Will Position Move Mean More Playing Time For Demario McCall?

Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is sixth-year senior cornerback Demario McCall. Yesterday it was quarterback CJ Stroud. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.

Demario McCall

No. 3 | Cornerback | 5-9 195 | Sixth-Year Senior | North Ridgeville High School | North Ridgeville, Ohio

How’d He Get Here

Ohio State offered Demario McCall seven years and two months ago. His scholarship offer is getting ready for the second grade right now. Multiplication tables and cursive are right around the corner. Well, maybe not cursive. McCall was the No. 2 all-purpose back in the 2016 recruiting class and the No. 44 player overall. He was one of the most explosive players in the state of Ohio during his high school years. This is now McCall’s sixth year at Ohio State, and for a while it didn’t look like he’d even make it to year three or four because of how little he was being used. People wondered if he would eventually transfer to a MAC school and become RB1 somewhere else. Instead, he stuck it out with the Buckeyes and has utilized his free year of eligibility in order to return for the 2021 season.

Current Situation

After spending his first five years at Ohio State moving between running back and slot receiver while trying to gain weight and stay healthy, Demario McCall showed up this spring at cornerback. Somewhat amazingly, he was pretty good for a brand new defensive back. Even in the spring game when he gave up a deep pass to Chris Olave, he was right there, but just hasn’t had enough reps to get his awareness markers where they need to be. There were even reports of a couple of interceptions during spring practice that had people encouraged. The Buckeyes will enter fall camp with better numbers in the secondary than they had last year, so once again McCall is going to be part of a crowded position room.

What to Like

There is something to be said for a guy like Demario McCall who has stuck around as long as he has despite not playing as much as he would have liked. McCall has always been athletic and explosive, and now he’s shown that ability on defense. His hips aren’t as stiff as a lot of former running backs, and his experience at receiver will help him at cornerback. This is his last year of being a Buckeye, so even though he’s playing a new position, he’s going to give it every last bit he’s got.

What’s the Ceiling This Year?

Ohio State has a number of options it can turn to in the secondary, and Demario McCall could be one of those options. The Buckeyes are likely to play six or seven defensive backs regularly through rotations and substitution packages. If McCall can show he belongs, there will be a spot for him. That’s going to take a lot of work and will also require that he doesn’t move back to the offensive side of the ball, which is always a possibility depending on depth and injuries. McCall will also likely be involved in kick returns again this year, though he may be more encouraged to field the kicks this year if the Buckeyes feel they need to be more aggressive on special teams thanks to their inexperience at quarterback.

And Beyond?

It will be interesting to watch Demario McCall this year to see what he can do. Reaching his ceiling as a defensive back in one year is possible, but a first-year ceiling only has so much head room. If he does reach his ceiling this year, he may end up working out at about six different positions at next year’s Ohio State pro day. Some teams will want to see him at cornerback. Some will want to see him back at running back. Others may want to see him at receiver. And who knows, a guy can have a long career in the NFL as a long snapper, so maybe he’ll give that a go as well. There is no doubt that McCall has the patience to be successful, but as he transitions to a new position, he’ll need others to have some patience as well.