Enjoying a productive season for the Ohio State Buckeyes in his lone season with the team after transferring from the University of Oklahoma, Trey Sermon possesses the makeup and build to be a productive rusher at the NFL level.
Amassing over 870 yards on the ground during the team’s run to the National Championship Game, he averaged over 7.5 yards per carry while racking up four touchdowns. Shredding the Clemson Tigers in the semi-final game, Sermon racked up 193 yards on the ground while adding 61 yards through the air on four receptions. Displaying both the physicality and contact balance to be strong on early downs in the NFL, look for him to be a day three pick because of his continued lack of production on passing downs.
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Name: Trey Sermon
Position: Running back
School: Ohio State
Weight: 213 lbs
Displaying stellar vision as a runner, Sermon can wait for blocks to develop in front of him to find the open rushing lanes and get up the field. Benefitting from strong run blocking at Ohio State, he is also able to use both his vision and creativity to find the rushing lanes when they do not present themselves right away. A patient runner, look for him to find his stride in a primarily inside zone rushing scheme in the NFL to display his active feet inside the tackles.
An agile back, he can use his outstanding short-area quickness and balance to make defenders miss in the open field. Benefitting from tremendous lateral agility, Sermon can maneuver through defenders while using a patent juke move to evade opposing players. Forcing over 113 missed tackles during his three years at Oklahoma, he has both the balance and the power to plant his feet in the ground and cut upfield. Furthermore, he can use his smooth running style to change direction in an instant and pick up extra yards.
Lacking the breakaway speed presented by many backs across the NFL in 2021, Sermon clocked a lackluster 4.57 40 yard dash time at the Buckeyes pro day in March. While he displays some burst in between the tackle box as a rusher, he is not one to turn the corner and run away from opposing defenders. Missing the true burst to succeed as a perimeter runner at the NFL level, look for him to succeed as a physical threat in a tandem rushing roll.
Ball Security (9/10)
One of his best traits, Sermon demonstrated exceptional ball security throughout his college tenure. Displaying the ability to drop his shoulder and work through opposing defenders, he can stiff-arm opposing players while also bouncing off them to pick up extra yards. Rarely tackled in the backfield for a loss on any given play, he never fumbled away a college carry while holding the ball high and tight to his chest when facing contact. As possessions become more and more valuable across the NFL, look for him to rise on draft boards as a result.
A physically imposing back at just over six feet tall while weighing in at 213 pounds, Sermon’s balance jumps out when watching his tape. Able to stay upright through contact, he can bounce off opposing defenders while displaying both strength and balance to break tackles and extend runs into larger gains. Rarely brought down by a single defender, he can hit the hole with momentum while displaying the leg drive to get north and south in a hurry.
Effective enough as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, Sermon’s route tree is made up by heading into the flat as a check-down option. Not a real natural pass catcher; he can become the hot read when the pocket breaks down. Hauling in just 48 receptions throughout his time at Oklahoma and Ohio State, he averaged more than 10 yards per reception, leading to over 480 yards total. Highly intelligent as a football player, look for him to be able to remain on the field for passing downs at the pro level.
Pass Protection (7.5/10)
Experienced in pass protection, Sermon displays both the aggressiveness and toughness to meet opposing defenders in the hole. Able to effectively pick up different blocking assignments, he has a wide base and is able to square up opposing defenders. Sometimes off with his hand placement, it can often become inconsistent at times, leading him to need to clean up his technique to succeed in the NFL.
Positional Versatility (5/10)
Operating primarily as a rusher out of the backfield, Sermon offers little in terms of production on special teams. This makes him in of an inside zone running scheme in order to find success at the pro level.
A physical rusher, he is rarely able to be brought down by a single defender. Displaying power when hitting the hole, Sermon can effectively drop his pad level and finish off runs while driving through opposing players. Along with this, he can use his stiff arm move to push off high contact while keeping his feet moving to extend runs into bigger gains.
Competitive Toughness/Effort (5/5)
As tough as they come at the position, Sermon will run over and drive through opposing players in order to win football games. A driving force of the Buckeyes offense a year ago for his bruising rushing style, he will be a powerful early-down back for any team.
A red flag for any NFL team, Sermon has suffered multiple injuries during his four-year college career. Ultimately seeing his junior season cut short at Oklahoma after suffering a knee injury, he was out multiple months before transferring to Ohio State. Furthermore, he also suffered a collarbone injury in the National Championship game this past season against Alabama, forcing him to miss the rest of the contest ultimately.
Fresh off a productive season with the Buckeyes that ultimately helped lead the team to the National Championship Game, Sermon heads into the draft as a projected day three talent. Displaying both the power and contact balance to be an effective runner in between the tackles, he also has the ball security to be a productive player in the NFL. A reported pre-draft target of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he is best suited to play in a tandem role where he can take the majority of his snaps on early run-down situations. Look for him to find success on a team that employs a primarily zone rushing scheme.
Final Score (75.5/100): Day Three Selection
Player Comp: Todd Gurley