Trey Sermon Scouting Report

Ohio State football: Trey Sermon is primed for a big outing

Trey Sermon, the transfer running back from Oklahoma to Ohio State, had a very underwhelming start to his graduate transfer season. He started the season playing behind Master Teague III and played relatively lackluster. Then he broke out against Michigan State, running for 112 yards. After the MSU game, Sermon continued to play at an elite level. He tore up the Northwestern and Clemson defenses on the Buckeyes’ attempt at a 9th National Championship. Although they did end up falling to Alabama in a game where Sermon carried the ball once and only totaled 2 yards before getting injured and missing the rest of the game, he had a terrific three-game stretch where he showed that he has the talent to make it in the NFL.

Trey Sermon Stats And Measurables:

College: Ohio State

Class: Senior

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 215 lbs

Position: Running back

Number: #8

2017 Stats: Rushing: 13 Games/121 ATT/744 YDS/5 TD Receiving: 16 REC/139 YDS/2 TD

2018 Stats: Rushing: 14 Games/164 ATT/947 YDS/13 TD Receiving: 12 REC/181 YDS

2019 Stats: Rushing: 10 Games/54 ATT/385 YDS/4 TD Receiving: 8 REC/71 YDS/1 TD

2020 Stats: Rushing: 8 Games/116 ATT/870 YDS/4 TD Receiving: 12 REC/95 YDS

Strengths:

1. Sermon is very fast, and once he reaches his top speed he is extremely hard to stop. If he can reach this top gear almost no one on the field can catch him. He uses his momentum well and doesn’t ever come to a complete stop to make a move, making him even harder to tackle when he reaches full steam. His speed helped him break off tons of huge yardage plays which usually set up the Ohio State offense in great position to score. 

2. Burst is another strength of Sermon’s. He can get through running lanes quickly, sometimes untouched which gives him more opportunities to hit his top gear. Although it sometimes takes Sermon a moment to identify these holes, he gets through them quickly once he does. His agility is top-notch and he is able to weave through traffic, basically avoiding contact altogether. While he may be able to weave through and around contact well, Sermon is by no means afraid of contact. He still can run through most tacklers when he is met in the gap, which allows him to reach the second line of the defense without sacrificing too much time.

3. Physicality is a big part of Sermon’s skillset. He has an excellent stiff arm that he can use to knock defenders off balance, and utilizes his momentum well when trying to push a defender away. His stiff arm is very technically sound as well and he doesn’t lose much speed when trying to distance himself from a defender. Sermon can not only stiff-arm a defender, he can completely run through one as well. He never shies away from contact and usually can outmuscle even the most physical defenders.

Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State - NFL Draft Player Profile | PFN

Weaknesses: 

1. Although Sermon possesses a great burst, he occasionally has trouble with his vision finding running lanes. He takes a moment to wait for the play to develop which sometimes resulted in him being tackled behind the line of scrimmage. Ohio State has a lot of running back read plays, where the ball carrier usually decides whether to bounce outside or to take the ball inside the 3 or 4 holes. Sermon struggled on these plays and usually waited too long to see if the inside would be open and if it was not he tried to run outside where he was usually caught in the backfield.

2. Subpar performance at the beginning of the season may be detrimental to Sermon’s early-round hopes. He struggled against below-average defenses and even though he broke out against some of the better defenses in college football, he was almost completely shut down against multiple unranked teams. He was held below 1,000 rushing yards last season and while Ohio State played a shortened season (the Big Ten conference limited teams to only in-conference games) he didn’t post above 70 yards rushing until week 5, and he only had 3 100-yard rushing games throughout the whole season. Even though he was on fire after those first four weeks, there are lots of concerns surrounding him because of that drastic difference in play. Sermon’s absence of consistency throughout the season gives him a big question mark for most teams which is why he may slip into the later rounds of the draft. 

Closing Ideas:

Trey Sermon was able to prove that he was an NFL-level talent during the last 3 games of the season. His magnificent performance had an immediate impact on his draft stock, and for good reason as 636 rushing yards over a three-game stretch is almost unheard of. Although Sermon wasn’t able to play more than a couple downs against Alabama, probably his biggest test of the season, he still showed that he can rip apart teams with plenty of NFL talent. Consistency and vision are the main questions regarding Sermon, as he already has proven that his speed, burst, and physicality are elite. His transition to the NFL will be interesting, but if Sermon can continue to play anywhere near the level of what he gave over the last three full games he played in college, he will turn into an elite NFL running back in no time.

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