2016 Ohio State Spring Football Conclusions

“Almost everything that is great has been done by youth…” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

For the past couple months, beginning in February, every Friday at 8am EST has begun with this quote on this site. I have written about what I perceived concerns about various position groups, and it culminated in a glorious 2016 Ohio State Spring Game on April 16th in Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer must be pleased with one crucial area as it relates to spring football – the Buckeyes left the spring game with no injuries that could impact the 2016 season. Fifth-year senior running back Bri’onte Dunn did not play in the spring game with a sprained ankle, but will be back in the mix for the starting running back spot for fall camp.

Showing my age, I can vividly recall Ohio State spring game performances that were tremendous, yet did not translate into fall game production. It is important to keep things in proper perspective. With those caveats in mind, below are three distinct impressions that were made upon me as I sat in D Deck of Ohio Stadium…

1. The 2016 Ohio State Defensive Line Will Rotate Frequently ~ Yes, Ohio State was playing as many offensive and defensive linemen as possible in the spring game. It was challenging for either the Gray’s or Scarlet’s offensive lines to protect Joe Burrow or Stephen Collier whenever either was playing quarterback. With all of that on the table, the defensive linemen who have been waiting in the wings used the spring game as an opportunity to show what they could do if given the opportunity. For example, I don’t want to call him a sleeper, but Jashon Cornell, a moved defensive end to defensive tackle, seemed to emerge during the spring game.

On a somber note, Donovan Munger’s Ohio State career has come to an end, due to health concerns. Best of luck to Munger in all of his future endeavors, and many thanks for all of his contributions to Ohio State football…

For the first time since Coach Meyer came to Columbus in 2012, Ohio State has so many defensive linemen that will allow Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson to continually refresh players who will be able to harass the opposition’s quarterback. Think about this – Nick Bosa is not yet on campus, and Coach Meyer has stated Bosa will play in 2016.

2. Do Not Sweat J.T. Barrett’s 2016 Spring Game Performance ~ J.T. Barrett had an uneven day during the spring game, but there were several extenuating circumstances that impacted his performance. First of all, Barrett wore a black jersey that did not allow him to scramble or face contact. As stated up above, the offensive line was more of a ragtag collection, with projected starters Pat Elflein and Billy Price being withheld from competition. And projected starters Noah Brown and Corey Smith did not play this spring as both are still recuperating from their respective 2015 injuries.

Did Barrett make some throws in the 2016 spring game that were puzzling? Absolutely. Do I believe Barrett would have made those same throws in actual game competition? Absolutely not. Look at Barrett’s spring game as someone who was dealt some specific restrictions, and was testing the boundaries of what was possible, with a mandate to avoid injury at all costs. Look for Barrett to come out impressively against BGSU on September 3rd looking more like his typical self.

3. The 2016 Team Will Continue To Improve Every Week ~ It bears repeating, but with so many young players, the competition for playing time will be fierce and continuous all year long. Will inexperience sometimes be frustrating, especially in the secondary? Without question. The game at Oklahoma in week three will be must-watch TV for not just Ohio State and Oklahoma fans, but the nation –

Don’t take my word for it; go back and listen to the podcast link that included Clair Crawford. Read my man Tony Gerdeman’s thoughts on Ohio State following the spring game. Remember that I wrote this in April – this is going to be a team that will be feared by the end of the 2016 season.

Position by Position Recruiting Summary – Quarterbacks

Over the next few posts, I’m going to break down the Buckeyes’ current lineup position-by-position and discuss how the recruiting process could potentially change the picture. Today I’ll start with the leader on offense: the quarterback.

The QB position should be in good hands for the next one or two seasons if JT Barrett decides to complete his four years at Ohio State. If he comes back after his junior season, then we’ll have a senior quarterback in 2017, but if he doesn’t, then the Buckeyes will have to break in a new starter. Right now the depth chart would be:

1.) JT Barrett – Junior (RS)

2.) Joey Burrow – Freshman (RS)

3.) Stephen Collier – Sophomore (RS)

4.) Dwayne Haskins – Freshman

Haskins has the opportunity to move up when he gets on campus this summer if he does well in workouts and fall camp, but right now I’m leaving him at 4th on the depth chart. If he fails to pass Burrow for the back-up job I can see Haskins taking a red-shirt this season giving himself another year without Barrett at the helm. Burrow and Collier have both been in the program for at least a season, but neither has thrown a meaningful pass for the Buckeyes. Last season, Ohio State had an abundance of riches at the QB position, but Cardale Jones’ departure to the NFL leaves the Buckeyes with a lack of experience at the position. That’s concerning if Barrett were to go down with an injury, but here is where successful recruiting comes in to play.

Let’s look at potential recruiting classes for the next couple of years.

Danny Clark from Archbishop Hoban HS in Massillion, Ohio, has led the 2017 recruiting class since his commitment back in December of 2013. He’s been on campus dozens of times and has been a vocal recruiter for the Buckeyes for the 2017 class. Recently there’s been talk of possibly adding a second signal caller to this class. Scholarship numbers are tight this year, so it might be hard to squeeze another QB into this class, but if Urban & Co. decide there’s a need, they’ll find a way. Hypothetically speaking, if one of the current QBs on the roster decides to transfer before next season, then the Buckeyes would be able to take another quarterback in 2017. Right now, Ohio State doesn’t have any offers out to other quarterbacks in this class, but that could certainly change over the next 11 months. It’ll be interesting to see if the Buckeyes decide to take two in this class, but I still think they’ll stick with Clark and ride it out until 2018.

The 2017 Depth Chart Projection:

1.) JT Barrett – Senior (RS)

2.) Dwayne Haskins – Freshman (RS) 

3.) Joey Burrow – Sophomore (RS)

4.) Danny Clark – Freshman

5.) Stephen Collier – Junior (RS)

Most teams take at least one QB a year regardless of their depth, so the Buckeyes will certainly be on the lookout for a QB in 2018. As of now, Ohio State has extended offers to Phil Jurkovec out of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania and Jalen Mayden out of Sachse, Texas. Jurkovec currently holds 11 offers from the likes of Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Penn State. He’s a dual-threat QB who passed for 2,560 yards and ran for 1,250 yards in his sophomore season at Pine-Richland. Mayden is a four-star recruit who holds offers from Houston, Mississippi State, and Oregon State among others. Mayden’s sophomore season ended with 2,496 passing yards and 513 rushing yards for a total of 36 touchdowns. Another one to watch is Tadas Tatarunas from Mentor, Ohio, who currently lists Ohio State as a school he has interest in, but he hasn’t received an offer yet.  

The 2018 Depth Chart Projection:

1.) Dwayne Haskins – Sophomore (RS)

2.) Danny Clark – Freshman (RS)

3.) Joey Burrow – Junior (RS)

4.) Stephen Collier – Senior (RS)

Urban Meyer always says the quarterback is “only as good as the players around him,” but the Buckeyes need a guy who can distribute the ball effectively and run the offense efficiently if they want to have any success on offense. Right now the future looks good with Barrett running the helm and preparing the younger kids to take over when he leaves. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of recruiting cycles though.

The Late Glenn Frey, In An Ode To The 2015 Ohio State Recruiting Class

The anticipation for Ohio State spring football is always tremendous. Tickets for the April 16th spring game are already on sale, with the game two months away. Ohio State just signed an impressive recruiting class for 2016, with seven of the players already enrolled, planning to participate in spring drills.

How does this involve the late, great Glenn Frey, former member of The Eagles? In February 2015, Ohio State signed a talented group of players, with the vast majority redshirting throughout the 2015 season. When I write “vast majority”, I am citing the fact that 21 out of 25 players did not see game action. That amounts to 84% of the 2015 recruiting class.

Glenn Frey wrote the song “New Kid In Town”, a familiar song to Eagles fans. Below are some of the lyrics as I describe some of the players Ohio State fans will have an opportunity to learn about as the April 16th spring game approaches…

“There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody’s watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new

Johnny come lately, the new kid in town
Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down”

At quarterback, Joe Burrow has already been named the backup quarterback heading into spring drills. If you think backup quarterback is unimportant, I suggest you go look up the following football season – Ohio State, 2014.

At running back, Mike Weber will throw his hat into the ring to replace early NFL Draft entry Ezekiel Elliott. Weber is one of the members of the 2015 recruiting class who possibly could have played in 2015, if not for an injury that required surgery during fall camp.

At wide receiver, converted quarterback Torrance Gibson, Alex Stump, and K.J. Hill will all battle to impress the coaching staff. Considering Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall have also declared for the NFL Draft, here is a position group that is open for players to contribute.

Tight end? Nick Vannett has moved on, with Marcus Baugh the only returning tight end with any game experience. A.J. Alexander and Rashod Berry will want to seize the moment, as Ohio State signed three tight ends in Kierre Hawkins, Jake Hausmann, and Luke Farrell who will arrive on campus this summer.

Offensive Line? This was an impressive haul last February, with Grant Schmidt, Kevin Feder, Matthew Burrell, and Branden Bowen…who all redshirted. There are three spots open on the line.

Two open spots along the defensive line should loom large this spring. Jashon Cornell, Dre’Mont Jones, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, and Davon Hamilton may all be in the mix here.

Two open linebacker spots, with plenty of opportunities for playing time. Nick Conner impressed in the 2015 spring game, but redshirted due to injury. Justin Hilliard was arguably one of the most recruited players in the class, and redshirted from injury also.

The secondary? Talk about an opportunity, with three open spots, including both safety positions. Joshua Norwood and Damon Arnette can throw their hats into contention.

Don’t forget Ohio State signed a long-snapper last winter. Liam McCullough may be the easiest of the 2015 redshirt freshmen to target for a starting position, as Bryce Haynes has exhausted his eligibility.

Twenty-one out of twenty-five. All eager, able, and hungry to show the Ohio State coaching staff, and fans, what they can do. These players would be wise to remember the words of Glenn Frey…

“There’s talk on the street, it’s there to
Remind you, that it doesn’t really matter
which side you’re on.
You’re walking away and they’re talking behind you
They will never forget you ’til somebody new comes along…”

Stanley Jackson Offers Insights On Playing QB For Ohio State (Part Two)

The battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for the starting quarterback position will be the most scrutinized area by both the fans and the media as the Buckeyes prepare for the 2015 college football season. Everyone has an opinion on how it will turn out, but I thought I would go straight to a source who is as well-versed on the subject as anyone.

Stanley Jackson (@Jacksonville8) is a former Ohio State quarterback who knows a thing or two about what it is like to go through a quarterback battle, having experienced it himself with former teammate Joe Germaine during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Mr. Jackson is an analyst for the Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 radio in Columbus, Ohio. Married with four children, living in Marion, Ohio, Mr. Jackson was kind enough to participate in a telephone interview after a work day at Buckeye State Bank, where he is owner and vice-president. The first part of the interview dealt more upon Mr. Jackson’s career, where part two focuses more upon the impending quarterback battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.


CM: What if J.T. Barrett winds up as the starter? Just from my perspective, could you see maybe Cardale Jones getting the second half?

SJ: Coach Meyer has a history of platooning guys, with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. Here’s the problem with that. Both of these guys have the talent to possibly win the Heisman Trophy or be an All-American. They are both special. I don’t like platooning. I think you have to make a choice. I think back to when Joe and I were platooning, and neither one of us were picked as All-Big Ten; the year Joe was the starter, Joe was All-Big Ten. I would love for them to say that this is an open competition; whoever comes out on top is going to be the guy. As good a run that Cardale Jones had, Cardale became the starter because J.T. Barrett was injured – I don’t think a player should ever lose a job due to injury. I like both kids. I think they are both very worthy, they both deserve it, I think it is going to be a hard fought battle. I would hate to see a platoon system. I hope Coach Meyer picks a guy, and goes with him, no matter who it is. You can sometimes run two different offenses, and that can become confusing for the group as well.

CM: How surprised were you with the news that Braxton Miller was changing positions? Was that something you anticipated?

SJ: I am not very surprised. It was a tough decision for Braxton. My gut tells me that the arm has not healed enough for Braxton to be able to make all the throws. Very rarely do you see a kid make a decision like that when they can still play quarterback and switch; they have a love for the position and they want to prove everyone wrong. You look at Denard Robinson, who has emerged as a good running back in the NFL; everyone knew just from his pure stature that he was not going to play quarterback in the NFL. It took him losing his shoulder at Michigan before he made the position switch. I grieve with Braxton that he had to make the choice, and Coach Meyer is telling everyone to pump the brakes, but I think it is more about Braxton’s health than about a possible NFL career. If Braxton goes out and runs a 4.3, benches well, runs a tremendous shuttle time, the NFL will look at him for sure, because they want athletes. I think Braxton would like to go out with a bang, but I think it is difficult to win the Heisman as a wide receiver or an H-Back. The last wide receiver to win the Heisman also returned kicks (Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987). Also, all of the talent at Ohio State is working against him – are you stealing touches from Mike Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott? All of those players are special football players. It is a tough thing.

CM: You mentioned earlier about your career and how you had a period of growing up, needing to mature, and things you may have done differently. Ohio State recruited two quarterbacks in Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson. What kind of advice would you give to those players as a former Ohio State quarterback as the season gets closer, as someone who has been down the path they are currently following?

SJ: That’s easy, whether you are redshirting or not. That’s another very interesting battle, because Braxton has moved to the H-Back, so you have to find the third quarterback. Two five-star quarterbacks coming in, both had outstanding high school careers. One of those guys is going to compete to be the third guy. Not that it means whoever wins the battle this year is going to keep that pole position, but that could put you in the catbird seat for when J.T. Barrett graduates. That’s an important race there. Either way, redshirting or not, what I would tell both of those guys is don’t waste a year. It is very easy to waste this year and lay back, not watch film like you’re a starter, not throw balls like you’re a starter, not be attentive at practice like you’re a starter. Then if they take you and have you run the scout team it can make it even easier for you to check out. Don’t check out on these minutes; this is your foundation year. You are building a foundation for the rest of your career at Ohio State. The reality for me is I was in a situation where I was the third string guy behind Bob Hoying and Bret Powers. Tom Hoying, Mark Zban, and I all competed for the third string spot all fall camp, and it was exciting then, but once the battle was over, it was not exciting anymore. Tom and Mark were running scout team, and they were getting more reps than I was because I was the third string guy, and I was watching most of the time, and it lost its luster for me. There were a lot of days when I wasted time, I checked out, and I wasn’t learning or getting better. I wasn’t throwing balls, and I didn’t stay extra after practice; a lot of times, I was probably the first guy off the practice field, so I wasted the year. Don’t waste the year. Every moment is vital. Get better every play.

CM: Last question, and this is more of a personal request. You work for The Big Ten Network as an analyst – I love when they show these Ohio State classic games, but they never show Ohio State defeating Alabama in The Sugar Bowl, or Ohio State defeating Oregon for the national championship. Anyone you can talk to at BTN about playing those games?

SJ: Don’t worry; they are chomping at the bit to play those games. Those are probably the two most watched games in the history of Ohio State football, maybe even The B1G with the beginning of the playoff run. I am not 100% sure, but as we were working those games, we could not show all of the clips. Those games were shown on ESPN and Fox Sports. I am not sure what the deal is with ESPN and how long they get that stuff, but eventually the license will run the course and BTN will be able to show those games. BTN will love to show those games. Those games are still being shown on ESPN. I will certainly go on BTN and ask that question for you.

CM: Do you know if you will be an analyst for BTN at any Ohio State games, like maybe the Hawaii game on September 12th?

SJ: I think they are trying to keep me away from doing any Ohio State games; I have about five games this season. This is my second year providing color commentary. Glen Mason is also a Buckeye, and he is the main guy. He will get to do most of the Ohio State games on BTN.

CM: Your BTN duties begin soon?

SJ: BTN Live, then Big Ten Football And Beyond on Wednesdays, and I will be scattered across the network on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

CM: You will also be working with Coach Bruce, right?

SJ: That is fair to say. We have a podcast, and we are presently in negotations with WTVN 610.

CM: It is so great to hear you speak about all of the positive things that have come about after your career at Ohio State.

SJ: Thank you. Please be sure to send me a copy of the article when it comes out.

CM: Will do. Thank you, sir.

I cannot thank Mr. Jackson enough for his time and patience with participating in this interview. Please be sure to follow him on Twitter @Jacksonville8, as well as Mr. Jackson’s media opportunities via The Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 AM in Columbus, Ohio.

Stanley Jackson Offers Insights On Playing QB For Ohio State (Part One)

The battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for the starting quarterback position will be the most scrutinized area by both the fans and the media as the Buckeyes prepare for the 2015 college football season. Everyone has an opinion on how it will turn out, but I thought I would go straight to a source who is as well-versed on the subject as anyone.

Stanley Jackson (@Jacksonville8) is a former Ohio State quarterback who knows a thing or two about what it is like to go through a quarterback battle, having experienced it himself with former teammate Joe Germaine during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Mr. Jackson is an analyst for the Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 radio in Columbus, Ohio. Married with four children, living in Marion, Ohio, Mr. Jackson was kind enough to participate in a telephone interview after a work day at Buckeye State Bank, where he is owner and vice-president. The first part of the interview focuses more upon Mr. Jackson’s career, where part two will focus more upon the impending quarterback battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.


CM: How does one become the owner of a bank?

SJ: You’ve got to have a lot of money, Chip. (Chuckling) I didn’t play in the NFL, I played in Canada. I made a good living, but nothing that you retire on. To make a long story short, when I moved back to Ohio, I went into banking. I met a few entrepreneurial bankers, they hired me as a business development officer, and I began to learn banking. I went into broadcasting, and we became good friends, and we went out and raised the money to buy a bank. We received the approval from the regulatory committees, and we were able to buy a bank. We were able to purchase the bank on January 2013. We’re not majority shareholders and founders, but the three of us work at the bank also. It’s funny – when you think of banking, you think of a Wells Fargo or Huntington, but the majority of the banks are community banks. All communities that you live in have banks like this, and we just have a small part of that small bank community.

CM: I enjoy all of the media that you do, on The Big Ten Network and WTVN in Columbus, especially with former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce.

SJ: Thank you, I love it. If I could do it full-time, I would. I get to talk about football, with guys like Earle Bruce. Playing quarterback at Ohio State has created some unique opportunities for me, and the reality is the banking opportunity came about because I was able to go out and raise the capital for it because people want to do business with former Buckeyes. I served on the Ohio state board of education for six months, as Governor Kasich appointed me. Those things are rare to come by, and if you do a good enough job at Ohio State, you can put yourself in some unique opportunities afforded to you in this state.

CM: You mentioned how you just came back from New Jersey with your brother from the quarterback camp you both run. What led you to Ohio State, after your successful high school career at Paterson Catholic? Were there other schools?

SJ: There were. I was looking at other schools, based on their history and the type of offenses they ran. I looked at Syracuse, North Carolina, Kansas all because of Glen Mason. I was pretty heavily recruited by a lot of schools. Luckily for me, my high school coach had played at Ohio State, so he knew some things about it and was able to impart some information to me, and coming to Columbus and seeing the Horseshoe was kind of a game changer. The Carrier Dome was nice, but there’s nothing like the Horseshoe.

CM: You redshirted your freshman year, and you came in with Tom Hoying and Mark Zban in 1993. You all redshirted. Hoying eventually moved to tight end, Zban eventually transferred. You had to sit behind Bob Hoying in 1994 and 1995. What kind of patience was required to get through that, after being so heavily recruited?

SJ: It was very difficult, because I was still a kid. I was eighteen years old. When you are recruited by schools like Ohio State, you are not only the best player for your team, but also from your state. When you arrive at Ohio State, you find out everyone is just like you, if not better. Bigger, faster, stronger – I am no longer king of the roost anymore. You always believe you can play, and it is easy to become disgruntled. Bob Hoying made it easy, helping to mentor me and help me grow my game. Quite frankly, I was a good athlete with a good arm. I had to learn how to become a quarterback, how to watch film, how to break defenses, what to look for, how to have command of the playbook and the huddle. I never had to do that in high school. There was a learning curve that helped. I wanted to play a lot, but I am sure there were guys like Bob or Joe Germaine who felt that way, and I am sure Joe Burrow feels that way right now as he watches Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett work its way out at Ohio State.

CM: How much do you wish you could be playing for Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer with the offense that is in place now?

SJ: It would be great, especially from a numbers standpoint. We went from a heavy run, lots of play action, working the ball into the boundary, to more of a West Coast pro-style offense, lots of slants and shallow crosses. It changed the Ohio State offense forever. Bob Hoying set passing records that now have been dwarfed, based upon the system. A guy like me would have fit well, with the zone read and being able to move the pocket. I sometimes joke with Coach Cooper that we should have been more innovative and running the spread back then. I am more of a traditionalist – if Ohio State is going to run the spread, I like the way Coach Meyer runs it, as a run spread. What Ohio State did in the last three games of the 2014 season, with the way Ezekiel Elliott ran, it allowed the quarterback to have a lot of one on one coverage and that would have been a lot of fun to have played in that type of system.

CM: You mentioned the transition to the West Coast offense, and I saw the BTN special on your 1996 team. What was your relationship like with Walt Harris, who was so instrumental in changing the offense at that time?

SJ: It was a little rocky. Obviously, he didn’t recruit me; Mike Stock had recruited me and had left for the NFL. I don’t think Coach Harris was thrilled with us. Bob Hoying graduated in 1996, and Coach Harris called a meeting of the quarterbacks; I was there with Tom Hoying and Joe Germaine. I had expectations that it was my job, as I backed up Bob Hoying for the last two years. I can remember the meeting just like it was yesterday. He looked at us, square in the eye, and told us that none of you are good enough to play quarterback at a prime time program like Ohio State, we’re not satisfied with where you are, and we’re bringing in a JUCO transfer with Mark Garcia. Coach Harris stressed that it was going to be an open competition, and if one of you rises to the occasion, it will be your job, but that was a wake up call for me. So our relationship was rocky, but he was always honest. He knew quarterback play like nobody else, and if you go back and look at Bob Hoying’s numbers from 1994 to 1995, Bob transformed as a quarterback under Coach Harris. I would like to believe as I continued to buy into what Coach Harris was trying to teach that I had some good years. Not great years, because I split time, but I had good years.

CM: I am glad you brought up Mark Garcia. I was in Ohio Stadium for the 1996 Ohio State spring game, anticipating to watch a battle between you and Mark Garcia. By the end of that spring game, what was a two man race had become a three man race, with Joe Germaine emerging. What were your thoughts heading into the summer of 1996?

SJ: It began to materialize in the spring, because Joe had a pretty good spring. It was almost impossible to get three guys equal reps. Even though Joe had an outside shot, it was still kind of difficult to get Joe reps until Mark Garcia tore his meniscus in fall camp. That created an opportunity for Joe to show them a lot more. Joe was probably the most accurate quarterback to ever play at Ohio State. It was just two entirely different guys playing the position for them, and the reality is if you go back and just went with one of us, you probably would have had a guy who could have set records. When Joe played quarterback by himself as a senior, Joe set a lot of records at Ohio State. I felt the same way about myself. It was tough for them at times. I am not a big fan of platooning quarterbacks; I believe it catches up with you eventually. I think it caught up with us against Michigan. I think you wind up with a quarterback who is not prepared to play a full game. A lot of fun times, great memories, but if I could go back and do a few things differently earlier in my career, maybe I never would have split time. There was a lot of maturing I needed to do, a lot of growing pains that I experienced that impacted how much I played at Ohio State.

2015 Ohio State Spring Football Questions: Will It Be “Three’s Company” Or “Three’s A Crowd” At QB?

Beginning March 10th, Ohio State will have fifteen spring football practices before the conclusion of spring practice on April 18th in Ohio Stadium. Over the next few weeks, I will rank the top ten questions facing Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff as the Buckeyes retake the football field after concluding the 2014 season as the national champions.

These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.

9. Quarterback

Key Players/Contributors Lost: None

Key Players/Contributors Returning For 2015: All. Braxton Miller (Redshirt Senior), Cardale Jones (Redshirt Junior), J.T. Barrett (Redshirt Sophomore), Stephen Collier (Redshirt Freshman).

Let’s review from August 2014 to now, shall we?

All was seemingly lost for Ohio State at that point. While Ohio State fans hoped for the best, many prepared themselves for the possibility that Ohio State would not be able to survive the loss of Miller at quarterback and still qualify for the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Then J.T. Barrett emerged. After a disastrous game at home versus Virginia Tech, Barrett regrouped and emerged as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in his own right, setting numerous records before being lost for the season in THE GAME versus That Team Up North.

I seem to recall some joker posting something about Cardale Jones, even before the diagnosis had been revealed about the extent of Barrett’s injury…

Heading into The B1G Championship game versus Wisconsin, Fox Sports’ Gus Johnson summed up what all Buckeye fans were feeling about the newly-designated starter at quarterback…

Needless to say, I’m not going to bore you with how it all turned out. Well, maybe I will give you this little clip that I have personally decided is among my favorite…

After the national championship, many people, including myself, expected Cardale Jones to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. With no guarantees to start for Ohio State in 2015, and the possibility of a lucrative financial future, Jones stepped up to the podium in the gymnasium at Cleveland Glenville and made the following announcement…

And in the bitter cold on January 24th, 2015, while in Ohio Stadium to honor the 2014 national champions, could there have been a better moment to summarize how blessed Ohio State fans were in 2014, and possibly will be, in 2015?

Getting down to business, here is how the quarterback position will probably be handled this spring ~

Braxton Miller, while coming along in his recovery, will be handled with caution by both Ohio State’s medical staff, as well as coaching staff, this spring. Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer stated the same recently in an interview with 97.1 The Fan’s Anthony Rothman…

J.T. Barrett will also be somewhat limited in his spring football participation. While Barrett is no longer on crutches, as he was during the national championship celebration on January 24th, will need to be cautious as well this spring…

With those concerns being publicly stated, this results in Cardale Jones having the opportunity to run with the first team offense for fifteen practices. With new quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck on staff this spring, Jones will have the best chance to cement his role as the starter before Barrett or Miller are fully healthy.

Where does this place Stephen Collier, last year’s scout team quarterback?

Look for Collier to be provided ample opportunities to play this spring, with both Miller and Barrett limited. It would not be a shock to see Collier play substantially in the spring game on April 18th. With newly-signed Torrance Gibson and Joe Burrow arriving this summer, Collier will want to take advantage of any and every chance to impress the coaching staff this spring.

There are always exceptions to every rule. The old football axiom that “if you have two quarterbacks, that means you don’t have one” was shattered by the performances over the last few seasons by Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, and Cardale Jones. Will the three quarterbacks prove to Ohio State fans that the quarterback situation at Ohio State is more “Three’s Company” than “Three’s A Crowd”? That question will possibly not be answered until fall camp, so it may be raised as a priority in my mind by that time. Even so, I am guessing Coach Meyer, Coach Beck, and all of the coaches and players at Ohio State will be reassured knowing they have three dynamite players at the most crucial position on the football field.