Ohio State released its availability report for its game against visiting Notre Dame on Saturday (7-44 p.m. ET; ABC) and junior wide receiver Julian Fleming will be a game-time decision.
Ohio State does not disclose why a player is listed on the report; it just simply lists who is out and who is a game-time decision. Fleming is the only one listed as a game-time decision.
Three Buckeyes are listed as out- walk-on cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar, defensive end Mitchell Melton and running back Evan Pryor. The latter two suffered what are likely season-ending knee/leg injuries. Melton in the spring and Pryor during camp.
What this means for OSU
All things considered, the Buckeyes escaped camp very healthy for a football team – especially with Ryan Day preaching toughness and having his squad go live a little bit more than they did last preseason. They enter tonight’s game against Notre Dame as healthy as one could imagine for a team with over 100 players who play a violent sport.
That being said, Fleming is expected to be the team’s No. 4 wide receiver and it will be a shame if he has to miss this game. He can’t see to catch a break when it comes to ailments, although we’re not sure what his current situation entails. Hopefully for the Buckeyes’ sake and his, he is able to go tonight.
It is interesting that Kam Babb is not on the availability report. That’s good news for another young man who can’t seem to catch a break. But perhaps he will catch his first ball in his OSU career tonight. Jayden Ballard will also be needed as a backup WR if Fleming can’t go. Xavier Johnson perhaps as well.
And while Brian Hartline has said he is going to play more than three WRs this year, I need to see it first. He only played three last year when the game was on the line and I think that might be the case in a game like tonight’s, especially if Fleming can’t go. Jaxon Smith Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Ebguka are a lethal trio –- just like Smith-Njigba, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson were last year – and I could see him riding them for the vast majority of snaps.
We already knew about the Melton and Pryor injuries, and I doubt McFarquhar would have played much if at all tonight even if healthy. While the Buckeyes were so banged up during camp at cornerback at one point that the top three corners in practice were J.K. Johnson, Jyaire Brown and McFarquhar, Ohio State is now fully healthy at corner. That includes returning starters Denzel Burke and Cam Brown, along with the top projected backup, Jordan Hancock (Johnson is also right there in the mix to be the No. 3 corner). Brown looked good in camp – especially for a true freshman – and will be the team’s No. 5 cornerback.
All in all, this availability report is good news for the Buckeyes.