The No. 8 player on this list is one of the most explosive offensive players on the Ohio State football roster, but has dealt with depth chart issues and injuries over his first two years. Fully healthy now, big things are expected for a player still coming into his own.
No. 8 — Demario McCall, rSo H-Back
When given an opportunity with the football early in his career, Demario McCall has made plays.
In his first game as a Buckeye in 2016, McCall scored twice, including a 36-yard catch from Joe Burrow. Two weeks later against Rutgers, McCall reached the end zone again on a 20-yard rush. He also had a 39-yard run in that game as well.
These were just glimpses of what McCall could do in blowouts, while mostly being pointed right between the tackles into a waiting defense.
Last season never really got started for McCall due to injury. Even when he was healthy enough to play — and rushing for 103 yards on 11 carries against Rutgers (and also adding a 35-yard touchdown reception) — Urban Meyer still said McCall wasn’t 100% healthy. Soon after, McCall was shut down for the season and redshirted.
Demario McCall has produced when given an opportunity, but rarely in those opportunities was he ever showcased or put in a position to put the defense in conflict. That should change this season having moved from running back to H-back.
What He Does Well
Demario McCall is fast, explosive, elusive, and dynamic, so what he does well is move the football in long distances quickly.
He is experienced at running between the tackles, which is something OSU hasn’t had at H-back since Curtis Samuel was around.
Even when he was at running back he excelled at catching passes. Those were running back routes, however, and now he is running receiver routes. There was a learning curve for sure, but early returns this spring were positive.
This is McCall’s third year at Ohio State and he is undoubtedly hungry to show what he can do. He has been patient to this point, but eventually patience has to give way to production.
Demario McCall in 2018
McCall moved from running back to H-back at the end of last season, so he had a head start in learning the position this spring. It is a difficult transition to make, but he has also had Parris Campbell to lean on because he has made the same transition.
Being an H-back now, McCall is part of the deepest position on the offense, which will make snaps difficult to come by. If he shows himself as a playmaker this camp, however, the snaps will find him.
This is the healthiest McCall has been at Ohio State and we have seen what he’s been able to do at his previous stages of health and experience.
The H-back position at Ohio State is one that puts players in a position to make plays. McCall is the only H-back on the roster who has experience running between the tackles, which could bring comparisons to Curtis Samuel. The touches won’t compare, but the different ways that McCall will see the football is comparable.
McCall is also expected to be the punt returner and kick returner, which he excelled at in high school. His limited opportunities at Ohio State have not amounted to much, but the potential is there for a touchdown return or two this season.
What They Are Saying
“Demario, he’s kind of a guy that that stuff just comes natural to him. Just with him, with him moving last year to H, we have built a close relationship. We talk about receiver play, we talk about return play. I think that he’s going to be elite at both of those positions. With the kick return, he knows just like I know, there’s not a whole lot of dancing. It’s more of a ‘one step and hit it’ type thing. It’s all about speed. Obviously his vision, he’s natural at that, so he’ll be fine.” — Parris Campbell
“Yes, most definitely. Just because I’m healthy now and the role that I have to get myself to play. Just like coach Meyer said, I have to earn my way onto the field. He’s right. He’s definitely right. He said I came out and did good in our first practice. I’ve just got to keep going and enhance it.” — Demario McCall on this past spring being the most important of his life
“I think I can make a big difference with me being healthy. Special teams wise on kick return and punt return, we didn’t really have that many returns last year. With me being healthy and trusting the guys on the special teams with me, I can make a big difference. We all can make a big difference.” — Demario McCall
“One thing Curt told me is that my time is going to come. And he told me to just do what you’ve got to do and keep getting better and take the offseason very seriously, just like he did, and that’s what I did.” — Demario McCall on what he learned from Curtis Samuel