The Ohio State Starting Lineup Projections for 2022

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The Ohio State starting lineup in 2022 has yet to be established or even considered by Ryan Day and the coaching staff. Yet, based on 2021 performances, we have a good idea of who it may include.

Ohio State is bringing in a slew of new coaches, and the new coaches haven’t come close to deciding the starting lineup in 2022 yet. In fact, there are still some undeclared draft-eligible players that are still taking their time with their decisions.

To add to the complications, the defense is going through a major overhaul. Jim Knowles will be instituting a new system, so some returning players from the Kerry Coombs regime might not make it back into the starting lineup.

Nevertheless, here is the way-too-early projection of the Ohio State starting lineup in 2022.

The Ohio State Starting Lineup Projections for 2022

Quarterback: C.J. Stroud

This will be a no-brainer. C.J. Stroud was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season and put together one of the most productive seasons for a quarterback ever at Ohio State.

Running Back: TreVeyon Henderson

TreVeyon Henderson was one of the best true freshmen in the nation last year. He was also one of the best true freshmen in Ohio State history.

Wide Receiver: Marvin Harrison Jr., Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming

This was the starting lineup in the Rose Bowl, and will likely remain the arrangement against Notre Dame in Week 1. Marvin Harrison Jr. will play X-receiver, Julian Fleming will play Z-receiver, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba will resume slot duties.

Emeka Egbuka will also get a lot of reps as a sophomore, playing out of either the Z position or the slot.

Tight End: Gee Scott Jr.

The tight end position is wide open, but Gee Scott Jr. is the most talented in the room. He will play the Y-tight end, while Mitch Rossi will be the H-tight end.

Offensive Line: Paris Johnson Jr., Dawand Jones, Matthew Jones, Harry Miller, Luke Wypler

It’s a sure thing that Paris Johnson Jr. kicks back out to tackle, with Dawand Jones returning to play opposite him. The messy part is the interior of the line, with Harry Miller coming back after missing most of 2021 with an injury. Will he play center like he was planning in 2021, or will he stay at guard while Luke Wypler remains at center?

Either way, Matthew Jones will start at guard after being the sixth lineman last year. Donovan Jackson will take over Jones’ old role, being the first lineman off the bench in 2022.

Defensive Line: Zach Harrison, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Taron Vincent, Tyleik Williams

Another group that is messy on the interior while draft declarations are still incoming.

At end, the designation of starter is likely an arbitrary distinction, as players will get cycled in and out. Zach Harrison and Javontae Jean-Baptiste will get the starts at end, while J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer will get a nearly even split behind them.

The lineup on the interior will depend on who stays and who goes. Jerron Cage is a senior but could choose to use the fifth year of eligibility. If he goes, Taron Vincent will take over at nose, while Tyleik Williams will start at 3-tech after his astounding true freshman season in 2021.

Linebacker: Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers

This was the most confusing position group from last year, and Knowles’ taking over only muddies it further.

Teradja Mitchell could return, but he likely decides he has more to lose than gain by staying. If he goes, and perhaps even if he stays, Steele Chambers starts at WILL, and Tommy Eichenberg starts at MIKE.

Bullet: Ronnie Hickman

Ronnie Hickman was one of the most productive players on the defense last year, so he’s staying right where he is.

Secondary: Sevyn Banks, Denzel Burke, Tanner McCalister, Josh Proctor

Though he is eligible for the draft, Sevyn Banks has more to prove to the NFL. He and Denzel Burke will start on the boundaries, with Cameron Brown being the first corner off the bench.

Tanner McCalister is coming over from Oklahoma State, so his knowledge of Knowles’ system will likely land him a starting role at cover safety. Josh Proctor‘s presence at strong safety was deeply missed in 2021, and he will get back to starting at that spot in 2021.

Specialists: Dominic DiMaccio, Jesse Mirco, Bradley Robinson, Emeka Egbuka, Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Noah Ruggles was the most accurate kicker in college football last year, so he seems like a shoo-in for the NFL. Dominic DiMaccio will take over placekicking duties in 2022.

Bradley Robinson is returning for his sixth year, and Jesse Mirco will return to punting duties in 2022.

Egbuka was one of the most dynamic kick returners in the country last year, so he will continue to run back kickoffs. Smith-Njigba was the second-leading punt returner on the team behind Garrett Wilson in 2021, so his role there will be expanded this year.