When Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus, he christened every player's practice helmet with a black stripe. Though they had been recruited and signed by Ohio State, they were not yet official members of the football team until they earned removal of said stripe.
It's a rite of passage every newcomer—whether five-star signee or graduate walk-on transfer kicker—must undergo if he ever plans on producing for the Scarlet and Gray. It's such a successful program two of Meyer's protégés, Tom Herman of Houston and Chris Ash of Rutgers, took it with them when they left.
Ohio State concluded its seventh spring practice under Urban Meyer on Thursday. A mere 15 minutes later, Urban Meyer announced a #boom of a different kind.
Austin Mack, a four-star 2016 WR signee from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is officially a Buckeye. He is the first 2016 newcomer to earn the honor.
Congrats to Austin Mack for being the first to get his black stripe removed!— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) March 31, 2016
Running backs coach Tony Alford, when asked about Mack following practice, heaped praise on the freshman, “He just plays hard, he plays fast. He's hungry. He's not taking plays off. Even if he's wrong, he goes 100 mph. We can fix a mistake. Your effort is from within. He goes. He goes.”
An early enrollee, Mack becomes the first Ohio State freshman to ever lose his black stripe during spring practices and he's pressing for playing time.
|Player||Pos||Date of Removal|
|DE'VAN BOGARD & NOAH SPENCE||DB/DE||AUGUST 9, 2012|
|JOE RAMSTETTER||WR||AUGUST 8, 2013|
|CURTIS SAMUEL & RAEKWON McMILLAN||RB/LB||AUGUST 10, 2014|
|ISAIAH PRINCE||OL||AUGUST 13, 2015|
|AUSTIN MACK||WR||MARCH 31, 2016|
Mack's 2015 high school senior year highlights—the last we saw him in live action—can be seen below. Ohio State's wide receiver production will be key if the Buckeyes are to reach their 2016 goals.
|NAME||Pos||DATE OF REMOVAL|
|AUSTIN MACK||WIDE RECEIVER||MARCH 31, 2016|