Despite what seemed to be promising reports coming out of Ohio State practices this week, senior captain Jonathon Cooper will not be returning to the Buckeyes’ lineup this week for the Big Ten opener on the road against Indiana. After reportedly having surgery to deal with a high ankle sprain, Cooper missed the first two games of the year, but was seen at practice on Wednesday in full pads and a helmet, so speculation began to build that the defensive end could be returning to the field this week.
However, when head coach Ryan Day released this week’s availability report, Cooper was again listed as unavailable. Joining Cooper as unavailable for the third week in a row will be sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent, senior captain wide receiver C.J. Saunders.
Also out will be wide receiver Kamryn Babb, defensive tackle Noah Donald, safety Owen Fankhauser, tight end Cormontae Hamilton, safety Ronnie Hickman, and safety Jahsen Wint.
For the second week in a row, there will be no game-time decisions.
The most notable name returning to action for Ohio State will be linebacker Justin Hilliard, who was held out of the first two contests, following an Achilles injury that he sustained during spring practice.
There were no major changes for Ohio State’s depth chart, but the one substantive move was for sophomores Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday to be listed as co-starters at the defensive end position opposite Chase Young. For the Cincinnati game, Friday was listed as the starter, while Smith has penciled in as one of Young’s backups.
Gunnar Hoak and Chris Chugunov continue to be listed as co-backups to quarterback Justin Fields, and Austin Mack and Chris Olave are also sharing the starting spot at the Z wide receiver. Tuf Borland and Baron Browning are listed as co-starters at the middle linebacker position, although Browning did get the lions’ share of the snaps against UC.
Check out the full depth chart: