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ESPN Names Biggest Reason For Optimism For Ohio State In 2019

J.K. Dobbins celebrates a play for Ohio State football.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after a play in the game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Ohio State enters year one of the Ryan Day era projected to be one of the five best teams in the country. The Buckeyes are once again a national title contender.

That doesn't mean OSU doesn't have its share of issues to overcome. Recently, ESPN named the team's quarterback depth as its biggest concern for next season.

Fortunately, the Buckeyes remain loaded at the offensive skill positions and should be strong defensively, at least on paper. Ohio State's defense struggled immensely at times in 2018, and was the major reason for the blowout loss to Purdue.

However, the unit has two new defensive coordinators (Greg Mattison, Jeff Hafley) and added a third top-flight assistant (Al Washington) as well.

Today, ESPN's Tom Van Haaren called the defense the biggest reason for optimism in Columbus for 2019.

Ryan Day's offense was tough for most defenses to stop, but the Ohio State defense had issues throughout the season. While Ohio State is losing defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones, most of the defense is returning next season. Bosa didn't play much of last season anyway, and Chase Young showed a ton of promise in his place. Now, with new defensive coaches Greg Mattison and Al Washington, who came over from Michigan, along with Jeff Hafley, who is coming from the San Francisco 49ers, the defense should be in the top tier in 2019.

Young is the big name for the Buckeyes' 'D' but the group is laden with former four and five-star recruits, so others will be asked to step up. The secondary could be especially strong, with five-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah looking like a budding star and strong safety Jordan Fuller opting to return to school.

Ohio State will open its 2019 season against Florida Atlantic on August 31.