EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally published by The Ohio State University.
COLUMBUS — Cade Stover, Tommy Eichenberg and Xavier Johnson are the tri-captains for the Ohio State football team as the Buckeyes begin preparations for Saturday’s season opener at Indiana, 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Johnson is a wide receiver, while Eichenberg is a starting linebacker. Stover, a Lexington graduate and former Mr. Ohio football as a senior for the Minutemen, has played linebacker, defensive end, but settled in as a starter at tight end last season.
Stover and Eichenberg are now two-time captains while Johnson earns the distinction for the first time in his career.
Head coach Ryan Day shared the news following the Buckeyes’ 14th practice of fall camp.
Stover is a fifth-year senior from Mansfield who is coming off a fine season when he started all 13 games at tight end after moving to the position permanently in 2022. He caught 36 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
His receptions and yardage totals last year were the most by a Buckeye tight end in 28 years, or since Rickey Dudley had 37 and 575, respectively, in 1995. His TD total was the most by a Buckeye tight end in 11 years, or since Jake Stoneburner caught seven in 2011.
• Cade is a fifth-year senior and a three-year letterman for the program.
• He has two seasons of eligibility remaining, including a 2020 COVID year if he so chooses.
• Is coming off a fine 2022 season when he started all 13 games at tight end after moving to the position permanently in 2022.
• Played terrific for the Buckeyes in 2022, catching 36 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
• His receptions and yardage totals last year were the most by a Buckeye tight end in 28 years, or since Rickey Dudley had 37 and 575, respectively, in 1995.
• Cade’s TD total in 2022 was the most by a Buckeye tight end in 11 years, or since Jake Stoneburner caught seven in 2011.
• Earned third-team all-Big Ten Conference honors by the media and honorable-mention honors from the conference head coaches.
• Caught a pass in all 13 games with highs of six receptions vs. Penn State and 83 receiving yards vs. Toledo.
• Caught two TD passes vs. Wisconsin and also vs. Indiana, plus scored in the win over Penn State.
• Has 41 career receptions for 480 yards and five touchdowns for his career.
• He has played in 34 games for the Buckeyes, including 28 at tight end and six on defense (four at DE and two at LB).
• Played at defensive end in 2019 and then moved to tight end for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
• Moved to linebacker late in the 2021 season, and played at the position against Michigan and started at LB in the Rose Bowl vs. Utah.
• Recorded six tackles vs. Utah and for his career, has been in on 15 total tackles.
• As a second-year player in 2020, made three tackles and forced a fumble vs. Michigan State.
• Played in four games as a true freshman for the Buckeyes in 2019 and redshirted.
• Is an agricultural systems management major.
Honors & Awards
2022: All-Big Ten Conference (third-team; media)
More on Cade
• The fourth-ranked player in Ohio and the No. 130 overall prospect according to 247Sports.
• Named Ohio’s Mr. Football by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and the Gatorade Player of the Year.
• The eighth-ranked linebacker nationally and a semifinalist for the High School Butkus Award honoring the nation’s top prep linebacker.
• Selected as Ohio’s Division III Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and a first-team all state selection after recording 163 tackles and four interceptions during the regular season.
• Added 1,477 yards and 17 touchdowns as a running back.
• Ohio Cardinal Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
• As a sophomore in 2016 for head coach Taylor Gerhardt, Stover made 190 tackles (14.6 per game) as Lexington made the regional finals.
• A great all-around athlete, Stover earned second team all-Ohio honors on the basketball court as a junior in leading Lexington to the OHSAA Final Four in Columbus.
• Set the school’s all-time scoring record in basketball.
• Parents are Chelsi and Trevor Stover; Chelsi ran track at Bowling Green and Trevor was a tight end at Bowling Green.
Eichenberg was one of the most productive defensive players in the Big Ten and nationally in 2022, making him a candidate for several major awards this fall. He enters the season with 186 career tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, 31 games played and 17 starting assignments.
Eichenberg graduated in May 2023 with his degree in real estate, and he is a two-time Academic all-Big Ten honoree and OSU Scholar-Athlete. His 2022 campaign was a honors-laden one.
Eichenberg was named first-team all-Big Ten Conference (coaches and media teams) and second-team All-American by virtually every organization in addition to being a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.
Johnson, from Cincinnati, has proven to be a valuable and versatile player on both offense and special teams. In his sixth season with the program, he’s played in 44 games entering the 2023 campaign and last year came up big in some of the biggest moments. He caught a go-ahead touchdown pass in the third quarter of a 21-10 win over No. 5 Notre Dame and also had a 37-yard TD (with a 360-degree spin) in the College Football Playoff Semifinal against No. 1 Georgia. He also had the team’s longest rush of the season: a 71-yard touchdown against Indiana. He’s graduated with his degree in consumer and family financial services.
Single-game tickets available
Single game football tickets remain available for purchase at go.osu.edu/fbtix. Where available, single game ticket prices will start as low as $41 and will vary across price zones and opponents.
Local sports are brought to you by Conway's Pharmacy in Mount Vernon and Danville.