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Preseason Scouting Notes: Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State

Senior | 6’0” | 221 lbs | Marietta, GA

 

Balanced runner with elite contact balance and slippery elusiveness looking to establish himself with a new program.

 

Overview:

A 4-star recruit and the No. 9-ranked running back in the country (per ESPN) coming out of high school, Sermon saw action in every Sooner game his freshman year, capping off his season as an All-Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Honorable Mention. He started 12 of Oklahoma’s 14 games his sophomore season, leading the team in touchdowns (13), while accruing 947 rushing yards and averaging 5.8 YPC and being named an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention again. His 2019 season was cut short after 9 games due to a knee injury but averaged 7.1 YPC up to that point. He will finish his collegiate career as a Buckeye after announcing his transfer from Oklahoma earlier this year.

Strengths:

– Above average burst and acceleration when hitting the hole or getting to the outside
– Dangerous in open space. Can force a lot of missed tackles with his stutter step
– Exceptional contact balance and able to recover if he becomes off-balance
– Well-rounded balance of power and agility
– Creates second-chance opportunities to gain yards; High motor player
– Uses his patience to manipulate defenders into getting blocked.
– Patient runner who waits for blocks to develop
– Willing pass protector that has surprisingly good initial hand placement for a running back

Areas to Improve:

– Relatively slow top-end speed limits his home run hitting ability
– Average pass catcher that will only make the catches he’s supposed to make
– Occasionally chooses wrong hole running between the tackles
– Below-average awareness in pass protection
– Suffers lapses in vision in short-yardage situations
– Does not sell play-action fakes well

Injury Concerns:

2019: Left Knee – Missed remainder of season (4 games)

Projection:

Trey Sermon needs a big 2020 if he wants to get drafted before day three. His stock plummeted last year after a promising sophomore year. He lost his starting role to Kennedy Brooks despite playing what was arguably his best (and most efficient season) prior to his season-ending knee injury. His contact balance is NFL-ready and he is sure to force missed tackles at the next level, but at this stage he profiles as a well-rounded backup running back.

What to Watch in 2020:

Sermon left a crowded backfield at Oklahoma in part due to the ascension of his former teammates, Kennedy Brooks and Rhamondre Stevenson. His touches severely decreased, beginning with a ZERO touch game against Texas, despite playing the second-most snaps of the running back trio. It will be interesting to see how Ryan Day plans to deploy his new weapon. If Sermon can beat out Master Teague for the primary back role, but he seems to have the upper hand. His patience behind the line of scrimmage fits well in the Buckeyes’ zone scheme.

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