Ryan Day made an intriguing comment during a 20-minute press conference with Ohio State beat reporters on Tuesday.

With Ohio State’s running back depth appearing thin behind two-time All-Big Ten honoree TreVeyon Henderson and two-time All-SEC selection Quinshon Judkins, Day mentioned that safety Caleb Downs might get some looks at the position.

“We started having conversations with Caleb during the recruiting process about him doing a little bit of running back as well. It’s something he wanted to do. We’ve been including him in the meetings and some of the individual drills – as a possibility if he’s needed down the road – to continue building depth at the position.”

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

Day’s comments are surprising, considering Downs transferred to Ohio State after an impressive season in the secondary at Alabama. In 14 games for the Crimson Tide, Downs recorded 107 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, and two interceptions, earning SEC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-SEC honors.

Moreover, Ohio State has two scholarship running backs behind Henderson and Judkins: freshmen James Peoples and Sam Williams-Dixon. Walk-on TC Caffey also performed well in spring practices and could be another option in the backfield.

“We feel like if you have four strong running backs going into the season, that’s enough to carry us. The quarterbacks will run the ball more this season, so that should take some carries away from them. James and Sam are going to have to step up.”

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

With a potential 17-game season in 2024, Day said the Buckeyes might consider involving Downs on offense.

“We’ll see. We don’t have a specific plan now, but we want to introduce him to the running back position. It’s healthy to see it from the other side of the ball. This time of year, you can get away with that a little bit and a little bit in the preseason. Where it goes, we’ll see, but you never know. We’re trying to put some contingency plans in place because it could be a long season.”

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

Often, coaches discuss potential changes during the off-season that never come to fruition during the season. This could be one of those cases, but it’s clear that Ohio State is preparing for any scenario.