Which new Buckeyes could have an early impact at Ohio State?

Ohio State welcomed some of its 2016 recruits in January.
SuazePhotog/Courtesy Ohio State Athletics

After losing 16 starters to graduation or early entry into the 2016 NFL draft, Ohio State has lots of jobs open this fall. 

The Buckeyes also have a bunch of highly rated recruits already on campus looking to step into roles vacated by players such as Joey Bosa, Vonn Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Darron Lee and more. 

The thinnest position might be running back, where Elliott had the lion’s share of the carries each of the last two seasons. 

That means Antonio Williams, a four-star running back from New London (N.C.) North Stanly could have the best chance to break through and earn early playing time at Ohio State. 

An early enrollee, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound former Wisconsin commit looks like a bigger, perhaps faster Boom Herron type of runner on film. He makes quick, decisive cuts and displays breakaway speed, at least against the competition he faced in high school (Of course it’s a highlight tape so we wouldn’t expect them to include the runs where he is caught from behind). 

He is not a power back by any means, but Williams runs behind his pads and keeps his feet moving to run through contact.  

Williams is also shown running out of a variety of offensive sets and being effective within multiple blocking schemes. 

He will join senior Bri’onte Dunn and redshirt freshman Mike Weber in the competition for carries, one that could also include junior Curtis Samuel, who spent last season mostly playing in the slot. 

Second choice: Any receiver. 

Despite losing Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall to the NFL, Ohio State will still have a bunch of talented options at receiver. 

The problem is almost none of them have played much. 

Joining the group are four-star prospects Austin Mack (an early enrollee) and Binjimen Victor.