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NCAA Football Ohio State Buckeyes

5 Ohio State Buckeyes Players To Watch in 2014

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5 Ohio State Players You Need to Watch in 2014

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Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

There are quite a few players who will be leaving the Ohio State Buckeyes after this season. They are mostly seniors, but their absence will give other players a chance to show what they can do.

First of all, the look of Ohio State’s offensive line in 2014 will be very different as they are losing four seniors in left tackle Jack Mewhort, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Corey Linsley, and right guard Marcus Hall. In 2013, the Ohio State offensive line was likely one of the best in college football as they did a wonderful job of protecting Braxton Miller and creating running lanes for Miller and Carlos Hyde. It will still be good in 2014, though it will not be as dominant in 2014 without these four seniors. Head coach Urban Meyer says he sees plenty of potential in the younger offensive linemen.

The Buckeyes will also lose running back Hyde, who ran for over 1,000 yards this season to become the first player under Meyer to accomplish that feat. Backup Jordan Hall will also be gone, which gives a younger running back a chance to step up and try to fill Hyde’s shoes. It will no doubt be a difficult task, but the Buckeyes have plenty of young running backs who all have a lot of talent and potential.

The defensive line has plenty of returning starters and has the potential to be one of the best in college football next season. Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, Tommy Schutt, Joel Hale, and possibly Michael Bennett will be back in 2014. The Ohio State defense has struggled in 2013, but they all have the potential to be better and have an impressive 2014 season despite the fact that they are losing cornerback Bradley Roby and possibly linebacker Ryan Shazier. Roby and Shazier provide talent and experience on the Buckeyes defense, but if they both depart for the NFL the Buckeyes have plenty of defensive talent that can step up and try to fill the void they will leave.

Ohio State is losing plenty of players that made them great in 2013 but also has plenty of young, talented players who will now have a chance to prove themselves. Which Ohio State players will be the ones to watch in 2014?

Jenna Aquino is a Big Ten Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, "Like" her on Facebook, add her to your network on Google, or reach her by e-mail at starz9815@hotmail.com.

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5. Dontre Wilson

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Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Dontre Wilson is best known for his speed, but Meyer has been working to make him a better all-around player so opposing defenses don’t know what to expect when he comes into the game. It seems to be a good plan for Meyer. Wilson rushed for 226 yards on 28 carries, which is 8.1 yards per carry, and one touchdown. He also had 21 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He is the ideal player for Meyer’s offense. Big things are expected of Wilson in 2014, especially with his improvement as an all-around player and the departure of Hyde. Hyde seemed to overshadow other players on the Ohio State offense. Wilson needs to prove himself and show what he can do.

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4. Taylor Decker

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Greg Bartram - USA Today Sports

As a sophomore this season, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound Taylor Decker was the starting right tackle for the Buckeyes. He will be the only returning starter on the Buckeyes’ offensive line in 2014 and is a likely candidate to replace senior left tackle Mewhort. He needs to step into a leadership role since he will be one of the older players on what is going to be a young offensive line.

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3. Joey Bosa

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Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

As a freshman in 2013, defensive lineman Joey Bosa impressed (and surprised) many with his talents. They knew he was good they just didn’t know he was going to be that good that quickly. Bosa was rated as the fourth-best defensive end recruit in the country. In 2013, he had 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and recovered a fumble. He started out the season as a backup but proved himself quickly and soon became a starter. His first career start was against the California Golden Bears early in the 2013 season. The defensive line seemed to excel more once Bosa became a starter. Things are looking very good for Bosa and the Ohio State defensive line in 2014.

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2. Noah Spence

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Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports

Noah Spence did not get much attention in 2013, even though he had flashes of greatness throughout the season. He finished the regular season with 58 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. His production does closely match that of other great Ohio State defensive players like Will Smith, Cameron Heyward, and John Simon. Spence was also the top-ranked defensive end in his recruiting class. His impressive 2013 season was just his sophomore season and his potential is unlimited heading into 2014.

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1. Ezekiel Elliott

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Greg Bartram - USA Today Sports

Ezekiel Elliott will likely be the starting running back for the Buckeyes in 2014. He is being called the one to beat in the spring since his backup duties this season produced 262 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Elliott is very versatile, powerful, quick, and has good hands to make him a threat to receive the ball as well. He is the ideal candidate to replace Hyde, and it may be difficult for the other Ohio State running backs to beat him out since they do not have all of these traits that Elliott has.