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Ohio State Block O Jersey Candidates for 2024

The latest Ohio State tradition is the Block O jersey. Last year, Xavier Johnson sported the number. For 2024, there are plenty of options.
block o jersey

Ohio State is full of traditions. The Buckeyes are steeped in pageantry from Script Ohio to the Buckeye leaves. With the semi-recent inclusion of the number zero being allowed to be worn, the Buckeyes had a brand-new tradition fall right into their lap: The Block O jersey.

The Block O jersey not only represents Ohio State since it physically looks like a block letter “O”, but the Buckeyes use it to commemorate Bill Willis. As an edge rusher from 1942-44, Willis exemplified what it meant to be a Buckeye. His number 99 is retired by the program so they found a new way to honor Ohio State’s first Black All-American.

2024 will be the fifth season with the tradition. Jonathon Cooper, Thayer Munford, Kam Babb, and Xavier Johnson have all been honored. This year, there are plenty of worthy Buckeyes to sport the special number.

Ohio State Block O Jersey Candidates for 2024

Jack Sawyer

The first candidate is none other than senior edge rusher, Jack Sawyer. Despite not fully living up to his lofty expectations as a bona fide five-star, he’s taken strides of late and is poised for a big season in 2024.

Currently expected to be a first-round pick, Sawyer decided not to capitalize on his three-sack Cotton Bowl and returned to Ohio State. In his time with the Buckeyes, he has been asked to do all kinds of things as a defender. He was a traditional defensive end, an outside linebacker, a hybrid “Jack”, and has gone from position to position without hesitation.

Last season was easily Sawyer’s best. He accounted for 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six-and-a-half sacks, two pass breakups, and forced two fumbles. Ohio State’s defensive scheme doesn’t put as much on its defensive ends. Thus, neither Sawyer nor Jaylahn Tuimoloau have put up Joey Bosa/Nick Bosa or Chase Young-like numbers despite regularly winning their matchups. According to PFF, only one edge rusher in all of college football scored 85 or better in both pass rush and run defending: Sawyer.

With all three 2023 captains headed to the NFL, Sawyer is nearly a shoo-in to be captain at the very least. He’d be more than worthy to get to sport the Block O jersey for the Buckeyes.

TreVeyon Henderson

From the jump, TreVeyon Henderson has been one of the more talented Buckeyes to suit up over the last three seasons. Now that he’s fully healthy and is set to share the backfield with another dynamic back, Henderson can lead the Ohio State offense.

As the lead back, Henderson has given the Buckeyes 2,745 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground. He’s also a receiving threat, adding 579 yards and five scores. However, it hasn’t been easy for the top-rated running back in the 2021 class. He’s been hampered by injuries.

Ever since his breakout freshman season where he played in 13 games and ran for over 1,300 yards, Henderson has missed eight games. That’s not to mention the other handful of games he’s had to play through his injuries, especially last year.

For his perseverance, Henderson should be rewarded. He could have jumped for the NFL as one of the highest-rated players at the position. CBS Sports had him as the second-best running back and Bleacher Report actually believed that he was the best. At the same time, Henderson could have jumped into the transfer portal when Quinshon Judkins came to town.

In Chip Kelly‘s nine non-COVID-shortened seasons, his offenses ran the ball, on average, 547 times per year. In his four seasons at Oregon, which could be a better indication than UCLA, his offenses ran the ball 611 times per season. If Henderson can run even 200 times, which would be a career-best, his averages would suggest a 1,240-yard, 14-touchdown season. Assuming Judkins can also have a similar season, the one-two Block O-one punch has the potential to be the best duo Ohio State has had in a long, long time.

Emeka Egbuka

There’s a bit of a trend forming here. Thus far, all of the Block O jersey recipients wore the honor for their last season at Ohio State. All four of these candidates spurned the NFL to run it back. Emeka Egbuka is the leader of this year’s receiver room and has changed his number once already. Could he be the third consecutive wide-out to sport the Block O?

As a highly-recruited receiver in the 2021 class, Egbuka played sparingly as a freshman. It wasn’t until 2022 that he broke out. In 13 games, Egbuka amassed 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns off of 74 receptions. He had high expectations heading into 2023 but, like Henderson battled injuries.

Last year, Egbuka managed just 515 yards and four touchdowns. He entered the year as a first-round talent and fell down some draft boards to the second round.

With the fourth-overall pick Marvin Harrison, Jr. out of the picture, Egbuka is expected to have another big year. He will lead a young, unproven unit that features a plethora of four and five-star recruits.

Reports from Spring practices indicate that Egbuka has taken hold of that leadership role. It would not be surprising if he ends up as a captain and the Block O jersey would fit quite well.

Denzel Burke

Finally, as one of the leaders on defense, Denzel Burke would be a great choice to honor in 2024. Burke was a four-star athlete in the 2021 class and immediately made an impact as a true freshman.

In that first season, Burke played the most snaps of any Buckeye defender with 731. He followed that up with 582 snaps while missing two games. That total was still the most among Buckeye corners. Last year, Burke was on the field for 579 snaps while missing another two games.

While Burke doesn’t have the interception count one would expect from the top corner (two), he has 26 pass breakups to his name. His quickness and ball skills are his greatest strengths but it’s his leadership that will be the difference.

“BIA isn’t a slogan,” the Buckeyes claim. With Burke, the Ohio State secondary has an argument to be the Best In America.

Ohio State has plenty of ways to honor its top players. With the Block O jersey, it’s just another to reward leadership and what it means to be a Buckeye.


block o jersey
Photo courtesy: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


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