Garrett Wilson here working on Demario McCall, who has moved over to the defensive side of the ball. pic.twitter.com/CcxOFill5K— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 18, 2021
It feels like Demario McCall has been on the Ohio State football team since around the time that I arrived in Columbus back in 2005. In all seriousness, McCall signed his letter of intent to Ohio State in February 2016, and is entering his sixth season with Ohio State. Since day one as a Buckeye, McCall has been a favorite of the LGHL staff.
The North Ridgeville product came to Ohio State as a four-star recruit, and all the major recruiting services had him ranked as one of the best running backs in the country. McCall impressed in his debut as a Buckeye, rushing for a touchdown and catching another in the 2016 season opener against Bowling Green.
The rest of McCall’s Ohio State hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as his debut did, as McCall has only scored six more touchdowns since his first game in the Scarlet and Gray. 2017 saw glimpses of what McCall could do early on, recording six plays of over 20 yards as a sophomore. McCall also recorded the longest rush of his career as a Buckeye in 2017, scoring from 48 yards out against Rutgers.
McCall wasn’t able to build on his strong performance in the second game of 2017 against Rutgers, as an injury forced him to only appear in four games. Since then it has been a bit of a struggle for McCall to get onto the field, but it isn’t because of a lack of trying. In 2018, McCall began to be utilized more in the kick return game, returning 40 kicks over the past three years. Touches on offense have been hard to come by, with just 41 carries and 16 catches since his first season in Columbus in 2016.
In the age of the transfer portal, it would have been easy for McCall to decide to go to a school where he might get some more playing time. Since McCall has been at Ohio State, Tate Martell has been at three different schools, so anybody can go somewhere else if they are bothered by the littlest thing. Instead, McCall opted to stay at Ohio State and fight for playing time. It’s not often that you see that these days.
With Ohio State’s current depth at running back and wide receiver, there is no room for McCall to try and find playing time at one of those positions. McCall still has worth on the team though, and is showing how selfless he is by moving to the other side of the football and playing at cornerback in preseason practice. And judging by the video from Dave Revsine of Big Ten Network, he is picking up his new position pretty quick. Even though Garrett Wilson was able to haul in the pass, McCall at least held one of the best receivers in the country in check.
We aren’t expecting McCall to go out there and turn into a first round draft pick as a cornerback in his final season with the Buckeyes. What McCall will do is bring some veteran leadership to a unit that is looking for an identity. Last year the Ohio State secondary underperformed in the shortened season. With Shaun Wade gone, Sevyn Banks is expected to be the leader of the secondary, but Banks has been dealing with an injury before the season.
Along with Banks dealing with an injury prior to this season, Cam Brown is coming off an achilles injury that he suffered last year in the Penn State game. The depth in the secondary is being further tested, as freshman safety Jaylen Johnson will miss the season due to torn ACL. With the youth that will be expectd to contribute in the secondary, just the presence of someone that has been on the team for over half a decade will help to calm some nerves.
Hopefully we can see McCall close out his Ohio State career with just as much style as he opened his career up in 2016. Even if he doesn’t see the field much, at least McCall can say he was a part of teams that so far have won four Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and made a College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance. While McCall isn’t going to appear in the Ohio State record books for his performance on the field, he’ll always be number one in our hearts because of his dedication to the school and his teammates.