Ohio State TE Cade Stover missing farm life as he prepares for NFL

INDIANAPOLIS — Every prospect arrives at the NFL Scouting Combine thinking about the future.

That is certainly true of Cade Stover.

The Ohio State tight end arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine looking forward to getting to the NFL, but that’s not all.

He also eventually wants to get back to raising crops and beef cattle on his family farm in central Ohio.

“Yeah I mean that’s my life,” Stover said Thursday morning. “That’s who I am through and through. That’s where I come from, and anywhere you take me or anywhere you shake me, you’re not gonna take that away.”

Ohio’s Mr. Football in the fall of 2018, Stover arrived in Columbus as a highly regarded linebacker prospect in 2019.

The Mansfield Lexington High grad dabbled at defensive end before eventually ending up at tight end, a position he played well enough last year to be named Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award.

Stover is second in Ohio State tight end history behind John Frank with 82 catches for 1,056 yards, but he said stats were not really his concern.

“The film is what it is. I’m doing this because I owe it to myself, owe it to my family,” he said.

“I don’t think you can measure what’s inside of me, the kind of person I am. I think I’m just scratching the surface to what I can be as a football player.”

Stover spent the past two months training for the combine in Dallas, time away from home he seemed not to enjoy.

Farming remains his passion, one he intends to take back up after his time in the NFL is finished.

“I know that to get where I want to go and where I want to be in life, this is what I have to do, but I (video chat with) my family every single night,” he said. “I (video chat) my dog. It’s just hard being away from those people, but then again that’s a sacrifice you’ve gotta make to do what you want to do.”

When a national reporter asked Stover his favorite part about life on the farm, Stover said making hay — at least as long as he’s stacking bales on the wagon, not stuck in the hot barn.

“Those are just memories you hold forever,” he said.

As for his least favorite part?

Well, nothing really qualified.

“Especially being away from it so long, even things some people consider their worst days, I consider it a blessing to be able to be back there and do it,” he said. “Man, I guess when something breaks you look at those as bad days, but to me that’s just extra time with my pops trying to cobble something together, figure something out.”

As for football, he has proven he can be a weapon in the passing game, and he bristled at a question about his blocking.

Stover dismissed poor grades from Pro Football Focus and attributed most blocks he might have missed to being too aggressive.

“The common theme behind we struggle blocking, I think it’s a misconception,” he said of the Ohio State tight ends as a whole. “I could think of a (expletive) million blocks, but that’s life. That’s the way it goes. I’m always 100 percent effort, always full-tilt, there’s no doubt about it.

“You miss one when you’re trying to head-hunt somebody, that’s trouble. I struggle with that sometimes. I get my head out in front of my shoulder sometimes like I’m still playing defense rather than just making a solid block.

“I’m here to tell you ol’ PFF doesn’t know my scheme,” Stover said, repeating a common criticism of the site. “They don’t know what the hell I’m doing out there.”

Heading into the combine, Stover is considered a top 100 prospect and one of the top 3-5 tight ends available in the draft that is set to begin April 26 in Detroit.