Ohio State Buckeyes: 6 positions Ryan Day will be watching when preseason begins

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Ohio State football will kick off preseason camp Aug. 1.

When the Buckeyes convene for what they hope will be almost six full months of football practice, most of their starting positions will already be spoken for.

But head coach Ryan Day identified six areas he’ll be watching:

1. Quarterback

This comes as no surprise as Day did not name a starter when spring practice concluded.

That means Devin Brown, last year’s backup, and Kansas State transfer Will Howard will vie for the top job in August.

Sophomore Lincoln Kienholz and true freshmen Julian Sayin and Air Noland hope to get involved as well, but it figures to come down to Brown or Howard, both of whom are expected to be able to contribute to the running game more than the past three starting QBs at Ohio State.

2. Right guard

Josh Fryar has the ability to play guard or tackle, but Day said the staff has likely settled on keeping him at the latter, where he was the starter last fall.

“I think coming off of last year, he built some confidence and that he knows he can do it,” Day said Tuesday. “He knows the areas he’s got to improve in, in order for him to help us win the games we need to win. So we feel confident with him playing guard and tackle. We got to figure out what that right side looks like. I would say we’re probably leaning towards playing him at tackle and trying to figure out what that right guard is at this time.

But we do have some flexibility there. And he’s been a leader for us. He’s on the leadership committee.

That would mean right guard is still available following the graduation of Matt Jones, and sophomores Luke Montgomery and Tegra Tshabola the top contenders.

3. Punter

With Jesse Mirco entering the transfer portal, Ohio State needs a new punter.

It could be Nick McLarty, an incoming freshman from Australia, sophomore Joe McQuire (also of Australia) or senior Hadi Jawed of Dearborn, Mich.

4. Defensive tackle

Ty Hamilton and Tyleik Williams return after sharing inside snaps with Mike Hall Jr. last season, but there is uncertainty about who would be next in the game.

Hero Kanu is the top candidate as a true nose tackle while Tywone Malone and Kayden McDonald also figure to be in the mix, but coach Larry Johnson will be looking for someone to step up.

5. Safety

Like defensive tackle, Ohio State’s starters seem to be set at safety, but who is next in if something happens to Lathan Ransom or Caleb Downs?

Malik Hartford impressed upon arrival in Columbus last winter and started one game last season as a true freshman, but the Lakota West grad was limited in spring ball because of an unidentified injury.

He was still the most experienced Ohio State safety aside from the projected starters before the Buckeyes added Keenan Nelson, a who played 15 games over the last two seasons at South Carolina to bolster the room.

6. Receiver

It looks like Emeka Egbuka’s time to be The Man after Marvin Harrison Jr. went pro early, but then what?

Sophomores Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate will look to overtake senior Jayden Ballard and hold off incoming freshman Jeremiah Smith for spots in coach Brian Hartline’s starting lineup.

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