Tommy Eichenberg Made Most of Busy Spring

Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is redshirt sophomore linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. Yesterday it was running back Miyan Williams.

Tommy Eichenberg

No. 35 | Linebacker | 6-2 235 | Redshirt Sophomore | St. Ignatius High School | Cleveland, Ohio

How’d He Get Here

Tommy Eichenberg came to Ohio State from Cleveland St. Ignatius by way of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He was the No. 19 inside linebacker in the 2019 class and the No. 327 player overall. Eichenberg committed to Boston College in June of 2018. Three months later he received an offer from Ohio State. One week after that he received an offer from Michigan. Then two days after Urban Meyer announced his retirement, Eichenberg opted for the Ohio State offer, committing to the Ryan Day and the Buckeyes on December 6. He signed two weeks later.

Current Situation

With Dallas Gant out this spring, Eichenberg spent some time with the ones at middle linebacker and played well. The reps he got this spring will help him as he looks to make his first real mark on Saturdays for the Buckeyes. Last year he played in just one game, but that should change this year, even if it’s just a much larger role on special teams. Eichenberg will compete with Gant and company during preseason for a starting spot. He may not win that job, but he should qualify for others.

What to Like

According to linebackers coach Al Washington, Tommy Eichenberg is a “gem.” Washington says that he is a contact seeker with the kind of instinct that is needed in the middle. He’s a physical linebacker who finds the football and is smart enough to handle the duties the middle linebacker position requires. Eichenberg is now in his third year but just finally went through his first spring as a Buckeye. He is growing as a leader and Washington said he’s trending toward being an elite player and that he loves the chip on his shoulder from being an overlooked recruit.

What’s the Ceiling This Year?

The ceiling this year would be the starting middle linebacker job and whatever that came with, and at Ohio State that can either be good or bad. Eichenberg could come out of nowhere and have a James Laurinaitis 2006 season with some big moments early on that make him a household name. Fans would likely settle for something short of that. They will want something more than what they’ve gotten from Tuf Borland the last four years, which could very well be beyond Eichenberg’s reach this year.

And Beyond?

It would be surprising if Tommy Eichenberg doesn’t eventually emerge as a starting linebacker. He’s an inside linebacker all the way, which could put him at the Will or the Mike. His skill set fits best at middle linebacker and the depth chart doesn’t project any impossibilities in front of him moving forward. Even this year there is no guarantee that Dallas Gant is going to win the job. Missing spring is significant. The job is still Gant’s to lose, but his chances of losing it have absolutely increased. Next year, Eichenberg will be in his fourth year and will be the oldest inside linebacker on the roster. If he reaches his ceiling this year, it goes even higher next year. Just from the way Al Washington talks about him, it doesn’t seem outrageous to think he could earn some postseason awards at least league-wide in his time as a Buckeye.