When looking at the 2017 depth chart compared to the 2016 depth chart, there are noticeable holes, but the team is in a much better place now than it was entering the 2016 season after a mass exodus of NFL departures and graduation. Using key departures, spotlighting players at important positions, leadership qualities, and recognizing the depth at each position, we came up with the 10 most important players on the team. They may not be the most heralded players, or even the best players, but they will be vital to this team’s on-field success.
No. 9: Parris Campbell
2016 stats: 13 receptions, 121 yards; 4 carries, 54 yards, 1 TD; 21 kick returns, 584 yards
Why he’s No. 9: After spending the first two seasons of his career as an outside receiver in Ohio State’s sub-par aerial attack, the former St. Vincent- St. Mary standout officially made the switch to H-back, where he has gigantic shoes to fill—Curtis Samuel’s shoes, to be exact. Samuel gained 1,636 yards from scrimmage and was Urban Meyer’s do-everything guy and most electrifying player last season. But after underperforming as an outside receiver, yet making plays on special teams — especially as a kick returner — Campbell will have a chance to shine as the starter in the most creative role in Meyer’s offense.
Since we haven’t had many chances to see Campbell with the football in his hands, the best way to gauge his future success was in the spring game, where he flat out looked the part. What we learned from the spring game is that Kevin Wilson will make J.T. Barrett get the ball out of his hands much quicker than ever before, and he’s going to utilize Campbell on a bunch of quick hitters such as screens, shallow crossers and quick outs. Campbell will also be able to use his quickness on banana routes and corner patterns. If the spring game showed us anything, Campbell will be extremely busy under Wilson.
One could argue that Campbell could be in the top five on this list, but with playmakers such as K.J. Hill, Demario McCall and Eric Glover-Williams behind him, there is quality depth that could pick up the pieces if Campbell misses time. If there’s one thing that Urban Meyer does better than anyone, it’s finding elite athletes to fill the H-back position.
Entering camp, the H-back spot is Campbell’s to lose, and Meyer has high hopes for the 6’1, 208-lb receiver. “We moved Parris inside a little bit, and he’s dynamic,” Meyer said. “He was a running back in high school. Big dude that can run and catch — he’s that guy right now.”
Previous: No. 10, Sean Nuernberger