Dozens of college football teams dot their starting lineups with star players that have plenty of NFL potential, but the ultimate sign of strength and stability in a program is in its depth.
When an anonymous backup has nearly as much talent as the starter ahead of him on the depth chart, then the program is very strong. That's the kind of depth coach Urban Meyer has built at Ohio State, according to an NFL personnel director who spoke to NFL Media analyst Charles Davis.
The foremost position where the Buckeyes have depth worthy of Big Ten envy, of course, is quarterback. Meyer will choose this month between J.T. Barrett, who led the team to an 11-1 regular season last year, and Cardale Jones, who led it to a 3-0 postseason. Braxton Miller, who was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year as a quarterback, is moving to wide receiver.
Beyond that, the running back and linebacker positions are especially deep, as well.
Behind running back Ezekiel Elliott is an especially promising sophomore, Curtis Samuel, who saw action in 14 of 15 games last season and averaged 6.6 yards per carry (58 rushes for 383 yards) with six touchdowns. Meanwhile, backup linebacker Chris Worley's progress has only been slowed by a move from the safety position, and by the fact that OSU's starting linebacking corps is one of the best in the nation.
It's no secret, the Buckeyes are loaded. But even the secrets themselves can play, too.