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Ohio State Kicker Parker Lewis Ruled Eligible By NCAA

Lewis was the second USC transfer in as many years to have an eligibility issue upon his arrival.
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As first reported by Joey Kaufman of The Columbus Dispatch and subsequently confirmed by BuckeyesNow, Ohio State junior kicker Parker Lewis has been granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA.

Lewis, who transferred from USC this summer, did not participate in preseason camp as the Buckeyes awaited word on his status. He began practicing with the team in the week leading up to the 21-10 win over Notre Dame, however.

It’s unclear what role Lewis will have on this year’s team, as sixth-year senior and reigning Lou Groza Award finalist Noah Ruggles will likely continue to handle field goal and extra point opportunities, where he’s 2-for-3 and 27-for-27 on the season, respectively.

He could help with longer field goals, though, as he went 17-of-22 – including a 52-yarder – to earn All-Pac-12 honors for the Trojans last season. Ruggles, meanwhile, is just 7-of-13 on kicks longer than 40 yards in his career.

Lewis could also give the Buckeyes another option on kickoffs, as freshman walk-on Jayden Fielding has converted just 17-of-33 kickoffs for touchbacks this season, which ranks 77th among Football Bowl Subdivision teams. He has notably had two kickoffs land out of bounds, as well.

On the other hand, Lewis recorded touchbacks on 27-of-34 kickoffs during his sophomore season at USC, which ranked 11th among FBS kickers. If he took over that role, it could allow Fielding to redshirt this season, assuming he doesn’t kick in any more games moving forward.

This marked the second straight year that Ohio State waited until several weeks into the season to find out the eligibility of a transfer from USC, as fifth-year senior linebacker Palaie Gaoteote missed one game last fall while waiting to be cleared by the NCAA.

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