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Ohio State’s offensive line competition is still going strong

The battle for who will start for the Buckeyes rages on.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s just really cool to look at. A lot of players are single-position players, but we try to stress that whenever your number is called you may have to go to left guard, you may have to go to right tackle. I’ve played every position on the O-line so far except center. You have to be versatile.”

- Demetrius Knox via Ryan Ginn, Land of 10

The quarterback battle will always steal the headlines when it comes to any major college football team, and that includes Ohio State. Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow, and Tate Martell have been in the news all spring, but there’s another position in Columbus that’s been a constant competition throughout practices.

The offensive line will feature a couple of returning starters such as Demetrius Knox and Isaiah Prince, and while Brady Taylor seems to have a grip on starting at center, the other two spots are up for grabs. Branden Bowen made plenty of noise last season before he broke his leg, so he might be able to get back to form and take a starting spot, but Matthew Burrell is also around and developing well.

For the coaching staff, it’s not necessarily putting the best individual at one spot, but more about the unit as a whole and who communicates and plays together cohesively. That makes sense, since they’re responsible for opening holes for J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber while also protecting whoever wins the starting quarterback position. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on as camp progresses into the fall.

“Tate had a much better day today. He’s got a skill set that’s a little bit JT-ish as far as the quarterback run, he’s just built for that and he actually threw the ball well too.”

- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis,

Speaking of the quarterback battle, Tate Martell continues to have Urban Meyer’s eye in terms of his play this spring. While the favorites for the job, Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow, are still going at it in camp, Martell hasn’t shied away from the competition and provides something a little different than the other two quarterbacks - the ability to elude tacklers and make something out of nothing. Since he’s arrived on campus, Martell’s escapability has been one of his top attributes and certainly can give him an edge in the battle for the starting spot.

J.T. Barrett’s leadership will be missed and that is absolutely a hole that Meyer wants filled by one of the three young quarterbacks. The fact that no quarterback has truly pulled away this spring, means there’s still an open competition which could be concerning depending on how you look at it. But it’s up to Meyer to find the right guy for the job as the Buckeyes gear up for another season.

“But [Wayne] Davis is another viable option, with the former 4-star cornerback showing up for camp with 195 pounds on his 6-foot frame. That kind of size still allows him to fly around in coverage and patrol the secondary, while also featuring the power needed to help stop the run when needed.”

- Austin Ward, Land of 10

One name you might not be as familiar with around the Buckeye football program is Wayne Davis. The redshirt sophomore came to Ohio State as a four-star cornerback prospect in 2016, but has switched positions during his time in Columbus, and now lines up at safety.

In Austin Ward’s article above, the writer was asked about another potential move for Davis, with the now-safety moving to outside linebacker because of the depth issues there — especially after Tuf Borland suffered an Achilles injury. But the reality is that Jordan Fuller is the only returning starter at safety, and the Buckeyes have need for bodies at that position as well.

Justin Hilliard and Baron Browning should be more than capable of holding the fort until Borland returns in September, and you also have Dallas Gant and incoming freshman Teradja Mitchell joining the ranks at linebacker.