Most players on the Ohio State football team roster come from traditional high school football powerhouses, which happen to be located in or near major metropolitan areas. However, there is one Buckeye on this team who comes from the country. Senior Tight end Cade Stover is an unapologetic farm boy.
It has been well documented that Stover’s work ethic and toughness were cultivated on his Lexington, Ohio family farm where he enjoyed working the land and with the livestock beside his family. As highlighted by Mike Wachsman from NBC4 Columbus, Stover’s unique blend of toughness and blue-collar mentality is in his DNA.
"“You can’t take days off (while on the farm.) It’s impossible. Christmas, cows eat. Thanksgiving, cows eat. Your birthday, cows eat. They don’t take days off, so why should you? When you think about a farmer, you think about a country fella, you’re a blue-collared tough person. My dad’s the toughest dude. If I could be any person, that’s who I would be. … There’s just a presence about a tough person that you want to be around.”"
That toughness is something that resonates with a lot of Ohio State football fans from around the state. There are a lot of Ohio State football fans who still make a living by the sweat of their brow. Blue-collared men and women who aren’t afraid to get dirty for an honest day’s work. Stover is their Buckeye. He’s the one who represents them on Saturdays.
On game day in and around the stadium, you’ll see a lot of people wearing Harrison Jr. jerseys, TreVeyon Henerson jerseys, and even Kyle McCord’s number. But there are a lot of Stover #8’s as well. Seeing people wear your jersey has to be a surreal feeling for any player. But it wasn’t easy for Stover to get to this point in his career.
He was recruited as a linebacker before moving to defensive end. After that short experiment, he started working on transitioning to tight end before being asked to move back to linebacker for the 2022 Rose Bowl. Last season, he finally found a home as the starting tight end. The move to tight end has resulted in what might be one of the best seasons a tight end has ever had at Ohio State.
Stover has had 34 receptions for 508 yards and four touchdowns. Stover is getting dangerously close to the statistical season Ricky Dudley had in 1995 when he finished with 575 yards and seven touchdowns on 37 catches. One more game like the one he had on Saturday and Stover will pass Dudley on the list of greatest seasons by an Ohio State tight end.
It might be hard to reach these numbers, but in 1966 Billy Anders set an all-time record for Buckeye tight ends when he finished that season with 55 receptions for 671 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In 1983 John Frank had a big year at tight end finishing that year with 45 snags for 641 yards and four scores.
No matter what happens the remainder of this season, one thing is for sure, Stover is on the list of greatest tight ends in school history.
While there will be some who will call Stover the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) at the tight end position at Ohio State, I imagine that the farm boy from Lexington, Ohio could care less. Just give him a tractor, a field, and a football. That’s all a man like Stover needs in order to be happy.