Ohio State football: Harrison out, but others practice for Cotton Bowl

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Ohio State lineup for the Cotton Bowl possibly took more shape Tuesday in Dallas.

After more than a half-dozen Buckeyes told reporters in Columbus before Christmas they plan to play when the Scarlet and Gray take on Missouri on Friday night, a few more were in uniform for practice.

Defensive linemen J.T. Tuimolau and Mike Hall Jr. took part in practice, as did running back TreVeyon Henderson, although that is not a guarantee they play in the game.

Marvin Harrison Jr., the Big Ten MVP, offensive player of the year and winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver, was present, but that was it, indicating he probably has played his last game for the Buckeyes.

All of those players are juniors who were thought to be prime candidates to go pro early.

While Harrison told reporters in early December he had not made a decision about playing in the Cotton Bowl or going pro, the others have not spoken to the media since Ohio State’s bitter 30-24 loss at Michigan on Nov. 25.

Many of their classmates were part of a de facto bowl media day in Columbus on Dec. 12, and all of them said they would play against the Tigers while leaving open the possibility of going pro early as well.

Since then, head coach Ryan Day has been careful not to tip any of his players’ hands.

“It’s hard for me to kind of say because everyone, that’s kind of their own deal,” Day told reporters when the team arrived in Dallas on Dec. 23. “And we’ll kind of let them communicate that as time goes on, but excited about the team that we can potentially have back here. And so I know that there’s some guys that are going through it and making sure that they’re making the right decision for them, but also for the team.

“The guys that have to make that decision, they’re being really thorough, asking the right questions and doing it the right way.”

Defensive linemen Jack Sawyer and Tyleik Williams, receiver Emeka Egbuka, offensive linemen Donovan Jackson and Josh Fryar and defensive backs Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock were the players to say previously they will suit up against the Tigers.

More than one of them indicated coming back for another season in Scarlet and Gray was not only possible but something a group was discussing doing together.

Burke told reporters in Dallas on Tuesday he has made his draft decision but would not announce it until Jan. 10, five days before the final deadline for players to petition the league for early entry.

“Finish the season out with my brothers,” he replied when asked about his motivation for playing against Missouri. “An extra game on tape for the scouts and stuff like that. And just finish the season off strong and have momentum going into next year for the next year’s team.”

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz told reporters none of his players have opted out of the Cotton Bowl.

“Our brotherhood is wanting to play this one final game, this one opportunity together and we’re excited to do that,” Drinkwitz said.

However, three defensive starters will miss the game because of injury: Linebackers Ty’Ron Hopper and Chad Bailey and defensive back Ennis Rakestraw Jr.


Ohio State vs. Missouri 8 p.m., ESPN, 1410

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