Ohio State may have found its next starting running back. Just over a week after announcing that he would be entering the transfer portal, former Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon ended the suspense and confirmed what many have believed for the past eight days: he’ll be finishing his college career in Columbus.
— Trey Sermon (@treyera) March 22, 2020
For Sermon, the move marks a fresh start after the rise of Kennedy Brooks, paired with an injury late in the 2019 season led to him falling down the depth chart. After seeing the majority of carries for the Sooners in 2017 and 2018, Sermon carried just 54 times as a junior, picking up 385 yards and four touchdowns. That was a significant fall from both his sophomore (164 carries, 947 yards, 13 touchdowns) and freshman (121 carries, 744 yards, five touchdowns) seasons. He has one year of eligibility remaining and can play right away for the Buckeyes.
The fit in Columbus played a major role in the move. Ohio State may be without presumed starter Master Teague for a significant period of time following an achilles injury in his first spring practice, meaning that there’s a vacancy at halfback. With a sophomore coming off an ACL tear, a redshirt freshman, a true freshman and a fifth-year senior, part-time wide receiver serving as the only options to replace Teague currently on Ohio State’s roster, the starting job could be there for the taking for Sermon.
“I just believe it’s the best situation for me,” Sermon told Lettermen Row’s Austin Ward. “I know that I have the opportunity to play there considering the depth, and I had a relationship with [running backs coach Tony] Alford during my recruiting process coming out of high school. He was a great guy then, and I just feel like I connected well with him. I know I’m going to have to go in and compete for the job, but I feel like it’s the best situation for me to go into now.”
As Sermon alluded to, the comfort is also already there with Ohio State. The Buckeyes recruited him heavily when he was a four-star recruit in 2017, and while Ohio State ultimately ended up with J.K. Dobbins, Sermon formed a strong connection with quite a few of Ohio State’s current coaches.
With this addition, Ohio State now sits at 86 players on scholarship (that number jumps to 87 if wide receiver C.J. Saunders is approved for a sixth year of eligibility), one over the 85-man limit.