Cody Cousino / Photo editor
After running through the tunnel of pride for the first time this year, senior wide receiver DeVier Posey was welcomed by dozens of fans crying his name. He then knelt on the field, taking a moment to pray and soak in what was his first and last football game as a senior in Ohio Stadium.
“I just thanked (God) for allowing me to be here,” Posey said. “I just kissed the field and I talked to the stadium for a little minute. I said ‘I miss you.’ It’s just a great place to play and I just love this place.”
Returning from two five-game suspensions for selling OSU football memorabilia, receiving improper benefits and being overpaid for work he did not do at a summer job, Posey made his season-debut against Penn State Saturday. Talk of his return was ubiquitous leading up to the game, and he was embraced by what was easily the loudest cheer when his name was called during the pregame senior ceremony.
Posey said he was excited to get back on the field to do what he was “born to do.”
“I feel normal,” Posey said. “I felt like 10 weeks have been the oddest feeling not playing, so it felt pretty normal to be out there and be with the guys, I was just real excited.”
Posey showed that his skill did not diminish during his time off the field, as he led the Buckeyes with four receptions for 66 yards total in the game.
His first catch of the year came in the first quarter when he received a pass from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, giving OSU a first down. The 39-yard reception was the Buckeyes’ second-longest pass completion this season.
Posey said the catch was “just routine.”
“I understand the kind of quarterback Braxton is. The play is never over,” Posey said. “I just tried to find an open space and hopefully he kept his eyes down field and he just caught me.”
Posey said he was honored to play with Miller for the first time.
“To be honest, I’m honored that I got to be on the field with him, cause I really feel like he’s gonna be a great player,” Posey said. “I feel like he has the right people around him to be a great quarterback.”
In the second quarter, Posey continued to make an impact on the game when he caught a pass from Miller for a gain of 18 yards. Posey’s block contributed to Miller’s touchdown run and the Buckeyes’ first score in the game.
But the catch of the game arguably could have been Posey’s one-handed snag after a deep pass by Miller, giving OSU a first down at the start of the fourth quarter.
Mike Jurek, a fourth-year in accounting, said he thought Posey had a solid comeback.
“I think his performance was pretty great,” Jurek said. “That (one-handed catch) was probably the best moment of the game for him.”
Despite missing 10 games this year, Posey said he can’t let himself feel missed by team, and he has learned from his actions in the past year.
“God doesn’t make mistakes, and that’s what I truly believe,” Posey said. “I feel like this needed to happen for the boys and it needed to happen for me, and I’ve learned a lot from this.”
Posey said playing his first game all year was “the best I’ve felt in 2011,” and he is ready to move on from the past.
“I really don’t want to do too much of thinking about the past. I really want to move forward and look forward to going up and beating Michigan,” Posey said.
Jurek said he thinks having Posey back for the game against Michigan will be beneficial for the team.
“Having a proven deep threat, we have a lot of young receivers but to have someone who you can trust to run deep and catch the ball pretty much every time is a great asset to have,” Jurek said.
In the post-game press conference, Posey spoke multiple times about how grateful he was for the opportunity to play again.
“I thank God for the opportunity that He allowed me to go through these hard times so I can learn things,” Posey said. “I know it’s been hard on Buckeye Nation, with all the suspensions and everything, but you can’t really test God’s will. You just gotta let it be done.”
Senior offensive tackle Mike Adams said it was great to have Posey back on the field.
“(Posey) was really hype. He was excited. He was ready to play. I think he showed that,” Adams said. “It’s just great to have a guy like that back, you know, just another leader back in the game.”
Before and during the game, Posey said he wasn’t concerned with hearing cheers or boos from the crowd.
“I’ve already heard enough negative things from you guys and trust me, it’s made me stronger,” Posey said. “And I wasn’t hearing the cheers and I wasn’t hearing the negative things, you know, it’s all the same. To me, it’s just what I love to do and nobody’s going to deter me from that.”
While Posey hasn’t played in the last 10 games, he has not been completely absent from the football team. He said he has continued to practice to get better and teach the younger players on the team.
“(I) tried to pass all the tricks that I had onto the young guys and try to show them my approach and how I prepare,” Posey said. “And who knows, maybe me coming back was just for those guys, to serve those guys, to show them how to do it.”
After receiving his first five-game suspension, Posey had the choice to stay at OSU.
“I vowed to come back when we did our apologies because I wanted to be around these guys, and I wanted to be at this place and I wanted to graduate,” Posey said. “And selfishly, I could’ve left and packed my stuff and did whatever, but that’s just not who I am as a person. I feel like you need to go through things to be a man.”
Following the issuing of NCAA suspensions Dec. 28, the five Buckeyes suspended — Posey, Adams, former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Daniel “Boom” Herron and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — issued apologies for their actions.
When walking off the field after the game, Posey turned around and took a last look back at the field and stadium.
“I just wanted to see the stadium and never forget what it looked like, because this place has molded me into a man,” Posey said. “And it’s just a beautiful place, I’m just honored to say that I’ve been a Buckeye.”