You Are Cordially Invited
With the end of the college football season comes the start of the college football all-star games which further allow players to showcase their abilities for the next level.
Ohio State defensive ends Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis have accepted invitations to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, while left tackle Jamarco Jones, linebacker Chris Worley, and quarterback J.T. Barrett have accepted invitations to the East-West Shrine Game. More names will be announced in the coming days as well.
For Holmes, the decision to play in the Senior Bowl was easy.
“It was a no-brainer for me,” he said. “It’s another chance to play on a big stage and showcase my talents to NFL scouts. I’m blessed to be in that situation. When I got the invite, I accepted the same day.”
The game was something he watched as a fan, but with a much different purpose than most viewers.
“Ever since I was little, I told my mom and dad I was going to play in the NFL,” he said. “I remember watching Senior Bowls since I was little. Now that I’m part of it, it’s a dream come true.”
Of course, the very fact that he has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl means that his college days are almost over, and he’s not trying to wish it away too quickly.
“It’s all sinking in a little bit,” he said. “It’s our last game. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment and not wish away time. Next year I won’t have this. I won’t be in the Woody. So, I’m trying to enjoy every little thing.”
A Full Allotment?
The Ohio State players have been adamant that nobody on the team will be skipping the bowl game, but rumors persist. Asked on Wednesday if Meyer was expected anybody to miss the Cotton Bowl, he didn’t seem to think so.
“I think we’ll have everybody,” he said. “Obviously we announced that A.J. Alexander is a medical, Kierre Hawkins is transferred. And I think that’s it right now.”
Urban Meyer has mentioned several times this season how he has never had this many fifth-year seniors, and each of them has contributed this season. The contributions weren’t just on the field, however, they were also off the field — in the winter, in the summer, in the spring, and everywhere in between.
They were leading before practice, during practice, and after practice. And when the games began, their teammates followed them.
Players like J.T. Barrett, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis, Tracy Sprinkle, and Chris Worley have seen it all in their time at Ohio State, and they’ve shared their collective wisdom all along the way.
Meyer knows it will be difficult to replace what the Buckeyes are about to lose.
“I think so,” he said. “You know, I think this is a special place in my heart — my heart, our heart here, because you guys know, these fifth-year guys are not just fantastic players, but they’re the nuts and bolts of this program. They own this program, and they’ve been — I can’t ask for any more from them.
“That’s always a challenge when you lose elite leadership, and that will be. The good thing is this is a very healthy program right now. There’s some very good young leaders coming up the ranks.”
Day is Sticking Around
When Urban Meyer talks about the health of the program being strong right now, he is not just talking about the players and the depth chart that has been built over the last three or four years. He is also talking about his coaching staff.
Several of his coaches had opportunities to move on after this season, but they didn’t, which is only going to make the program stronger next season.
“I’ll say this, too, just about Coach Day. Coach Day had the opportunity to potentially be a head coach in the SEC and decided to stay at Ohio State,” Meyer said “He’s done a phenomenal job for us. There have been other coaches on our staff have opportunities to move on and they haven’t, so this coaching staff is very strong right now.”