Trey Sermon projected to have better year than Travis Etienne according to NFL.com

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It was a strange year, that 2020. We had the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on everything including the world of college football. Because of it, Ohio State played a very abbreviated season.

For running back Trey Sermon, it had to be a tough pill to swallow. He transferred from Oklahoma to the OSU program to get the opportunity to showcase what he can do as one of the featured backs in Columbus. Then, the pandemic almost took all of that away.

But that didn’t stop Sermon. He took a few games to get into a rhythm, and then picked things up big time when Master Teague went down with injury. Sermon ended up having an amazing end of the year run, and even breaking the single-game Ohio State rushing record in the Big Ten Championship game.

It all ended with an injury in the national championship game, but it was enough for Sermon to get selected by the San Fransisco 49ers in the third round of the NFL draft.

Opinions vary on how big of a part Sermon will be in the offense, but there’s one writer that has projected the former OSU and Oklahoma running back to have a better year than Travis Etienne. In fact, Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com believes Sermon will put up some of the best stats of any rookie running back.

NEXT … What Frelund projects and says about Sermon

No. 3 overall rookie RB – Trey Sermon, 49ers

PHOTOS: Former Ohio State players at NFL rookie minicamps
PHOTOS: Former Ohio State players at NFL rookie minicamps

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance, right, and running back Trey Sermon, left, run drills during NFL football rookie minicamp in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

What Frelund Says

“Next Gen Stats reveal regression on San Francisco’s offensive line this past season, at least in the ground game. The 49ers averaged 4.1 expected yards per rush last season (21st), compared to 4.6 in 2019 (third). They also dropped to 15th in rushing yards per game in 2020 (118.6) after finishing second in 2019 (144.1). The Niners did have some injuries to the unit, and the offseason addition of center Alex Mack will help. The emphasis on the run game in this offensive architecture provides enough potential volume for Sermon, but Kyle Shanahan does like utilizing a committee backfield. Sermon ended up ranking second in the Big Ten last season with 870 rushing yards (trailing only Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim), thanks to a prolific three-game run down the stretch that saw him pile up 636 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Computer vision shows that Sermon’s body control (measured in sustained speed when changing direction) was in the top 10 percent of backs in the past two drafts, which bodes well for his ability to be a useful weapon in Shanahan’s arsenal.”

NEXT … What Frelund’s top five rookie RBs

Top five projected rookie RBs according to NFL.com

1. Najee Harris, AlabamaPittsburgh Steelers

2. Javonte Williams, North Carolina – Denver Broncos

3. Trey Sermon, Ohio State – San Francisco 49ers

4. Travis Etienne, Clemson – Jacksonville Jaguars

5. Michael Carter, North Carolina – New York Jets