Ohio State's C.J. Saunders files for sixth year of eligibility

Joey Kaufman
Wide receiver C.J. Saunders has not played since he suffered a meniscus injury during practice in August. [Brooke LaValley/Dispatch]

Ohio State receiver C.J. Saunders has filed a waiver with the NCAA to receive a sixth season of eligibility.

Saunders, one of the team's seven captains, did not play this season after he suffered a meniscus injury during practice in August. The injury was aggravated in October when he attempted to return.

Speaking with reporters in the locker room after the Big Ten championship game Saturday, Saunders said a waiver had recently been submitted, but no ruling had been reached.

“I don't know exactly all the details,” Saunders said. “We got a really good compliance office and coaches taking care of that. Right now, they're just telling me, take care of getting recovered and getting healthy, and we'll see what's next after the season.”

Players are given five years of eligibility to play four seasons by the NCAA but can request a sixth season because of circumstances such as injury.

Linebacker Justin Hilliard had a waiver for a sixth season of eligibility recently approved as well.

There is no timetable on when Saunders might receive a decision from the NCAA.

If Saunders returns, it would give the Buckeyes a valuable veteran presence. During halftime of the conference championship game against Wisconsin, he gave a stirring speech in front of players and coaches. Trailing 21-7, the Buckeyes overcame the two-touchdown deficit during a comeback in the second half.

On the field, Saunders had been projected to be a backup slot receiver behind K.J. Hill, a senior. His return could help them replace Hill, as well as Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, who are also seniors.

Saunders said he was uncertain if he could return for spring practice. He has been walking on crutches for the past month.

“Not exactly sure what they would look like based on my recovery and how we take care of that,” Saunders said, “but with the trainers, I'm in good hands with them and the coaches. They'll get me in the best shape for next season.”

LSU's Brady wins Broyles

LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady was named the winner of the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach during a ceremony in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Tuesday afternoon.

Jeff Hafley, Ohio State's defensive co-coordinator and secondary coach, was among the five finalists who gave speeches during the program. Hafley thanked other coaches on the staff, including Greg Mattison, who is the other defensive co-coordinator.

“We got a really good staff and we have really good players, and players really, honestly, they make us pretty good,” Hafley said.

Fiesta Bowl sold out

The Fiesta Bowl announced Tuesday that tickets for the semifinal between Ohio State and Clemson had been sold out, 48 hours after the matchup was announced.


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