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What loss of Wyatt Davis means for Buckeyes moving forward

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Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis opted out of the college football season. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

What loss of Wyatt Davis means for Buckeyes moving forward

COLUMBUS — The first opt-out has come for Ohio State: Wyatt Davis won’t play this season. He’s heading to the NFL after signing with an agent.

Davis could have been a first-round pick if he left Ohio State after last season. But the All-American guard came back to the Buckeyes for one more shot at a national title and a chance to become just the third two-time consensus All-American offensive lineman in program history.

Now he leaves as one of the most talented offensive linemen to come through the program in recent memory. And he leaves before the season is even announced, as the commissioner and league presidents remain silent on when a schedule could potentially be played.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Davis told Lettermen Row on Friday morning. “It’s tough. I came back to win a national championship, and with the season just getting pushed back and pushed back and no communication from the commissioner, my family and I thought it was best to take the next step.”

What does the loss of Wyatt Davis mean for the Buckeyes moving forward? Lettermen Row is breaking it all down.

Wyatt Davis dominated Ohio State offensive line

Wyatt Davis is one of the best interior offensive linemen in America. In 459 pass-blocking snaps last season, Davis didn’t allow a sack, according to Pro Football Focus. He only allowed a quarterback pressure in five of the Buckeyes 14 games. Alongside center Josh Myer and former Ohio State guard Jonah Jackson, Davis helped the Buckeyes form one of the best offensive lines in the country a season ago. He was the front-man for a Joe Moore Award finalist line. He could have been selected highly in last year’s NFL draft.

Wyatt Davis-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes

Wyatt Davis could have become a two-time All-American at Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Simply put, the loss of Davis is huge for Ohio State. With a Heisman Trophy candidate returning at quarterback, the Buckeyes were counting on a dominant offensive line — led by Davis — to keep their quarterback upright. Now, Ohio State will look to its depth to find the next man up after Wyatt Davis.

How will Buckeyes replace Wyatt Davis?

Ohio State certainly has talent along the offensive line; it also has depth to survive losing a key piece. While it won’t be easy to replace an All-American and potential first-round pick, the Buckeyes have options.

Former four-star guard prospect Matthew Jones has experience and time in the program to potentially step in and take over for Davis, but Jones hasn’t made the leap to significant playing time at any point in his career. Redshirt senior Gavin Cupp battled injuries last season, but he competed in training camp last year and made strides before his injury. He could be a potential option for a year in the place of Davis. Plenty of younger players could be options — but Luke Wypler, Jakob James, Ryan Jacoby and Trey Leroux likely aren’t quite ready for a starting role for the Buckeyes yet.

Then there’s Enokk Vimahi, a redshirt freshman who originally was slated to take two years off of football for a religious mission. When he decided to return to Ohio State instead, it was a huge win for the Buckeyes depth. Now, it might prove to be a difference-maker this season. Vimahi is 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, an ideal size to replace Davis. He received plenty of attention toward the end of the season and leading into spring practice before it was canceled. Don’t be surprised if Vimahi emerges as a leader for the vacant guard spot left by Davis.

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Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.