Ohio State football | Unproven players could be key to season – Sports – The Columbus Dispatch

In one month and one day, Ohio State opens its season at Indiana. The Buckeyes began preseason camp on Thursday, though they considered that merely a prelude to more intense practices that will commence this week. Because of the Aug. 31 opener and the NCAA’s decision to eliminate two-a-day practices, the Buckeyes chose to move up the start of camp. Dispatch OSU beat reporters Bill Rabinowitz and Tim May look at what the Buckeyes need to accomplish in the next month.

 

Rabinowitz: The Buckeyes are an interesting combination of experience and youth. At key positions — quarterback with J.T. Barrett, center with Billy Price, a loaded defensive line — Ohio State has plenty of proven talent. At others, they simply have plenty of unproven talent. The Buckeyes need to fill the void in the secondary left when Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley all became first-round NFL draft picks. They also need to shore up an offensive line that was leaky at inopportune times last year. The receivers, largely upperclassmen, have reached the point of now-or-never in their careers.

 

May: Which is why one of the more interesting, and perhaps vital, aspects of the team could be the rise of youth, especially from the highly rated 2017 recruiting class. Cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Kendall Sheffield already promise to be in the mix for playing time. I still expect Wyatt Davis to challenge to become a starter at guard on the offensive line, like Michael Jordan did last year, and running back J.K. Dobbins already is considered to be a backup to Mike Weber. Receivers Trevon Grimes and Jaylen Harris are long, tall threats who could augment the receiver rotation that creaked at times in the big games last season.

 

Rabinowitz: If you want to see coach Urban Meyer smile, ask him about the Buckeyes’ 2016 and ’17 recruiting classes. He loves…

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