There’s no shortage of movement in our first Buckeye 20 rankings update of the 2023 season.
The Buckeye 20, Eleven Warriors’ year-round ranking of the 20 best players on Ohio State’s current football team, will be updated after every month of the regular season and after the postseason for a fresh assessment of who the Buckeyes’ 20 best players are throughout the year.
Each Eleven Warriors staff member is asked to submit their own ranking of Ohio State’s 20 best players before each update, and the ballots are compiled together (with every first-place vote being worth 20 points and every 20th-place vote being worth one) to put together our official staff rankings.
Here’s a sneak peek at our end-of-September rankings, which you can find in full on the Buckeye 20 rankings page:
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This month’s rankings include three new players who did not make our preseason top-20 rankings – including one, Tyleik Williams, who went all the way from unranked to inside the top five – while numerous other Buckeyes also made big jumps up the rankings.
Tyleik Williams, Josh Proctor among biggest risers
No player made a bigger move up the Buckeye 20 rankings through the first month of the season than Tyleik Williams, who is now ranked as the fifth-best player on the team after an excellent first month of the season in which he ranked third on the team with 21 tackles, led the Buckeyes with three tackles for loss and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
Josh Proctor was also unranked before the season but is now ranked 12th after solidifying himself as Ohio State’s starting free safety. The third and final newcomer in this month’s Buckeye 20 is Chip Trayanum, who enters the rankings at 16th after showcasing his versatility as both a running back and fullback and scoring the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame.
Among players who were already ranked before the season, the biggest risers in the Buckeye 20 after one month are Kyle McCord and Cade Stover, who both leap up eight spots into the top eight after starting the year 15th and 16th. McCord now ranks as Ohio State’s seventh-best player after locking down the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback job, while Stover is now eighth after a productive first month of the season in which he caught 17 passes for 240 yards.
Both of Ohio State’s starting cornerbacks climbed five spots in this month’s ranking as Denzel Burke is now ranked third – the highest ranking of any defensive player – while Davison Igbinosun jumped from 20th to 15th after establishing himself as the Buckeyes’ No. 2 cornerback.
Miyan Williams, Donovan Jackson among biggest fallers
With Trayanum taking his place on the depth chart as the No. 2 running back, Miyan Williams fell from ninth in the preseason Buckeye 20 to unranked this time around, as Williams simply hasn’t been getting enough playing time to be among Ohio State’s top players so far this year.
Josh Simmons and Julian Fleming, who were 17th and 18th in the preseason Buckeye 20, are also unranked in our first in-season rankings. Fleming, the first player to miss the cut this month, has started every game at wide receiver this season but has caught only 13 passes for 108 yards with zero touchdowns. Simmons has started every game at left tackle but has battled the same issues with penalties and inconsistent play that plagued him at San Diego State.
Among players who are still ranked this month, the biggest faller from August to September was Donovan Jackson, who was sixth in our preseason Buckeye 20 but dropped to 17th in our first in-season update. Fellow guard Matt Jones also dropped seven spots from 11th to 18th as Ohio State’s offensive line has yet to hit its stride through the Buckeyes’ first four games.
JT Tuimoloau fell five spots from fourth to ninth while Jack Sawyer fell eight spots from 12th to 20th as both starting defensive ends are still chasing their first sack of the season.
Stay tuned to Eleven Warriors for the next edition of the Buckeye 20, which will be released during the first week of November after the Buckeyes play their four October games against Maryland, Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin.