Entire Starting Offensive Line, Miyan Williams, Denzel Burke Among 22 Buckeyes to Grade Out As Champions Against Minnesota

By Griffin Strom on September 6, 2021 at 6:32 pm
Ohio State Buckeyes
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After Ohio State's season-opening 45-31 win against Minnesota on Thursday, 22 Buckeyes graded out as champions.

Senior wideout Chris Olave and redshirt freshman running back Miyan Williams were named the offensive players of the game for the Buckeyes, with each racking up more than 100 yards from scrimmage.

Junior defensive end Zach Harrison was named the defensive player of the game after tallying a strip sack that led to a scoop-and-score touchdown in the second half, and tight end Mitch Rossi was named the special teams player of the game for his efforts. 

Among the group of 22 was the entire starting offensive line, including left tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, left guard Thayer Munford, right guard Paris Johnson Jr., right tackle Dawand Jones and first-time starting center Luke Wypler, but quarterback C.J. Stroud did not make the cut after a performance in which he threw for 294 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in his first start.

Stroud was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday after throwing three touchdown passes of 50-or-more yards against the Gophers.

At tight end and wide receiver, Jeremy Ruckert and Jaxon Smith-Njigba rounded out the offensive players that secured champion grades, with Garrett Wilson not making the cut despite hauling in five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown on Thursday.

Also grading out as a champion was true freshman cornerback Denzel Burke, who started in his first college game for Ohio State while projected starters Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown did not play for the Buckeyes. Burke led the Buckeye defense with three pass break-ups for the game.

Ronnie Hickman, who started the game at bullet for the Buckeyes, graded out as a champion after leading the team with 11 total tackles, and first-time starting linebackers Teradja Mitchell and Tommy Eichenberg made the list for Ohio State as well.

Along with the aforementioned five defenders, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Antwuan Jackson, Haskell Garrett, Taron Vincent, Josh Proctor, Bryson Shaw and Cody Simon were all named champions for Kerry Coombs' defense as well.

The full list of Buckeyes who graded out as champions for their performance in the season opener:

Ohio State Champions vs. Minnesota

Offense: TE Jeremy Ruckert, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OL Nicholas Petit-Frere, OL Dawand Jones, OL Luke Wypler, OL Thayer Munford, OL Paris Johnson Jr.
Players of the Game: WR Chris Olave and RB Miyan Williams
Defense: DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste, DT Antuwan Jackson, DT Haskell Garrett, DT Taron Vincent, CB Denzel Burke, SAF Josh Proctor, SAF Ronnie Hickman, SAF Bryson Shaw, LB Cody Simon, LB Tommy Eichenberg, LB Teradja Mitchell
Player of the Game: DE Zach Harrison
Special Teams Player of the Game: TE Mitch Rossi
Scout Team Players of the Week: Corey Rau, Jordan Hancock and Jackson Kuwatch

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