Tegra Tshabola and George Fitzpatrick have their black stripes no more.
After Ohio State's fourth spring practice on Thursday, the rising sophomore offensive linemen were "officially" initiated as Buckeyes when they became the 22nd and 23rd members of the program's class of 2022 to add scarlet to their helmets.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) March 24, 2023
newest member of the OLine, @tshabola_tegra#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/x3eeAyZr8d
In a brief press conference after the practice, Tshabola said he feels thankful to have finally shed his black stripe, explaining that it took him longer than he expected to participate in the program's rite of passage for new arrivals.
“It was big. It was a long time coming, some things happened last year, but it's a good feeling to have it off," Tshabola said. “I definitely (expected to lose the black stripe sooner) coming in, but I've been more proud of the improvement that I've made rather than the stripe itself. .. It's a big help, but I'm gonna keep doing the same thing I've been doing every day, working with coaches and other players, staying after and improving."
A four-star prospect and the top-ranked offensive lineman from Ohio in his class, Tshabola was a three-time first-team All-Ohio recipient at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio northeast of Cincinnati. He was also selected to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
As a 6-foot-6, 327-pound freshman at Ohio State, Tshabola made four appearances for the Buckeyes, receiving snaps against Arkansas State (eight), Toledo (23), Wisconsin (nine) and Rutgers (12) before redshirting for the rest of the season.
Fitzpatrick, a former four-star and No. 19 overall tackle prospect in his class from Englewood, Colorado, and Cherry Creek High School, only made one appearance and saw nine snaps in his first season in the scarlet and gray.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) March 25, 2023
newest member of the OLine, George Fitzpatrick#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/NUH1suw8Xx
While Fitzpatrick did not speak with the media on Thursday, offensive line coach Justin Frye spoke on his behalf. Frye said the 6-foot-6, 305-pound lineman has made tremendous strides in his first year with the program, learning the basics and developing his body to be ready for the competitive nature of college football over the next few years.
"George Fitzpatrick, last year, didn't know what shoe was left and right and how to tie them," Frye said. "He got his black stripe off today. He's playing better, just because he's another year mature and bigger and stronger."
|KYE STOKES||S||APRIL 8, 2022||Freshman|
|CADEN CURRY||DE||APRIL 11, 2022||Freshman|
|JYAIRE BROWN||CB||AUG. 9, 2022||Freshman|
|C.J. HICKS||LB||AUG. 13, 2022||Freshman|
|KALEB BROWN||WR||AUG. 17, 2022||Freshman|
|KYION GRAYES||WR||AUG. 20, 2022||Freshman|
|DALLAN HAYDEN||RB||AUG. 20, 2022||Freshman|
|KENYATTA JACKSON||DE||AUG. 20, 2022||Freshman|
|SONNY STYLES||S||AUG. 30, 2022||Freshman|
|TC CAFFEY||RB||SEPT. 14, 2022||Freshman|
|KOJO ANTWI||WR||SEPT. 15, 2022||Freshman|
|MASON MAGGS||QB||SEPT. 15, 2022||Freshman|
|RYAN TURNER||CB||SEPT. 22, 2022||Freshman|
|HERO KANU||DT||SEPT. 22, 2022||Freshman|
|JAYDEN FIELDING||K||OCT. 6, 2022||Freshman|
|DEVIN BROWN||QB||OCT. 6, 2022||Freshman|
|OMARI ABOR||DE||DEC. 7, 2022||Freshman|
|CARSON HINZMAN||C||DEC. 14, 2022||Freshman|
|BENNETT CHRISTIAN||TE||DEC. 17, 2022||Freshman|
|GABE POWERS||LB||DEC. 20, 2022||Freshman|
|CALEB BURTON||WR||DEC. 20, 2022||Freshman|
|TEGRA TSHABOLA||OT||MARCH 23, 2023||Freshmen|
|GEORGE FITZPATRICK||OT||MARCH 23, 2023||Freshmen|