A year earlier, Haney met Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, and he offered the same advice. This time, Haney decided to give it a go. He went through a 30-minute tryout where coaches measured his speed and agility. They picked Haney and two other players out of a group of 30.
Haney learned he had made the team when he opened an email one day just before going to an intramural basketball game with Curtis Henry, a friend who also joined the team as a walk-on.
“I yelled, ‘Yes!’” Haney said. “We were hugging and jumping up and down. It just really hit me: ‘Dang, I’m a Buckeye now.”
Haney focused on basketball at Chaminade Julienne and didn’t play football as a senior, even though his coaches told him he had the talent to play. Malone, a sophomore tight end, told a similar story at Media Day.
“It’s truly a blessing how I came about (playing for Ohio State),” Malone said. “I started playing football my senior of high school. I was kind of inspired by (fellow Thurgood Marshall grad) Landon Brazile. He played and got offered by Cincinnati. I figured I would do the same and give it a shot. Coach Earl White was in my ear, telling me, ‘With your size, you can definitely play football at a high level.’ I took that shot and took the time out to get in touch with some coaches, not just Ohio State but all kinds of coaches. I got an email from Ohio State. They wanted me to come up for spring practice and check it out. It definitely seemed like a great place. I took that chance, and now I’m here today. This is my second year in the program. It has been a great experience so far.”
Ke'Von Huguely, a Meadowdale grad, is a walk-on running back at Ohio State.
Huguely, a sophomore running back, joined the program in the fall of 2015. He remembers watching the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2014 playoffs when he was a senior and admitted Thursday he didn’t think they would win it all.
“I didn’t think they were going to go that far,” Huguely said. “I’m glad I’m a part of it now. Being a part of it is special.”
Scout team players have worn Clemson orange all week in practice at Notre Dame Prep High School in preparation for Saturday’s game. Huguely has played slot wide receiver, doing his best impression of Clemson’s No. 13 Hunter Renfrow.
Hugely said the game plan has been in place before the Christmas break, and it’s just a matter of perfecting it this week. He was here with the Buckeyes a year ago at the Fiesta Bowl, but this time the bowl is a semifinal game in the College Football Playoffs, so it feels different.
“Practice has been different,” Huguely said. “The whole mentality has been different. We’re really locked in.”
Craft did not attend media day, but kicker Sean Nuernberger said he thought Craft was arriving later Thursday or Friday. Craft joined the team in January 2016.
“He’s done well,” Nuernberger said. “We have a lot of the specialists that aren’t the starter and help out a lot on the scout team. He’s doing well helping out with kickoffs on the scout team. He’s a a really good guy.”
Ohio State vs. Clemson, 7 p.m., ESPN, 1410