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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Ohio State
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  As if any doubt remained, Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa revealed junior Nicholas Petit-Frere and sophomore Harry Miller as starters at right tackle and left guard, respectively. Petit-Frere has been considered the front-runner there for a few weeks, and coach Ryan Day said last week he had been working primarily with the first team. He held off true freshman Paris Johnson and sophomore Dawand Jones to land his first starting job. Studrawa said Petit-Frere pushed his weight up to 315 pounds during the long offseason with help from his mother's cooking. He said the No. 7 prospect in the 2018 recruiting class per 247 Sports' national composite is bigger and stronger after changing his body. "This offseason his development has really pushed him to the top of that position," Studrawa said. - Cleveland Plain Dealer

(DS#3 OT) rSo/2023 OT Nicholas Petit-FrereOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/20/20 - Kourt WilliamsFr/2024, Ohio State, 6-1, 221 (DS#999 OLB) + More +

  Ohio State football will reportedly be without a potential impact freshman on defense for the coming season. Lettermen Row reported Saturday that Kourt Williams suffered a torn ACL during preseason camp, and the resulting surgery will keep him out of the 2020 season. Williams did not participate during the 30-minute window of practice open to reporters on Oct. 3. Safeties coach Matt Barnes declined to discuss Williams' development when asked about him during a Zoom call with reporters earlier this week. Ohio State typically does not comment on injuries, and deferred questions about player absences that day to the first pre-game status report, which will come out Friday. Williams was a four-star, top-200 recruit out of St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California. He was ranked No. 12 among outside linebackers in the 247 national composite, but was expected to play more of a linebacker/safety hybrid role with the Buckeyes. - Cleveland Plain Dealer

(DS#999 OLB) Fr/2024 OLB Kourt WilliamsOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/16/20 - Master Teague IIIrSo/2023, Ohio State, 5-11, 225 (DS#3 RB) + More +

  Trey Sermon rushed for 947 yards in his best season at Oklahoma in 2018. He carried the ball 164 times for an average of 5.8 yards per carry as the leading ball carrier on a team that featured Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray (140 carries for 1,001 yards) and fellow tailback Kennedy Brooks (119 carries for 1,056 yards). Sermon was first up in that two-back system, paired with a quarterback who was always the most dangerous player on the field. And then last season, Sermon suffered some injuries and he saw his workload reduced, so he transferred to Ohio State.

Master Teague rushed for 789 yards last season as the clear backup to J.K. Dobbins for the Buckeyes. Teague played in enough blowouts to carry the ball 135 times for a 5.8 yard average, and he even was named third-team All-Big Ten. He was clearly No. 2 in a one-back system, but once Dobbins left for the NFL, Teague was the most experienced back on the team until Sermon came along. Teague tore his Achilles tendon in the spring. Sermon had offseason surgery for a knee injury suffered last season. The two of them should form a one-two running back punch for the Buckeyes when the season kicks off Oct. 24. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#3 RB) rSo/2023 RB Master Teague IIIOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/16/20 - Baron BrowningSr/2021, Ohio State, 6-2, 240 (DS#1 ILB) + More +

  Baron Browning spent three years with Ohio State football looking for a position to call his own. Depending on your perspective, that search may continue as the 2020 season - the senior linebacker's final turn with the Buckeyes - begins next week. You could also look at the scenario another way - from the Buckeyes' preferred angle right now. What it Browning finally found his position, and they simply call it Baron Browning? Ohio State's linebacker shuffle will see Browning step outside to play Sam linebacker after sharing the Mike spot in the middle with Tuf Borland last season. Browning said he will also occasionally pop back inside as needed. Yet most intriguingly he will also line up as a rush end in the Buckeyes' rushmen package, a role he executed successfully last season.

Perhaps, instead of locking Browning in to one position, his full potential can be unlocked by moving him all over the defensive front. Browning, for one, sounds like he believes it is worth a shot. He said he does not need a label in order to make an impact. "I've been playing on the outside and I still have been playing on the inside here and there in certain packages," Browning said. "I feel like this will allow me to show my versatility - that I can rush, that I can cover, that I can play inside the box and I can play outside, so I'm excited." - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#1 ILB) Sr/2021 ILB Baron BrowningOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/16/20 - Zach HarrisonSo/2023, Ohio State, 6-5, 265 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  Five-star defensive end with first-round NFL Draft potential in his second-year under Johnson. That's what Bosa was in 2017, and that's what Harrison is coming into this season. Both were trying to be the next name in what's a growing list of top-five draft picks Johnson has coached in Columbus and were coming off freshmen seasons that set them up to take off as sophomores. Ironically both suffered losses Fiesta Bowl losses to Clemson in the College Football playoff as well. Bosa was the best player in that room - and probably the Big Ten - even though he was the youngest player in the rotation. That might end up being the case with Harrison, who has the same expectations for his second year as the Bosas brothers and Young had before him. He's already on the five-star path, and the next step is solidifying himself as one of the country's best defensive players. At least that's what those three did. "Those guys that came before me, they're a bunch of great players," Harrison said. "There's a lot of expectation for me to do so-and-so numbers. Honestly, I don't really try to think about that. Every day at practice, I go out and get better, work on my technique." - Cleveland Plain Dealer

(DS#3 DE) So/2023 DE Zach HarrisonOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/11/20 - Trey SermonrSr/2021, Ohio State, 6-0, 215 (DS#6 RB) + More +

  The rapid return of Master Teague from his own Achilles injury in the spring - on top of Sermon's arrival - gives Ohio State two potential upside options when it once feared it might have none. Neither Sermon nor the Buckeyes want him to be simply a healthy option. They want, as they have at so many other positions, a game-changer. According to Alford, one element determines whether a back joins the ranks of those greats Sermon mentioned. "Consistency - sheer consistency of what you're doing," Alford said. "You can't be on that roller coaster and the highs and lows. Obviously you've got to be able to make plays, but they all are capable of making plays or again, they wouldn't be here. But your consistency level of making plays when an opportunity presents itself - and then obviously making a play when maybe something's not there."

Alford quickly noticed ways Ohio State could make Sermon a better player. For one, at 6-1, 215 pounds, Sermon's frame is beneficial in pass protection and as a receiving target. The problem is, he also has a tendency to run tall - reverting to a stand-up style that can slow him down and make him easier to knock off balance. Alford said numerous drills can help backs lower their pad levels, such as having them duck down to run through chutes. In other drills the Buckeye staff will use various padded instruments to hit the backs as the run, forcing them to adjust with a lower center of balance. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#6 RB) rSr/2021 RB Trey SermonOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/11/20 - Haskell GarrettSr/2021, Ohio State, 6-2, 299 (DS#34 DT) + More +

  Vincent's uncertain status is somewhat offset by the rapid recovery of Haskell Garrett. The senior tackle suffered a gunshot wound to the face in late August. Johnson said Garrett is in practice every day but has not yet been cleared for full participation. It certainly sounds like the Buckeyes expect Garrett to play - possibly sooner than later. The day of the incident it was fair to question whether he could play at all in 2020. "It was scary, to get a phone call that late at night to know one of your players has been shot," Johnson said. "I'm thankful and blessed he's in the position he is." - Cleveland Plain Dealer

(DS#34 DT) Sr/2021 DT Haskell GarrettOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/09/20 - Pete WernerSr/2021, Ohio State, 6-2, 242 (DS#4 OLB) + More +

  Thanks to his coverage responsibilities and positional versatility, some might mistake Ohio State football's Pete Werner as some sort of finesse linebacker. Tuf Borland, the undisputed leader if not necessarily the spokesman for the linebacker unit, set the record straight. "Most people don't know he's 245 pounds and he can bring it," Borland said. After holding down the Sam linebacker position in 2019, Werner expected to own it in 2020. His work at outside linebacker made the Buckeyes' preseason flirtation with the "Bullet" linebacker concept irrelevant. He floated around the defense as needed - stalking tight ends, coming up to stop the run, even dropping back pre-snap to safety as needed.

Ohio State's defensive coaches, however, saw something else in Werner - perhaps something more. They wanted him, in Borland's words, to "bring it" more often. The senior now projects as the Buckeyes' starter at Will linebacker, replacing current Baltimore Ravens rookie Malik Harrison inside. Players and coaches say it makes perfect sense to take the 6-3, 242-pound Werner inside, yet give him the same rangy responsibilities expected at Will. He now becomes the odds-on favorite to lead the Buckeyes in tackles in 2020, as Will linebackers have done in 10 of the past 17 seasons. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#4 OLB) Sr/2021 OLB Pete WernerOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/07/20 - Chris OlaveJr/2022, Ohio State, 6-1, 188 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  Olave had a breakout sophomore season and is expected to be Justin Fields' top target once again in 2020. The 6-foot-1 Olave is an exceptional route-runner with above-average speed. The former three-star prospect will likely be an early-round draft pick in 2021 if he declares. Last season, he led the Buckeyes in receiving yards (840) and touchdowns (12). His 12 touchdowns ranked second in the Big Ten. Although he only had two catches against the Wolverines last season, one was a 57-yard touchdown that gave OSU a 14-6 lead in the first quarter. - Ann Arbor News

(DS#2 WR) Jr/2022 WR Chris OlaveOhio State
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  10/05/20 - Garrett WilsonSo/2023, Ohio State, 6-0, 193 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  To learn his new role in the Buckeyes offense, Wilson spent much of his time studying film of defenses. He expected that a broader base of knowledge might allow him to more easily identify holes in an opponent's secondary. "There's definitely a lot more film to go with it, just understanding coverages," Wilson said. "It's a lot less 1-on-1 routes and a lot more finding zones, stuff like that. Being able to read coverages and identify that before the play starts - you might say that's a lot of the things that I have to work on to get better. So I've been working on it." It also helped to watch K.J. Hill last season.

Hill was a consistent pass-catching threat for the Buckeyes and left as their career leader in receptions. "That was huge for me to learn from him," Wilson said. "He's as good of a slot as it gets." The Buckeyes hope Wilson can present himself as a capable replacement. Lining up in the slot, he offers natural playmaking ability that was seen as a freshman when he caught 30 passes for 432 and five touchdowns. "It provides a game-plan advantage for us," Hartline said. Hartline raised a few examples. A linebacker might not be fast enough to cover Wilson. A nickel corner is likely to be smaller in size too, allowing him to be an effective run blocker. But it will require Wilson to continue to learn the finer points of the position. - Columbus Dispatch


(DS#2 WR) So/2023 WR Garrett WilsonOhio State
News Source: Columbus Dispatch
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  10/05/20 - Baron BrowningSr/2021, Ohio State, 6-2, 240 (DS#1 ILB) + More +

  Browning is looking forward to his position change. He played outside linebacker in high school while becoming a five-star prospect before shifting mostly to middle linebacker as a Buckeye. "It was different coming in a position where there's more responsibilities - lining guys up - just something I wasn't used to," Browning said. "I just had to adapt. But I think (Sam) is my natural position. I feel very comfortable there." - Columbus Dispatch

(DS#1 ILB) Sr/2021 ILB Baron BrowningOhio State
News Source: Columbus Dispatch
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  10/02/20 - Jameson WilliamsSo/2023, Ohio State, 6-2, 188 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Ohio State football fans caught a brief glimpse of Jameson Williams as a freshman in 2019. Brief because he played sparingly behind the main rotation. Yet also brief because the St. Louis native's greatest asset - his speed - definitely played at this level. Williams turned one of his six receptions into a 61 yard touchdown. It was the second time he had done an Ezekiel Elliott impression, the first being when he broke the former Buckeye star's Missouri high school record in the 300 hurdles. That speed helped Williams earn a place in the OSU receivers room.

To crack the rotation, he needs to prove himself as a complete receiver in the ongoing preseason. "I feel like I've been a lot more focused and got a whole lot better in everything - in the classroom, on the field," Williams said. "...I feel like it will all come together soon and show during the season." Williams came to Ohio State as a top-100 national recruit and the second major recruiting hit for the receiver room along with Garrett Wilson. Yet with Wilson immediately carving out a spot among the Buckeyes' top five receivers and four top-100 talents coming in with the 2020 class, Williams became somewhat overlooked by the time spring practices began. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#999 WR) So/2023 WR Jameson WilliamsOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/01/20 - DeMario McCallrSr/2021, Ohio State, 5-09, 195 (DS#42 RB) + More +

  Demario McCall came to the Ohio State football team as the No. 44 player and No. 2 all-purpose back in the 2016 recruiting class. Five years later and he's entering his final season in Columbus, having spent his career going back and forth between the running back and wide receiver rooms. He's settled back in the latter for the 2020 season, but he's still not entirely sure of his role. That isn't an ideal scenario for someone who was once a top 50 recruit. "(It's) very frustrating," McCall said. As a runner, McCall has compiled 553 yards and six touchdowns. As a receiver, he's caught 19 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns. Most of those stats have come against second units in games already decided. His only consistent job has been as a return specialist. "I can be anywhere," McCall said. "Out the backfield, at receiver, special teams. (I can be) a role player."

McCall's experience as both a back and receiver gives him a unique skill set. But he hasn't been able to break through in a meaningful way. He knows what he's capable of doing with the ball in his hands. He just needs a chance to do so. "First things first, I'm going to do what I have to do to make the team better and get the team wins," McCall said. "For me personally, I just want to go out (on) top. Our goal is to win a Big Ten Championship first, then compete for a National (Championship). Other than that, I just want to play my role." - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#42 RB) rSr/2021 RB DeMario McCallOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/01/20 - Garrett WilsonSo/2023, Ohio State, 6-0, 193 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  Garrett Wilson will take over K.J. Hill's position in Ohio State football's offense when he lines up in the slot this season. To successfully follow in the footsteps of the Buckeyes' all-time leading receiver, he also wants to step into Hill's brain. Ohio State coach Ryan Day's revelation last spring about Wilson's transition from outside to inside created a stir. One could easily see why it excited Day as well. Wilson opened the 2019 season with glimpses of his promise. By the end of it he was making acrobatic catches in the first quarter of the College Football Playoff semifinal. Yet Wilson recognized the switch to the slot involved more than simply lining up closer to his quarterback.

"It's a whole different position, all the intricacies of playing the slot," Wilson said. "I feel like I'm getting used to it every day. I'm just worried about getting better every day at the position, understanding coverages, stuff like that. I'm definitely excited to be in the slot - be a little bit more involved." No receiver has ever been more involved than Hill over the balance of his Ohio State career. He finished with 201 receptions, taking over the career lead during the Big Ten championship game victory over Wisconsin. Physically, the roster measurements say Hill and Wilson are essentially the same - both right around 6-foot, 195 pounds. Wilson, however, was immediately asked to do more athletically as an outside receiver, and he responded. Receives coach Brian Hartline's word is "dynamic," shorthand for having no shortage of ways to get him the ball. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#2 WR) So/2023 WR Garrett WilsonOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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  10/01/20 - Chris OlaveJr/2022, Ohio State, 6-1, 188 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  Olave spoke with reporters Tuesday for the first time since that night in Glendale, Arizona, when he broke off a route right as Justin Fields threw into the end zone against Clemson. The resulting interception in the final minute sealed the Buckeyes' 29-23 loss in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Turning the page became more difficult when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring practice, dragged the offseason along and left Olave wondering if the 2020 season would happen at all. "I care so much about this team and this university, the first couple of months was tough," Olave said. "I still don't think I've gotten over it. "Especially during quarantine with all that free time, when I found myself getting bored and I was going through it I just wanted to work out. So I found myself working out out two to three times a day, just trying to take my mind off of things."

Olave said his mind juggled "a bunch of what-ifs" about that play. What if he had done something different? What if the Buckeyes had never called the play in the first place? He turned to his parents and brothers to help him persevere through the regrets and turn his focus back on improving as a player. However, he and Fields only spoke once about the play, then moved on. Whatever inner conversation Olave continues to have, he made a point to keep it there. He said he tried to spread a positive energy around the receiver room when he returned to the team. - Cleveland Plain Dealer


(DS#2 WR) Jr/2022 WR Chris OlaveOhio State
News Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
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