For the last time in their Ohio State careers, 18 fourth- or fifth-year players will take the field in Ohio Stadium this Saturday.
That list does not include, however, the multiple juniors that could be bolting for the 2016 NFL Draft, including likely top pick Joey Bosa.
Bosa, who initially didn’t comment on his thoughts on the draft, was pretty definitive on his future when he discussed his last three years at Ohio State on Monday with the media.
“You really don’t understand it until you go through it all with cherishing every moment you have here. It’s really crazy that three years has flown by so quick and now my brother (Nick Bosa) is going to be taking my spot here next year,” Joey said. “It’s really exciting but it’s still hard even after all of that to take every moment in one at a time. I’m trying as best I can to not wish time by and just take in every moment.”
Bosa has experienced a lot during his three seasons at Ohio State, including conference and national championships to go along with a suspension that kept him out of this season’s opening win against Virginia Tech.
The Florida native said his three years at Ohio State have changed him as a person for the better as he is set to more than likely play his last game ever in Ohio Stadium.
While his draft stock could not rise much higher, Bosa was not ready to completely slam the door shut on his time in Columbus quite yet.
“I would have to say the only possible thing that would keep me here is playing with Nicky,” Joey said. “Not even playing with him, just to be able to be here and show him how it’s going to be. I know he’ll be fine but it would be so nice to be here and help him through it. So we’ll see when the time comes.”
One player that will for sure be playing his last game in Ohio Stadium is senior offensive tackle Taylor Decker.
Decker is a three-year starter for the Buckeyes who wasn’t initially recruited by OSU. That was not until Urban Meyer got the job in Columbus, made him and offer and the rest is history for the Ohio native who said he always wanted to be a Buckeye.
The Buckeyes have lost just one home game since Decker’s arrival on campus, and he said he is trying to keep his mind off of the fact that Saturday will be his last appearance in Ohio Stadium.
“I’m trying not to think about that because it’s obviously going to be emotional for me,” Decker said. “I’ve really loved playing here, I’ve played in a lot of big games and I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve especially enjoyed being around all these people though, that’s probably been the best part.”
Meyer mentioned that for him, senior day against the Spartans will be especially tough for him with the group that is set to run out of the tunnel for the last time.
“I look at these names. It's going to be a tough day. Senior Day is always a tough day, especially for the guys that are really invested. And you look at some of these guys from the fifth-year guys, Joel (Hale) Braxton (Miller), Chase Farris, Nick Vannett, Bryce Haynes, all wonderful people, and then your fourth year guys, are Armani (Reeves) who is not playing, but still very involved. Warren Ball, Cam Williams, a real soldier for us. Tommy Schutt turned out to be a great kid for us. Adolphus Washington, Jacoby Boren, Taylor Decker, and obviously Josh Perry. An incredible group of people.”
Meyer’s list of course does not include many of the juniors like Bosa who are likely to bolt for the draft.
Players like Michael Thomas, Ezekiel Elliott, Pat Elflein, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple are all candidates to leave for the next level but will not participate in the senior day festivities.
Everyone is aware of what that group of juniors and seniors was able to accomplish, but below is a list if every player (in the order that Ohio State presented in a press release) that will run out of the tunnel for the final time on Senior Day in The Shoe.
DE Chris Fong – A walk-on defensive lineman who earned a spot after playing a season with the Ohio State Club Football team. Has not appeared in a game for the Buckeyes yet, but did record a tackle in the 2015 Spring Game.
K Jack Willoughby – Transferred in from Duke prior to the season and earned the starting kicking duties before giving way to Sean Nuernberger. Has converted on 7 of 12 kicks this season while handling kickoff duties for the entire year.
CB Armani Reeves – A member of the Ohio State program since 2012, was not on the active roster in 2015 due to medical concerns. Played in 11 games during the 2014 national title run and broke up four passes.
RB Jeffie Johnson – Joined Ohio State as a walk on in 2014 after transferring in from Snow Junior College in Utah. Native of Hilliard, Ohio, also played one season on Ohio State Club Football team. Was valued member of Buckeyes scout team last two seasons. Has one career carry for two yards.
WR Jeff Greene – Came to Ohio State as a transfer from Georgia Tech in 2013. After sitting out the 2013 season, he played mostly special teams as a Buckeye and blocked a punt in 2014 against Kent State. Has two career catches in his time as a Buckeye.
WR Kato Mitchell – A four year walk on at Ohio State, Mitchell has seen action in each of the last three seasons. Recorded his first career catch against Florida A&M in 2013 and has served on the Buckeye scout team for most of his four seasons.
RB Warren Ball – A fourth-year junior for Ohio State, Ball has seen time in mop-up duty almost exclusively. He has 40 career carries for 188 yards.
LS Bryce Haynes – Fifth-year senior who has handled Ohio State’s long-snapping duties full time for two seasons. Three-year letter winner.
LB Cam Williams – Has been a solid second team linebacker for Ohio State over the last few seasons. One career start for the Buckeyes in a 2013 win over Illinois, and has tallied 40 tackles for his career.
DT Tommy Schutt – Finally earned a starting spot in 2015 and has played well for the Buckeyes, totaling 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks. According to Ohio State, was the first high school senior to commit to Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
TE Nick Vannett – A fifth-year senior who redshirted in 2011, Vannett has started 12 career games as a Buckeye, including nine in 2015. Has 50 career catches for 554 yards and six scores, including a touchdown catch in the 2015 College Football National Championship Game.
OT Chase Farris – Fifth-year senior that earned a starting spot along the offensive line after playing both offensive and defense in his Buckeye career. Has started every game for the Buckeyes in 2015 at right tackle.
DT Joel Hale – Another fifth-year senior that has bounced around on offense and defense for Ohio State. Has started three games at defensive tackle for the Buckeyes this season and has recorded 11 tackles.
DT Adolphus Washington – Has been a consistent force along the Ohio State defensive line for four straight seasons. Has started 29 games in his Buckeye career including every game this season. Washington has recorded 40 tackles and three sacks in his final campaign in Columbus. He is a projected first- or second-round draft pick.
C Jacoby Boren – For two seasons, Boren has not missed a game as the starting center for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The third Boren to play for the scarlet and gray, Jacoby is a finalist for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy which is better known as the Academic Heisman.
OT Taylor Decker – A three-year starter for Ohio State, Decker has anchored an offensive line that has blocked for both Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott. Decker is a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award which is given to the nation’s top lineman. He is a projected first-round draft pick.
LB Joshua Perry – A constant at linebacker for Ohio State for the last four years, Perry has been dominant for the Silver Bullet defense. The leading tackler for the 2014 national champions, Perry has started all but one game in the last two seasons for the Buckeyes.
WR Braxton Miller – A man who doesn’t need much of an introduction, Miller will go down as one of the most electrifying players to ever wear the scarlet and gray. A two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year, Miller made the move from quarterback to wide receiver for his final season and has not disappointed. He will leave Ohio State as the school record holder for most touchdowns responsible for as he passed Art Schilchter this season.