Recognized as a huge rite of passage, Ohio State Buckeye coach Urban Meyer announced he was removing the black stripes off the helmets of two freshmen — including Liberty County High School alum and OSU freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
Meyer made the announcement after the Buckeyes media day Sunday. The head coach instituted the black-stripe tradition upon arriving at Ohio State, in which incoming freshmen start practices with a black stripe on their helmets. Only players who prove themselves in practice have the stripe removed.
McMillan and running back Curtis Samuel were selected to have the stripes taken off.
Last week, McMillan earned the right to practice with the first team because Meyer said he acts like a grown man, has maintained his academic studies and is taking care of business. McMillan also made the Champion’s Club, meaning he is keeping up his 3.0 grade-point average and doing things right on and off the field.
McMillan, who enrolled in Ohio State in January, recently addressed the media and talked about adjusting to college football.
“The biggest adjustment has been getting accumulated to the speed. Not every player in high school is fast, but in college they are,” McMillan said in a news release from Ohio State. “This spring, my goal was to prove myself. I was highly recruited, but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t go out and perform.”
While talking to 247sports.com, McMillan told reporters he has had to learn how to get down the line faster and recognize formations.
“I had to learn to take better angles, because like I said earlier, these are faster guys,” he said.
McMillan said his transition has been made easier because of the Buckeyes coaching staff and players like Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry.
“They really took me in and took me under their wings,” he said about his teammates. “They took me in as a player and as a person and made me feel at home.”
Ohio State opens the season by hosting Navy on Aug. 30.