“Obviously this season has been a humbling experience. It’s definitely helped me get stronger — just having to push through adversity. But it’s been a great season. I love playing for this team, this program. I’m just blessed to be here.”
So far linebacker Teradja Mitchell hasn’t lived up to expectations at Ohio State, but it isn’t because of lack of talent. Mitchell has played in 19 games in his two seasons with the Buckeyes, but most of the action Mitchell has seen has been with the special teams unit. With players like Malik Harrison, Baron Browning, and Pete Werner seeing most of the snaps at linebacker, it has been hard for Mitchell to break through and see consistent playing time at the position.
Aside from the depth at linebacker that Ohio State has, a hamstring injury also has put Mitchell a little bit behind the curve. The injury caused Mitchell to miss four games earlier this season, allowing fellow linebackers K’Vaughn Pope and Dallas Gant to see more playing time later in games when the result for Ohio State has been well in hand.
Even though his first two years at Ohio State haven’t gone exactly as planned, Mitchell is still very happy to be at Ohio State, and is more than willing to contribute in any way he can. With the Buckeyes having just earned the Big Ten Championship, Mitchell has turned his attention to Clemson and the national title. Expect Mitchell to be on the field whenever his number is called in a few weeks in Arizona, hoping to final help Ohio State take down the Tigers.
“Right now I just want to keep losing weight and get to the point where I can compete for a starting job. So I just want to keep working hard to get where I need to be.”
Offensive lineman Dawand Jones wasn’t the most heralded recruit that Ohio State brought in during last year’s recruiting class, but he has been one of the brightest freshmen so far this season. Jones was the lowest-ranked recruit of the 2019 recruiting class, but his size was just too intriguing for the Buckeyes to pass up. Originally plans were for Jones to redshirt this year as he developed, but those plans have changed drastically over the past few months.
With injuries to some of the other offensive linemen, as well as the way Jones has developed since arriving at Ohio State, the coaching staff has now decided to scrap the plan of redshirting Jones this year. Since arriving on campus at 385 pounds, Jones has already dropped 25 pounds, which has helped to improve how his knees and back feel.
With Jones having gotten a little taste of college football, he has impressed so much that there is talk he could be in line for a starting spot next season. The freshman already had a signature moment earlier this year when he cleared the way for a Master Teague 73-yard touchdown. With the way the future is looking for Jones, many more moments like that could be in the works over the next few years with the Buckeyes for Jones.
“We’re trying to get the sixth, and it’s a tricky process. I don’t really know exactly the details with that. But we’re going through that process, the appeal, and whatever needs to be done. I think it’s clear, and I’ll be back in uniform.”
Ohio State wide receiver C.J. Saunders on applying for a sixth year of eligibility via Tim May, Letterman Row
Wide receiver C.J. Saunders has had quite an amazing Ohio State career, and it might not be coming to a close just yet. Saunders came to Ohio State from Dublin Coffman as a walk-on, but eventually earned a scholarship because of the work he put in. Prior to this season, his fifth with the program, Saunders was voted a captain by his teammates.
While Saunders was voted a captain by his teammates, he has yet to see the field this season. Saunders suffered a knee injury during preseason camp, but was working towards being able to play against Northwestern. Those plans didn’t come to fruition, as he suffered a setback in practice that has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Despite not being able to play this year, Saunders is still making an impact. With Ohio State trailing against Wisconsin at halftime of the Big Ten Championship Game, Saunders gave a speech at halftime that set the tone for the second half comeback by his teammates. With at least one game left in the season for Ohio State, Saunders is going to continue to be there for his teammates as he works his way towards a national title.
Saunders is optimistic that he’ll be granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA, but if he doesn’t see his playing career at Ohio State extended, he’s ready to tackle what the rest of his life has in store for him. No matter what happens, Saunders has been a great story for Ohio State over the years, and while his stats won’t blow people away, his impact goes far beyond what will be found on those stat sheets.
“Next year’s a big year for me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come in, step in and take the position.”
With the incredible depth Ohio State has at wide receiver, it’s easy to understand why Jaelen Gill hasn’t seen much time this senior. Seniors K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Austin Mack have earned all the snaps they received, while underclassmen Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson have shown they are the future of the program at wide receiver.
Heading into the season, Gill was looked as one of the options who could possibly replace graduated receiver Parris Campbell. Gill hasn’t been able to live up to those expectations so far this year, playing just 65 snaps. Even though the season hasn’t gone exactly how Gill was hoping, the redshirt freshman isn’t giving up on his future yet.
Gill knows with Hill, Victor, and Mack all exhausting their eligibility this season, more snaps will be up for grabs this season. In high school, Gill played primarily at running back. The transition has to receiver has been tough at times for Gill, but he is still confident in his abilities. Even with the lack of playing time, it is undeniable that Gill possesses the talent to be success on the football field. Expect the Westerville South product to have a strong offseason, setting the tone for a breakout season next year.
STICK TO SPORTS
- The UFC will be returning to Columbus in late March to host their first card in Ohio’s capital city in 11 years.
- A new indoor football team is coming to Columbus in 2021.
- District PourHouse, which opened up in the Gateway in August 2018 in the spot previously occupied by World of Beer, will close tomorrow.
- Looking for some holiday sweets? Cincinnati’s Macaron Bar has opened up in the Short North.
- Lyft has launched a car rental service with no milage limit.