Ohio State football: Ryan Day talks Michigan State, Senior Day, redshirt decisions

COLUMBUS -- A top-10 matchup is on tap this weekend in Columbus, but that’s not all.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day talked about seniors, redshirts and more Tuesday while previewing the Buckeyes’ visit from Michigan State.

Here are five things to know from the press conference:

1. Ohio State announced 24 players plan to take part in Senior Day festivities this weekend.

The group includes several players who are eligible for the NFL Draft but also have eligibility remaining should they choose to use it.

Day said that does not mean any of them have made a final decision.

“Anybody who’s considered a senior eligibility-wise who wants to go ahead and walk before the game, they get the chance to do that,” Day said. “I don’t think most of them made a decision on what their future holds for them, but at the same time, they want to have that opportunity so if something were to happen, whether it be go to the NFL or whatever, they would have an option to do that. So we just kind of leave it up to them any of those things, and I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

Among those planning to take part are fourth-year scholarship seniors Chris Olave, Sevyn Banks and Tyreke Smith, fourth-year scholarship juniors Cam Brown, Master Teague III and Nicholas Petit-Frere, fifth-year scholarship seniors Haskell Garrett, Jeremy Ruckert, Thayer Munford, Marcus Williamson and Antwuan Jackson and sixth-year senior Demario McCall as well as walk-ons Aaron Cox, Jack Jamieson, Robert Cope, Austin Kutscher, Jagger LaRoe, Corey Rau, Ryan Batsch, Cade Kacherski, Sam Wiglusz, Chris Booker, Mitch Rossi and Bradley Robinson.

Some candidates to go pro early — such as true juniors Garrett Wilson and Zach Harrison — were not on the list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

Harrison passed on a question about his future Tuesday while Wilson said he has considered the possibility Saturday is his last game at Ohio Stadium but would make a final decision after the season.

Some fourth- or fifth-year seniors could also return since the 2020 season did not count as far as eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Some redshirt decisions have not been finalized

True freshman Kyle McCord has been the No. 2 quarterback for the Buckeyes most of the season, but would he go in if C.J. Stroud had to leave the game for a play or two Saturday?

Ohio State has a potentially tricky situation as McCord has already played four games, meaning if he plays another he will not be eligible for a redshirt.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” Day said. “There’s a lot of football left, but if we can, we would like to (redshirt him), but you just never know what’s gonna happen.”

The situation became more complicated two weeks ago when redshirt freshman Jack Miller III was suspended following his arrest for OVI, although walk-ons LaRoe or J.P. Andrade or true freshman Quinn Ewers could potentially take a snap or two or even pilot the Buckeyes during garbage time if necessary.

True freshmen cornerback Jordan Hancock and receiver Jayden Ballard also have played four games while running back Evan Pryor, defensive lineman Mike Hall Jr. and linebacker Reid Carrico have played three.

3. Day thought the offensive line played well against Purdue

The quality of the run blocking had been a question after wins over Penn State and Nebraska, but the Buckeyes wore down Purdue and finished with 263 yards on the ground.

“We’re gonna have to continue to do that,” he said. “We were clean. We were rocking people off the ball. I thought we got a really good rhythm in the red zone. The combination blocks were clean, the pad level was much better. Played with really good energy.”

4. He was also happy with how Stroud handled the elements

“I thought our guys played tough,” Day said. “It was cold. It was windy, but that’s football in November in the Big Ten.”

Stroud, a redshirt freshman from Inland Empire, Calif., completed 31 of 38 passes for 361 yards and five touchdowns.

“I asked him before the game, ‘Can a Cali kid throw the ball in 40-degree weather with 10-mile-an-hour winds?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, no problem, Coach.’ He just shrugged it right off. It’s always good to see. You never know until you see it, but there will be worse weather coming.”

5. He’s not sure getting to play Michigan State now is an advantage over seeing the Spartans earlier in the season.

That was suggested by a reporter in light of the fact head coach Mel Tucker drastically remade the MSU roster in the offseason with an influx of transfers.

“I think we’re both different now, and it’s just a different challenge,” Day said. “Once the schedule came out you know you’d have the season to get a feel for who you are, who they are.

“Now there is a body of work for you to game plan on.”


Michigan State at Ohio State, Noon, ABC, 1410

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