Ohio State Buckeyes: 2022 captains could serve very different roles

Ohio State named a diverse group captains for 2022 over the weekend.

Star status is no prerequisite for leading the Buckeyes, nor is age or even expected playing time.

Of course, quarterback C.J. Stroud headlines the group. The third-year sophomore received the most votes and is in a leadership position one year after making his first college start and finishing among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

The California native who figures to be a high pick in the next NFL Draft is also the only full-time returning starter among the players chosen captains.

Receiver Kam Babb and defensive lineman Tyler Friday are both seniors who are coming off seasons wiped out by injuries, and they are both expected to be part of the rotation at their positions but may have a larger impact behind the scenes.

Babb, who was also voted a captain last season and is the 15th player to receive the honor more than once, has only played seven games since arriving at Ohio State from St. Louis in 2018 but garnered deep respect from teammates and coaches alike for his attitude and work ethic. He was also chosen as the Block ‘O’ jersey representative this year, a practice that began in 2019 to recognize one of the team’s outstanding leaders and honor the memory of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Bill Willis.

“I’ve learned that you can’t get through tough times all by yourself,” Babb said in a team release. “You have to grab on to someone. I hope everyone sees that. I love this team and I can’t wait to go on this journey that’s ahead of us.”

Friday is a New Jersey native who has played in 26 games with five starts since 2019. He has 19 tackles, including four for loss and three sacks.

Joining him as captains from the defensive side of the ball are safety Kourt Williams and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.

Eichenberg is a fourth-year junior from Cleveland who is expected to become a full-time starter at linebacker this season after playing 13 games and starting four last season. He has 64 career tackles, including 17 in a standout performance against Utah in the Rose Bowl in January.

Williams is a third-year sophomore from California who could start at boundary safety or be part of a sub-package in the defense of coordinator Jim Knowles, who like his predecessors has praised Williams’ approach to practice and his position.

Rounding out the group is Cade Stover, a fourth-year junior who is projected to be the team’s No. 1 tight end after dabbling in defense late last season and early in spring practice. Ohio’s 2019 Mr. Football from Mansfield Lexington High School, Stover has played 15 games at tight end and six on defense.

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