Ohio State’s spring football practice season started last Wednesday, and pivotal senior defensive tackle and Wayne High School graduate Robert Landers stood on the sideline on crutches.
One of nine returning starters on the Ohio State defense, Landers has 17.5 career tackles for loss and has been in the playing rotation for three consecutive seasons. The fifth-year senior, respected as one of the Buckeyes’ leaders, started nine games last season while dealing with a back injury.
Landers appeared to be fully healthy when practice opened on Wednesday, but he was unable to practice on Friday. While his teammates stretched, Landers was on the exercise bike on the side of the field and could only pedal with his left leg. At the beginning of practice, as the team gathered around first-year head coach Ryan Day, Landers labored onto the field with crutches.
Ohio State has no shortage of talented players to replace him if he misses time, yet Landers is one of Ohio State’s most inspiring veterans and is popular among teammates and coaches with his charismatic personality.
Ohio State’s current roster features seven players from Dayton area high schools.
Fifth-year seniors Landers is one. Walk-on tight end and Thurgood Marshall graduate Derrick Malone is also a fifth-year senior.
Miamisburg High School’s Josh Myers is a third-year sophomore who is projected to be Ohio State’s starting center. Redshirt freshman and Wayne High School product Blue Smith is battling to see playing time in the wide receiver rotation. Pique linebacker Ben Schmiesing, Mason defensive lineman Zaid Hamdan and Lebanon true freshman wide receiver Alec Koch are the other Miami Valley area Buckeyes on the 2019 roster.
The Ohio State University’s 2019 LiFESports Spring Game will kick off Saturday, April 13 at noon at Ohio Stadium. Parking is free.