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Scarlet Sunrise: First freshmen lose black stripes for Buckeyes

Jaxon Smith Njibga-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was one of the stars of spring practice. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: First freshmen lose black stripes for Buckeyes

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

First freshmen lose black stripes for Buckeyes

Ohio State has one of the top incoming freshman classes in the country.

It appears at least two of those freshmen have already impressed during fall camp leading into a shortened season. Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who shattered high school receiving records in Texas, and defensive playmaker Kourt Williams both lost their black stripes Monday, making them officially part of the Ohio State football program.

Both flashed during the three-practice spring camp the Buckeyes squeezed in before the pandemic shut it down; now they are the first in their class to lose their black stripes. Ohio State coach Ryan Day’s words in the past made it easy to figure out why, especially with Smith-Njigba’s stats.

Certainly you can see a guy like Jaxon,” Day said in March. “Who has played in Texas, where they have those activity periods. They have so many reps under their belt, it just makes sense for them. You can see it today.”

And Day made sure to praise Williams, who will be a leader for the Buckeyes in the future.

“I’ll be surprised if he’s not a captain when he’s here,” Day said of Williams. “I’ve said that to him and his parents a million times. They’re probably tired of hearing me say that. He’s a state champ in California, which is not easy to do. He comes from a great program, same program as Wyatt Davis, and the coaches at Bosco do an unbelievable job.”

Neither have played a down for the Buckeyes yet, but they showed they are two of the most talented and hard-working players in their class after they lost their black stripes.

New Lettermen Live hosted by Roosters

Ohio State has a football season and a schedule of games once again. And Lettermen Live hosted by Roosters is back to break it all down.

Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward is joined by an all-star panel of former Buckeyes to talk about the return of football, an October start, difference makers and, of course, the nine-game schedule in the Big Ten.

The guys talk about the return of Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis, which games could be tricky for Ohio State, the schedule as a whole and so much more.

Don’t miss this edition of Lettermen Live hosted by Roosters on Olentangy River Road in Columbus.

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Buckeyes can make playoff case despite short season

Ohio State is only going to have nine games to show it belongs in the College Football Playoff this fall. But is a nine-game sample size enough? What if some of the Buckeyes games are canceled? Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward says Ohio State has the time and opportunity to make the playoff, even with a shortened season.

Part of that can be found here:

There is absolutely a large enough sample size for Ohio State to pass the eye test over nine games. The Buckeyes certainly have enough marquee matchups to prove their worth if they beat Penn State, Michigan and potentially Wisconsin to close the abbreviated season in the conference title game. And while the win totals in different leagues might be higher, what exactly should that count for based on what the Big 12 and ACC have shown about the strength of those conferences?

For more, click here.

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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.