I'm 32 years old and have been watching Ohio State football religiously since the mid-1990s. In fact, I've watched every game since the 1995 season when Eddie George took home the Heisman trophy. When I was younger, the offseason seemed to drag on FOREVER! As they say, though, the older you get, the quicker the time goes by. I can't believe that the 2022 SEASON WILL KICK OFF IN JUST 67 DAYS!
In case the previous sentence wasn't enticing enough, here are ten reasons to get excited about the 2022 Ohio State football season.
10.) Noah Ruggles
Ohio State hasn't had a reliable kicker since the likes of Mike Nugent and Aaron Petrey took over the kicking duties in the Jim Tressel era. That changed last year after Ruggles transferred to Ohio State from North Carolina.
Ruggles made 95.2% of his field goal attempts last year, missing only one of them. Thank God he has one more year of eligibility.
9.) The 2022 Recruiting Class
Over the last five years, the Buckeyes have hauled in top-five recruiting classes in four of them, with the only exception coming in 2017 when they had the nation's 7th best class, according to the 247sports.com composite rankings.
But let's just focus on the 2022 recruiting class. Highlighted by five-star linebacker C.J. Hicks and five-star safety Sonny Styles, the class is loaded with studs looking to make a name for themselves at the next level.
Aside from Hicks and Styles, the class also includes seven of the nation's top 100 recruits, including the fifth and sixth-ranked defensive end/edge rushers in Kenyatta Jackson and Omari Abor, the 13th and 14th-ranked wide receivers in Kaleb Brown and Kyion Grayes, and the sixth-ranked quarterback in Devin Brown.
It'll be exciting to see how much of an impact they'll have as true freshmen.
8.) The Offensive Line
Despite the departure of center Harry Miller and left guard Thayer Munford, Ohio State returns three starters on the offensive line, including Nicholas Petit-Frere, Paris Johnson, Jr., and Dawand Jones.
But I think the offensive line will be better than it was in 2021, as former five-star recruit Donovan Jackson officially grasps hold of a starting role, and Matthew Jones finds more playing time.
7.) Wide Receivers
It's crazy that a fanbase can be optimistic about a wide receiving core that just lost two first-round picks in the NFL draft back in April, but thanks to having the best wide receiver's coach/recruiter in the country, Ohio State just reloads at that position.
It's easy to be optimistic about the future when you're hauling in five-star and high four-star receivers year after year.
6.) TreVeyon Henderson
Hype surrounded Henderson from as early as his sophomore year of high school. By the time he graduated high school, he was the most heavily recruited running back in the country, and when he committed to Ohio State he became the second-most highly touted running back to ever commit to Ohio State, according to the 247sports composite rankings.
In a pass-happy offense, TreVeyon still managed to stand out in the run game, rushing for 1,248 yards on 184 rushing attempts and 15 TDs, averaging 6.8 yards a pop. But what makes him the x-factor of the Buckeye offense is his ability to make a difference as a receiver out of the backfield. He hauled in 27 receptions for 312 yards (11.6 AVG) and four TDs.
He will be the unsung hero of the offense.
5.) The Defensive Line
I believe that Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau could be the best defensive end duo in college football someday. Both should take a step up in their sophomore campaigns this coming season, and who knows how dominant they can be in the long run?
They will be accompanied by senior defensive end Zach Harrison who hasn't lived up to his lofty expectations coming on campus as a five-star recruit. Hopefully, he saved his best season for last.
Taron Vincent, Jerron Cage, Ty Hamilton, and Tyleik Williams should be huge compliments to the defensive ends on the interior of the defensive line. As if that won't be enough, the defensive end/edge rushers will also contain incoming freshmen Kenyatta Jackson and Omari Abor, as mentioned previously.
I expect the d-line to take a huge step forward this coming season.
4.) Coach Day
Ever since Ryan Day took over as head coach, he has not only picked up where Urban Meyer left off, he has taken things to new heights. Sure, he hasn't won a national title yet, but his recruiting classes have been better on average than Meyer's, and so is his win percentage.
I like that Day is a straight shooter that doesn't beat around the bush, and I think that he is easily one of the best head coaches in the country who made a tough but much-needed coaching hire in the offseason.
It's also quite incredible to read about his offensive schemes and concepts.
3.) C.J. Stroud
I know that I said that TreVeyon Henderson would be the unsung hero of the Ohio State offense, but that's because C.J. Stroud gets all of the attention. and why should he NOT get all of the attention after being a Heisman finalist who had the fifth-most passing yards and third-most passing TDs in the country last season.
In fact, Stroud had just 437 less passing yards, and three less passing TDs than Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young had despite playing in two less games than him. He also had a better QB rating, a better completion percentage, a better touchdown to interception ratio, and more yards per completion (10.1) than Young (8.9).
He'll set out to prove that he is the best QB in the country this coming season.
2.) Jim Knowles
The hiring of Knowles will likely fix the one thing that the Buckeyes did not excel at all in 2021; defense. With his 4-2-5 concept, his defense was ranked third in the country in terms of yards allowed per game as the defensive coordinator last season, and if he can pull that off with a team like Oklahoma State, imagine what success he could have with the type of talent that will be at his disposal in Columbus!
For those of you who don't know, elenwarriors.com has already given you a full breakdown of what we can expect from a Jim Knowles defense. You can find it here.
1.) It's Ohio State Football
What better reason is there to get excited for Ohio State football than for the mere fact that it's Ohio State football? I live, breathe, and bleed Ohio State football. The fact that it is right around the corner makes things more enticing.
When it comes to Buckeye football, there is always something to get excited about. If not, you're simply not a fan of it.
Anyway, thanks to those of you that have read the article up to this point. If you have, which of the things listed are you most excited about? Also, did I leave anything out? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
As always, God bless, and GO BUCKS!