Ohio State Football position previews 2024: Offensive Line

The key to Ohio State's offensive successes in 2024 all starts up front.
Josh Fryar
Josh Fryar / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

This is the ninth in a series of articles that I will be submitting as position group rankings of the 2024 Ohio State football team from least concerning to most, based on my perceptions. These articles will conclude the week of the 2024 Ohio State Spring Game, scheduled for 12 pm ET on April 13th. As always, I encourage you to let me know what you think and let me know if you believe I have missed anything key in my analysis.

9th - Wide Receivers

8th - Defensive Backs

7th - Running Backs

6th - Special Teams

5th - Defensive Line

4th - Tight Ends

3rd - Linebackers

2nd - Quarterbacks

1st - Offensive Line

Players Lost ~ Victor Cutler (via transfer portal to Louisville), Jakob James (via transfer portal to Toledo), Matthew Jones (2024 NFL Draft), Trey Leroux (graduation)

Players Returning ~ George Fitzpatrick, Josh Fryar, Carson Hinzman, Donovan Jackson, Zen Michalski, Luke Montgomery, Joshua Padilla, Austin Siereveld, Josh Simmons, Tegra Tshabola, Enokk Vimahi, Miles Walker

Player Arriving Via The Transfer Portal - Seth McLaughlin (from Alabama)

Freshmen Participating In 2024 Spring Practices: Deontae Armstrong, Devontae Armstrong, Ian Moore

Freshman Arriving In Summer 2024: Gabe VanSickle

Why This Ranking?

As I wrote above, the offensive line is the key to Ohio State's offensive success in 2024. My strong feelings about the Ohio State wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends are still there. My concerns about the quarterbacks are still there, as well.

Without the offensive line protecting the quarterback and giving that player ample time to throw, it will not matter how talented the wide receivers and tight ends are, as they run their routes. It will not matter how explosive a runner TreVeyon Henderson is, or how Quinshon Judkins runs between the tackles, without the offensive line being able to open holes and move the opposing defensive line off the line of scrimmage.

Throughout the 2023 season, the Ohio State offensive line was not consistently able to do these things, and it manifested itself terribly in the 14-3 loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.

Has Help Arrived?

Yes, in different forms. Starting 2023 left tackle Josh Simmons has had, by most accounts, a strong 2024 spring practice season, and has earned praise from Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Having Simmons man the crucial left tackle position, protecting the quarterback's blind side, will help tremendously. Left guard Donovan Jackson did not enter the 2024 NFL Draft, so the left side of the line should be solid.

Seth McLaughlin has arrived at Ohio State after serving as a starting center for Alabama. McLaughlin is the projected starter at center, but 2023 starter Carson Hinzman is still battling for the job.

What About The Right Side Of The Line?

Seemingly this area is still under the "to be determined" category. Sophomore Luke Montgomery seems the likely starter at right guard, but it would not be surprising if Josh Fryar is moved to right guard if Montgomery is deemed not ready for the job. Carson Hinzman also figures to be in the competition, if Hinzman does not win the starting center job versus Seth McLaughlin.

Right tackle seems to be Josh Fryar's spot. As written up above, Fryar may also be in the mix at right guard, so Tegra Tshabola could be getting work at right tackle. No matter how you look at it, the right side is not nearly as established or settled as the left side of the offensive line, heading into the summer workouts and fall camp.

Can You Give Me Some Good News?

The overall depth of the offensive line has improved considerably since Justin Frye was named the Ohio State offensive line coach. While there are critics who point to the offensive line's issues, Frye has improved the recruiting pipeline immensely since he came on board, especially within the state of Ohio.

The backup players, as well as the incoming freshmen, should have opportunities to develop and grow throughout this season, with a few jobs on the offensive line opening up for the 2025 season. With Chip Kelly installed as Ohio State's offensive coordinator, and Frye a former UCLA assistant coach under Kelly, the Ohio State offensive line may finally be gelling together.

The Ohio State Spring Game awaits on April 13th. The weather forecast for the day of the game has a sunny day and high temperatures in the mid-60s, which is as good as you can hope for in Ohio at this time of year.

Next. Next story. Ohio State told Kyle McCord to move on. dark

For those of you traveling to the game, safe travels, as I will be there in attendance as well. Look forward to next week's column which will highlight what I consider to be key takeaways from the Ohio State Spring Game. Go Bucks!