With just two games left to play, this weekend’s Ohio State matchup against Illinois will be the final home game of the 2017 college football season, which means that it is the last time that 19 Buckeye seniors will suit up to play in The Horseshoe.
Senior Day in The ‘Shoe is always emotional, for both players and fans. This group of seniors has been a steadying influence for the team for years, and their departure will be a tough pill to swallow for Buckeye fans who can no longer rely on the steadfastness and dedication of Billy Price, or Tyquan Lewis making a stuff at the line, or J.T. Barrett miraculously finding a way to keep an important drive alive.
The 2013 Ohio State recruiting class was a watershed moment in the Urban Meyer era in Columbus. The heights that Meyer’s first full class at OSU have taken the program to have redefined how the college football world views the Ohio State Buckeyes. While a number of players from that class are already making their names in the NFL (Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Darron Lee), the players that have remained are continuing to have a profound impact on the Buckeye program.
Since arriving on campus, the 2013 recruiting class has amassed a 57-8 record, four-straight Big Ten division titles, one B1G conference title, two College Football Playoff appearances, and the 2014 National Championship... and they aren’t done yet. Not to mention the fact that they already have four pairs of Gold Pants as well.
Before they take to the home field for the the final time, let’s take a look back at the 19 seniors being honored today, and appreciate all that they’ve accomplished during their careers, as well as what they have given to the team, university, and larger Ohio State community:
J.T. Barrett (QB)
The man, the myth, the legend. Barrett has been all of those things for Ohio State football over his seemingly endless tenure with the program. At times, he’s made fans question his talent or urgency, but ultimately he will move on with his football career having claimed more than 23 different school records (!!!), several Big Ten conference records, and as the only player in Ohio State history to be a three-time captain for the football team.
Regardless of how many times you’ve yelled at your TV hoping he can hear you, Saturday’s final home game with Barrett at the helm will be emotional. The fifth-year senior has done it all. He won the No. 2 spot to then replace Braxton Miller ahead of the 2014 season, and then continued to blow everyone’s expectations out of the water until his injury that ended his season against Michigan.
Finally back and healthy in 2015, he had to compete for his job with Cardale Jones. The coaching staff didn’t exactly handle that situation as well as they should have, and Barrett spent most of the time on the bench, until the last few games of the season. Then in 2016, the reigns were once again his, but with new coaches and new receivers, unfortunately, the passing game never got back to where it had been his first year in the pocket, and the offense relied on his legs more than his arm.
With two regular season games still to play, Barrett has amassed a whopping 8,938 passing yards and 99 touchdown passes (against 28 interceptions) with a 64% completion percentage. The quarterback isn’t as elusive as Miller and Pryor had been before him, but he’s efficient, and almost always moves the chains when he needs to. In addition to his incredible passing stats, he claims an additional 3,037 yards on the ground and 38 scores.
The Last Lace Up: JOE! THOMAS! BARRETT! Salute to @JT_theQB4th in his final game in #TheShoe! History will speak your name but the impact you had on this program will inspire Buckeyes for generations. Thank you and a great honor to have you as a Buckeye! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/cWwATBG0wz— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 18, 2017
Marcus Baugh (TE)
The fifth-year senior has saved his best season in a Buckeye uniform for his last. With three touchdown receptions this season, that equals his combined output for the previous three combined. The Riverside, CA-native has 20 receptions and 206 yards in 2017, both on the cusp of breaking his single-season bests.
While tight ends have primarily been used for blocking and as outlet options in Urban Meyer’s offense at Ohio State, Baugh is proving himself to be a viable offensive weapon before he heads off to the next level.
The Last Lace Up: AIR MARCUS BAUGH!! Salute to this stud @MarcusBaugh85 in his final game in #TheShoe! You have literally jumped over every obstacle in your path and we are proud to have you as a Buckeye! Thank you! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/u9Y4Z9kXZQ— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 17, 2017
Stephen Collier (QB)
Despite graduating last year and walking away from his roster spot for Ohio State, the quarterback who stood deep in a depth chart behind guys like Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will be honored with the 2017 senior class on Saturday. Collier was initially pegged for the No. 2 QB spot behind Barrett in 2016, but a shoulder injury during the spring game would require surgery and he was out for the year.
Trevon Forte (CB)
After playing at Youngstown’s Cardinal Mooney High School, Forte began his career in Columbus as a walk-on eventually earning a scholarship. In 2016, Forte played in the games against Bowling Green and Rutgers. As a sport and industry major, he has already begun exploring what lays ahead for him after his Buckeye career ends.
The Last Lace Up: HARD WORK FORTE!! Salute to this special young man @TgiForte in his final game in #TheShoe! This program loves you because of your hard work and dedication! Enjoy this moment Tre! You deserve it!! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/B0NBzMWnVx— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 17, 2017
Elijaah Goins (WR)
Originally lining up at safety and on special teams, Goins made the move to offense this spring, and tried his luck as a wide receiver. He’s only been with the football program for three years after walking onto the team in early 2015. Goins is finishing his Ohio State career as a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, with a major in pharmaceutical sciences.
Cin'Quan Haney (CB)
The 6’1 cornerback joined the Ohio State program as a walk-on in the spring of 2015. Since then, he has earned a scholarship while majoring in physics. An OHSAA gold award winner while at Dayton’s Chaminade-Julienne, Haney and Buckeye teammate Curtis Henry ran for Undergraduate Student Government president and vice-president in 2016. Though the write-in ticket was ultimately unsuccessful, they made quite an impact on the race.
Jackson Hayes (LB)
He might not have contributed on the field for the Buckeyes on Saturdays, but as a member of the scout team, Jackson Hayes has definitely helped make the team better. Just ahead of senior day, the Dublin-native had his black stripe removed and will be honored among his classmates at Senior Day.
Michael Hill (DT)
One of the more veteran players to participate in Senior Day for the Buckeyes is defensive tackle Michael Hill. After coming to Ohio State in 2013, he red-shirted his first year due to injuries, despite earning playing time in three of the Buckeyes first four games that year as a true freshman. Since then, he’s racked up 36 total tackles (5.0 for loss) and one sack.
His final season in Columbus didn’t exactly start on the best terms, as he was suspended for the first few games of the year — and didn’t end up suiting up again until mid-October.
The Last Lace Up: BIG MIKE!!! Salute to this guy @MichaelReal77 in his final game in #TheShoe! It’s been a long journey but we are proud to be there with you every step of the way! Thank you for your help in making this program better! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/oW81Ce6JQ5— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 16, 2017
Jalyn Holmes (DE)
Despite not officially starting as a junior, Homes received an All-Big Ten honorable mention last year. This season, he has started seven games while serving as one of the team’s captains. Though often overshadowed by his defensive end brethren, Holmes brings an NFL-ready skill set to Larry Johnson’s defensive line. He has racked up 74 tackles in his Buckeye career, including 14 for loss. In addition to his productivity on the field, Holmes has become a fan-favorite for both his engaging persona in interviews, as well as his leadership among his teammates.
The Last Lace Up: #HowSheGoneEat Salute to this young man @JayHolmes_ in his final game in #TheShoe! Thank you for all you have done for this program! It’s been a blessing to have you as a Buckeye! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/jRsPNNy1Ob— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 17, 2017
Jamarco Jones (OL)
After spending years in the shadows of Taylor Decker, the past two seasons have been Jones’ time to shine in the oft-successful offensive tackle position for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has a long tradition of sending their OTs to the NFL, and Jamarco Jones is looking to keep that pipeline alive.
This season marked Jones’ second as the starter at left tackle. Throughout his collegiate career, he’s played well over 1,000 offensive plays from scrimmage and has grown into a leader on an ever evolving offensive line.
The Last Lace Up: JAMARCOOOOOOO JONESSSSS!!!! Salute to this guy @jjones_74 in his final game in #TheShoe! It’s been a absolute pleasure watching you grow as a man and a Buckeye! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/EWZVNOBlJN— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 15, 2017
Tyquan Lewis (DL)
As a junior, Lewis was recognized as the Big Ten’s Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year, and while his numbers aren’t as impressive as they have been over the previous two seasons, the three-year starter and two-time captain has left his mark on the Buckeye program. His 21 career sacks puts him in the top-ten in Ohio State history (8th), and his 33 tackles for loss currently rank 15th. His leadership has also made him a favorite among players and coaches, and will certainly be a quality that NFL scouts appreciate when preparing to take him in this spring’s draft.
The Last Lace Up: BIG BROTHER QUAN!!! Salute to @PrimeTime_Lewis in his final game in #TheShoe! Brotherhood is a quality you promote each day within this program! You’ve remained humble and led this team! We are thankful for your time! Salute Champ! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/LWo0SKmjgd— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 18, 2017
Billy Price (OL)
Already considered a potential first round draft pick next spring, former guard, and now center, Billy Price has been the pillar of stability this season, for both J.T. Barrett and the offensive line. Willing to step up whenever he was needed — and always willing to put in extra work — the Buckeye netted a new school record last week against Michigan State, having started in 51 consecutive games in his career. He’ll extend that record as he finishes out the season, and as Ohio State competes in the postseason.
The Last Lace Up: CHAMP!!!! Salute to @b_price54 in his final game in #TheShoe! Every day our program became better because of your toughness, leadership and smile. Your legacy will be told and live through Buckeye greatness! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/9kg5RWmLVs— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 18, 2017
Price sat down and wrote a letter to Buckeye Nation for Land of 10, and explained what his time playing for Ohio State has meant to him, and how the experience has helped him grow. (Get some tissues ready.)
It’s an incredible responsibility we have to Ohio State fans, to future Buckeyes, the legends past and, of course, to one another. We’re tasked with continuing an excellence that was set forth before we were born and will last long after we are gone.
Clay Raterman (SAF)
One of the newest members of both the Ohio State football program and among the senior class, is local Dublin-native Clay Raterman. He joined the program in the summer of 2017 and was a Fastest Student Finalist at the 2016 Spring Game. He had plenty of football experience though, as a four-time letter-winner in high school, as well as participating in track and lacrosse.
Fun fact: Raterman also competed with his brother on American Ninja Warriors against a team of students from Michigan.
Nick Seme (DL)
After playing at Ashland University, the Wadsworth, OH-native joined the Ohio State program last spring. An exercise science major, the 6’3 defensive lineman has recorded two tackles this season.
Erick Smith (SAF)
The Cleveland-native has gradually made his name known in Columbus. Over the past four years, Smith (who claimed an interception as a true freshman) originally contributed on special teams, but earned additional snaps on defense along the way. He was sidelined for most of 2015 due to injury, but his Ohio State career (up until now) has included 65 total tackles (netting a career-high 30 in 2017) and three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
The Last Lace Up: OK E!!! Salute to this senior @esmith_1 in his final game in #TheShoe! Through the good times and hard times, you fought like a warrior! It’s been a pleasure having you as a Buckeye! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/eyqMQrCHsH— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 16, 2017
Tracy Sprinkle (DL)
Last season was supposed to be the breakout campaign for Tracy Sprinkle, however, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the opening game against Bowling Green. Since then he has worked his way back into playing shape, and is finally making the most of his opportunities. Early in his career, Sprinkle was often in Urban Meyer’s dog house, but over the years, he has matured to the point that he was selected as a captain for 2017, and Meyer often references Sprinkle’s journey in talking about the best of what his program has to offer. The Elyria-native has started eight games this season, accumulating 14 tackles, including three for loss.
The Last Lace Up: BOSS MAN 93!! Salute to @TSprinkle93 in his final game in #TheShoe! You’ve fought and led this team! We have enjoyed watching you grow as a great young man on and off the field! Can’t wait to see your next endeavors. #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/1so5Zhoodd— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 18, 2017
Zach Turnure (LB)
Originally suiting up in the Scarlet and Gray for the Ohio State lacrosse team, Turnure eventually was a walk-on to the football program in the fall of 2014. He spent the majority of his career with the Buckeyes contributing on special teams; he’s a hell of a tackler. The linebacker played in 12 games during the 2015 and 2016 season, before getting some additional playing time this season. With additional opportunities for defensive snaps, his senior season has already seen a career-high 10 total tackles on defense.
The Last Lace Up: MEAT!!!! Salute to this dude @ZachTurnure25 in his final game in #TheShoe! Relentless effort and dedication to being about of this Buckeye fraternity! Thank you for all you have done for this program! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/XeGUx008K3— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 15, 2017
Damon Webb (SAF)
One of the recruits Ohio State “stole” from the state of Michigan (Cass Tech) has turned into the next great safety for the Buckeyes. Webb even played in eight games during the team’s National Championship run in 2014 as a true freshman. In his four years with Ohio State, Webb has amassed 117 total tackles, five pass break-ups, four tackles-for-loss, and four interceptions — with a career-high three picks thus far in his senior season.
The Last Lace Up: Salute to @DameWebb in his final game in #TheShoe! Thank you for all you have done for this program and a great honor to have you as a Buckeye! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/yflwJv1LGT— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 14, 2017
Chris Worley (LB)
Despite being hampered by injuries throughout his senior season, Worley currently ranks as the team’s active leader in career tackles with 136. A captain this season, the Cleveland Glenville alum has notched 38 tackles this season, including four for loss, while being one of the team’s most inspirational leaders. As a linebacker, he has played both inside and outside over the course of his career, as well as during this season. His willingness to play wherever the team needs him, along with his unselfishness to work hard while behind future NFL stars are traits that will serve him well at the next level.
The Last Lace Up: Salute to @TheRealJizzle35 in his final game in #TheShoe! You’ve dreamt of being a Buckeye and achieved that. Your leadership, heart and desire has impacted this program in many ways! Thank you! #GoBucks #BeatIllinois pic.twitter.com/QsUiuj91Bo— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 17, 2017