The Ohio University football team has nearly ironed out one key piece of business following the truncated 2020 season.
The Bobcats now have an idea how many of the program’s seniors have elected to return to the program, using the one-time waiver issued by the NCAA last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In short, Ohio expects 11 seniors to return for 2021, with one player still undecided. Ohio confirmed the roster information on Friday.
One senior has yet to make a final decision about whether to return. Tight end Ryan Luehrman, who was in the same graduating class as current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow at Athens High School, had seven receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns in Ohio’s 2020 season. Luehrman, with 19 career starts, has 37 catches for 418 yards and seven touchdowns over his career.
Luehrman’s twin brother, Adam, is one of 11 Bobcats who have elected to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility. Used as the second tight end in each of the past two seasons, Adam Luehrman has posted career totals of six catches for 94 yards in 30 career games.
Here’s a breakdown of the other 10 seniors Ohio has confirmed will return for 2021 (in alphabetical order).
DT Zach Burks – A rotational player on the interior of the defensive line, Burks had three tackles in two games in 2020 before suffering a lower leg injury. He’s logged six tackles in 13 career appearances with Ohio.
WR Chase Coakley – Well down the wide receiver depth chart, Coakley appeared in one game in 2020.
S Jarren Hampton – A returning two-year starter, Hampton was the back-end anchor for the Ohio defense. He had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery in 2020; He’s logged 113 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups in 39 career games.
OL Hagen Meservy – A starter in three different seasons, Meservy moved from right guard to right tackle after the opener in 2020. He’s notched 27 starts and played in 39 games at Ohio.
CB Ilyaas Motley – With 39 game appearances and more than a dozen starts, Motley has collected two interceptions and eight pass breakups over his career. He had eight tackles in three games in 2020.
CB Xavior Motley – The other half of the Motley brother cornerback tandem, Xavior has appeared in 31 games with 28 tackles and five pass breakups over his career. He had three tackles in two games in 2020.
WR Cameron Odom – The most experienced player on the roster, Odom is a two-time captain as a wide receiver and has appeared in 43 games with 31 starts. His career number include 71 catches for 968 yard and five touchdowns; Odom had two catches for 35 yards in 2020.
QB Armani Rogers – The UNLV grad transfer was hurt as much as anyone, football wise, with the onset of the pandemic. The quarterback appeared in all three games, and would’ve logged starts if Ohio had played either of its final two games. He finished 5-of-9 passing for 48 yards with a touchdown, and rushed for 114 yards and two scores on 19 carries.
OL Nick Sink – With 11 career starts, Sink was slotted in at left tackle in 2020, but has played nearly every other position on the OL over his versatile career.
RB De’Montre Tuggle – Ohio’s best offensive player in 2020, Tuggle has appeared in 15 games over two seasons. He rushed for 403 yards and six TDs in 2020, and has 1,047 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns over his two-year Ohio career.
A quartet of seniors have elected not to return for 2021, Ohio also confirmed. Each of the four were starters over multiple seasons and three of the four were fifth-year seniors in 2020.
Austin Conrad – Ohio’s most effective defensive player in 2020, Conrad finished with 16 tackles, a sack and 3.0 tackles for loss. He appeared in 38 games with 12 starts, and became a defensive end after starting at Ohio as a tight end.
Jared Dorsa – A multiple-year starter at middle linebacker, Dorsa finished with 164 career tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions in 39 career games (25 starts).
Will Evans – A three-year starter at defensive end, Evans appeared in 40 games (28 starts) at Ohio. He finished his career with 81 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
Brett Kitrell – The lone four-year player in this group, Kitrell logged 20 starts over the last four seasons at center and guard. Kitrell was a third team all-conference performer in 2020; Conrad and Tuggle were second-team all-conference selections.
To this point, Ohio has had two underclassmen enter the NCAA Transfer Portal, and at least one of them has committed to another program.
Third-year sophomore WR Shane Hooks declared intention to transfer on Dec. 28, and announced on Wednesday that was heading to Jackson State to join new head coach Deion Sanders. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Cleotis Anglin, a freshman defensive end who redshirted in 2020, announced on Tuesday that was entering the portal. Presumably, Anglin would have five years of eligibility remaining at his next stop.
Opted out for good
Prior to the 2020 campaign resuming in October, Ohio had five players who had previously opted out of the season. None of the five have since rejoined the current roster, and they include CB Marlin Brooks, DT Marcus Coleman, OLB Dylan Conner, WR/QB Drew Keszei and WR K.J. Minter.