Tommy Eichenberg will be back in uniform for the Buckeyes in 2023.
On Thursday, the standout Ohio State linebacker put talks of his departure for the NFL to rest as he announced he will return to Columbus for a fifth season next fall as he hopes to lead the program to its first national championship since 2014.
A former four-star recruit from St. Ignatius High School, Eichenberg arrived at Ohio State in 2019 and qualified for a redshirt season after appearing in only four games. In 2020, Eichenberg seldom played for the Buckeyes as the program was limited to only eight games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eichenberg's first significant impact did not come until his redshirt sophomore season in 2021, when he made 13 appearances and four starts for the Buckeyes. He finished second on the team in tackles with 64 and ended the year with an impressive 17-tackle performance in Ohio State's win over Utah in the Rose Bowl.
In 2022, Eichenberg was the leader of an Ohio State defense that underwent a serious makeover in Jim Knowles' first year as defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. A semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, Eichenberg collected 112 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one defensive touchdown in the regular season. He also recorded eight tackles with five solo stops in the Buckeyes' loss to Georgia in the Peach Bowl.
Those 13 games, in which Eichenberg was named a Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week once and a Lott IMPACT Player of the week twice, placed the Cleveland native firmly in the conversation as one of the nation's best linebackers. His two first-team and five second-team All-American selections after the season helped establish that narrative, too.
In 2023, Eichenberg will return to a linebacker room that will lean heavily on him and fellow teammate Steele Chambers, who announced in December that he would also stay at Ohio State for another year. Cody Simon is also expected to return for the Buckeyes, creating a veteran presence at what should be a core defensive position for the team next fall.