Trey Sermon Selected by San Francisco 49ers with No. 88 Overall Pick in 2021 NFL Draft

By Zack Carpenter on April 30, 2021 at 10:51 pm
Trey Sermon

A Buckeye is headed to San Francisco after all.

Former Ohio State running back Trey Sermon was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 88 overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

The 49ers traded two fourth-round picks, the 117th and 121st overall selections, to move up to the 88th pick to select Sermon.

Sermon follows in the footsteps of recent former Buckeye running backs to be drafted such as J.K. Dobbins (second round in 2020), Mike Weber (seventh round in 2019), Ezekiel Elliott (first round in 2016) and Carlos Hyde (second in 2014).

He was the fifth Buckeye to be selected in this year's draft, joining first-round pick Justin Fields, second-round picks Pete Werner and Josh Myers and third-round pick Wyatt Davis, who went to the Minnesota Vikings two picks before Sermon.

Sermon joins Nick Bosa as former Buckeyes on the 49ers' roster.

He expects San Francisco's offense to be a good fit for his game:

After three seasons at Oklahoma, where he racked up more than 2,200 yards rushing and ran for 25 touchdowns, Sermon transferred to Ohio State for his fourth and final season of college football, where he was reunited with Tony Alford – the Buckeyes running backs coach who recruited him out of Sprayberry (Georgia) High School as the No. 191 overall prospect and No. 12 running back in the 2017 recruiting class.

Sermon struggled to get on track until late in the 2020 season, and then he put together one of the greatest two-game stretches for a running back in program history. He ran for 331 yards in the Big Ten Championship Game – breaking former Buckeye Eddie George's record for the most rushing yards in the B1G title game – and two scores against Northwestern. He then broke off a 193-yard, one-touchdown performance against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl before leaving with an injury on his first carry of the national championship game against Alabama.

When he transferred to Ohio State from Oklahoma, Sermon came to Columbus with a knee injury that he rehabbed for during the spring before he was ready for fall camp, but he bounced back to have a strong end to his one-and-only campaign with the Buckeyes.

"It was a very unique situation. And we had a very unique lead-up to our season," Ryan Day said of Sermon on Thursday. "And coming off of Trey’s injury the year before, it took him a little while to get into a rhythm. But to answer your question, I think someone who drafts Trey is gonna get a running back who doesn’t have a lot of carries on him. So he’s got a huge ceiling. He’s got an opportunity to play for a long time. But once he found his rhythm, he was special in those last couple games.

"Certainly would have loved to see him play in the final game, but he’s got a lot of great football ahead of him. He’s versatile. He can do a lot. He can run hard in between the tackles, he can pass protect and he can also run routes. So very excited to see where he goes this weekend, and proud of the season he had."

Sermon helped his draft stock a bit during Ohio State's pro day in March despite only running a 4.57-second 40-yard dash – shy of his goal of running a 4.5. He helped himself, though, by showcasing his receiver skills during Justin Fields' workout, hitting 37 inches on the vertical jump and impressing with a 10-foot, 5-inch broad jump (both of which would have been top 10 among running backs at the 2020 NFL Combine) and a 6.83-second time in the 3-cone drill that would have been the best among all running backs at last year’s combine.

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