Just a few short days ago, Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade — two of Ohio State’s biggest 2021 NFL Draft prospects — announced their intentions to end their collegiate careers. It wasn’t so much about COVID concerns, but more as a result of a lack of transparency and numerous question marks as to when the Buckeyes would be able to take the field. At the time, nobody knew when the Big Ten would return.
Fast forward to today, and everything has been flipped on its head. Ohio State football is going to play this fall, with the B1G season beginning on Oct. 23-24. Davis, who tweeted out yesterday his intentions to rejoin the team, is on the path to make his return to Columbus.
On Thursday night, Wade announced on ESPN that he too will be starting the process to rejoin the Buckeyes. There are still some obvious hurdles for both guys to clear in terms of NCAA eligibility, but it seems fair to assume that neither will have any significant issues, and that Ohio State has gotten two incredibly important pieces back into the fold. Wade is expected to have even fewer hangups than Davis, since the former never signed with an agent.
Ryan Day has to be elated about everything that has transpired over the past two days. In addition to getting a chance to compete for a national title this fall — something that a few weeks ago seemed totally impossible — he is also now getting back an All-American guard who is likely the top player at his position in the entire country, as well as the team’s top returning starter at corner who is on track to become the latest first-round draft pick out of DBU. This week, it feels like just about everything is coming up Buckeyes.
The ability to take a run at the College Football Playoff this year was so important for Ohio State for a variety of reasons. The first — and most impactful — of which is obviously what the absence of a legitimate season would have meant for a large portion of the Buckeyes’ roster.
In other words, if the Big Ten would have moved forward with the January plan, which would have ended in nothing other than a conference championship and potentially a consolation Rose Bowl against the Pac-12, we likely would have already seen the last snaps for Justin Fields, Wyatt Davis, Shaun Wade, Josh Myers, Chris Olave, and Baron Browning in an Ohio State uniform. Without a national title on the line, the NFL-bound Buckeyes would have just gone pro and skipped out on a season that wouldn’t have had a big end goal.
Instead, we now get another year for all of these guys to prove they have what it takes to win it all. For Fields, it means he gets to build on his already spectacular Ohio State legacy and try to become QB1 in the 2021 NFL Draft. For Wade, it means his final play as a Buckeye will no longer be a questionable targeting call that resulted in his ejection, and will show NFL teams he is capable of locking down receivers as an outside corner. For Myers, Olave and Browning, it is a chance to increase their draft stock and earn themselves some big paychecks next year.
But for all of them, it is a new opportunity to accomplish something great. They now have the chance to finish out their Ohio State careers the way they felt they things should have ended last season — with a National Championship trophy in hand.