When the Buckeyes take the field to start the 2024 season, they’ll have two 1,000-yard rushers more than capable of carrying the football.
Perhaps the Buckeyes didn’t expect to have one, both or neither of TreVeyon Henderson or Ole Miss transfer Quinshon Judkins going into next season. Henderson chose to return for his senior year, while Judkins decided to enter the transfer portal and said he’s focused on “getting to work” at Ohio State.
Head coach Ryan Day said Henderson was instrumental in the process of getting Judkins to arrive at Ohio State, and the fourth-year running back’s leadership is emerging more than ever.
“It all started with TreVeyon,” Day said. “I think TreVeyon’s leadership so far this year as he’s transitioned into his fourth year has been tremendous. The way that he’s going about his work, the way that he’s holding guys accountable — he’s got a different look in his eye, and I think that’s important.”
Henderson burst onto the scene at Ohio State following a record-breaking freshman season in 2021 that saw him set the freshman record with 19 touchdowns scored.
Judkins earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year the next season in 2022 after rushing for 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns. He and Henderson figure to pair together and create one of the most fierce running back duos in college football.
Henderson’s decision to hold off the NFL Draft and come back to Ohio State represented something that’s bigger than himself. He’s taking it upon himself to lead, Day said.
“When it first happened and Quinshon went into the portal, the first thing was talking to TreVeyon,” Day said. “He was unbelievable. ‘If you think it helps the team, coach, then let’s do it.’ And then talking to Quinshon saying, ‘Well, TreVeyon, you know, is here and he’s coming back,’ and then he said, ‘Well, I’d love to go play with him.’ I just think that both of their approaches are that they can get each other better.”
Day said Judkins has done well familiarizing himself with the Buckeyes culture and the standard that Ohio State holds itself to.
Day also knows he has two capable running backs to carry the rock next season. He said Henderson’s leadership has been a complement to his ball-carrying ability, and Judkins will be ready to go beside him.
“He’s been in these games before. He knows,” Day said. “But I’ll give Quinshon credit. He also has embraced what we’ve been — our culture in the next last couple of weeks and we’ll see as it grows. But all the reports are that he’s doing a great job assimilating.”
Henderson and Judkins will make up a Buckeyes running back room full of talent. They’ll be joined alongside junior Dallan Hayden and incoming freshman four-star James Peoples and three-star Sam Williams-Dixon.
With five scholarship running backs, Ohio State will have a more than capable running backs room, and Day said there will be plenty of carries to go around.
“You know, Dallan, James and Sam, that’s a heck of a room,” Day said. “There’s a lot of depth there. And when I think about next season, you have your 12-game regular season, you have the Big Ten Championship game and then you have the 12-team playoff. I mean, you’re talking about possibly, maybe 16, 17 games. And so that’s a long run. That’s an NFL schedule, and so your roster needs to reflect that. And having depth at running back will be very, very important. There’ll be a lot of carries to go around.”