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Lessons learned from spring practice: Ohio State Buckeyes

Spring practice is in the books, which means we can assess the progress -- or lack thereof -- from those 15 practice sessions. Some position battles have been solidified; others remain in flux until well after fall camp opens.

This week, we'll take a look at each team and what we've learned. Up next is Ohio State:

1. The quarterback pecking order is in place.

There was never any question that J.T. Barrett would be The Man at quarterback for the Buckeyes, and his leadership will be extra important for a unit replacing so many starters and contributors. But as we've seen the past couple of years, the backup quarterback can become critical in a hurry in Columbus.

Redshirt freshman Joe Burrow left no doubt this spring that he will be next in line should something happen to Barrett. Burrow played well during practice and then threw for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game. He moved past Stephen Collier in the race for the No. 2 role. Neither will really push Barrett for playing time, but Urban Meyer likes to have his quarterbacks run a lot and that increases the possibility for injury.

Of course, the Buckeyes will bring in another very talented quarterback this summer in freshman Dwayne Haskins, who might be good enough to wrest the No. 2 position away. But for now, Burrow is the backup, and Ohio State can feel pretty good about its depth at the most important position.

2. The running back spot remains unclear.

Ohio State made a seamless transition from Carlos Hyde to Ezekiel Elliott the last time it had to replace a superstar tailback. The Buckeyes may do so again, but the picture after spring is not so clear cut as when Elliott ascended. After spring practice ended, Meyer said senior Bri'onte Dunn and redshirt freshman Mike Weber were "neck and neck."

Dunn has the seniority edge but missed some time this spring and sat out the spring game with a minor injury. Weber, once the subject of an intense recruiting battle between Ohio State and Michigan, showed off some serious skills in the spring game. Many people expected him to run away with the job this spring because of his talent, but that hasn't been the case, at least according to the coaches' comments.

Either one will have huge shoes to fill in succeeding Elliott, the No. 4 pick in the NFL draft who was as good a blocker as he was a runner.

3. The defensive line shouldn't see much dropoff.

Ohio State is replacing three starters on the defensive line, including No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa and all-conference tackle Adolphus Washington. Yet the position doesn't seem to be in danger of dropping off after what everyone saw this spring.

With Washington suspended and Bosa ejected early from the Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame, the Buckeyes got an early look at the future of the D-line. Defensive end Sam Hubbard is a blossoming star. Junior Jalyn Holmes stood out often this spring at the other end spot, where starter Tyquan Lewis also returns. Redshirt freshman Jashon Cornell, a former defensive end recruit, appears to have found a home in Washington's old place on the interior. Throw in tackles Michael Hill, Tracy Sprinkle and several others, and this might be Ohio State's deepest and most talented unit, amazingly enough.