Defensive lineman Garrett shines with others hurt

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett wraps up Miami running back Tyre Shelton in the first quarter Saturday. Garrett was named a co-defensive player of the game. [Eric Albrecht/Dispatch]

Ohio State had co-defensive players of the game against Miami University last week.

Chase Young is the one player who wouldn’t surprise anyone because of his two strip sacks and because he’s, well, Chase Young. The other honoree was someone more under the radar.

Haskell Garrett is one of several players in the defensive tackle rotation, and on Saturday, he made his mark. Playing only in the first half of Ohio State’s 76-5 blowout, Garrett had four tackles, including back-to-back ones for loss early in the second quarter.

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“By far, this was probably my best game,” the junior from Las Vegas said.

It came at a good time. Ohio State was without four defensive linemen because of injuries.

“When you know you’re down guys, there’s more weight you’ve got to carry,” Garrett said. “So we definitely planned on it and practiced for it.”

As for personal acclaim, Garrett doesn’t seem concerned about that. He wasn’t even the most celebrated player from his high school to sign with Ohio State in 2017. He was teammates with quarterback Tate Martell, who transferred to the University of Miami after last season.

Garrett has kept plugging away and has become a key member of the defensive line. 

“I feel like he’s really improved a lot since he’s been here,” linemate Davon Hamilton said. “He’s had a lot of ups and downs, but I feel like this year is really his year to shine. I feel he’s more focused and understands what he’s doing more, and it’s really helping him.” 

The status of the injured linemen remains uncertain, and if the Buckeyes are again short-handed, Nebraska will test them with the Cornhuskers' talent and tempo. Garrett said the Buckeyes have done extra conditioning this week.

This game is being billed as the season's biggest test yet for Ohio State.

“They’re ready for us, and we’ve had this one circled since February,” Garrett said. “We’re ready to go.”

Williams emerging

In his short time as a Buckeyes player, Jameson Williams has been overshadowed by Ohio State’s other freshman receiver, Garrett Wilson.

Wilson, the five-star recruit, has indeed made a splash with a couple of dazzling touchdown catches and a 52-yard punt return. But Williams is emerging, too.

The St. Louis native showed off his impressive speed against Miami. He caught a slant pass from Gunnar Hoak, then turned and blazed past defenders for a 61-yard touchdown for the Buckeyes’ next-to-last score. 

“I was ecstatic,” senior receiver Austin Mack said. “He always says to us in the (meeting) room, 'If I can catch a ball, I’m taking it to the house every time.’ We’ll laugh, but he really did. You could see on the sideline we were extremely happy for him, just to see these young guys get some time and be successful.”

Coach Ryan Day believes that will be the first of many successes.

“When Jameson got here, we knew his track times were off the charts,” he said. “We knew his length, we knew his speed. But what we didn't know was how tough he was. This is a guy who's practiced really, really hard. There's a couple clips of film where he's just throwing his body around. That was really impressive to all of us. His work ethic is really good. I think he's got a really bright future ahead of him.”


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