The #4 spot in our College Football Preseason rankings belongs to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State went 7-1 in 2020 and made it all the way to the College Football Playoff Championship Game. After being dismantled by Alabama, expect head coach Ryan Day to have the Buckeyes highly motivated for the 2021 campaign.
Ohio State has to replace a ton of key players but reloading has never been a problem in Columbus. The main issue will be who is under center for the Buckeyes this year (collegefootballnews.com). Here’s a closer look at the 2021 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Justin Fields did a masterful job of running Ohio State’s offense over the last two years. Unfortunately for Buckeyes fans, Fields is now fighting for the starting QB job with the Chicago Bears. Everyone in Columbus is wondering who will be named starting QB for this season.
CJ Stroud appears to be Fields’ heir apparent but don’t count out highly touted true freshman Quinn Ewers, who decided to skip his senior year of high school to enroll at Ohio State early. No matter who’s under center, this offense should still put up some huge numbers in 2021.
Master Teague III will replace Trey Sermon as the Buckeyes’ feature running back this year. Teague actually led the team in rushing touchdowns a year ago with eight. It’ll be interesting to see how well Teague does now that he’ll be getting the majority of the carries.
The Buckeyes’ receiving corps may be the best in the country. Chris Olave should be a first-round NFL draft pick and he led last year’s team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Garrett Wilson also has a boatload of ability and he put up numbers that were almost as good as Olave’s last year.
Tight end Jeremy Ruckert also has the talent to be an NFL first-rounder. The senior caught five touchdowns in only five games in 2020.
Ohio State loses lots of defensive production from last year’s squad but they have plenty of experienced seniors that will carry the load. Nose tackle Haskell Garrett is a behemoth of a man and is an excellent run-stopper. Tyreke Smith should be one of the Buckeyes’ top pass rushers this year.
The secondary should be one of the best in the conference. Both Sevyn Banks and Josh Proctor have the talent to play on Sundays. Marcus Williamson is also a steady presence at the safety position.
2021 Special Teams
Ohio State will have a new starting kicker in 2021 as Noah Ruggles transfers in from North Carolina. Ruggles hit 19 of 27 field-goal attempts in 2019 for the Tar Heels. The Buckeyes will also have to break in a new punter this year in freshman Jesse Mirco.
Garrett Wilson will handle the bulk of the return duties for Ohio State this season. Wilson had 51 punt return yards a year ago. Also, look for cornerback Demario McCall to see some time as a returner in 2021.