Freshmen in the state of Ohio must prove themselves with a black helmet stripe before they can impress with a scarlet helmet, and as the seasons kick off in unusual conditions, the depth of freshmen is now more than ever needed.
The tradition of shedding the black stripe goes back to the arrival of former head coach Urban Meyers on the program in 2012 and is a rite of passage for all Buckeye freshmen, proving they belong on the Ohio State program.
With the Big Ten football season back on Sept. 12, head coach Ryan Day said they would start removing the black stripes, which is still ongoing.
(Assistant Athletic Director of Player Development) Ryan Stampers said, “It’s time to get these black streaks off,” Day said on Sept. 17 on the Ryan Day Show on 97.1 The Fan. I said, ‘We have a season so we might as well start it.
The first freshman to earn the honor this season was wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who had his black stripe removed on September 21.
Gee Scott Jr., who are Sept. 23. Lost, and Julian Fleming who is Sept. 26. Lost, Smith-Njigba joined as wideouts to lose their black stripes.
Day said the freshman Buckeye-hosting corps have shown their potential in the field so far.
The young guys really brought it out when they saw some of those guys come in and get in, Day said.
The unit tasked with covering the young broad receivers has seen the youth emerge as well.
In a largely unproven secondary case, Day said defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs has developed the unit well.
In terms of a young player who could have an impact, Day said freshman Kourt Williams safety showed early on.
Kourt Williams is a young guy who I think has a chance to become a really good player here, Day said. His approach was excellent. He is versatile, he can do many things. So that’s someone to keep an eye on.
Williams had his black stripe removed on September 21.
Freshman security Lathan Ransom and freshman corner-back Cameron Martinez also joined Williams as defensive backs to lose their black stripes with Ransom losing his Oct. 3 and Martinez Oct. 7.
Defensive lineman Ty Hamilton is the only non-secondary defensive freshman to have lost his black stripe to date, losing his black stripe on Sept. 26.
Hamilton comes to the end of the program as a defensive and has been pushed in and plays the 3 technique. Defense coach Larry Johnson said Hamilton has adapted well to his new position.
Ty is doing well, Johnson said. I like where he is as a young player. He’s still in the development phase, but he’s done a really good job since getting here.
Hamilton has had to face two offensive linemen who also shed their black stripes this preseason. Josh Fryar lost his black streak on October 3, while Paris Johnson Jr. lost his October 7th.
In the backfield, the state of Ohio will be led by sophomore Master Teague and graduate Trey Sermon.
To the talent and depth of the group is added freshman Miyan Williams, who lost his black stripe on October 3.
Running backs coach Tony Alford joked that the two and a half foot tall Miyan Williams has shown toughness as a Buckeye so far.
He will put his face on you. He is a man of many clashes. He doesn’t mind that contact is difficult, Alford said in a Zoom call on Oct. 6. I am satisfied with him and where he is going.
Alford said it took him time to understand the playbook, but has come a long way recently.
As for reliance on Miyan Williams or any of the other freshmen on the roster, Day stressed that this year won’t be like most years.
If someone tests positive, they really can’t play for 21 days, so that’s a significant amount of time, three games, Day said. We need to be able to build depth and that becomes critical to moving forward is making sure the second and third are more ready than ever to roll.
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