Hamstring Injury Keeps Homan Out For Now

Ohio State freshman linebacker Ross Homan met with reporters at Thursday's media day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Homan, who enrolled early and was impressive in the spring, is left to a spectator's role this week as he rehabs a slight hamstring injury. Click here for more.

This is the week Ross Homan has been pointing to ever since he issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State back in February 2005.

But Homan, a freshman outside linebacker for the Buckeyes, is in the last place he wanted to be – on the sidelines.

As the Buckeyes wrap up the first week of preseason camp, Homan is nursing a hamstring injury. He said the injury is not serious and he hopes to join the team on the field by the middle of next week, when OSU will be in full pads.

"It's killing me right now," said Homan, who enrolled early last winter and went through spring football. "It's the worst thing in the world to have an injury. I played all spring injury free and then coming in this season with a little hammy problem. I am rehabbing it and trying to get as strong as possible. I want to try and get back on the field. It's not a major setback. I've been in the film room, trying to get all of the new plays down."

The 6-1, 240-pound Homan was offered a scholarship as a junior just after signing day in 2005. He quickly accepted and then showed the early offer was not a mistake. He was a stellar two-way player as a running back and linebacker in earning Ohio High state player of the year honors and leading Coldwater to a 15-0 mark and the Division IV state championship.

Homan then turned some heads in the spring. He tallied eight tackles and an interception in the jersey scrimmage and then had a team-high eight tackles in the spring-ending Scarlet and Gray Game. His performance in the spring landed Homan in the two-deep as the backup to Marcus Freeman at the weakside linebacker spot.

"My expectations are high coming in here," he said. "You have to work hard on the field and in the film room to always get better."

When asked about his role on this year's squad, Homan said, "That will tell during the season. I don't know you. I am just going to work hard on and off the field. I want to do everything I can to help the team out. Each game, I want to do my best."

Homan played his senior year at Coldwater around 225 pounds. By enrolling early, he went through winter conditioning, spring football and the summer program.

"I am at about 240 right now," he said. "I have gained 10 or 15 pounds probably. Our strength team is unbelievable with Eric Lichter and Butch Reynolds. Coming in in the winter and working out constantly has helped me become a D-I football player.

"The summer was intense. Every day, you came in knowing you were going to sweat and work hard. But the outcome is unbelievable. When you put everything into it, you get a great outcome."

For some, Homan's approach to the game elicits comparisons to past OSU linebacker greats like A.J. Hawk and Chris Spielman.

"You think about all of the greats here through every year," he said. "I look at guys like A.J. (Hawk), Matt Wilhelm, Cie Grant. They were on the 2002 team. Then you always have guys like (Chris) Spielman and all of that.

"I just love the game overall – the speed, the contact, the physical process of everything. It's probably the greatest game around."

The Buckeyes replace nine starters on defense. If they expect to live up to their lofty preseason No. 1 ranking, Homan said the Buckeyes need to reload quickly on defense.

"I know this defense can be great," he said. "We have great potential. We have some young players, but we are talented and we work hard. That's the main thing."

Homan appeared at Thursday's media day sporting one of the new OSU jerseys.

"It takes you like 15 minutes to get into these things, but I like it," he said. "In high school, your uniform was baggy. You get here and it's skin tight. It's good to play in, but it's not easy to get on."

Homan wore No. 25 in high school. When it came time to pick a number at OSU, he opted for No. 51 – a number Anthony Schlegel made famous the last two seasons.

"I came here and looked at all of the numbers that were available," Homan said. "I thought 51 was a good number. I like the look of it.

"Schlegel always told me, ‘Now you've got 51. You have to carry on that tradition.' I was like, ‘All right.' "

The move for signees to enroll early has been a real push over the last five years. Homan missed out on the final six months of his senior year at Coldwater, but he said he would not have changed a thing.

"Coming in for the winter and spring helped me tremendously," he said. "If I had come in for the summer time, the transition would have been a lot harder.

"This has been everything I expected, being Ohio State football."

Check out the September edition of Bucknuts The Magazine for a feature on Ross Homan written by Charles Babb. It should be on newsstands within the next week.

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