COLUMBUS — Ohio State is ready for camp to start.
After sitting out a week last month due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program, the Buckeyes have been gearing up for practices to kick off Friday. But as the NCAA Board of Governors is set to meet Tuesday and the Big Ten waits to make its own decisions about the season, Ohio State can only hope it is given the green light to begin full training camp in preparation for the altered, conference-only schedule.
“I mean, any football is better than no football,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said in a media teleconference back in April. “I think it kind of depends on how this all shakes out, but we’ll do whatever we need to do and we’ll make it work, whatever they tell us the parameters are. We’ll adapt, and we’ll play.”
LB Teradja Mitchell
For the second consecutive offseason, Teradja Mitchell has been tabbed as a breakout candidate. It could have come last year, but Mitchell was slowed down by a few tweaks, which sidelined him at points in the year. Now in his third season with the Buckeyes, Mitchell is making his way up the depth chart and into the conversation among Ohio State’s best linebackers. To complete the climb into star status, he needs a good training camp.
RB Trey Sermon
Ohio State looked thin at running back up until late March, when Oklahoma graduate transfer running back Trey Sermon entered the transfer portal and chose the Buckeyes. Sermon has plenty of experience, with more than 2,000 career rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns with the Sooners. Sermon wasn’t able to enroll early for the Buckeyes, so he missed out on the few spring practices the Buckeyes squeezed in before the shutdown. He’ll have training camp to build chemistry with Justin Fields and the offense. The could-be superstar needs camp to happen soon in order to solidify himself at the top of the depth chart and in a conversation among the league’s best tailbacks.
DB Josh Proctor
The ‘eraser’ of last season’s dominant defense, Jordan Fuller, is gone to the NFL. He was a captain for the Silver Bullets and a key piece to what the Buckeyes did defensively. Enter Josh Proctor, who has all the physical tools needed to be an All-American safety candidate. Last time Proctor was on the field in a game, he struggled against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. With no spring practice to grow more comfortable as the last line of defense, Proctor needs fall camp in order to patch up what needs to be worked on and find a groove at safety. Ohio State needs Josh Proctor to be a force in the secondary. Training camp will be a big time to decide if that will be the case.
QBs Jack Miller, CJ Stroud
No two Buckeyes missed out on more precious spring practice time than C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller, the freshmen blue-chip quarterbacks who enrolled in January. Both were expecting to have 15 practices workouts in the spring. They each got three practices, no spring game and then were sent home to learn the complex offense remotely. Both Stroud, a former five-star, and Miller, a four-star, are smart. They still have plenty of time to prove themselves. Fall camp could be the perfect opportunity for one of them to emerge as the heir-apparent to Justin Fields after he leaves for the NFL. First, they need fall camp to start on time.
DE Tyreke Smith
The next up in a long line of dominant defensive ends, Smith has battled injuries throughout his career. Finally healthy, he could catapult up draft boards with a great showing in 2020. But fall camp needs to start for his to take the next step. Smith began to show promise last season opposite of Chase Young, arguably the best pass rusher in Ohio State history. Now, it’s Smith’s turn. Without a large enough sample size this season, he might not be able to make his move into first-round status. He needs fall camp to come so he can get on the field and continue proving the injuries are behind him.