Buckeye athletes stepping into big roles this fall.
At Ohio State, there are always those big-named athletes in a wide list of sports that seem to get into the minds of the masses on campus. Their persona take on a life of their own through word-of-mouth, as they become the pinnacle of Ohio State sports.
But, eventually, these athletes must go, whether it be to further their professional careers, or if their four years have officially run its course. This year, there are some massive shoes to fill in a handful of sports, and these are the players that will most likely be able to fill them, and begin to make their own history.
Player Gone: J.T. Barrett | Player Filling In: Dwayne Haskins
Barrett will go down as one of the best quarterbacks Ohio State ever had, hell, he has pretty much every record imaginable. But, fans received a glimmer of hope in the game against Michigan, that this team will be in good hands once Barrett graduates. And now that it is that time, Haskins looks to be the one to go under center next season for this Ohio State team that still has plenty of talent to make a run at a championship. While Tate Martell is still in the running, all signs point to Haskins, who stands at 6-foot-3 and looks to make the offense more traditional with his pass-first mindset. Haskins has shown all the fundamentals to be a more than suitable replacement, and with the help of Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, this offense should be fun to watch next season.
Player Gone: Kyle Snyder | Player Filling In: Joey McKenna
There may be no athlete in Ohio State’s history that leaves more decorated than Snyder does, so these may be the largest shoes to fill of any. McKenna has proven himself to be one of the best wrestlers in the nation already, so this is actually not much of a leap to say he will be the guy who becomes the new face of Ohio State wrestling. A three-time conference champion, two-time All-American and boasting a 78-9 overall record, McKenna has been nothing short of dominant in his college campaign thus far. This maybe only his second year as a Buckeye after transferring from Stanford, but McKenna could cement himself as an Ohio State great with another impressive season in his senior year.
Player Gone: Kelsey Mitchell | Player Filling In: Carmen Grande
With the loss of one of the best basketball players this campus has ever seen in the form of Mitchell, this team has a tough road ahead, and Ball State graduate transfer Grande is the brightest place to look. Mitchell dominated Ohio State’s offense, ending her career with the most three-pointers in NCAA history, while also leading her team in assists. Finishing with the second-most assists per game in the NCAA with 9.2 and the tied-second-most points on her team at 369, Grande looks to be the new, more pass-oriented floor general Ohio State needs after losing the vast majority of its roster from last season.
Player Gone: Keita Bates-Diop | Player Filling In: C.J. Jackson
Seemingly out of nowhere, Bates-Diop electrified Ohio State’s offense under head coach Chris Holtmann, doubling his points per game total from a season before. With 8.7 rebounds a game to go along with 19.7 points, KBD found his stride in a big way on the path to a Big Ten Player of the Year award, and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament. The Minnesota Timberwolves get to enjoy him now, but the Buckeyes will look to a new leader, and Jackson appears to be the prime candidate. Already spending a summer at a leadership camp following a junior campaign where he averaged 12.6 points per game, Jackson looks to be taking the steps towards a larger role in order to get his team back to the tournament for the second straight year.
Player Gone: Kassidy Sauve | Player Filling In: Amanda Zeglen
While possibly not at the same level of fame as the other players on this list, Sauve was equally as dominant in her sport. She holds records for the most saves in a single season, and for the most shutouts in her Ohio State career, all while holding an insane .938 save percentage. Sauve left this summer via a transfer to the back-to-back national champs in Clarkson, leaving the goaltender spot wide open. Zeglen looks to be the next in line, as she did find some playing time last year behind Sauve. For starting in only seven games, Zeglen made her time count, winning five of the seven starts and finishing the year with a 1.86 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Sauve will be hard to match, but Zeglen has proven herself a worthy contender to do it, and she may even get a chance to prove her worth against Sauve if Clarkson and Ohio State clash heads in the NCAA Tournament once again.•