As Ohio State opens spring football practice next week, The Dispatch will preview each position group. Today: Special teams.


Returnees: P Drue Chrisman, redshirt senior; K Blake Haubeil, senior


Departures: LS Liam McCullough


Early-enrollee freshmen: n/a


Summer-enrollee freshmen: n/a


Uncertain: K Jake Seibert


Although the Ohio State football team loses its scholarship long snapper, the Buckeyes return their starting kicker and punter.


Punter Drue Chrisman and kicker Blake Haubeil, special teams stalwarts, are back for their senior seasons and give the Buckeyes’ coaches little to sweat about.


Haubeil made 13 of 15 field-goal attempts last season for a clip of 86.7%, the best in the Big Ten, and Chrisman has been one of the best in school history as far as pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line.


Due to Haubeil’s presence and scholarship numbers, signee Jake Seibert is expected to grayshirt and enroll in 2021.


If there’s any issue to sort out on special teams at Ohio State, it’s in the return game.


Freshman receiver Garrett Wilson emerged as the primary punt returner last season, but he faced some difficulty. He muffed a punt in two of the final four games.


Coaches like his athleticism and it potentially gives the Buckeyes a dynamic threat in an important area. They’ve returned only one punt for a touchdown in the past five seasons, and if Wilson continues in the role, it’s likely he’ll find a way to take one across the goal line.


But the Buckeyes also need him to become more comfortable fielding punts.


Coach Ryan Day expressed confidence late last season that Wilson would grow into the role, shared with Demario McCall, who also returns kicks.


“We think he has the ability to be an elite returner,” Day said of Wilson late last season.


jkaufman@dispatch.com


@joeyrkaufman