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Three Career-Ending Injuries Help Work Out Ohio State's Roster
By Patrick Murphy
COLUMBUS — If you’ve done the math right, you may have noticed something doesn’t quite work with Ohio State’s current roster.

After capturing 27 commits for another top-10 recruiting class – to go along with the 64 players already on OSU’s roster – it initially appeared that Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer had more players than the 85-man scholarship limit allows.

“I never really oversigned,” Meyer said on Wednesday. “We don't go two over, three over.”

That begs the question, how would the apparent 91-man roster get down to 85 scholarship players by camp in August?

“There's a couple of guys when you're not sure if they can continue playing,” Meyer explained. “There's a couple of guys with two ACL injuries. You have to be aware. How aware am I of the roster? About as well as I can be.”

Meyer revealed that three veteran players – seniors Armani Reeves, Ron Tanner, and Devan Bogard – would likely not be back for 2015 due to these injuries.

Armani Reeves is one of three players whose Ohio State careers appear to be done
Photo by Jim Davidson

Reeves, a cornerback, missed time last season with concussion issues after being expected to compete for the starting spot vacated by Bradley Roby. Tanner, a safety who saw most of his playing time on special teams throughout his career, also missed time in 2014. Bogard was a key contributor on special teams at Ohio State, but had each season cut short with ACL surgeries.

It wasn't necessarily expected, it was something that kind of came up here after the season was over,” co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash said of these collegiate career-ending injuries.

“Those guys have battled injuries on and off this last season. Missed a lot of time, missed a lot of practice time. There were some injuries that were going to require some significant recovery time still… It looked like they were not going to have an opportunity to go out and play for us again.”

While injuries are part of the game, they are never something anyone wants to see. When a player’s career comes to an end, it’s an even harder issue to deal with.

It was a shock, a surprise,” Ash said. “You hate to see it for those guys because they're great guys, great teammates, players who did a lot for us during their career here but it was just something that by the medical staff determined to be the best for them.”

With the three seniors unable to play, along with the news from January that linebacker Trey Johnson would have to retire from playing due to arthritis in his right knee, other players will have to step up for the Buckeyes.

Well those kids are great players,” cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs said of the injured players. “What I would say is this, you’ve got veteran guys who play on every unit and work at different times at different spots on the field in the secondary and they’re big holes to fill.”

Coombs also noted that the defensive backs would need help from the five cornerbacks they signed on Wednesday.

“That’s why you see those five guys that we

 

signed today on the back end are explosive athletes,” he explained.

“We’ve got to replace these guys from a depth perspective and get a new nickel, that’s got to be a kid that comes out of the corner room. So these guys, and we’ve been real honest with them, you got to come in ready to play. And so we should expect those kids to do that.”

If you are still working on the math, you can stop. Even with these injuries, Ohio State remains at 87 scholarship players for the 2015 season. It is reasonable to expect one or two transfers before the end of the summer, but it appears Meyer still remains over the scholarship limit, something he does not want.

“There's also the truth that you don't know for the next couple of weeks, couple of months, until you see what happens,” Meyer said of what players may do. “You have to prepare. But you also can't do the unthinkable, and be stuck with 87 scholarship players come June or July.”

Ohio State has not been a school known for oversigning and will not want to tarnish their clean reputation. Natural attrition will likely allow the roster to work itself out, but Meyer and his staff will need to stay on top of things in order to not fall into the oversigning trap.

Player profiles relevant to story:
26 - Reeves, Armani | 30 - Bogard, Devan | Coach - Ash, Chris | Coach - Meyer, Urban
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