Ohio State players opting in are sending a message to the rest of college football.
Ohio State has five players in Todd McShay’s top 50 draft prospects and four in the top 30. Wade and Davis only opted out when the Big 10 chose not to play football, but quickly opted back in once the conference reversed course. Both are among the best players at their positions.
Fields has the most to lose, as he could be playing for a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Davis and Olave are also projected first round picks, so they could lose out on millions if something goes awry this season.
Ohio State Players Opting In
While Ohio State is returning their best players, other schools around the Big 10 were losing players before the conference even shut down. Micah Parsons from Penn State, Rondale Moore from Purdue, and Rashod Bateman from Minnesota opted out months ago. The other schools in the Big 10 are losing their best players while Ohio State is keeping theirs.
Though Bateman is considering opting back in, his initial decision came in August before the Big 10 bailed. Wade and Davis only opted out when there was no other option. They were unified with Fields and Olave in exploring every possibility.
Each of these four Buckeyes could make the argument that it is in their best interest to opt out. They could contract COVID-19, which could derail their season even if they make a full recovery. The peculiarities of playing football during a pandemic could damage their performance, and ultimately cause them the slip down the draft board. Injuries could result from adjusted training regimens. There is a litany of ways the season can go wrong.
The truth is, they want to play for Ohio State. They believe they can win a national championship. They are betting millions and millions of dollars on it. Penn State may be a top ten program, but Parsons isn’t betting his first round payday that his team can go all the way.
That’s what makes Ohio State a contender. The players are completely bought in, which proves how special Ohio State is.
The old adage goes, “It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmy’s and Joe’s.” Fields, Olave, Davis, and Wade are the Jimmy’s and Joe’s. If that philosophy has any grain of truth in it, then Ohio State is better off than almost any program in the country. The Buckeyes that have are opting back in prove it.