Football

Buckeye Football Freshman Focus 2019 — LB Cade Stover

Cade Stover Ohio State Buckeyes

Back in April of 2018, Cade Stover famously announced his commitment to Ohio State in a video where he was also in the middle of farming.

As a recruit, he had offers from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Penn State, Notre Dame, and others. Stover was ranked the No. 7 outside linebacker, the No. 114 player in the nation, and the No. 4 player in Ohio.

He was named Ohio’s Mr. Football following a senior season at Lexington High School where he tallied 163 tackles, four interceptions, 1,477 yards rushing, and 17 rushing touchdowns.

As a sophomore, he racked up 190 tackles (14.6/game), and was also a First-Team All-State pick as a junior. Stover was also Second-Team All-State in basketball as a junior and senior.

He enrolled at Ohio State this summer.

What To Like

At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Cade Stover already has good size, but also the frame to add more weight. There is some thought that he could outgrow linebacker, and based on his style of play, that would be an unfortunate development for those who appreciate solid linebacker play.

For his Lexington team, Stover plays a middle-of-the-field safety role, but does it like a middle linebacker. In fact, he is reminiscent of former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who played safety in college. Stover looks like he would fit right in as the middle linebacker of a Tampa 2 defense.

It isn’t unusual for high schools to put their best athletes in positions like the one Stover plays. It gives them more opportunities to make plays on larger patches of the field, which Stover absolutely did last season.

Even lining up behind the linebackers, he is still able to make plays at the line of scrimmage.

Stover is an intelligent player who is asked to cover nearly the entire field, which he does quite well. He is also a sound tackler, in that most of his tackles make quite a bit of sound.

Sometimes in recruiting, you’ll see a lot of top-ranked linebackers racking up only 50 or so tackles in a season, which is always curious. Sometimes those players are edge rushers who are too small to be defensive ends in college, and other times they just don’t make many plays.

Cade Stover is not one of those linebackers. He makes plays all over the field, and does it on both sides of the ball.

The Potential

Given the package of abilities, Stover’s potential is intriguing. He is tall and has a frame that OSU strength coach Mickey Marotti can certainly work with.

In Ohio State’s defense, he would fit in quite well at Mike or Will, and looks like a three-down linebacker because he is not out of place as a pass defender, and in fact has plenty of experience with it.

He is a well-rounded defender.

The Expectations

The linebacker depth chart for the Buckeyes has eight returning players, which is going to make life difficult for Cade Stover and the other two freshman linebackers (Tommy Eichenberg, Craig Young).

Special teams will be the first place where Stover will have an opportunity to make his mark, and don’t be surprised if that happens pretty quickly.

Wherever Stover ends up, be it the Will, Mike, or Sam, he is going to have two or three guys in front of him, but you can expect him to be one of those freshmen who works hard and keeps his head down that the coaches and teammates talk positively about.

The Bottom Line

This year, Cade Stover should be contributing mostly on special teams and then some snaps on defense in blowouts.

Because Ohio State has brought in three linebackers in each of the last three classes, there will likely be players with more experience ahead of Stover until he is a senior.

Don’t expect his first year as a starter in this defense to come in 2023, however.

Stover can play any of the three linebacker positions for the Buckeyes, which means that he won’t necessarily need to be the No. 1 middle linebacker in order to see the field. He just needs to be one of the three best linebackers, and the coaches will get him on the field.

The Buckeyes may only be losing one starting linebacker from the 2019 team, so the fight for that one spot is going to be pretty incredible next year.

Perhaps this is why Ryan Day and his defensive coaches are intent upon finding roles for more than just the three starting linebackers moving forward.

And beginning next year, they shouldn’t have to look too hard to find something that Stover can do.


Freshman Focus

WR Jameson Williams

DE Noah Potter

SAF Bryson Shaw

RB Marcus Crowley

DE Zach Harrison

4 Responses

  1. Stover’s frame, and aggression remind me of a former Kent State football player named, Jack Lambert. Think about that for a minute. Same size, same natural instincts.

    The main difference being that Stover gets to start his career on a much bigger stage than Lambert did. Here’s hoping Stover has similar success in the long run.

  2. Cade Stover is a work-a-holic. Wind him up and simply turn loose and he’ll attack whatever it is head on A-B, 4-6. Off the charts football IQ. He gets that because he’s a student of the game. Being a self starter studies not only his position but the entire defenses techniques. He’s not real fast but has a very fast playing speed because his study eliminates the majority adjustments to fit and where the play is going. Reminds me most of AJ Hawk. He’s a play finisher who forces offenses to HAVE to account for him on every play or they are going to find themselves planted.

  3. Stover looks “tall for his height”, meaning, his frame is big, and he doesn’t have one of those long necks. His shoulder pads are 6 inches higher than most of his HS teammates. So… more like Joey Bosa than Nick Bosa. Or maybe their uncle Eric Kumerow. (I think Kumerow was 6’6 or something?). wow.

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