The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes have arrived in Florida ahead of their Orange Bowl matchup with No. 12 Clemson, but one of their top players hasn’t made the trip.
According to Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors, Urban Meyer told reporters that defensive end Noah Spence is at home dealing with “personal issues.”
“Noah didn’t fly down with us,” Meyer said, via Rowland’s article. “He’s working through some personal issues at home. I hope he will be here.”
With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday, January 3, time is ticking on Spence’s return, and he’s certainly missing out on pivotal bowl practices.
If Spence doesn’t rejoin the team, Ohio State will be losing one of its most disruptive defenders.
The sophomore standout from Harrisburg, Pa. had a fantastic season, recording 52 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and a team-high eight sacks, according to Ohio State’s official website. Spence lines up as the Buckeyes’ primary pass-rusher in a position the coaches dubbed the “Viper,” and his speed off the edge is one of Ohio State’s biggest advantages.
Replacing Spence won’t be easy, but if the Buckeyes need to, they’ll turn to another sophomore in Jamal Marcus.
Marcus is Spence’s primary backup, and with Ohio State’s heavy rotation along the defensive line, he received a good amount of playing this year. Marcus played in 12 games and registered 15 total tackles, including two sacks, according to the team’s official website.