The Buckeyes have celebrated in Ohio Stadium and visited the White House, but there’s still more left to do. On Tuesday, a quartet of players departed for Los Angeles to take part in Wednesday’s live broadcast (8 p.m. EDT on ABC) of the ESPYs.
Ohio State is up for three awards – Best Team, Best Breakthrough Athlete (Cardale Jones), and Best Coach/Manager (Urban Meyer). The team will be competing against the New England Patriots, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Blackhawks, UConn women’s basketball team and U.S. women’s soccer team. Jones is up against New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., golfer Jordan Spieth and little leaguer Mo’ne Davis. Meyer is paired with UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerry and Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
In addition to Meyer and Jones, the program will be represented by running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Braxton Miller and linebacker Joshua Perry. The Buckeyes believe they have a chance to take home the Best Team award, but the recent Women’s World Cup title won by the United States has raised the degree of difficulty in that category.
“Honestly I think that it will be tough. There are other good teams,” Perry said. “You have the Warriors, obviously, and the women’s national soccer team and what they did. I wouldn’t be surprised if they walked away with it.”
Elliott said the players attending the ceremony have spent Saturdays making up the workouts they’ll miss while they’re in California, but Perry noted that it’s still a little strange to be celebrating the national championship while working to prepare for the upcoming season.
“It’ll be fun,” Perry said. “I think it’s good for the program just to be recognized. We take pride in the fact that we’re building something really good around here. It’s a little bit weird taking a break in the middle of the week from the grind and everything, but it’ll be cool and once we get back we’re already focused on the grind for next year. This isn’t going to be any one of those things that will take us off that.”
“It’s a little bit crazy knowing some of the names that are going to be there and that have been there in the past and how big of an event it is, and we take pride in being there.”
The players showed up to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center toting their suits that will be worn on the red carpet tomorrow. On Wednesday, they’ll get one final night to commemorate one of the most special seasons in program history.
“I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m sure it’s going to be crazy,” Elliott. “It’s just great to be able to experience something like this.”