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Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State's draftees, UDFA signees get NFL jersey numbers

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom05/11/24


Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Buckeyes football, recruiting, basketball and more in Scarlet Sunrise.

Ohio State’s draftees, UDFA signees get NFL jersey numbers

It’s rookie minicamp time in the NFL, and that means first-year players are getting a crash course introduction to all things professional football with their respective organizations.

That process includes some fun perks such as helmet fittings and, of course, jersey number picking. Ohio State’s four draftees and four undrafted free agent signees have their first digits and threads at the next level.

Lettermen Row is rounding up the jersey numbers for those eight former Buckeyes players:


No. 18 – WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Arizona Cardinals): Harrison is sticking with No. 18, which he wore at Ohio State while ultimately becoming a Biletnikoff Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist. Cardinals linebacker BJ Ojulari wore No. 18 last year, and before that at LSU, but he’s now wearing No. 9. But, keep in mind, because Harrison hasn’t signed his NFLPA licensing deal, his jersey can’t be sold yet.

No. 51 – DT Mike Hall (Cleveland Browns): Like Harrison, Hall is wearing the same number he wore in scarlet and gray with his new team. The second-round pick will be donning No. 51 again. That number was last worn by linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk, who is no longer with the Browns.

No. 87 – TE Cade Stover (Houston Texans): Stover couldn’t wear No. 8 because wide receiver John Metchie III has that number. He couldn’t wear No. 16 — his other Ohio State jersey number — because journeyman quarterback Tim Boyle has that number. So Stover picked No. 87, which includes his old No. 8 and, funny enough, quarterback C.J. Stroud’s No. 7.

No. 45 – LB Tommy Eichenberg (Las Vegas Raiders): Eichenberg is returning to the jersey number he wore at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, No. 45. He couldn’t wear No. 45 at Ohio State because it’s retired in honor of two-time Heisman winner and legendary running back Archie Griffin. So he wore No. 35 with the Buckeyes and, in the end, earned Big Ten Linebacker of the Year honors his fifth and final year.


No. 51 – LB Steele Chambers (Detroit Lions): Chambers is wearing No. 51 with the Lions, a change of pace from the No. 22 jersey he wore at Ohio State, both as a running back and as a linebacker. His new jersey number was last assigned to Bruce Irvin, a Super Bowl XLVIII MVP with the Seattle Seahawks who spent part of the 2023 season with the Lions.

No. 16 – WR Xavier Johnson (Buffalo Bills): Johnson made a name for himself at Ohio State wearing No. 10. The preferred walk-on-turned-scholarship playmaker then got the “Block O” jersey his sixth and final year with the program, in addition to serving as a team captain. Now he’s back to double digits and wearing No. 16 with the Bills.

No. 43 – S Josh Proctor (Jacksonville Jaguars): Proctor is staying in the 40s. After wearing No. 41 throughout his six-year Ohio State career, the hard-hitting safety is wearing No. 43 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

No. 62 – OL Matthew Jones (Miami Dolphins): Jones wore No. 55 at Ohio State, and he spent time at both guard spots and center along the way. Now he’s changing to No. 62 while trying to showcase his positional versatility with the Dolphins.

Intel: Ohio State hosting experienced punter from transfer portal

Ohio State is hosting a two-year starting punter from the MAC on an official visit this weekend, according to a Lettermen Row source. Although the Buckeyes are welcoming in Nick McLarty — a 6-foot-7, 255-pound punter from Melbourne, Australia — this summer, they are also looking for experience at the position.

Lettermen Row has more intel on the situation.

Find out who the punter is and what kind of offer he could potentially receive, per source.

Check it out here.


Progress Report: Evaluating Ohio State special teams after spring practice

Lettermen Row’s “Progress Report” series has come to an end. We finished up with a look at Ohio State’s special teams unit, which now is overseen by a collection of assistant coaches and head coach Ryan Day — instead of one special teams coordinator — with quality control coach Rob Keys organizing the operation behind the scenes.

“As a player, you want to really impress your position coach, you want to impress your coordinator, you want to impress the head coach,” Day said earlier this offseason. “Sometimes the special teams coordinator can get a little bit low down the line. But when your position coach is up there, and he’s coaching special teams and being the head coach, being very much a part of it with them, it provided a lot of buy-in from the players. It really made sense to me.”

For the latest on the ever-important third phase of the game, go here.

Counting Down

Buckeyes vs. Akron: 114 days
Buckeyes vs. Michigan: 205 days

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