Cade Stover, Tommy Eichenberg and Xavier Johnson will be Ohio State’s captains this year while Johnson will wear the Block O jersey.
Stover enters his fifth year with the Buckeyes and is returning as OSU’s starting tight end.
He had 36 catches for five touchdowns in the 2022 season and is capable of much more in 2023.
“I’ve just grown up,” Stover said. “I’m older, I understand things better, I see things quicker and that allows the game to really slow down for me.”
Eichenberg returns at middle linebacker where he anchored Ohio State’s defense, earning first-team all-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors while playing with two broken hands. Eichenberg, who graduated from The Ohio State University this past spring, led the Buckeyes in tackles (120) and tackles for a loss (12) last season. He has 186 career tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss in 31 games played with 17 starts. He said missing games due to his broken hands was never an option.
“Honestly I didn’t really think about it much. I think when you’ve got a purpose to play for, you play for the team you don’t think about yourself. You can do anything and so it’s like you go out there and no matter what just cause you love playing with those guys out there.”
Xavier Johnson is back for his sixth year in Columbus after coming to an Ohio State as a walk-on. Johnson, called “X” by his teammates, is an X-factor for the Buckeyes’ offense. Last season, he caught 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 146 yards and another score. He also returned 12 kicks for 269 yards and recovered two blocked punts.
Ohio State started the Block “O” jersey tradition two years ago to honor former Buckeye defensive end Bill Willis. The No. 0 jersey is given to a player who embodies “toughness, accountability and the highest of character” — the traits that defined Bill Willis.
Stover and Eichenberg are two-time captains while this season marks Johnson’s first as a captain.