He’ll be joined in the backfield by sophomore Ezekiel Elliott, fifth-year senior Rod Smith and true freshman Curtis Samuel at running back. At wide receiver, senior Devin Smith will start alongside Evan Spencer, with sophomore Dontre Wilson being listed alongside redshirt freshman Jalin Marshall at the “H” spot. Although Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that senior tight end Jeff Heuerman is not 100 percent healthy, the Florida native is still slotted into the top spot at his position.
Of the men charged with blocking for those players, two positions remain up in the air. Junior Taylor Decker will start at left tackle and sophomore Pat Elflein and fifth-year senior Darryl Baldwin have secured their spots at right guard and right tackle, respectively. Left guard is down to senior Joel Hale and redshirt freshman Billy Price, while junior Jacoby Boren and graduate transfer Chad Lindsay are battling for the starting center role.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line will feature a slight twist for the first two games as junior “Viper” Noah Spence serves out the rest of his suspension from last December. Senior Steve Miller will get the nod in his place, while the rest of the line looks as expected – sophomore Joey Bosa at defensive end and senior Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington at defensive tackle.
At defensive back, senior Doran Grant will be joined by either Eli Apple or Gareon Conley at the second cornerback spot. Sophomore Tyvis Powell will be starting at strong safety, with either sophomore Vonn Bell or sophomore Cam Burrows lining up at free safety. Junior Armani Reeves will serve as the nickel back.
Sophomore Cameron Johnston, an Australia native, returns for his second season at punter. A fellow underclassman will take the kicking duties, as freshman Sean Nuernberger won that job. Wilson and Marshall will handle punt return and kick return duties.