The Bobcats O-line has a lot going for it heading in to this season, returning four starters from a 2022 offense that was one of the league’s most productive, leading the MAC in total yards (5,900), passing yards (3,893), and yards per play (6.2) while finishing fourth in rushing yards (2,007).
Moving on to 2023, can the group be even better?
There are definitely signs they can as all four returning starters have at least one year of starting experience at their positions so they should be working on the finer points of their games. Also, the chemistry they’ve developed over the past couple years working together should help field a cohesive unit.
Surveying the pre-season publications, many have at least one or more of the returning starters as All-MAC-caliber performers in 2023.
To be better though the Bobcats will need to appoint a new starter at right guard for graduating 2022 First-Team, All-MAC Hagen Meservy as well as continuing to develop depth across the line, especially on the interior. And while the Bobcats likely don’t have another 300 pounder at the ready who can pull off a cartwheel with the technical brilliance displayed by Meservy in a November 2019 game against Western Michigan, they do have an experienced option at the ready to carry the torch into 2023.
All that being said, let’s go into more detail about the 2023 offensive line.
- Aidan MacDonlald
- Bryce Ramer
- Hagen Meservy
- Brody Rodgers
- Vance Van Every (Transfer, UT-Martin [FCS])
- Dane Jackson (Transfer, North Texas)
- Davion Weatherspoon
- Jay Amburgey
- Joe Oakes
- Demond Arter
- Kaden Rogers
- Shedrick Rhodes Jr.
- Jake Skelly
- Christophe Atkinson
- Kam Wright
- Parker Titsworth
- Kurt Danneker
- Joseph Habinowski
- Jarian Shelby
- Jacob Dennison
- Joseph Watson
The ‘Cats return their man in the middle from last year in the form of Parker Titsworth, who stands around six-foot-one and 300 lbs. The North Allegheny High School product is the latest in a long line of successful players who started their Ohio careers as walk-ons who eventually became key starters, joining Ohio legends such as safety Jarren Hampton, corner Bradd Ellis, linebackers Chad and Keith Moore, and right tackle Ryan “Bloodbath” McGrath, to name a few.
The three-time all-MAC Academic center joined the ‘Cats in 2019, earning a scholarship in camp in 2021 then getting his first major action in week four of that season against Northwestern when Nick Sink was injured. Titsworth has never looked back, anchoring the line from the middle since.
On the left side, tackle Jay Amburgey returns for his fifth season in Athens and brings good size to the position at around six-foot-five and 300 lb. Amburgey started 10 games at left tackle in 2022, moving from right tackle after the 2021 season in which he appeared in all 12 games.
At left guard, Ohio features the imposing Kurt Danneker, who stands about six-foot-four and tips the scales at around 332 lbs. Based on his physical stature and his talent for pushing defenders around, Dannerker might remind Bobcat fans of former ‘Cat left guard Joe Anderson, who at 340 lbs dominated the competition en route to a 2018 first-team All-MAC nod.
The two-time all-MAC Academic performer Danneker should be poised for his best season yet. After the 2021 season was lost in game one due to a knee injury, the Ohio guard worked his way back to his starting role in 2022. By the end of 2022, Danneker was part of a unit that had some very effective stretches, like in a 37-21 win over rival Miami where Danneker and company controlled a very good defense via the ground game in the second half, piling up 170 rushing yards in that half alone.
The man at right tackle heading into 2023 is Shedrick Rhodes Jr. The six-foot-five, 320 pounder got his first major action in 2021, appearing in multiple games platooning with Amburgery at right tackle. In 2022, Rhodes Jr. made the right tackle spot his own, starting most of the team’s games.
Heading into camp, the top candidate at starting right guard likely is six-foot-three, 315 lbs. Christophe Atkinson. The two-time all-MAC Academic performer began his career with the Bobcats in 2019 and is an experienced player, appearing in 22 games in the last two seasons to cover interior line injuries, including a bowl game start against Wyoming last year.
With Atkinson moving to a starters role and the graduation of key interior guy Bryce Ramer, Ohio will continue to groom backups in this area, with the question likely only fully answered as opportunities arise during the season and based on how the new backups handle those opportunities.
Based on last season, the immediate backups at tackle are more defined with Jacob Dennison and Joseph Habinowski headlining this group. The six-foot-five, 315 lbs. Dennison transferred to Ohio for 2022, logging ten games with some spot starts on both the right and left side.
Similar in stature to Dennison, Habinowski appeared in 10 career games including eight last season.
This is the third entry in a series of Ohio football previews. The next piece will focus on the front seven. Please look forward to that! If you missed any other entries, please check out our preseason previews storystream here.
Ohio kicks off their 2023 campaign Saturday, August 26th at 7 p.m. ET, as they travel to San Diego, California to face off against the San Diego State Aztecs.