Around the-Ozone Water Cooler: Which Buckeye Senior Will Be Introduced Last on Saturday
By The-Ozone Staff
It's always one of the great scenes every year in every high school or college sport – Senior Day. The emotions of the players and coaches are no longer hidden, and the fans get their opportunity to show appreciation for individual players with ovations. It's four or five years in the making, and it's always something that the players will remember.
Ohio State football's Senior Day is this Saturday, which got us talking about our expectations for the introductions. Namely, which Buckeye would be the final senior introduced, as the final senior introduced usually has special meaning for the coaches and fans. For instance, in 2006 it was Troy Smith – an eventual Heisman Trophy winner, and last year it was a limping John Simon, who was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
We've got our picks, how about yours?
Rob Ogden – Urban Meyer has left no doubt about which senior he thinks is Ohio State's most valuable. It's Jack Mewhort. He's called Mewhort the team's best offensive player, and the best practice players he's ever been around. He said it was "devastating" to play part of Saturday's game without the left tackle.
With that being said, Mewhort isn't exactly a fan favorite. Not because he's undeserving of praise, but because as an offensive lineman, he vastly under-appreciated. If it came down to a fan popularity contest, backup quarterback Kenny Guiton would likely be the last guy announced, and might get the loudest roar when he jogs out on Saturday.
The suspensions likely take cornerback Bradley Roby and running back Carlos Hyde out of the mix despite also being fan favorites. So who's left? Philly Brown? C.J. Barnett? Christian Bryant? Could be, but I'm sticking with Mewhort. Meyer's man crush is much too strong for it to be anyone else.
Tony Gerdeman – I'm pretty torn on this one. Part of the staging of Senior Day is to save the biggest ovation for last, but sometimes that can be difficult to make happen if the guy you'd like to give the honor to is an offensive lineman. After all, while fans love offensive linemen, coaches love them a whole lot more.
That's why I think Urban Meyer would like to go with left tackle Jack Mewhort here, but instead I think he'll go with quarterback Kenny Guiton. Going with Guiton will give the fans what they want, because I don't think there's any question that that's what the fans want, but it will also send a larger message to those Buckeyes – current and future – to stick it out if they aren't seeing the field as much as they'd like.
Basically, if they persevere and put in the work, being the final introduction on a Senior Day can happen to anybody. Guiton has said numerous times that he can't believe all of the things that have happened to him this season, and this will be one more thing, and a very big one.
Patrick Murphy – The easy answer to this question, and probably the correct one, would be Kenny Guiton. They say you save the best for last and he will likely receive the biggest ovation. Fans have fallen in love with Guiton this year due to his heroics early in the season, so much so that they began to forget about Braxton Miller at one point.
Guiton’s story is something unique. A small-time recruit who got an opportunity to come to a big-time school. He didn’t factor in to the coaches’ plans initially and was almost out of the program. Since then he has turned his life and career around and shined in the process. Guiton is the ultimate underdog who managed to win National Player of the Week for his performance against California this year.
Everyone loves this kind of story and to introduce him last will get the fans going before kickoff (just as it did with John Simon a year ago). It also would be an honor to someone who has really put in his time at Ohio State and earned the right to be recognized for what he has done on and off the field.
If it weren’t for Kenny Guiton, this day would focus mostly on Carlos Hyde. Another player who has faced adversity and responded from it, Hyde turned his suspension for the first three games and used it as motivation. He is on the verge of becoming Urban Meyer’s first 1,000-yard running back and will likely do it after being honored.
Both players deserve their moment to shine, but Hyde’s will likely be during the game, while Guiton’s comes in pregame.
Brandon Castel – It’s been an interesting run of Senior Days in Columbus over the last three years. Two years ago the headliners were a group of guys who put the program on probation, and last year the team’s best senior and most beloved captain had to hobble out to midfield for a pre-game hug with Urban Meyer.
The same will be true of Christian Bryant this year, which is why he’s my pick for the senior who will be introduced last on Saturday. If Bryant somehow jumps up to the front of the line, then it stands to reason captain Jack Mewhort has to be the guy at the end of the line. He just seems to epitomize everything Meyer values in a football player and a football team, and he’s probably been the best player on the best offensive line in the Big Ten.
It would be hard for me to argue against Mewhort as the crescendo on Senior Day at Ohio Stadium, but I think it would be cool for the four senior offensive linemen – Mewhort, Linsley, Norwell and Marcus Hall – to come out together at the end. They’ve been the strength of this football team all year and no unit has made a bigger turnaround since Meyer arrived in Columbus than that group up front.
I know a lot of my colleagues – and a lot of the fans – would like to pick Kenny Guiton, but I think the offensive line deserves some recognition for what they’ve meant to this program over the past two years.
John Porentas - I'm going with Christian Bryant. Kenny Guiton is probably the fan's choice, but I think Meyer views senior day activities as being for the team, not the fans. That makes Bryant and Mewhort the top choices, and I think Meyer will gravitate to Bryant because of the leadership role he assumed on the team, both before and after his injury.