Seniors Xavier Johnson, Cade Stover, and Tommy Eichenberg were named by the Ohio State football team as this year’s team captains. For both Stover and Reichenberg, this is their second straight season as team captains. For more than a decade, Ohio State has chosen five or more players to be their team captains.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2009 before you see the Buckeyes only naming three team captains. That season the captains were Kurt Coleman, Austin Spitler, and Doug Worthington.
As team captains, Johnson, Stover, and Eichenberg will be expected to represent this season’s Ohio State football team before the game for the coin toss. They will also be expected to lead both on the field and off, as well as in the locker room.
Along with being named a team captain, Johnson was also honored by being given the Block O jersey for the 2023 season. Johnson, who is in his sixth season, comes into his final year in Columbus, Ohio with a total of 13 receptions for 151 yards and 16 carries for 163 yards and a total of three touchdowns. He has also added 12 tackles on special teams and one punt return for five yards.
Stover, who could have left last season and have more than likely been drafted in the mid to later rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, decided to return for his fifth and final season. After being recruited as a linebacker, Stover tried his hand at playing defensive end and tight end before settling on the tight end position last fall. He finished his redshirt junior season in 2022 with 36 receptions for 406 yards and five scores. He has also added 13 tackles and a forced fumble on defense.
Eichenberg, much like Stover, could have left after last season for the NFL but decided to run it back in Columbus one last time. Last season, despite injuring both thumbs, finished 2022 with a team-leading 120 tackles. He also added two and a half sacks and one pick-six. Eichenberg might be the quietest of the three, but he allows his play on the field to speak for him.
What’s interesting about all three of these guys is that all of them are from the state of Ohio. They are homegrown talents. Is it possible that this is Ryan Day’s way of making sure that the proper leadership is in place to make sure that the team understands the importance of the final regular season game coming November 25?