Ohio State Will Sit Down With Chip Trayanum After Season to Decide on Potential Full-Time Future At Running Back

By Griffin Strom on December 21, 2022 at 3:15 pm
Chip Trayanum

Without a running back signee in the 2023 class, Ohio State has some decisions to make in the position room.

Chiefly, Chip Trayanum – the former Arizona State running back who started at linebacker this season before switching over to the offense – must choose which position he wants to stick with moving forward. Trayanum only moved to running back after injuries to TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Evan Pryor and TC Caffey put the unit’s depth in jeopardy, but the Akron, Ohio, native performed well in the lone game in which he received multiple carries.

Trayanum only played 36 snaps at linebacker in his first year with the Buckeyes. In the final game of the regular season, he led Ohio State with 83 rushing yards on 14 carries against Michigan. With Henderson ruled out of the Peach Bowl, it seems likely Trayanum will remain at running back through Ohio State’s College Football Playoff run. But after that, the future is uncertain.

Ryan Day said Wednesday the Ohio State staff will get Trayanum’s thoughts on the subject after the season before making any final decision.

“I think once we get done with the season, we'll sit down and have a conversation with Chip. When he first came in, we were playing him at linebacker. And then because of the way the season played out at running back, he got moved running back,” Day said. “We haven't sat down and said, 'OK, what's the plan for the spring?' So I think that's the first thing. We gonna meet with Chip and see what he feels most comfortable doing after kind of doing half and half.”

But given that Ohio State doesn’t have a high school recruit coming in to bolster running back depth next season, it would certainly make sense for Trayanum to remain in Tony Alford’s position room, numbers-wise. 

Ohio State had a four-star running back commit in the 2023 class, but Florida prospect Mark Fletcher decommitted from the program last month and signed with Miami on Wednesday. The Buckeyes didn’t earn another running back commitment after that. As of the first day of the Early Signing Period, Ohio State hasn’t received any surprise flips at the position.

However, Day said Ohio State didn’t necessarily need a running back in the 2023 class anyway, given the depth it could have next season if Henerson, Williams, Hayden and Pryor are all healthy.

“We have pretty decent depth there, when you look at Tre and Miyan. And then Chip, we gotta decide if we're going to move him over full-time or not. Dallan, and then Evan Pryor's been hurt,” Day said. “So going into the year, we knew we were already kind of with five guys there, four-and-a-half guys. If we had somebody there that we really liked, we were gonna take them. We didn't feel like we needed to, but we're always going to look to upgrade if we possibly can or add somebody to the roster that we think can help us. So it didn't work out for us this year. We certainly had a head start, and then we lost the guy.”

The Buckeyes want five scholarship running backs on the roster, and if you add Trayanum to the aforementioned four, that will put Ohio State right on the mark. But Day said fifth-year wide receiver Xavier Johnson, who has taken six carries for 118 yards and a touchdown this season, could also be an option.

Johnson walked on Senior Day and participated in Ohio State's Senior Tackle event but could potentially exercise another year of eligibility if he so chooses.

“And then the other thing too is Xavier has really helped us at running back as well,” Day said. “So it gives us a little flexibility there.”

However the situation plays out, Day doesn’t seem too concerned about the Buckeyes’ lack of a 2023 running back signee. After all, getting healthy at the position will go a long way in shoring up the depth in the room next season.

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