Ohio State RB Master Teague IIIJay LaPrete/Associated Press
Key Departures: Justin Fields (QB), Trey Sermon (RB), Chris Olave (WR), Thayer Munford (OT), Wyatt Davis (OG), Tuf Borland (LB), Pete Werner (LB), Baron Browning (LB), Shaun Wade (CB), Marcus Williamson (CB), 
Key Returnees: Master Teague III (RB), Garrett Wilson (WR), Jameson Williams (WR), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR), Julian Fleming (WR), Harry Miller (OC/OG), Paris Johnson Jr. (OT), Zach Harrison (DE)
Way-Too-Early Synopsis
The big question for Ohio State is, who actually comes back on defense?
If 2020 recruit C.J. Stroud is even “average Big Ten quarterback” competent, the Buckeyes offense should remain great. They have several more-than-capable running backs and a wide receiver depth chart with so many recruiting stars it might as well be a planetarium.
However, 13 Buckeyes entered the national championship with at least 13 tackles on the season, and each one of them is eligible for the draft.
Of course, they’re all also eligible to return, and Shaun Wade is the only one with significant draft potential. Even Wade’s draft stock is substantially lower than it was at the start of the season, so he might be tempted to come back too.
Our guess is the linebacker corps will be hit the hardest, as Pete Werner, Tuf Borland and Baron Browning have each been in Columbus for at least four years. If that whole group bounces, the Buckeyes could have defensive issues on par with the 2018 season.
That team still went 13-1, though, so we’re not that concerned. But there are enough question marks for the 2021 Buckeyes to keep them from having a strong claim at one of the top two spots in the way-too-early rankings.