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Ohio State: Can another walk-on emerge as contributor for Buckeyes?

Garyn Prater-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State walk-on wide receiver Garyn Prater has turned heads in spring camp. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

Ohio State: Can another walk-on emerge as contributor for Buckeyes?

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about a walk-on like Garyn Prater who could emerge to help the Buckeyes? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

The journey from walk-on to scholarship player isn’t easy anywhere, but the degree of difficulty is even higher at Ohio State given how much talent is recruited into the program every year. The odds are certainly long, and yet somehow the Buckeyes might be on the verge of finding another wide receiver capable of making that leap and following the blueprint already being used by C.J. Saunders.

If there’s an option on this current roster capable of pulling off that rare feat, Garyn Prater is the guy to watch. And the redshirt sophomore from Cincinnati put on an absolute show last week during an open practice that for at least one day turned him into the buzz of camp at Ohio State.

Prater made a difficult over-the-shoulder, contested catch on a deep ball down the sideline relatively early in the workout, giving Matthew Baldwin a big chunk of yardage in his camp battle for the starting job. And Prater would cap the practice with another eye-popping grab for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone, making two of the most impressive plays of the morning and making sure everybody in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center knew his name.

Garyn Prater-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Garyn Prater made two jaw-dropping catches for Ohio State during practice on Friday. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“You never know how things happen,” Day said. “He’s showing up every day making plays. C.J. Saunders is a guy who walked on here and earned a scholarship.

“So, if you just keep stacking days up like that and making plays, before you know it he could be on the field, yeah.”

Simply making plays in a practice setting with the Buckeyes is an achievement all by itself for a walk-on, and it’s important to keep that perspective given how hard it is even for four-star recruits to find consistent playing time for the program. For all of the potential Saunders has shown in the chances he’s had to play meaningful snaps, he’s also a reminder that cracking the rotation at wide receiver is a tremendous challenge given the depth and talent at that position.

And yet, it’s also an attainable goal if Prater is able to make those kinds of contributions on a consistent basis. Ohio State obviously isn’t short on targets in the passing game, so it’s not like there is a pressing need for an unexpected threat to emerge. But the Buckeyes also aren’t going to ignore what he could potentially bring to the offense with his size at 6-foot-4, 21o pounds — and hands strong enough to secure the football even in traffic.

Maybe another fairytale story is in the works for the Buckeyes. And if it is, Garyn Prater is the character to watch.

Miss any previous editions of Question of the Day? Catch up right here.

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Awesome !

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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