COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State football team hit the practice field Monday morning as preparations continue for the season-opener on Aug. 31 versus Florida Atlantic. It was the Buckeyes’ final morning practice, as fall semester classes begin tomorrow and the schedule shifts to late afternoon practice from this point forward.
Afterwards, head coach Ryan Day met with the media in the team room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and shared two pieces of news: Ohio State has selected seven captains to lead it in 2019 and sophomore Justin Fields has been named the team’s starting quarterback.
The Buckeyes’ seven captains this year are: DE Chase Young, a junior from Hyattsville, Md., DE Jonathon Cooper, a senior from Gahanna, Ohio, SAF Jordan Fuller, a senior from Old Tappan, N.J., junior LB Tuf Borland from Bolingbrook, Ill., RB J.K. Dobbins, a junior from La Grange, Texas, WR K.J. Hill, a senior from Little Rock, Ark., and WR C.J. Saunders, a senior from Dublin, Ohio.
Borland and Fuller are repeat selection from 2018 and represent the 13th and 14th two-time captains in program history. Borland has played in 28 career games (with 20 starts) and is an Academic All-Big Ten selection majoring in human development and family science. Fuller is majoring in business marketing and last year was a first team CoSIDA Academic All-American who tied for the team lead in tackles.
Joining Borland and Fuller on the defensive side of the ball, Cooper has played in 33 career games and started 13 times last year. He is majoring in consumer and family financial services. Young led the team in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (15.5) last year while earning second team All-Big Ten honors. He’s a criminology and criminal justice major.
On offense, Dobbins is the first-ever player to rush for 1,000 or more yards as both a freshman and a sophomore. He’s majoring in consumer and family financial services. Hill, who graduated in August with his degree in communications, enters 2019 needing 48 catches to break David Boston’s 20-year-old school record of 191 career receptions. Saunders, who graduated last May with his degree in accounting, initially walked on to the team but earned a scholarship in the spring of 2017.
Fields emerged from a three-man race for the starting quarterback job after a strong training camp. He arrived at Ohio State last January after spending his freshman season at the University of Georgia where he appeared in 12 of 14 games for the Bulldogs and was named to the coaches freshman All-SEC Team.
Ohio State Tabbed as No. 5 in Associated Press Poll
The Buckeyes will start the 2019 season No. 5 in the Associated Press Poll, the organization announced today. This is the sixth time in the past seven years the Buckeyes have opened the season ranked among the Top 5 teams in the country, after rankings of Nos. 2, 5, 1, 6, 2 and 5 between 2013-2018, respectively. Additionally, 2019 is the 84th season for the Associated Press to produce its college football poll. Ohio State leads the nation in total number of times ranked with this preseason ranking the 902nd ranking for Ohio State through the years out of the 1,153 polls.
Head coach Ryan Day on the seven captains selected this season
“I think they are a great representation of the program. They are a group of guys that I think epitomize what we want an Ohio State football player to be. I think they understand what it means to be a captain. Very, very well-respected, unbelievable group of guys. Really cool.”
Day on what led Justin Fields to earn the starting quarterback job
“Right now he’s starting to scratch the surface. I still don’t think he’s where he needs to be. After this week, I think he played at a starter level, earned the job. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
“I think his reads and his eyes have been much better, where he’s going with the football. His timing, understanding the offense, the more reps he gets. I also think he’s getting a better feel for throwing in the pocket. Mechanically there are a few things that Coach Yurcich has worked on, that Justin has worked on that has closed up a few of his throws. He’s got a strong arm. He’s done a pretty good job with his accuracy the last couple weeks. He can create. When he does create, he has to know when there’s times to take a chance, when there’s times you got to throw it away or eat it. That’s just managing the game, maturity in that position.”
Day on his takeaways from last Saturday’s scrimmage
“We had probably I think about 10 to 12 champions on both sides of the ball. I thought guys came out and played really, really well. Nothing in particular in terms of like individuals that really stepped up that maybe hadn’t before, without selling somebody short. But overall it was a good scrimmage. I think the offense and the defense have been getting after each other. It’s been a lot of give-and-take, which has been great.”
Day on C.J. Saunders going from walk-on to team captain
“I think it’s unbelievable. You can tell that these guys respect hard work, they respect and really give a lot of credit to the way he’s gone about his work every day, the way he handles himself, his character. C.J. hasn’t played a whole bunch around here. What matters is how he works in the weight room, how he practices, the way he handles himself off the field, the classroom.”
Day on how he announced the captains to the rest of the team
“We did it this morning in an 8:00 meeting. Brought the team in, let them know the results of the voting. Called all seven guys up here, congratulated the team. They did an unbelievable job selecting. I talked to them before about what it means to be an Ohio State captain, the tradition that comes with it, the guys that have come before them. Also you’re not voting for your best friend or your buddy. You’re voting for somebody that’s going to represent the school, somebody that you respect. I thought they did a great job.”