Justin Hilliard is one of the most beloved Ohio State Buckeyes on the 2020 team - both because of his effort/work ethic and because he's the longest-tenured player on the team. The former St. Xavier Bomber star linebacker from Cincinnati has had quite a journey at Ohio State, including tearing both biceps (which cost him multiple seasons) on separate occasions.
But Hilliard is ready for the opportunity to play for a national championship in what he said will be his final game as a Buckeye. Technically, if he wanted, he could come back for a seventh season because of the NCAA's rule giving athletes a free year during the pandemic. But Hilliard said he's given Buckeye Nation everything he has and he's looking forward to the chance to try and go out on the college football mountain top.
“I mean, at this point I completely have the intentions on this being my last game,” Hilliard said. “It's been an incredible journey, but I just don't know how much more I can give to Ohio State.”
Hilliard also spoke about the challenge of playing against one of the best running backs in the country this week and why Ryan Day has been such a great head coach through his first two years leading the program.
You can watch his answers on those topics in the video at the top of the page.
Hilliard also spoke about what it would bring a national title home to Ohio and how meaningful it's been for him to play his entire career in his home state.
Remember, this season has been challenging for Hilliard in a way that other guys haven't experienced. He had a false positive CoVID-19 test before the Penn State game that allowed him to remain on the sidelines, but prevented him from actually playing in the contest. Hilliard's false positive that day initiated a protocol change across the conference.
It's certainly been a challenging year, but for a guy with the kind of attitude and demeanor that Hilliard has, Buckeye fans can't help but feel happy for him that he has a chance to close his playing career on such a big stage.
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