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tBBC Pre-Spring Outlook: The Slobs

Brandon Zimmerman

Pre-Spring Outlook: The Slobs
Brandon Zimmerman
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


With the recruits signed, sealed, and almost delivered it is officially time to look forward to the 2016 football season. While the Buckeyes are already getting ready behind the scenes, things do not start to jump into another gear until the Buckeyes begin their spring practice on March 8th. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be taking a look at each positional group for the Buckeyes and discussing who might start and how the depth chart may shake up. Today, we look at the most crowded position on the Buckeyes…The Slobs! With 18 scholarship players competing for five starting positions and only two returning starters, this will is easily be one of the most competitive groups of people on the field.


There is one senior offensive lineman on the roster and he comes in the form of new center Pat Elflein. The 6’3” 300 pounder slides over to center from right guard where he started

Ohio State Buckeyes offensive linesman Pat Elflein (65) against Michigan Wolverines during their college football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 30, 2013. (Dispatch photo by Kyle Robertson)

25 games over the past two seasons. Elflein is two-time first team All-Big Ten at guard and was possibly the biggest “get” during the off-season where so many players left early.

Four juniors will be vying for starting jobs but one of them already has their position locked up. Billy Price returns to his left guard position where he has started for most of the past two seasons. After struggling early, Price was able to keep a stronghold on his starting spot and earned third team All-Big Ten honors.

Junior Jamarco Jones has waited patiently for his turn behind all-everything offensive tackle Taylor Decker. With Decker graduated and soon to be first round draft pick, Jones should finally get that opportunity but will it be at guard or at tackle? Coming out of high school, Jones was a consensus four-star and top 100 player. Jones worked his way up to the back-up left tackle position last year and should be the front-runner to start in 2016.

The Buckeyes went the junior college route to bring in junior Malcolm Pridgeon out of

Courtesy of landgrantholyland.com

Nassau Community College this year. Rated by some recruiting sites as a five-star recruit, Pridgeon and his 6’8” 285 pound frame should make an immediate impact on the offensive line. Pridgeon chose Ohio State on national signing day over Baylor. With Pridgeon committing, it opens the door to get creative with other players along the line in an effort to get the best five players on the field.

The last junior to compete for a starting job is 6’7” 305 pounder Evan Lisle. Lisle spent most of last year backing up Pat Elflein at the right guard position. Lisle was a consensus four-star recruit from the great state of Ohio. He will be looking this off-season to prove that he can hold off the younger guys for the starting spot.

One guy he will have to hold off is redshirt sophomore Demetrius Knox who came to Columbus by way of Texas. Knox was a consensus four-star recruit and was considered the second best guard coming out of high school. After spending last year backing up Billy Price at left guard, Knox will be looking at throwing his hat in the ring for the vacant right guard spot.

Sophomore Isaiah Prince is another big time prospect looking for the opportunity to start.

Courtesy of elevenwarriors.com

Prince, a former four-star recruit, was rated by most recruiting websites as a Top 10 offensive tackle prospect coming out of Maryland. As a freshman, Prince spent the 2015 season backing up departing senior Chase Farris. He will be in a tough battle with Jones and Pridgeon for playing time.

Two more redshirt sophomores round out the sophomore class in the form of Brady Taylor and Kyle Trout. At 6’6” 312 pound, Trout has the size the Buckeye coaching staff looks for in offensive tackles. He is originally from Ohio and was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. Taylor is another Ohio high school athlete who came to Ohio State as a highly rated offensive line prospect. Taylor spent last year as the back-up center and appears to be heading towards having that role again this year.

Four redshirt freshmen came to Ohio State together last year and will look to make major strides in their second full year in the program; Branden Bowen, Matt Burrell, Kevin Feder, and Grant Schmidt. The most highly rated of the bunch is Burrell who was a

Headshot of OSU freshman football players on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

consensus four-star and Top 100 recruit out of Virginia. Depending how the spring practices go, Burrell could be a major factor in the race for the vacant starting guard spot.

Bowen and Feder will be in the hunt for space on the tackle depth chart and are both very large men. Bowen came into Ohio State last year as a 6’8” 320 pounder and Feder came in as a 6’9” 305 pounder. Add that size with a full year on Coach Mick and you can see why the coaching staff was excited to bring them in last year. Feder was a four-star recruit out of New Jersey and Bowen was a three-star recruit out of Utah.

Another redshirt freshman competing for playing time is Grant Schmidt out of South Dakota. Schmidt was a four-star recruit and has the size to play tackle but I feel like he will ultimately settle into guard simply due to a numbers game at the tackle position. Whether he plays guard or tackle, at some point in his career Schmidt will be starting along the line.

To round off the offensive line group, the Buckeyes brought in four players in this year’s offensive line class; Tyler Gerald, Jack Wohlabaugh, Michael Jordan, and Gavin Cupp. Both Gerald and Jordan were four-star recruits by numerous recruiting services and Wohlabaugh and Cupp were three-star recruits. It would be surprising if any of the 2016 class gets on the field this year.



  1. Malcolm Pridgeon
  2. Isaiah Prince


  1. Billy Price
  2. Matt Burrell


  1. Pat Elflein
  2. Billy Price


  1. Demetrius Knox
  2. Evan Lisle


  1. Jamarco Jones
  2. Isaiah Prince

The offensive line race will be one of the most important story lines during the off-season. In my opinion, you really have three guys fighting for the two open tackle positions; Jamarco Jones, Malcolm Pridgeon, and Isaiah Prince. I was fairly confident in Jones and Prince starting until the Buckeyes were able to bring Pridgeon in at the last second. In the end, I think Jones and Pridgeon are able to hold onto starting positions but I would not be surprised in the least if Prince took the starting job opposite of Pridgeon and Jones is slid inside.

At right guard, I think it is a three person race between jones, Knox and Burrell. All are highly thought of by the coaching staff and were very sought after recruits. But this is far from something that will be written in stone. I would not be shocked if Burrell pulls this one out or if Jones loses the tackle battle and is slid inside and starts at right guard. As I’ve said, right now I think Jones will start on the outside so I went ahead and gave the starting nod to Knox and have Burrell sliding over to back-up Price at left guard.

These three position battles will be fierce but whichever two people do not win the starting job will still see a lot of playing time this year at multiple positions.


Quarterbacks – 15 Feb

Running Backs – 17 Feb

Wide Receivers – 19 Feb

Tight Ends – 22 Feb

Offensive Line – 24 Feb

Defensive Line – 26 Feb

Linebackers – 29 Feb

Secondary – 2 Mar

Special Teams – 4 Mar

The post Pre-Spring Outlook: The Slobs appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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