Ohio State Buckeyes: Starting safety lost for regular season, others still questionable

COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day revealed Tuesday the Buckeyes will be without safety Lathan Ransom for at least the rest of the regular season.

“There’s a chance he could come back this year, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be any time in the next couple of weeks,” Day said.

Day typically avoids getting into specifics with injuries, but Ransom appeared to suffer a non-contact foot or ankle injury in the second half of Ohio State’s win at Wisconsin on Oct. 28, and he was spotted getting around with the assistance of a scooter on Saturday night.

A senior from Arizona, Ransom has 34 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups. He was enjoying a strong season after enduring some ups and downs last year when he was still working his way back from a nasty-looking broken leg suffered in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022.

His absence caused a shuffling in the secondary with Sonny Styles taking Ransom’s spot as the full-time “Bandit” (boundary safety) instead of sharing time at Nickel with Jordan Hancock, who has been the full-time Nickel since Ransom went down.

The Bandit typically plays to the short side of the field and more often plays deep or in the middle of the field while the Nickel is primarily a slot defender closer to the line of scrimmage.

The status of three other starting defensive players is also in question this week as the Buckeyes prepare to play Minnesota, but Day had a positive update on two.

He expects Josh Proctor, the other starting deep safety, and middle linebacker Tommy Eichenberg to practice this week. That typically means they have at least a chance to get back on the field on Saturday, but the staff could also choose to limit their snaps or rest them another week with a showdown at No. 3 Michigan looming Nov. 25.

Neither of them played last week, though Day indicated Eichenberg could have and wanted to but was overruled by the coaching staff as a precaution.

He appeared to suffer an arm injury late in the win at Rutgers the previous week.

Ohio State also played most of the game against the Spartans without starting defensive tackle Mike Hall, but Day said he did not have an update on the junior yet.

On offense, the coach had two pieces of positive news on the injury front.

No. 2 receiver Emeka Egbuka started for the second week in a row after missing three games with a lower body injury and came out none the worse for wear.

“He’s getting stronger every week,” Day said. “We decided to hold him in the second half to continue that progress, but he’s getting closer every week to being 100, and the feedback I got this week was he feels better this week than he did last week, and that’s the goal. Looked more explosive this week on film, and we’ll keep bringing him along.”

Day also said he expects backup quarterback Devin Brown to be available this week after he appeared to aggravate an ankle injury prior to the Michigan State game.

“Just a bit of a setback there in the warmups but hoping to see him get back on the field this week — and hopefully survive warmups,” Day said with a laugh.

Also of interest was the status of the offensive line after starting center Carson Hinzman did not play the last series with the No. 1 offense.

Day said that was not an injury issue.

The coaching staff wanted to get a look at Matt Jones, who is the regular right guard, at center and reserve Enokk Vimahi at guard.

“We just felt like at that time it was good to get him some work at center and get Enokk in a game and see what that looked like,” Day said. “We had a pretty comfortable lead at that point and felt like it was good to do and evaluated it and there were some good snaps there.

“It’s always good in an opportunity like that to go see if we needed to make a change maybe what that would look like.”


Minnesota at Ohio State, 4 p.m., BTN, 1410

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