COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State’s top five showdown against Notre Dame is getting closer, which means it’s time to see who will see the field Saturday for the Buckeyes.

Nearly every starter returns on defense as well as several key pieces on offense. But there are a few starting positions that still have not been determined and who will replace those players is equally important.

Below is a look at the Buckeyes’ expected two-deep roster entering the 2022 season.

Quarterback

  • #1 C.J. Stroud
  • #2 Kyle McCord

Stroud looks to build on his record-breaking 2021 season and show he belongs in the conversation for greatest quarterback to ever come through Columbus. Unsurprisingly, Ryan Day named McCord the backup for a second year in a row.

Running back

  • #1 TreVeyon Henderson
  • #2 Miyan Williams

Henderson broke the record for most touchdowns (15) by an Ohio State true freshman last season and led the nation in yards per carry. With a full season under his belt, expect even more success from OSU’s feature back. The Buckeyes struggled in short yardage situations last year and it’s a position they’ll ask Miyan Williams to fill as the bigger, more physical back. True freshman Dallan Hayden is next up after Evan Pryor suffered a season-ending knee injury during fall camp.

Slot receiver (Y)

  • #1 Jaxon Smith-Njigba
  • #2 Kamryn Babb

Smith-Njigba put together one of the greatest seasons by an OSU receiver as a sophomore. Last year, he had broke the following OSU records: most receiving yards in a single season (1,605), most receptions in a season (95), most receiving yards in a single game (347, Rose Bowl record) and most catches in a game (15 against Nebraska and Utah). Egbuka dazzled as a special teams threat and will see plenty of playing time.

Wide receiver (X)

  • #1 Marvin Harrison
  • #2 Jayden Ballard

At 6 feet 4 and 205 pounds, Harrison is the biggest wideout at OSU. The son of NFL Hall of Famer, Marvin Harrison, is ready to begin carving out his own legacy and showed what he can do in the Rose Bowl with three touchdowns.

Wide receiver (Z)

  • #1 Emeka Egbuka
  • #2 Julian Fleming

Fleming, the highest-rated receiver recruit in OSU history, hasn’t seen the field much his first two years after battling a lingering shoulder injury and hamstring issue. But the junior was candid in fall camp saying he lacked the maturity and discipline needed to be a top player at OSU. That should change this season. Meanwhile, Babb was voted captain for a second year in a row and appears to finally be healthy after suffering four separate ACL injuries. He will wear the Block O jersey for the Buckeyes this year.

Tight end

  • #1 Cade Stover
  • #2 Mitch Rossi

Listing these two players one and two is nearly a formality as they will be used interchangeably. Rossi has a slight advantage as a blocker while Stover gets the nod in the pass game but of them perform well enough to have the confidence of tight end coach and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

Left Tackle

  • #1 Paris Johnson
  • #2 Zen Michalski

Right Tackle

  • #1 Dawand Jones
  • #2 Josh Fryar

Center

  • #1 Luke Wypler
  • #2 Jakob James

Right Guard

  • #1 Matthew Jones
  • #2 Enokk Vimahi

Left Guard

  • #1 Donovan Jackson
  • #2 Toby Wilson

Defensive end

  • #1 J.T. Tuimoloau
  • #2 Zach Harrison
  • #3 Tyler Friday

Jack (defensive end/linebacker hybrid)

  • #1 Jack Sawyer
  • #2 Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Ohio State’s defensive ends will once again torment opposing quarterbacks. The Buckeyes lacked consistent pressure last year but the growth of Tuimoloau and Sawyer, and the return of Tyler Friday from injury, will restore OSU to the top pass rush in college football.

Defensive Tackle (3-tech)

  • #1 Taron Vincent
  • #2 Tyleik Williams

Defensive tackle (nose)

  • #1 Jerron Cage
  • #2 Ty Hamilton
  • #3 Mike Hall

Ohio State lost Haskell Garrett but plenty of experience is still there at defensive tackle starting with Vincent and Cage who have been at OSU for more than decade combined. The most talented tackle is arguably Tyleik Williams who saw plenty of reps as a true freshman.

Linebackers

  • #1 Tommy Eichenberg
  • #2 Steele Chambers
  • #3 Cody Simon
  • #4 Teradja Mitchell
  • #5 Chip Trayanum

Eichenberg and Chambers return as the starting linebackers in coordinator Jim Knowles’ system that only puts two on the field at the same time. But playing time will come for Simon, Mitchell and Trayanum when rotation is needed.

Cornerbacks

  • #1 Denzel Burke
  • #2 Cameron Brown

Last season, Burke became first Ohio State true freshman to start the season opener on defense since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1996. He recorded a stretch of 293 snaps without allowing a touchdown, led the team with 13 passes defended and started all 13 games earning third-team all-Big Ten Conference honors.

Brown on the other hand overcame an Achilles injury in the second game of 2020 to play 11 games last season while starting five of those games. Depth is a bit of a concern but the Buckeyes’ top two is solid.

Free Safety

  • #1 Ronnie Hickman
  • #2 Lathan Ransom

Hickman led the defense in tackles last season and has an instinct for dissecting a play and wastes no time acting on those instincts. Ransom has those exact same traits and has drawn praise several times from Knowles during fall camp. Ransom is the best backup safety in the nation and will be used frequently this year.

Strong Safety

  • #1 Josh Proctor
  • #2 Kourt Williams

Proctor returns after suffering a season-ending leg fracture in week two agianst Oregon. Missing a season, and knowing this is his last at OSU, gives proctor all the motivation he needs to anchor the defense.

Nickelback

  • #1 Tanner McCalister
  • #2 Cam Martinez

McCalister played for Knowles for four years at Oklahoma State before transferring to OSU. His knowledge of Knowles’ system and experience will make him an asset and leader on this defense.