Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox – Getty Images
The Ohio State University has become one of a few havens for top running back talent to prove their skills, and for good reason. With guys like Archie Griffin, Eddie George, and Ezekiel Elliott it’s easy to see why one of the top backs available in the transfer portal would make the choice to don the scarlet and gray.
Trey Sermon made headlines at Oklahoma as the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the year, but after limited carries and a knee injury led to his replacement he entered the transfer portal.
The Buckeyes were coming off of a CFP berth but lost 10 players to the NFL Draft, including J.K Dobbins, the program’s 3rd leading rusher. While Master Teague was returning, coach Ryan Day couldn’t pass on the former Big 12 stud.
Then came the cancellation and eventual resumption of the Big Ten season, leading to a loss of practice time within his new Ohio State system. The result? A predictably slow start from the graduate transfer, as he was often splitting touches 50/50 or even backing up Teague.
Through 5 games, the Buckeyes were a pass first-run second offense, straying from last years run first style that led to much success. This came as a combination of no clear RB1 and poor offensive line play. As the season continued however, Sermon broke out as the clear starter, and has done so since.
I mentioned Ezekiel Elliott earlier, and despite a shortened Ohio State career he’s widely considered as a top-three back to play for the school. This is in large part due to his 3 game stretch in the 2014-2015 post-season. Elliott rushed for 696 yards over a 3 game span, playing a huge role in the Buckeyes win of the inaugural Playoff.
Sermon not only has a chance to break that mark, but it’s as good a shot as any. After a record-setting 331 yard effort against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game, his 193 yard showing against Clemson leaves just 172 yards until he ties Elliott’s historic stretch.
Jumping over the 696 yard mark, and a win over Alabama in the National Championship of course, make his 3 game postseason run as impressive, if not more so than Elliott’s.
It’s not every day that we see legends be formed in front of our eyes, but we will have the opportunity to do just that come Monday night. Should it come to fruition, Trey Sermon may just find himself among discussions of the greats after only one season.