- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore for an undefeated season in 2013 is spring practice. Before those workouts begin, BuckeyeNation will take a look at each position to see where the roster is at -- and where it's going.
Who's back: The Buckeyes didn't lose either of the guys on the two-deep from the end of last season, and while Braxton Miller's job is carved in stone and Kenny Guiton's veteran experience makes him a handy backup, the situation behind center could be even more stable if Cardale Jones is able to keep making progress after one brief, extremely public bout of immaturity last fall.
New face: Early enrollee J.T. Barrett will be limited physically during camp after undergoing surgery to repair a knee ligament torn last October, but he's quickly impressed with his knowledge of the game and leadership skills and should only provide a boost in the meeting room. The best-case scenario for Barrett is a redshirt season that would help separate him from Miller in terms of eligibility. The Buckeyes have the bodies and talent on hand to likely keep him on the sideline for a valuable year of development.
Projected depth chart: Miller starting ahead of Guiton with Jones getting third-team work ahead of the recovering Barrett
Numbers game: There was hardly any doubt that coach Urban Meyer's spread offense and Miller's multipurpose ability were going to be a perfect match, and the two quickly produced huge numbers on the scoreboard and have yet to lose a game together. But there is still room to grow as a passer for the rising junior, and Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman will be working hard to boost two numbers in particular -- 181.5 yards per game through the air and a completion percentage of 58.3 percent.
One to watch: The Buckeyes know what kind of rare athlete they're working with as Miller readies for his third season as the starter, and Guiton's value off the bench was well documented a year ago as a junior. But this spring could wind up revealing plenty about Jones and how he fits in the picture down the road. It depends on how he develops physically, competes on the practice field and absorbs the playbook in meetings. Ohio State's situation at quarterback already would make most programs envious, but if it can get a third guy ready to potentially produced, or at least primed to be a backup when Miller is a senior, there might be more reason for jealousy.
He said it: "I think we’ve got the best backup quarterback in college football, and potentially the best starting quarterback in college football. So, yeah, I guess that is kind of a luxury. ... Having Kenny and having Cardale now coming off a redshirt year and really understanding and buying into the program and what we expect out of him and out of that position certainly puts us in a position that probably a lot of schools would like to be in." -- Herman on signing day
With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore for an undefeated season in 2013 is spring practice.