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Best Guessing the Current Ohio State Depth Chart on Defense
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — At the midway point of spring practice for the Buckeyes, the two-deep is being solidified every single day.

We have already looked at the depth chart on offense, so now we turn to the defensive side of the ball. With four senior starters lost, there are four spots up for grabs.

Or at least there were, because at the moment it would appear that the first unit has been set. For now, anyway.

Defensive End
Joey Bosa, Jr
Tyquan Lewis, rSo

Jalyn Holmes, So
Darius Slade, rFr
Sam Hubbard, rFr
Jashon Cornell, Fr

Obviously, Joey Bosa was the one known entity to basically the entire planet. Whatever defensive line he is on will be one of the nation's best. Tyquan Lewis has emerged as the No. 1 defensive end opposite Bosa, and has earned some raves from Buckeye offensive linemen along the way. Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard and Darius Slade are all very promising, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see each of them contributing this season. At the very least, two of them will need to step up and be in the rotation.

Defensive Tackle
Adolphus Washington, Sr
Tommy Schutt, Sr

Donovan Munger, rSo
Michael Hill, rSo
Joel Hale, rSr
Tracy Sprinkle, rSo

For now, it is Tommy Schutt next to Adolphus Washington, which gives the Buckeyes three 5-star recruits on their current "starting" front four. Schutt has dropped weight, which has made him quicker. He's as strong as ever and if he remains healthy, then he could contribute the type of senior season that the Buckeyes received from Steve Miller and Rashad Frazier last year. Urban Meyer singled out Joel Hale as a guy who will contribute this season, and they wouldn't have brought him back if they didn't think he could add something. Donovan Munger and Michael Hill are still being waited on, with good days happening here and there for the both of them. I have heard good things about Tracy Sprinkle's progress, and his effort is never going to be questioned.

Will Linebacker
Joshua Perry, Sr
Dante Booker, So
Kyle Berger, rFr

Mike Linebacker
Raekwon McMillan, So
Camren Williams, Sr
Nick Conner, Fr

Sam Linebacker
Darron Lee, rSo
Chris Worley, rSo

The starting three here is set in stone fortified with steel and locked away in a strong box, but the Buckeyes are still getting solid performances from the backups. Dante Booker is getting a lot of Joshua Perry's reps, and doing well with them. To be honest, I haven't exactly seen where Nick Conner is actually playing, so he may be at the Will or the Mike. Kyle Berger is still injured, though he was fully dressed on Thursday. Luke Fickell told me a week or so ago that they are bringing him along slowly. Camren Williams knows every single inch of this defense, so he's a solid veteran presence. Chris Worley may be Darron Lee's backup, but they aren't separated by a lot. Worley is a playmaker as well. Remember, he started against Navy last season with Lee and Curtis Grant.

Cornerback
Eli Apple, rSo
Gareon Conley, rSo

Damon Webb, So
Marshon Lattimore, rFr

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that Gareon Conley has emerged as the starter opposite future All-American Eli Apple. Conley was always right with Apple, sometimes ahead and sometimes behind, in their first two seasons at Ohio State. Conley is the fastest of the cornerbacks and has gotten stronger each season. Damon Webb is an aggressive defender who can back up either of the two starters. Marshon Lattimore is not yet up to full speed.

Safety
Vonn Bell (FS), Jr
Tyvis Powell (SS), rJr

Erick Smith (SS), So
Cam Burrows (FS), Jr
Malik Hooker (FS), rFr
Jamel Dean, Fr

Ohio State might have the best safety tandem in the nation, and they're only getting better. Vonn Bell is an All-American candidate and Tyvis Powell isn't far behind. Powell will tell you that the Buckeyes don't slow down a bit when he steps out and his backup Erick Smith steps in. Smith is finally getting to know the defense after basically just surviving on his wits and nose for the football as a freshman last season. Meyer calls Cam Burrows "kind of a one" because he rotates in so often and has played well. Malik Hooker is one to watch at free safety because he is an incredible athlete.

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