Depth for a football team comes to bear only if someone stirs the pot, and Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith is seeing that happen with his group this spring.

With the starters and regulars all returning from last season — Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, K.J. Hill and Austin Mack — and with young players such as C.J. Saunders, Jaylen Harris and Demario McCall eager to play, the mix is there.

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Harris, in particular, might be one who could crack into the rotation as the spring progresses. At 6 feet 5, 215 pounds, he stands out to begin with. And after redshirting as a freshman last year, he made a splash during the time the media was allowed to watch practice this week.

“Jaylen is a very talented kid,” Smith said after practice Thursday. “You don’t see a kid that size who can move like he moves very often. That’s why we liked him in recruiting. That’s his shtick.”

What he needs to do to move from the practice field in the spring to the playing field in the fall is clear-cut, too, Smith said.

“He’s got to perform at the level we expect consistently, and then he’s got a chance to do whatever he wants to do because he’s that talented,” he said. “But he’s got to out-perform guys to take spots … and he shows flashes where he might be able to do that.”

As far as Smith, Urban Meyer and the rest of the offensive coaches are concerned, their play list is always open to change. For example, when someone threw the name of Hill, the leading receiver last season, out as an example, Smith used it, and not just because Hill is restricted from practicing this spring as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

“If somebody’s playing at a higher level than K.J., they’re going to play over K.J. I love K.J., it’s not just K.J., it’s any one of them,” Smith said. “If Austin Mack is not playing as well as Jaylen Harris, Jaylen Harris is going to play over Austin Mack.

“And I know what you mean, there’s some loyalty to a guy who’s played maybe, or you just expect will be the starter the next year. But there’s no expectation here. Everybody’s got to go hard.”

The purpose is twofold.

“That gives a young guy hope,” Smith said. “And it keeps those older guys motivated to stay ahead of the curve, stay ahead of those younger guys because they know people are coming after their spot.”