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Ohio State’s Chip Trayanum has earned more carries at running back in 2023

Ohio State is stacked at running back when everyone is healthy, but Trayanum might get more snaps even if the injury bug doesn’t bite as often in 2023.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Arizona State transfer Chip Trayanum has been an intriguing player since his arrival in Columbus. His player bio on the official Ohio State athletics website calls him “one of the strongest and fastest players on the team,” and he has split time between running back and linebacker.

He arrived with the expectations of playing linebacker, earning the right to remove the black stripe from his helmet last August in the run-up to the 2022 season. He began the season as a backup linebacker, providing depth at the position. He managed eight solo tackles and five assists on the year in limited action. That included a season-high three tackles (all solo stops) against Michigan State.

But a series of injuries to OSU running backs changed the plan. TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, and Dallan Hayden all sustained knocks to varying degrees during the year. Some played hurt while others had to sit out. Seemingly a different player saw the bulk of the carries each week.

Trayanum’s first carry as a Buckeye came on Oct. 22 in a 54-10 dismantling of Iowa in Ohio Stadium. He only toted the rock once, but he gained nine yards on the play. He didn’t log another rushing attempt until the Michigan game on Nov. 26. Despite being pressed into a more prominent role on the big stage, Trayanum acquitted himself well, rushing for 83 yards on just 14 carries — a respectable 5.93 yards-per-carry average. He also had a reception for 14 yards.

All told, Trayanum’s versatility got him on the field in nearly every way possible in 2022. He saw 46 snaps on offense, 36 on defense, and 154 on special teams. The coaching staff must have liked what they saw in Trayanum at running back.

The Akron native excelled at running back in the 2023 Ohio State Spring Game, rushing for 110 yards — including a 65-yard touchdown — on just eight carries. He also caught two passes for 15 more yards. He showed good patience to allow a hole to open on the touchdown.

Trayanum even threw a pass in the Spring Game, completing it for seven yards to quarterback Chad Ray.

With his speed, strength and size (5-foot-11, 233 pounds), Trayanum has the tools to fill in on either side of the ball, but with the injury history of the guys in front of him on the depth chart, it’s a luxury for Ohio State to have someone who racked up 691 yards in 13 games spread across his first two seasons in college at Arizona State.

But, more than that, Ryan Day has a guy who is pushing for more snaps at running back. Those snaps will be difficult to come by if Henderson and Williams stay healthy, although Trayanum will still likely see more second-half carries this season.

And if the injury bug does strike again, Ohio State might not see the running game fall off much.