Growing up in Mansfield, Ohio, Cade Stover was known for a few things.
His football skills spoke for themselves, standing 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, and landed him a scholarship spot on Ohio State’s 2019 roster.
But in the Stover family, working on the family farm is not an extracurricular activity, but a daily responsibility.
“We raise cattle. We grow corn. We grow alfalfa, so we do all kinds of things,” Stover said. “I would say there’s some farm work that I’ve probably touched at some point.”
Stover’s newest job is the one he’s assigned on Aug. 13: one of the state’s No. 2 of Ohio. six captains voted by his teammates.
Before starting his Buckeye career, Stover helped his parents run their farm and his family owns two butcher shops, with one in his hometown of Mansfield and the other in Powell.
“I think if you think of a farmer, you think of a country person,” Stover said. “I mean, you’re a blue-collar, tough guy.”
For Stover, that person is his father, Trevor Stover.
“How he handles the business, how he handles problems on the farm, if you get a cow sick, if you have mechanical problems, you have all kinds of things,” Cade Stover said. “There’s a mental toughness, and there’s a physical toughness, too, and there’s just a presence about a tough person that you want to be around.”
Cade Stover said he grew up watching his father wake up around 5 a.m., come home around 7 p.m. that evening and be diligent in maintaining the family farm.
As he progressed in his football career, Cade Stover said his father encouraged him to pursue his athletic passions. Trevor Stover understood the mindset of being a successful student-athlete; he played tight end at Bowling Green in the 1990s.
“He knew football. I mean, he saw something that I didn’t see in me before anyone else did, to be honest with you. He always knew,” Stover said. “Whether I was baling hay and cutting the hay first, I would go and freeze it then come back and do it again. There was never a time when he would say, “No, you can’t go to her.” It was always, ‘Go to her. Go be an athlete. Go do your thing.’ That was always good.”
Cade Stover was named Ohio’s Mr. Football in 2018 before arriving at Ohio State as a linebacker.
He spent most of his first three seasons with the program on defense before moving back to tight end in 2021, but he was back at linebacker for the Rose Bowl. He recorded six tackles in the bowl game.
“Cade has been working really hard,” coach Ryan Day said on Aug. 11. “His physicality is what you notice the most. For a big guy, he’s athletic, he’s got good ball skills, and he’s worked hard in the offseason to work on his way running and catching the ball, so it’s been great.”
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Cade Stover is “one of the guys on our team” and praised the way he maintains consistency in his play on the field and leadership off the field.
Alumnus Mitch Rossi, who practices under Wilson’s tight end, said “many” things make Cade Stover different from most Buckeyes, but he has noticed his consistency. Wilson and his teammates, too.
“You can tell he has a really good upbringing. He’s a guy that I love in my fox guy, so he’s not going to blame me for something,” Rossi said. “We’re working together there and I can trust him. It’s good to have him there.”
Cade Stover will focus primarily at tight end entering the 2022 season, which begins with a top-five matchup against No. 5 Notre Dame at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 3.
Imposing in stature and physical on the field, Cade Stover’s leadership stems from his family farm roots — roots he wants to develop into his legacy at Ohio State and beyond.
“I’m nowhere where I am without my dad, my mom and those guys, so just to make them proud, that’s my No. 1 goal,” Stover said. “Being here for these guys and my team, I mean, just knowing that if things go down wherever you are, they know who’s going to be there for them.”