Ryan Day addressed the Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and revealed the captains for his first season as head coach. He didn’t understate what the honor means for the seven players he called to the front of the room, describing it as a “huge deal” and “big-time deal.”
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“If you are a captain at Ohio State,” said Day in a video posted by Ohio State to Twitter, “when you look at the walls and the people who have been here before, you’re with some of the best people who have ever walked through the halls of Ohio State. You have a huge responsibility to be a leader.”
For the second straight season, Ohio State will have seven captains. They were elected by their teammates. Six of the seven — everyone except senior defensive tackle Jonathan Cooper — met with reporters Monday afternoon to talk about the honor.
Here’s what they had to say:
Jordan Fuller: Fuller and Tuf Borland are the 13th and 14th two-time captains in Ohio State history. Fuller, a senior safety who decided not to enter the NFL Draft after last season, tied for the team lead with 81 tackles last season.
“We have a good mix of rah-rah guys as captains and also guys you can come to on a personal basis,” Fuller said.
Tuf Borland: The junior linebacker, who has played in all 28 games the last two seasons, starting 20 of them, ranked third on the team with 67 tackles in 2018.
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“It’s a tremendous honor,” Borland said. “You take a walk down the hallway and see some of the names on the captains board, it’s truly a blessing. There’s a big responsibility that comes with it.”
K.J. Hill: The fifth-year senior wide receiver, who earned his degree in communications in August, caught 70 passes last season and needs 48 catches to break David Boston’s school record of 191 career receptions.
When Hill decided to return for his final season and not enter the NFL Draft, one of his goals was to earn the captain title.
“Me being the oldest person in the (wide receivers) room and one of the oldest guys on the team,” Hill said, “with that experience, I had a good chance of being a captain.”
C.J. Saunders: Another graduate student, Saunders earned his degree in accounting in May. He started his career as a walk-on but earned a scholarship in 2017. He wasn’t surprised to be named a captain but was honored to earn the title.
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“The way my career has progressed,” Saunders said, “I’ve gotten to build relationships with my teammates. It’s something I’ve strived for.”
Chase Young: The junior defensive end led the team with 9½ sacks last season. Fuller called him the most vocal of the Ohio State captains. Young said being named captain was on his list of goals.
“I never really visualized it like I did other things,” he said, “but I feel like when I got more into the program and (understood) the meaning of what being a Buckeye was, I wanted to be in that group of people who lead the team. The opportunity was there, and I took it.”
J.K. Dobbins: The junior running back rushed for a team-best 1,053 yards last season. He’s the first player in school history to top 1,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons.
“I’m excited,” Dobbins said. “I’m honored. It’s a big thing. It’s special to me because it’s great my teammates see me as somebody who can lead this team and represent this team.”