Chip Trayanum’s days at running back might not be over after all.
The Akron native, who played running back at Arizona State for the past two seasons before transferring to Ohio State to play linebacker this offseason, has spent some time at his old position in practice recently following a season-ending injury suffered by second-year running back Evan Pryor.
Ryan Day said Ohio State will likely only use Trayanum at running back in emergency situations, but has been impressed with what he’s seen out of the 5-foot-11, 229-pound athlete on offense.
“We had one day full where Chip came over and did some running back and boy, he's natural. And he's doing a great job at linebacker as well, so he'll be a guy that we can use as rain insurance if we needed him to,” Day said at a press conference Monday. “Just seeing him live and in color, he's a talented running back. Been very impressed with the way he's playing at linebacker as well. But we can also use him in a dual role if needed.”
Fifth-year linebacker Teradja Mitchell hailed Trayanum as “one of the most athletic people I've seen come through this facility” earlier this month, which makes his success on both sides of the ball unsurprising. Trayanum racked up 692 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 127 attempts over the last two years with the Sun Devils.
But Ohio State may not need Trayanum at running back if true freshman Dallan Hayden continues to show flashes on the field. Day said Hayden has asserted himself as the Buckeyes’ No. 3 option in Tony Alford’s position room behind TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams.
Hayden shed his black stripe to “officially” become a Buckeye over the weekend.
“Quite honestly we've been very impressed with Dallan. I think Dallan Hayden has really come on,” Day said. “He's been drinking through a firehose this preseason camp and he's had ups and downs, but I gotta tell you he's got a lot of talent. And he's our third running back right now, and he deserves it. He's played really hard, he's had his black stripe taken off, and so if he continues to grow, we're gonna trust putting him in the game.
“We're impressed with his camp. For a freshman to step in like this, he's gotta use this as an opportunity now that Evan's down.”
Ohio State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said last Monday that Hayden “popped a couple really good runs” during the Buckeyes’ scrimmage on Aug. 13. The Tennessee native entered the program this summer as a four-star prospect and the No. 226 recruit in the country.
While Pryor’s injury threatened Ohio State’s depth at running back, Day seems confident in both Hayden and Trayanum as potential contingency plans should the position face any more injury issues during the season.