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2021 NFL Draft Profile: Ohio State RB Trey Sermon

This former Sooner turned into a Buckeye and is heading to the Draft, projected to be taken within the first few days.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With April 29th right around the corner, George Paton is no doubt considering his options for Denver’s offense. Right now we’re going to look at Ohio State’s running back Trey Sermon.

Sermon is projected by Mel Kiper to go in the third round of the 2021 Draft. The NFL’s prospect page lists him as a backup with starter potential.

From one perspective it seems deceiving to name Sermon as a Buckeye, considering he played most of his college career as an Oklahoma Sooner; but his 2020 season perhaps outshined all the previous ones.

His performance as a Buckeye really caught the eye of Draft scouts.

Background

At Sprayberry High School in Marietta, GA, Trey Sermon was recruited by a number of Division I colleges including Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. He committed to Oklahoma and played there for three seasons.

Sermon played thirteen games in 2017 and started three of them, taking home 744 rushing yards (average 6.1 per attempt), 139 receiving yards (8.7/attempt) , and seven touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving).

He saw action in 14 games for 2018, with 947 rushing yards (averaging 5.8/attempt), 181 receiving yards (15.1/attempt), and 13 rushing touchdowns.

In 2019, Sermon’s season was shortened to 10 games due to injury. He completed with 385 rushing yards (7.1/attempt), 71 receiving yards (8.9/attempt), and four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).

Sermon transferred to Ohio State for graduate school and began playing a semester early for the Buckeyes. With 344 rushing yards in five games, he didn’t start his Buckeye career off with a bang.

What really bumped him up on the draft radar was that Big Ten Championship vs Northwestern University’s Wildcats, where Sermon rushed 331 yards in a single game for a 10-22 Buckeyes win.

He followed that up in part at the Sugar Bowl semifinals vs Clemson with 193 rushing yards (6.2/attempt) and a touchdown.

Sermon fits right in with his new Ohio State team, too. “I was welcomed in from day one,” he said, per Eleven Warriors, “I’ve gotten really close with a lot of people in my short time being there. The love that I have for my running back coach, Coach Alford, he’s a great guy, and he helped me out along the way. And I definitely appreciate everything that the strength staff and just the program has done for me.”

Despite the brevity of his stint at Ohio State, Sermon opted not to play college in his last year of eligibility and instead go for the 2021 Draft.

Trey’s Stats

Height: 6’0” / Weight: 215 lbs / Speed: 4.57 40 yard dash

2020: 8 games, 870 rushing yards (7.5 per attempt), 12 receptions, 95 receiving yards (7.9 per attempt), 4 rushing TDs

2019 (Oklahoma): 10 games, 385 rushing yards (7.1 per attempt), 8 receptions, 71 receiving yards (8.9 per attempt), 4 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD

2018 (Oklahoma): 14 games, 947 rushing yards (5.8 per attempt), 12 receptions, 181 receiving yards (15.1 per attempt), 13 rushing TDs

2017 (Oklahoma): 13 games, 744 rushing yards (6.1 per attempt), 16 receptions, 139 receiving yards (8.7 per attempt), 5 rushing TDs, 2 receiving TDs

What Sermon can bring to Denver

  • Size and strength. Sermon utilizes his 6’0”/215 frame to help him break through defenses, and it’s proven to be one of his best tools as a runner.
  • Soft hands and good balance. Sermon’s drastically improved his receiving game especially since joining Ohio State.
  • Great performance when stakes are high. He stepped up when it really counted, and was a major contributor to their National Championship berth.

Possible Drawbacks

  • Injuries. Sermon’s had three notable injuries - in high school (back), at OU (LCL) and at that last Ohio State National Championship (shoulder).
  • Speed. He wouldn’t be a running back if he wasn’t fast, but his speed isn’t as impressive as his ability to break out of defensive holds.
  • Route reading. Sermon’s not the most polished athlete, and he sometimes runs his route straight into defenses.

The buzz around Sermon

  • Ranked 4th best running back by sports analyst Mel Kiper.
  • Sports analyst Bucky Brooks:
    “He’s an outstanding playmaker. And when I look at him I love the vision, the balance, the body control, the overall physicality, and then it’s the soft hands he shows as a receiver. Some questions - I worry about his homerun speed and his durability because he has had a number of injuries throughout his collegiate career. That said, there’s a lot to like about Trey Sermon. Here’s the underrated part of his game, catching the ball out of the backfield. I think there’s so much more he can add to an offense as a pass-catcher.”
    247Sports
  • Ohio State Buckeyes’ head coach Ryan Day, on Sermon’s performance at the ‘20 Big Ten Championship vs Northwestern:
    “You’re seeing the best version of Trey. The best part is, when all that was going on, he never came into my office, never complained, never said, ‘I need more carries,’ none of that stuff. He just kept going every single day to work.”
    ESPN
  • Sports analyst Daniel Jeremiah:
    “It’s the balance and the physicality that stood out to me. Maybe a little underrated in what he can do in the passing attack. He’s somebody I think has a good chance to hear his name called on Day Two, and he’s somebody I think steps on an NFL field and has an immediate impact.”
    247Sports

Does he fit the Broncos’ offense?

I’m going to give a cautious yes to this one. I think Trey Sermon technically fits, but would be best as a backup right now.

I’m not a sports analyst but the way I figure, Denver already acquired an RB in Mike Boone. While Sermon is a strong athlete, he’s not the highest-ranking back in the draft, and his game can be improved before taking on a starting position.

Most analysts are expecting Sermon to go between the third and fifth rounds. Draft picks aren’t always indicative of a player’s ceiling (eg. Tom Brady); however, they’re often indicative of a player’s current floor.

Poll

Should the Broncos draft Trey Sermon?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Yes
    (146 votes)
  • 48%
    No
    (136 votes)
282 votes total Vote Now