Ahead of Ohio State’s season-opening visit from Oregon State, we are previewing each position group in Columbus.
Here is a look at the defensive front:
Returning starters: Nick Bosa, Dre’Mont Jones
Rising: Chase Young, Jonathan Cooper, Robert Landers, Davon Hamilton, Jashon Cornell
Others: Haskell Garrett, Jerron Cage, Antwuan Jackson, Malik Barrow, Taron Vincent, Tommy Togiai, Zaid Hamdan, Aaron Cox, Noah Donald, Tyreke Smith, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Tyler Friday.
“Starter” was a loosely defined term in 2017 as coach Larry Johnson went deep in his rotation at both end and tackle.
Four members of last year’s rotation are in NFL training camps this month, but little if any drop in production is expected in Columbus.
This year Johnson will have more depth inside than out, but that’s a relative term, too.
Jones is a junior who is widely regarded as having one of the best offseasons on the team.
Landers is a junior from Wayne High School who was a regular contributor last season and is expected to move up to a starting position while also assuming a leadership role.
The battle for minutes behind them should be fierce with a total of five players from the 2017 and ’18 recruiting classes who were four-star recruits or better.
That includes sophomore Haskell, redshirt freshman Cage and true freshmen Vincent and Togiai.
Among the walk-ons is Hamdan, a true freshman from Mason who enrolled in time to go through spring practice.
As for the ends, Bosa is coming of an All-America season despite having to share snaps with a bevy of talented edge rushers.
Young flashed tantalizing talent as a five-star freshman last fall while Cornell and Cooper are juniors poised to carve out a regular niche on the edge.
Cooper was one of the best high school players in Ohio three years ago while Cornell was a Minnesota high school standout.
Smith, Friday and Jean-Baptiste are all four-star freshmen ends who could see the field early given thanks to last year’s exodus to the NFL.