COLUMBUS — Ohio State football players may not have the opportunity to play head-to-head with the best in the country this fall, but voting panels continue to insist they belong.
Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade and offensive lineman Wyatt Davis both made first team on the Associated Press preseason All-American team. Justin Fields is the second-team quarterback, finishing behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence for first-team honors.
Those Buckeyes are part of a group of 11 first-team selections and 23 overall who will not play this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. Either their teams or conferences canceled fall sports or the individual players have opted out.
Both Wade and Davis passed up early entry to the NFL Draft to return for a 2020 season that now may not happen. The Big Ten canceled all fall sports and is working on a plan for either a winter or spring season. No Ohio State player has officially announced he will not play in a potential second-semester season.
All players, even those who had announced they are opting out of the 2020 season, were eligible for the AP’s preseason All-American team. Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Purdue all-purpose player Rondale Moore, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman and Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau all made first team after opting out.
Davis, named first team All-American by The Sporting News and the Associated Press in 2019, did not allow a pressure or sack on a pass blocking snap in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus. The 6-4, 315-pound guard would anchor what should be one of the country’s best offensive lines.
Wade collected 25 tackles, eight pass breakups and an interception in 2019 as the Buckeyes’ starting slot cornerback. He was expected to move outside in 2020 to replace departed first-round NFL Draft picks Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette.
Fields and Lawrence have been connected since they came out of the same area of Georgia in high school and were 1-2 in the national recruiting rankings. Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019 after leading Ohio State to the College Football Playoff semifinals. But Lawrence, who led Clemson to the national championship in 2018 as a freshman, won the head-to-head matchup with Fields and the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl.