Skull Session: It’s Chip Trayanum’s Time to Shine As Kickoff Returner, Archie Griffin Has Fond Memories of Ohio Stadium and C.J. Stroud is Powered by Lemons

By Chase Brown on September 16, 2022 at 5:00 am
Archie Griffin

It's starting to feel like fall in Columbus.

That, my friends, means it's starting to feel like football weather. Let's skip the late September heat wave and go to mid-60s temperatures with the sun shining. That would be perfect.

Let's also have a good Friday, shall we?

 TO THE CRIB! Growing up, one of my favorite moments in football was when a kick returner or punt returner took it to the end zone. My favorite Buckeye of all-time is Ted Ginn Jr., so I think you can make the connection there.

The Cleveland Browns also might have spoiled me – Did I really just say that? – because Joshua Cribbs was the return man during my childhood, and he was electric every time he touched the football in those situations.

But no matter who returned kicks, whether they played for Ohio State, the Browns or whatever team, I always felt an excitement toward what could happen when the returner had the chance to take one to the crib.

That's why all this talk about Chip Trayanum taking over kickoff return duties excites me. If Ohio State is willing to move on from Emeka Egbuka as the lead man after averaging 29 yards per kickoff return last season for Trayanum, the latter must be showing out in practice.

Egbuka thinks so. He even admitted that the running back-turned-linebacker might be a better returner than him, which is a crazy thing to say about a player who has never done it at the collegiate level.

“I wouldn't be surprised if he took the first one he's ever gotten back,” Egbuka said. “Seeing him return in practice, it's like, you don't really realize how fast he is until he hits that crease. And once he hits that crease, no one on the scout kickoff team has been able to catch him."

Ohio State hasn't returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Jordan Hall took one 85 yards for a score against Michigan in 2010. It looked like this on the television broadcast (feel free to watch some other highlights from this game, too, because I certainly did):

Will Trayanum take his first kick return for a touchdown this weekend? My heart of hearts tells me no. However, it would be pretty cool if Egbuka called his shot for him. Maybe Ryan Day could elect to receive the ball if Ohio State wins the toss, so we can find out sooner rather than later.

 THE ONE AND ONLY. There is only one two-time Heisman Trophy winner. His name is Archie Griffin, and he was really, really, really good at football. I'm not sure you can put enough adverbs before good to justify his talent, either.

In a recent article with Aaron Marshall of the Ohio State Alumni Magazine, Griffin shared some of the memories he made in his time as a Buckeye. Among them was his final game at Ohio Stadium on Nov. 15, 1975. As Griffin explained it, coach Woody Hayes took the seniors out of the game one by one to the thunderous applause of fans. It's an experience Griffin hasn't forgotten to this day.

“It was special to see all of the people in the stadium clapping for the seniors. That senior class never lost a game in the stadium,” he says. “I still get kind of choked up when I think about that. I remember Woody stepping out on the field a little bit and shaking each of our hands. I really admire the way he did that.

“There are a lot of places that mean a lot to me, but Ohio Stadium was huge for me because of the way things happened and the magnitude of being in this place and playing in front of 80-some-thousand people.

“It’s like something you dream of that you never expect to come true, but it did — it really did happen,” says Archie, who — after seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals — went on to work 19 years in Athletics and serve 11 years as president of the alumni association. “This is certainly one of the most memorable places I’ll ever have.”

In the 100th year of Ohio Stadium, it's easy to become nostalgic recalling all of the beautiful memories Ohio State football has created in the last century. This moment was one of Griffin's favorites. What is one of yours?

 POWERED BY LEMONS. C.J. Stroud and Luke Wypler have signed a name, image and likeness deal with a hydration company called Lemon Perfect. The former will be an equity partner and brand ambassador, while the latter will be a spokesperson for the company.

I won’t venture into the deal’s specifics, primarily because I do not know them. But I must share what Stroud said in a press release (it totally wasn’t a public relations intern from Lemon Perfect).

“Lemon Perfect helps me perform my best every day by keeping me hydrated,” Stroud said in a press release. “It used to be a task to make sure I drank enough water, but it’s easy to drink Lemon Perfect all day. It tastes great, it’s refreshing, it’s good for you, and I don’t have to deal with the mess of making my own lemon water.”

That last line gets a real kick out of me, causing me to imagine Stroud, a record-breaking quarterback, being frustrated with the mess that cutting lemons and squeezing them into a glass of water creates. But, hey, to each his own. Now he has an NIL deal that allows him to never worry about that kind of thing again.

And in case you were wondering, Stroud’s quest for a Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff championship will be because he'll never lack the vitamin C and soluble fiber that lemons offer. That's at least what Lemon Perfect founder and CEO Yanni Hufnagel thinks.

“Powered by lemons, C.J. is poised to have one of the best statistical seasons ever by a Heisman-winning quarterback while leading Ohio State to a national championship,” Hufnagel said.

So, remember Buckeye fans, if Stroud hoists the Heisman and CFP trophies this season, everyone must thank Lemon Perfect. It's the least you can do for the brand helping Stroud and Ohio State assert their dominance on the college football landscape.

 ALL HANDS ON DECK. The first Eleven Dubgate after a two-year hiatus will occur on Sept. 24, leading up to Ohio State's kickoff with Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. and taking place behind the Varsity Club on Tuttle Park Place and Norwich Avenue.

As we prepare for the event, which brings together our community to support Special Olympics Olentangy, we ask that you would help one of our sponsors, Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace, find their truck that was reported stolen as of Sept. 8.

Ordering from Dirty Frank’s food truck is a unique experience in Columbus, so it will be much more meaningful for the company to have its iconic vehicle present at our event. While we will not ask our loyal readers to become vigilantes, we ask that you be on the lookout for the black and yellow truck and report any information to the Worthington Police Department.

We hope to see you at the Eleven Dubgate as we prepare for what should be a fun night of supporting a good cause and watching some Ohio State football with 100,000 of our closest friends.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Starman” by David Bowie.

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