Big Ten: Jaamal
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The youth movement is under way in Columbus, and Ohio State likely will need the services of several incoming freshmen for the 2009 season.
The Buckeyes lose 28 seniors and three juniors who will enter the NFL draft a year early, freeing up playing time for talented young players on both sides of the ball. No one will beat out Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, but this will be Pryor's team in the fall, and the coaches will look to build around the uniquely talented rising sophomore.
Most of the immediate needs are located on the defensive side, where Ohio State loses four starters and several other contributors. All-American Malcolm Jenkins and one-time starter Donald Washington both depart, leaving the team a bit thin at cornerback. And while both Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell return at safety, Ohio State will need replacements for them in 2010.
The Buckeyes lose two mainstays at linebacker in James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, who combined for 630 tackles the last three seasons. Though several players look ready to step in, Ohio State must build depth in the defensive midsection through its 2009 class.
Dan "Boom" Herron will enter spring practice as the favorite to take over at running back, but there could be some carries for incoming recruits like Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde. The offensive line gets a lot younger in 2009, and while J.B. Shugarts and Mike Adams could join classmate Mike Brewster in the starting five, Ohio State will try to add pieces up front.
Ohio State also loses its top two wide receivers in Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. While DeVier Posey, Ray Small, Dane Sanzenbacher and Lamaar Thomas look ready to step in, the Buckeyes would be well served to beef up their receiving corps.