Scarlet Sunrise: Five Buckeyes walk-ons arrive, begin Ohio State careers

Spencer Holbrook4 months
Ryan Day 8 by Birm-Lettermen Row
Ohio State coach Ryan Day is welcoming walk-ons to campus this weekend. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

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 Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Five Buckeyes walk-ons arrive, begin Ohio State careers

With fewer than 100 days until the season opener this fall, the Buckeyes players are making their way back to campus.

And new Ohio State players are continuing to arrive. Five walk-ons officially moved in and began their college football careers over the weekend. Those players were: Cayden Saunders, a running back from Northville, Michigan; Zak Herbstreit, a tight end from Nashville and son of former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit; Reis Stocksdale, a wide receiver from Little Miami High School; Bryce Prater, from West Lafayette, Ohio; and Zach Prater, also from West Lafayette.

All five will begin working their way into the program through the storied walk-on role at Ohio State. And all five will have a chance to do what other walk-on football players have done before them: make an impact.

That started this weekend. They are all on campus for the Buckeyes.

Could Buckeyes bring back fullback position?

Ohio State hasn’t used the fullback in its offense in nearly a decade. Urban Meyer transitioned the Buckeyes out of the need for one in the spread offense over the last 10 years, and Ryan Day has continued to not need one.

But the Buckeyes have one — kind of — in tight end Mitch Rossi. He can play fullback, and it gives the Buckeyes options for their offense this fall. Lettermen Row’s Austin Ward has more about that:

Rossi certainly has the skill set to play that throwback position. And once in a while the Buckeyes actually will shift the tight end into the backfield and let him do the kind of dirty work that check all the boxes of a traditional fullback.

Of course, the new-age, power-spread attack that Urban Meyer ushered into the program and Ryan Day has enhanced over the last few years doesn’t officially list that position. But if it did, Rossi’s rugged blocking, relentless motor and some athleticism that was perhaps overlooked when he was coming out of high school would be the ideal fit.

For the full story about Rossi and the idea of bringing back the fullback spot, click here.

ICYMI: Jake Stoneburner breaks down Buckeyes tight ends

Even the top-ranked recruit in the country at tight end — Jeremy Rickert — needed a couple years before he was ready to ascend as the nation’s best at the collegiate level, and Ruckert knows better than anybody how much work is required.

He’s lived that process over the last three years. Now he needs to help bring along a sidekick or two — especially since the Buckeyes have no plans to stop featuring that unit as a critical part of the offense. Now without Luke Farrell, the Buckeyes have plenty of talented options to feature alongside Ruckert in the potent offense.

Who will emerge as a secondary option for Ohio State at tight end? How significant are the offseason losses in that unit for the Buckeyes? What challenges pop up for players trying to learn that tricky position? Former Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner was back in the Lettermen Row film lab answering those questions and more in the latest episode of BuckIQ.

Roll the tape!

Download Lettermen Row’s free app

Want an easier way to get free premium content from Lettermen Row?

The Lettermen Row app is here! Get all of the Ohio State news, analysis, videos and everything else you’ve come to expect from us in one free, convenient spot. It’s now available in both the App Store and Google Play — check it out!

The Lettermen Row app can be found for free here:

If you enjoy the Scarlet Sunrise posts, please consider having our newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Click here to sign up!