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Friday Four: Early-May thoughts on Ohio State football

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Friday Four: Early-May thoughts on Ohio State football

COLUMBUS — Ohio State is officially less than four months from opening its regular season at Indiana.

Yes, that’s still a long time away. But it doesn’t mean Lettermen Row isn’t already thinking about this Buckeyes collection of talent that’s assembled for the 2023 season.

In the first installment of ‘Friday Four,’ I give four thoughts about Ohio State football entering summer. Let’s dive in.

1. Julian Fleming is being overlooked in Buckeyes wide receiver room

Ohio State is making headlines due to its top-end talent coming back on the roster this fall. Some mock drafts for next year already show six Buckeyes gaining first-round buzz. More on that here. But one of the elite Ohio State weapons who hasn’t shown up in any too-early mock draft is senior wide receiver Julian Fleming. Yes, he struggled with injuries early in his career and hasn’t been the top-ranked receiver he was praised as coming out of high school. But if he’s healthy this season, he absolute can have a breakout campaign as the No. 3 pass-catcher in the offense and make his move into first-round consideration. His size, skillset and speed need to come together. Don’t be surprised if it does — and if that happens, Ohio State could have three first-round wide receivers next spring.

2. I am curious about the Ohio State safety rotation already

This isn’t a bold predictions column, and it certainly isn’t a place for me to cobble together what the Ohio State safety rotation is going to look like come Sept. 2 at Indiana. But it’s May 5, and I am already curious with how the Buckeyes plan to rotate all the talent they have in the safety room. Senior leader Lathan Ransom will be on the field. So will sophomore sensation Sonny Styles. But sixth-year senior Josh Proctor had an impressive spring and should be in line for a starting spot, and the same can be said for senior nickel Cameron Martinez. Oh, and the Buckeyes didn’t bring in former Syracuse star Ja’Had Carter to sit the bench. All of them will find time on the field. Big question heading into summer: how will that rotation look? It remains to be seen, but it certainly has my attention already, four months before game time.

3. My confidence in right tackle situation is growing

Last weekend when former San Diego State starting right tackle Josh Simmons committed to Ohio State, I reached out to a trusted Lettermen Row source who told me the Buckeyes will have a four-man competition and play the best two tackle options. And while Josh Fryar was taking nearly every rep at left tackle in spring practice, the competition between Tegra Tshabola and Zen Michalski at right tackle has yielded good results for the development of both. Add in Simmons, a proven starter for a good football team, and Ohio State now has four offensive tackles who could realistically start come September. As I continue to think about the right tackle spot, it’s more likely than not that Justin Frye and the offensive coaching staff will have at least one of Tshabola, Michalski or Simmons playing at a starter leve by early September. The development of offensive lineman is too good to believe otherwise. My confidence in the right tackle spot is growing by the day, and it’s only May.

4. June could lay groundwork for future Buckeyes championships

Just take a look at the middle two weekends of June and the expected official visitors. It’s an impressive list of potential difference-makers who can help bring a national title back to Columbus. Four-star offensive tackle Brandon Baker will be in town as the headliner for the two-weekend stretch. Elite EDGE rushers, five-star safeties, top cornerbacks and other incredible defensive talents will come to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, too. The Buckeyes haven’t been elite on defense in a few years now, but they can get there if they land some of those top defensive targets who will show up for visits. With the knowledge that the Ohio State offense has no plans of slowing down, the defensive staff can lay the goundwork for a national title if it puts together strong pitches for defensive targets. Lettermen Row will be tracking all of those visits leading into a pivotal month for the future of the program. Stay tuned.

The post Friday Four: Early-May thoughts on Ohio State football appeared first on On3.

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