Ohio State is waiting for a USC transfer to become eligible for the second year in a row.
Former USC kicker Parker Lewis is not yet listed on the Buckeyes’ official roster despite announcing his transfer to Ohio State in April, and Ryan Day said Wednesday at Big Ten Media Days that’s because Lewis has not yet been cleared to play for the Buckeyes due to an NCAA eligibility issue.
“We're waiting for him eligibility, the transfer. And so once he can get cleared eligibility-wise, we can take the next step with him,” Day said.
Day said Lewis’ situation is “very similar” to that which Ohio State went through last year with former USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, who was not cleared to play for the Buckeyes until September, just one day before their second game of the season against Oregon.
Day is hopeful Lewis’ situation will be cleared up more quickly, but that’s not guaranteed.
“We're hoping in the next week, but we don't know for sure,” Day said.
When Lewis made the decision to transfer to Ohio State in April, he was told by Day that he would be given a chance to compete with Noah Ruggles for the Buckeyes’ kicking job this preseason. While that job remains Ruggles’ to lose, considering Ruggles made 20 of his 21 field goal attempts last season, Lewis is a candidate to become the Buckeyes’ kickoff specialist and even kick some longer field goals if Ruggles remains the primary kicker.
All of that remains up in the air, however, since Lewis is not yet eligible. And even if he is cleared to play in the next week, Day indicated that a roster spot might not be available for Lewis immediately since Ohio State is only allowed to have 110 players on its roster for preseason camp, which begins next week.
“We'll have to figure out how that works numbers-wise,” Day said. “But the first thing we have to do is try to get him eligible, and then we'll kind of go from there.”