The Price is Right
For every freshman, experiencing the first workout or first practice is an eye-opening experience.
At Ohio State, freshmen can no longer get by with just being bigger or stronger or faster than the players they are competing against. Sure, those things help, but until players get the necessary technique down, they will be at a disadvantage.
That was the case for offensive lineman Wyatt Davis. A 5-star signee out of high school, Davis redshirted as a true freshman in 2017 while he worked on building the necessarily skill set. It was never an easy process and it was crystal clear that he was no longer in high school.
“I was used to going up against guys in high school that were good competition,” Davis said. “But there would be some games that I would go up against guys that I was stronger than and I didn’t have to truly rely on technique all the time just because I could beat them with me being bigger and stronger. But once you get up here, the technique and stuff like that really matters because it puts you in the right position. That was one of my big problems, was just getting used to that. ”
Davis played tackle in high school but came to Ohio State as a guard. He got a first-hand look at the requirements to be a starting offensive lineman at Ohio State from watching All-American Billy Price in 2017. It helped prepare him for his first two starts of his Buckeye career in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.
“Moving from tackle to guard and getting used to the speed of the game and how fast you’ve got to be ready to change direction and work on footwork and hand placement, it all matters because it puts you in the right position,” he said. “So seeing him my freshman year doing stuff like that, it really was like, ‘Wow, this is what I’ve got to do. This is how I’ve got to be in the future.’”
This past season, Buckeye junior safety Jordan Fuller became just the 30th First-Team Academic All-American in Ohio State football history.
He carried a 3.81 overall grade point average majoring in business. He was a Second-Team honoree in 2017.
“There were a lot of hours that went into that,” Fuller said. “There was a lot of studying. It’s a great honor, especially to get first team this year. I didn’t know I could be on it with just how hard my classes were. I was able to pull it out.”
Exactly how hard were the classes?
“Business calculus was tough. Stats was tough, too,” he said. “It’s the classes along with just the stress of football. You’re so tired and sometimes you don’t feel like doing the work. I think that is the biggest challenge instead of just the material of the classes.”
What kind of team recognition comes from such an honor?
“You get the one-on-one handshake and congratulations like that,” he said. “Maybe they will bring it up in front of the team. If not, it’s cool. I’m just happy I was able to do it. I was happy I got to make my family proud.”
With an 11-yard carry in the second quarter of the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State running back JK Dobbins went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
He became the first Buckeye to ever rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.
The achievement did not go unnoticed by Dobbins.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I worked hard for it. I want to credit my o-line as well. They do a great job and the offensive coordinators do a good job.”
Dobbins has split carries with Mike Weber in each of his first two seasons, and he took it in stride.
“I am not a selfish person. I am a team player first,” he said. “Whatever the team needs to do to win a game, that’s what we’re going to do. If it’s him getting 30 carries and I get 5, and if we win, I’m fine with it.”
Now, however, Dobbins can’t help but admit to being a little excited that he might be getting more carries with Weber gone.
“Of course I am,” he said. “It was great having Mike here. It was great having him here. If I am the only guy next year, then I’ll be excited for that.”
Does that mean Dobbins could be in line for 2,000 yards next year?
“We’ll see about that,” he said smiling.