Throughout the month of August, LGHL writers will be attempting to answer some of the most important questions about Ohio State’s 2021 football season. To catch up on all editions of LGHL Asks, click HERE.
LGHL Asks: Which Ohio State true freshman will have the biggest impact on offense this year?
After Megan Husslein tackled the question of which true freshman would have the biggest impact on defense, we now turn our attention to the offensive side of the football. On defense the answer was pretty clear, as it came down to defensive ends Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau, with Husslein giving the edge to Sawyer in a close race.
Answering the question on the offensive side of the football is a little tougher, since there is so much new talent that has made their way to Columbus this year. The question became even more complicated over the last couple weeks, as five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers surprised Buckeye Nation by announcing he would be enrolling at Ohio State a year early.
Even though Ewers is going to be a force in Columbus when he does take over at quarterback, it’s hard to see him having a huge impact this year. Ewers already got a late start to his transition to Ohio State since he didn’t get to Columbus until recently. Not only will it take Ewers time to get comfortable with the Buckeyes, it also sounds like C.J. Stroud has earned the starting quarterback job.
Ohio State also has a number of outstanding wide receivers joining an already talented group. Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Jayden Ballard are the latest additions to the scariest group of wide receivers in the country. There’s no question the expectations for the trio of wideouts are high, since wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has considerably raised the standard for Ohio State wide receivers.
While I do expect Egbuka, Harrison, and Ballard to make some plays this year, they are going to have a tough time being the most impactful true freshman on offense just because of all the other wide receivers Ohio State already has. With Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba already ahead of the true freshman wide receivers on then depth chart, it’s just hard to see the new Buckeyes to get enough consistent playing time on crucial downs. This isn’t a slight on Egbuka, Harrison, and Ballard, the Buckeyes are just insanely loaded at wide receiver right now.
Where Ohio State does have some questions on offense is at running back. Master Teague has the most experience of any Buckeye running back, but Teague struggled with inconsistency and injuries last year. Redshirt freshman Miyan Williams has been making some noise in preseason camp so far, pushing Teague for reps. The thing is, both Teague and Williams are bigger, bruising running backs. The Buckeyes need to find a speed compliment for those two running backs.
Enter TreVeyon Henderson, who is giving off J.K. Dobbins vibes already without even having stepped foot on the field for Ohio State in a game. All Dobbins did was rush for 1,403 yards as a true freshman. Now I’m not expecting Henderson to duplicate what Dobbins did as a true freshman, but it is already sounding like he is the most electric running back on Ohio State’s roster.
Where Henderson is going to be most dangerous is when Ohio State has spent some time giving the ball to Teague and Williams and then they give Henderson a couple cracks at the defense. As if Henderson’s speed already wasn’t scary enough, it will be amplified even more after teams have gotten used to trying to slow down the two bigger running backs. It’s like when a pitcher gets on the mound throwing 100 mile per hour fastballs and then throws a 12-to-6 curveball. The change of pace is going to be jarring.
So far the coaching staff have given Henderson rave reviews, and I’m excited to see what he will be able to do for Ohio State on the field this year. We’ll likely see Henderson’s usage get ramped up as the season goes on because Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson will find it hard to keep him off the field. The Buckeye offense was already scary enough with the group of wide receivers they have, adding Henderson’s big play ability to the mix makes Ohio State even tougher to stop.