Chicago – Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes lost nine players to the NFL after last season and now has 44 players who have never played in a college game.
Things must be hopeless in Columbus, right?
Ohio State is still considered the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten, and Meyer likes what he sees in this group entering fall camp. He said Tuesday during Big Ten media days that metro Detroit products Mike Weber and Michael Jordan will likely be starters. Weber is a running back from Detroit Cass Tech who had been hotly pursued in recruiting by Michigan, and Jordan is an offensive lineman from Plymouth High.
Running back Bri’onte Dunn was dismissed from the team last week, making Weber that much more important to the Buckeyes’ offense.
“His issue is he has to stay healthy,” Meyer said of Weber. “I like where he’s at. I don’t like, I love where he’s at as far as what kind of physical condition he’s in. And I anticipate he’ll be the starting tailback, but that’s why we have training camp.”
Meyer said there’s “no chance” Dunn will return to the team and that makes depth a concern at running back. Dontre Wilson, Curtis Samuel, Demario McCall and Antonio Williams also are in the mix.
Jordan is a true freshman ready to move into the starting lineup on the offensive line. He was the No. 8 player on the 2016 Detroit News Blue Chip list.
“What I’ve seen from his development since he got here in January is outstanding,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the 2014 Buckeyes, who won the first College Football Playoff national championship, are the “template” for excellence. The Buckeyes’ quarterback this fall, J.T. Barrett, was deep on the depth chart, and there were other players no one had heard about who helped lead the team to that title.
He sees the potential with this team, but said the pressure rests with him and his staff to get the Buckeyes prepared. Meyer said he wants to play as many freshmen as possible to gain experience.
“I would say going into this, this is as talented a group top to bottom as we’ve had,” he said. “Now how do we get them game-ready?”