Mason Arnold steps up as Ohio State football's long snapper in tough conditions

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Mason Arnold made his debut at Ohio State amid difficult circumstances.

He stepped in as the Buckeyes’ long snapper last month after seventh-year senior Bradley Robinson injured his knee while covering a punt against Iowa.

“It was obviously bittersweet,” Arnold said. “I was sad to see him go down. I look at him as like a big brother. But it’s an opportunity, and I just decided it’s time to go to work.”

Arnold, who joined the program as a walk-on a year ago, is expected to handle the snaps on punts, field goals and extra points for the rest of the season as Robinson is sidelined indefinitely.

Along with the emotion of replacing a close teammate, Arnold faced some tough situations in his first starts against Penn State and Northwestern, going from a raucous crowd at Beaver Stadium to rain and windy weather at Ryan Field.

Nov 5, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes long snapper Mason Arnold (94) snaps the ball to punter Jesse Mirco (29) during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State long snapper handled weather conditions well

Last weekend’s elements were a particular challenge for someone hiking the ball to a punter positioned as many as 15 yards behind him in the backfield.

“Those were the worst conditions I’ve ever had to deal with in my life and snapping in football,” Arnold said. “Being from Florida, we have pretty crazy storms, lightning, all that nature, but we don’t get that crazy wind.”

The rain, rather than the wind, at Northwestern, though, tested him the most.

“The rain wasn’t crazy severe,” Arnold said, “but it was constant and continuous and that definitely made it more difficult for sure to do my job.”

All of his snaps to punter Jesse Mirco, who also holds field goals and extra points, were still on target.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said Arnold had shown promise in practices, but thought it was good to see it carry over to the games.

"We’re going to need him," Day said. "Consistency is the key. All it takes is one bad snap, and you put yourself at risk. I thought they handled the elements well."

For his success, Arnold credited an approach that is summed up by a sign placed in a team meal room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. It reads, “Do your job.”

“That’s what we say all the time, every day, especially on game day,” Arnold said.

Arnold was an offensive lineman in high school in Tampa, Florida. Carrollwood Day School put him at center as he had the best handle on snapping out of a shotgun formation. He was also a state champion wrestler.

But he pursued opportunities as a long snapper in college, considering preferred walk-on opportunities from Ohio State and Kansas before joining the Buckeyes.

“After Ohio State gave me an opportunity, there was no way I could pass it up,” Arnold said. “It was almost like a dream come true.”

His father’s side of the family is from Cleveland, and many of them have rooted for the Buckeyes.

Arnold’s adjustment to Ohio State has been helped by Robinson, who had been the starting long snapper since 2020.

He considers Robinson as integral to his development and someone who has also been preparing with him for his first starts.  

“Brad has helped with my physical game and my mental game,” Arnold said. “When you’re at this level, you know what you have to do. You know your technique, you know your formula to do what you have to do, but it’s all mental, and Brad’s done it.

“He played in the national championship game, bowl games, Big Ten championship games, and he’s been tremendous with my development and the game mentally.”

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman

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