Although Ohio State will not play this fall, three members of the football team still earned preseason All-American acknowledgement from the Associated Press.
A pair of fourth-year juniors, Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis, were named first-team AP preseason All-Americans, while junior quarterback Justin Fields earned a spot on the second team.
Wade, a cornerback, became one of the most effective defensive players in the country as a redshirt sophomore in 2019. He enters his junior season with high expectations after returning to Columbus despite receiving first-round draft grades.
“He should be a Thorpe Award finalist right off the get-go,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said of Wade in January. “He’s got a chance to be one of the best corners in the country and hopefully a first-round draft pick next year.”
Wade led Ohio State defensive backs with four tackles for loss and two sacks out of his 25 tackles (16 solo), earning third-team All-Big Ten honors. The versatile corner also forced one fumble, picked off one pass and tied for second on the team with eight passes deflections.
Having a knack for making big plays, Wade led the Buckeyes with three interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He also tied for fourth on the team with seven pass breakups and recorded one forced fumble to go with his career-high 31 tackles (27 solo).
As a true freshman in 2017, Wade suffered a torn abdomen injury and took a redshirt after requiring season-ending surgery.
Prior to coming to Columbus, Wade was highly touted as a five-star corner and the No. 17 overall prospect. The only cornerback ranked ahead of Wade for 2017 was former teammate Jeff Okudah, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Davis, who started at right guard for the 2019 Buckeyes as a redshirt sophomore, helped pave the way for the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense, which averaged 46.9 points per game.
Now a fourth-year junior, Davis returns for his second season as a full-time starter with high expectations after blocking for the nation’s No. 4 offense in terms of yardage (529.9 yards per game) last season.
An excellent run blocker, Davis helped guide the fifth-best rushing attack in the country (266.8 rushing yards per game), which was a great improvement from 2018 when the Buckeyes’ ranked No. 63 in rushing at 171.3 yards per game. He was named a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and a first-team All-American by multiple outlets.
“The best thing about Wyatt and what he did best and why everybody is talking about him is because he’s physical,” Ohio State offensive line Greg Studrawa said. “He tries to destroy people. He doesn’t try and just position block or just try and get the job done. He wants to try and destroy you physically every single play that he’s in there.
Fields found himself on the second team behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence following his standout 2019 season, his first as a Buckeye.
The Georgia transfer was granted immediate eligibility, and he thrived in his first season as a starter. Fields amassed 3,273 passing yards and 51 touchdowns responsible for as a sophomore, earning a second-team All-American nod from the Walter Camp Foundation.
Effective as both a passer and runner, Fields completed 67.2 percent of his passes and tossed 41 touchdowns. On the ground, Fields, who was also a former five-star recruit, rushed for 484 yards and 10 more scores.
Day spoke about the value Fields holds on the Buckeyes regards to a physical touchdown run against Michigan State last season.
“The impact he can have is huge,” Day said. “That kept us going when it was tough sledding in there. He’s a competitive guy. He made a lot of plays. And hats off to him for his toughness. He lowered his shoulder in there on the goal-line run. That was a hard run. There wasn’t much there. Give him a lot of credit.”
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