The Ohio State football team looks locked and loaded for the 2024 season. Ryan Day has knocked it out of the park in recruiting and the transfer portal. February is really when the work starts to begin, however.
It's Mickey Marotti's time to shine as winter workouts are in full go. And as we look towards Spring ball, there are several key positional battles to watch as this offseason unfolds. Here are three that I'm keeping an eye on.
No. 1) Right Tackle
It appears that Josh Simmons has a solid lock on the left tackle position, for now. But the right side of the line is completely up for grabs this offseason following Matthew Jones' departure. As the roster stands currently, it's a four-man battle royal for two open spots between Josh Fryar, Luke Montgomery, Tegra Tshabola, and Carson Hinzman (who likely is competing for the right guard spot following Seth McLaughlin's transfer into the Ohio State football program).
Josh Fryar is the returning starter, but he really struggled during Big Ten play last year and is probably more suited for guard than tackle. I believe the coaching staff really would love for second-year player Luke Montgomery to take this job by the horns and make it his own. But is the young player ready for that leap in year two?
Finally, Tshabola is Ohio State's most physically imposing player standing at 6-6, weighing 325 pounds. But is he athletic enough to play tackle for the Buckeyes? This will be a fascinating battle as the winter and Spring play out.
No. 2) Weakside Linebacker
Steele Chambers has entered the NFL Draft and will be leaving his weakside linebacker position up for grabs this offseason. There is a rumor that Sonny Styles will kick down to this position, allowing him to do what he does best and that's make plays at the line of scrimmage.
But former five-star recruit C.J. Hicks will have something to say about this as well. The super-athletic Hicks should be ready to make an impact in his third season in Columbus. But do the coaches trust Hicks to be every down linebacker?
No. 3) Tight End
One of the best tight ends in Ohio State football history, Cade Stover, leaves a massive spot to fill for this Buckeye offense. Ryan Day values this position a great deal, so it's very important that they find a player who can do everything that is required out of the position.
Fourth-year player Gee Scott is likely to get the first crack at the starting role. Starting off as a receiver, Scott added weight and transitioned to tight end during his first season in Columbus. It's been a long journey with ups and downs, but Scott finally appears ready to take that next step.
But Ohio State hinged its bet by bringing in former Ohio Bobcat starting tight end Will Kacmarek, who had 22 catches for 243 yards last season in Athens. But he is also a very polished blocker, something that is very important at Ohio State. It will be an interesting battle and more than likely will result in both playing a ton next season for the Buckeyes.