do that again this year. It would be interesting to know how he graded out this spring. We may know the gist of that answer on the first day of fall camp.

Strong Safety
12 Lathan Ransom, Sr
6 Sonny Styles, Soph
2 Kourt Williams, rJr
14 Ja’Had Carter, Sr
NA Jayden Bonsu, Fr

I still wonder if Jayden Bonsu will be able to stay at safety. The current safety depth chart right now feels a little Jenga-like. There can be some mixing and matching, but if the wrong piece is moved, it could all collapse. I have Ja’Had Carter here because he has tons of experience playing deep safety.

7 Jordan Hancock, Jr OR
20 Davison Igbinosun, Soph
29 Ryan Turner, rFr
NA Calvin Simpson-Hunt, Fr

I think we see three cornerbacks rotating this season. Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, and Davison Igbinosun. This may also help keep everybody healthy.

23 Parker Lewis, Sr OR
95 Casey Magyar, Jr OR
38 Jayden Fielding, Soph

I’m just assuming Parker Lewis is the starting kicker on placements. Jayden Fielding will still be the kickoff guy.

29 Jesse Mirco, Jr

As long as Jesse Mirco is eligible and Australian, he’s the starter.

43 John Ferlmann, Jr

Very good spring for John Ferlmann, including in punt coverage.

Kick Returner
10 Xavier Johnson, Grad OR
13 Kaleb Brown, rFr

Put me in the camp of wanting to see Kaleb Brown in this role. He’s got the kind of explosion and hunger to show he can make plays that may lead to OSU’s first kickoff return touchdown since 2010. I have openly wondered if they get more aggressive in this area in order to help out the offense as much as possible. Would it be better to only have 70 yards to go instead of 75? Under Justin Fields and CJ Stroud, it didn’t matter. Does it matter now?

Punt Catcher
2 Emeka Egbuka, Jr
13 Kaleb Brown OR
9 Jayden Ballard

This is likely going to be Emeka Egbuka again. It’s so difficult to actually get punts that can be returned now, that putting your safest guy back there remains the best answer. And it’s not like Egbuka has slow feet.

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