Ohio State running back Trey Sermon selected by 49ers in the third round of NFL draft

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Trey Sermon led Ohio State's running backs with 48 yards against Nebraska, but as a group the RBs had only 44 yards rushing on 14 carries in the first half.

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 88 overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night.

San Francisco traded a pair of fourth-round picks to the Los Angeles Rams to move up late into the third round to select Sermon, who was the fourth running back prospect to come off the board. 

The last time it drafted a running back as early as Sermon came in 2014 when it selected another Buckeye in Carlos Hyde with the No. 57 overall pick.

In one season at Ohio State after transferring from Oklahoma, Sermon rushed for 870 yards and four touchdowns.

A bulk of his yards came over a historic late-season stretch in which he set a school single-game rushing record, totaling 331 yards on the ground in the Big Ten championship game against Northwestern.

It eclipsed a mark that had been held by former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George for 25 years.

Sermon missed most of the national championship game in January, though, after dislocating a joint in his shoulder on the Buckeyes’ opening drive.

He since recovered from the injury and went through a pro-day workout at Ohio State last month.

More:NFL draft diary: Former Ohio State RB Trey Sermon discusses recent workouts, medical tests

Sermon is considered to be a versatile running back and has a wide-ranging skillset that includes pass catching.

He caught 12 passes for 95 yards last season, the fourth most receptions among the Buckeyes, and likely would have hauled in more had they played a full slate of games.

“He's very good out of the backfield catching the ball,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said. “He's very good in protection. So I think teams are really going to like his versatility. He can do multiple things as a running back, and I think he's going to have a great future.”

Sermon believes his experience playing wide receiver early in his high school career in Marietta, Georgia, helped further his development.  

"It's easy for me to go into the slot and run routes and catch the ball," he said in an interview with The Dispatch in mid-April. "It's always been a part of my game."

Day also has mentioned Sermon does not have the wear and tear of most running back prospects.

Between a pandemic-shortened season in 2020 and a knee injury the previous fall, Sermon logged 170 carries in his final two seasons in college.

Over his freshman and sophomore season, he had 285 rushing attempts.

“He's young in terms of the amount of carries he's had,” Day said.  

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman