COLUMBUS — Wyatt Davis has an historic opportunity this fall at Ohio State.
He could’ve been a first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft and one of the top guards taken off the board after his dominant season for the Buckeyes. But instead, the All-American decided to return to Columbus for another shot at a national title. And with that decision, he comes back with a chance to enter truly elite Ohio State company.
Only two offensive linemen in Ohio State history have been a consensus All-American twice in their careers: Orlando Pace and Chris Ward. Pace is considered one of the best offensive linemen in college football history and is already in the College Football Hall of Fame. Ward is on the ballot to be enshrined in 2021.
With another season of crushing blocks and successful knockdowns, Davis could soon join them in Ohio State lore.
“The best thing about Wyatt, the thing that he did best and why everyone is talking about him is because he’s physical,” Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said. “He tries to destroy people. He doesn’t try to just position block or just get the job done. He wants to try to destroy you physically, every single play that he’s in there.”
With an All-America honor already to his name, Davis can now keep building to his resume, one that began with his first career start in the 2018 Big Ten title game. Then he had was in the starting lineup for the Rose Bowl just a month later. Two games won as a starter, two rings won as a starter. That’s an impressive way to begin a career.
Then the hype began to build before last year.
“Oh my gosh,” Studrawa said of Davis last fall before the year started. “He is [ready]. I love the kid. If there was somebody that I had my car parked at night and was walking out of a bar late, I’d be like: ‘Wyatt, are you here?’ [Then] I’d feel comfortable getting in my car.
“That’s how much I think of him. He is a fighter. He is a technician. He is a perfectionist.”
Studrawa wasn’t kidding. Davis was ready.
As a full-time starter for the first time, he instantly became one of the best guards in the country. And as J.K. Dobbins ran through massive holes on his way to a 2,000-yard season, Justin Fields put up video-game numbers and the Ohio State offense thrived, Davis became a cornerstone of the offensive line.
Maybe he won’t become a Heisman Trophy finalist or a College Football Hall of Famer like Pace. But thinking Davis won’t have another dominant year from his right guard spot is foolish.
The only thing that seems to slow Wyatt Davis down is Wyatt Davis, and that’s even a rarity.
“While [wanting to destroy people is] a blessing, it’s a curse too, at times,” Studrawa said. “Sometimes he gets outside the framework of his technique. Sometimes in pass protection, he tries to be a little too aggressive and they get him off-balance, they get him out of whack. We’re trying to keep the same mentality that he has physically and then just trying to fine-tune and perfect his technique so he stays within the framework of the technique he needs to be a good offensive linemen — while keeping the physical play.”
So as he continues to fine-tune his skillset and perfect his craft, Davis is already receiving plenty of national attention as a preseason All-American. He’s also going to be a top candidate for the Outland Trophy, which hasn’t been won by an Ohio State player since Pace in 1996. And he’s going to find himself once again at the top of NFL draft boards. After he makes some Ohio State history, he’ll certainly leave the program to make millions of dollars.
He also could’ve done that last year after his first All-American season, but he chose to come back.
“Yes, I did [submit draft feedback paperwork], but I want to put out there that I’m returning next year,” Davis told Lettermen Row in December. “I haven’t received [feedback] yet. I’m still waiting on it just to see it. But, yes sir, I’m coming back.”
He came back to win a national title. And in doing so, Wyatt Davis can enter historic company at Ohio State.