Ohio State Buckeyes: 3 highly regarded freshmen achieve rite of passage

Two of the top-rated members of Ohio State’s 2021 recruiting class have been welcomed as full members of the team, as has the one with the most famous name.

TreVeyon Henderson, a running back from Hopewell, Va., had the black stripe removed from his helmet over the weekend.

That is a rite of passage introduced by Urban Meyer when he became head coach of the Buckeyes in 2012 and maintained by Ryan Day when he replaced Meyer two years ago.

“He’s done a good job,” Day said of Henderson. “He’s had a good attitude. He’s got a good work ethic. He’s done everything right so far.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder was the nation’s No. 1-rated running back in his class and the No. 22 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

The five-star prospect joins a crowded running backs room that includes five other scholarship players, and he must overcome not being able to play his senior season of high school football because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He’s still got to play more and learn every day,” his new head coach said. “He needs a million reps, but the talent is there. The work ethic is there, and I think he’s going to have a really bright future here. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do so far. He’s flashed at times already so far. So, excited to see what that looks like during the spring game.”

Previously, Jack Sawyer and Marvin Harrison Jr. also had their black stripes removed this spring.

Sawyer is a five-star prospect and the top-rated defensive end in the nation.

The Pickerington North standout was the No. 1 player in Ohio and ranked fourth in the country, and he has wasted little time making a positive impression on his hometown college club.

“I certainly like where he’s at right now — there’s no doubt about that,” said Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who noted his proximity to campus allowed him to visit frequently and work with the coaching staff at camps throughout his high school career.

“Because he’s been here, he understands our system, but he’s playing really well,” Johnson said. “The thing I like about Jack, he’s a fierce competitor. He hates to lose. He wants to win every rep, and I love that about him.”

He also joins a crowded position group — one that includes four veterans who have already played extensively at the college level — but that does not mean he won’t see the field this fall.

“I think he’s going to be a special player down the road,” Johnson said. “We’re going to wait and see as we get into the fall and go through spring and summer workouts, but I certainly like where he’s at right now and where his development is at.”

Day praised Harrison, a four-star receiver from Philadelphia St. Joseph’s Prep, for his discipline and attention to detail.

“Somebody who cares a lot,” Day said. “He’s in here after hours. He’s here early in the morning. He takes a lot of pride in his work and he’s made the plays. Again, just a freshman who has a long way to go but early impressions have been excellent.

Harrison’s father, Marvin Harrison Sr., starred for the Indianapolis Colts from 1996-2008 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years ago.

— Veteran Ohio State defensive back Marcus Hooker got his day in court Monday after being arrested for suspicion of drunk driving last month near campus in Columbus.

In Franklin County Municipal Court, he entered a plea of guilty to operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

Per court records, the Pennsylvania native’s license was suspended with limited privileges for a year, and he was fined $375 plus court costs. A three-day jail sentence was suspended.

Hooker was suspended from the team indefinitely prior to the start of spring practice.

A starter at free safety to begin the season, he played in seven of eight games last season was credited with 15 tackles.

He is the younger brother of former All-American Ohio State safety Malik Hooker.

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