Wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. and defensive end Jack Sawyer are the first two Ohio State freshmen to have their black stripes removed this year. The removal of the black stripe from the helmet signifies that a player has done enough in practice to earn full-fledged Buckeye status.

Losing a black stripe in spring is a rarity for Ohio State freshmen, but it does happen from time to time. The fact that it happened with these two particular players is not a tremendous surprise.

Sawyer is arguably the top freshman in all of college football this year. He was ranked a 5-star prospect by all services and was ESPN’s top overall prospect. Early reports on our Ask The Insiders board have been leading to this, and had there been a betting line on black stripe removals, Sawyer would have likely been the odds-on favorite.

Some of those same insider reports have been raving about Harrison, who is the son of NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Even in the glimpses the media has gotten to see this past week, Harrison was a standout as he caught a pair of touchdown passes in red zone drills.

The first Buckeye to lose his black stripe this spring was redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jacolbe Cowan, who missed all of last year with an injury.

Ohio State Black Stripe Leaderboard

DL Jacolbe Cowan – April 2
WR Marvin Harrison – April 6
DE Jack Sawyer – April 6

Join the Conversation


  1. [QUOTE=”TBone8, post: 122947, member: 422″]
    It takes an Egbuka in the recruiting class to have the son of an NFL legend come in under the radar. Amazing really.
    LOL. So true.

  2. [QUOTE=”ChrisTravers, post: 123112, member: 1053″]
    [USER=6]@nevadabuck[/USER] seems like you would be the only one to have this information, but I always had a few questions about the Black Stripe/big brother program:

    1. Do the big brother’s have input on when the stripe comes off? I would assume no, but I could see a scenario where they trust a Senior leader to provide that feedback. Think Terry McLaurin saying that Chris Olave is ready to have his black stripe removed.

    2. We always hear about how the older guys are helping the young guys, but how prevalent actually is it? I definitely can see it in certain cases especially when the starter is locked in, but (not to harp on this again) I highly doubt Tuf Borland was sharing his secrets with the younger guys because then he wouldn’t have any advantage over them in terms of playing time. I doubt Master Teague is spending extra time helping Trey Henderson along, etc.

    3. How do they pick the big brother/little brother? How do they determine who matches up with who? Can you have multiple little brothers? Do you have to be a starter? Can someone like Tommy Eichenberg be the big brother to Reid Carrico or is it almost always a Junior/Senior like Teradja Mitchell?

    4. How long does it last? Once the stripe comes off, it’s less formal?

    As the resident Tuf Borland truther, I have to address No. 2 above. Tuf Borland was a 3-time captain and you don’t get voted captain by your teammates if you’re a selfish dude. He absolutely helped his teammates, especially when that was all he could do when he was injured or out with COVID. He’s a coach on and off the field. Again, it’s not Tuf Borland’s fault others weren’t as trusted as he was. I mean, look where we are right now talking about Cody Simon and Tommy Eichenberg pushing Mitchell and Gant.

    I can’t remember if it was Day or Alford or maybe Al Washington this spring, but they were asked about vets helping the young guys when those guys are trying to take their jobs and why the OSU vets keep helping it and it’s because the brotherhood is built up first. That gets done in the winter. Then competition takes place in the spring and in preseason, but the brotherhood is constantly being built.

    Here’s Evan Pryor on being in a competitive room: “We know it’s competitive every day. So we just know first off, we start off by building a brotherhood first. We’re brothers first, so we’re going to share this field together. So, we obviously know it’s competitive, but that’s not something that is maybe spoken about every day. So we’re just gonna keep coming in every day making each other better by grinding.”

    I can actually ask Day for more on the big brother stuff on Monday if I remember.

  3. [QUOTE=”ChrisTravers, post: 123271, member: 1053″]
    Tbh idk. Just speculating.

    Maybe there’s a situation where Tuf Borland has played 120 snaps vs Indiana throughout his career and knows that Indiana’s left guard leans to the right in his pre-snap stance when they are running a run play to that side and decides to keep that to himself.

    I guess I am just confused as to what football instincts really are. Like if Tuf was such a good student of the game and always knew where to be, why couldn’t he pass that down to the younger players? The guys behind him were here for 3 years, that’s more than enough time to experience pretty much any and every situation.

    I don’t want this to turn into a bash Tuf thread, it was the most readily example I could think of.
    I understand why people blame Tuf for some things, but you can’t blame him for other players not reaching their potential. That’s just spite. LOL. Or maybe they have reached their potential and they’re just not as good as he is. Again, that may be evidenced by nobody being a clear-cut starter among the linebackers despite there being three seniors who have been backups for the last two years. Is he still holding them back? Of course not.

    Linebackers not panning out at Ohio State isn’t all that unusual, especially over the last decade.

    In the past 10 recruiting classes, the Buckeyes have signed NINE composite top 100 linebackers. Of those nine, only four ever became starters. They combined for seven years of starting. Baron Browning (1), Jerome Baker (2), Raekwon McMillan (2), Curtis Grant (2).

    Only half of the four above were ready to play almost immediately. One of those four also wasn’t good enough to unseat Tuf Borland. 😉

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