Although the tight end position may not get a lot of publicity on Ohio State Buckeyes’ teams of past, there’s reason in 2013 to be optimistic for OSU fans to possibly see some bright spots from the tight end position.
The 2013 campaign may be a season to remember for fans in Columbus and in the coming weeks, we will break down, position by position, what Buckeye fans can look forward to for the 2013 football season. Using last seasons play, spring practice reports, freshman scouting reviews and eyewitness accounts, we will let you know what to count on, look for and possibly be surprised by during the approaching season.
In this installment, we’ll take a look at the tight ends and fullbacks who will suit up for OSU in 2013.
No. 86 Jeff Heuerman – Jr. 6-ft-6, 250 lbs., Naples, FL
Junior Jeff Heuerman is the most experienced tight end on the OSU roster that features five players at the position. Heuerman is a third year player with nearly three full years of collegiate experience with him.
After enrolling in January of his freshman year and participating in spring drills, Heuerman played in 11 games as a true freshman and then in another 12 games a year ago.
While his career numbers may not be jaw dropping, one moment in his bright career is worth noting. That moment happened in last season’s come-from-behind victory over Purdue. In the waning seconds, with backup quarterback Kenny Guyton in for the injured Braxton Miller, it was Heuerman that made the had-to-have, two-point conversion catch that sent the game into overtime, where the Buckeyes would win the game.
Heuerman stands at 6-foot-6 tall and tips the scales at 250 pounds. He is not only a valuable, large target over the middle for Miller, but also an apt blocker and route-runner that occupies some serious attention from opposing defenses.
While he is the co-starter it seems this season, it should be no doubt that with his experience, size and ability, Heuerman is the tight end to watch come August 31.
No. 81 Nick Vannett – RS-So. 6-ft-6, 255 lbs., Westerville, OH
A member of the 2011 recruiting class, redshirt-sophomore Nick Vannett enters fall camp as the Buckeyes’ co-starting tight end. While Heuerman may get all the recognition, Vannett ranked fifth on the team in both receptions and receiving yards a season ago, with nine and 123, respectively.
Vannett is also a big target for quarterback Miller as he stands six feet, six inches tall and weighs in at 255 pounds. He was able to earn plenty of valuable playing experience last season as he participated in all 12 games a year ago, a season removed from redshirting his first year on campus.
Watch for both Heuerman and Vannett to receive significant playing time this fall as praises were plenty coming from spring practice for both players.
No. 89 Blake Thomas – RS-Fr. 6-ft-5, 250 lbs., Cleveland, OH
Redshirt-freshman Blake Thomas is behind Heuerman and Vannett at tight end and he also is a big target, similar in stature at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds.
Thomas redshirted his true freshman season at OSU and it remains to be seen how much OSU fans will see of him come the 2013 season. What fans should know about Thomas is that he was a very productive member of his St. Ignatius High School team.
In just his final two seasons, Thomas accumulated 49 receptions for 506 yards. He also accounted for eight touchdowns as a junior and senior. According to Rivals.com, Thomas was the No. 16 rated tight end in the nation as well as being named to the All-state honorable mention team by the Associated Press.
Thomas has the size, ability and because of a redshirt season, the chance to be a starter in a few years. He may also be able to help on special teams and possibly on goal line or short-yardage sets in the coming months for the 2013 season.
Marcus Baugh – Jr. 6-ft-4, 233 lbs., Riverside, CA
True freshman Marcus Baugh checks in as the first tight end in head coach Urban Meyer’s first recruiting class. Baugh, from Riverside, California, was invited to the 2013 Under Armour All-American game as he had interest from a multitude of schools across the country.
Baugh comes to Ohio State having seen plenty of success in his junior and senior seasons. He caught a combined 68 balls for 1138 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final two seasons at John W. North High.
With more experienced players above him on the roster, it seems unlikely to see Baugh in the fall of 2013 but with his ability, size and speed, he does seem to be a player that Meyer likes, and will definitely make a name for himself by the time he leaves Columbus.
No. 84 Charles Kinzig – Jr. 6-ft-6, 235 lbs., Gates Mills, OH
A former four-year player at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin High School, Charles Kinzig walked on to the Ohio State football team earlier this year and will look for playing time in the future.
With an impressive stature, Kinzig is physically imposing but it is still too early in his OSU career to tell whether he has the ability to make an impact for the Buckeyes, especially for 2013.
No. 46 Devin Hill – RS-So. 5-ft-10, 226 lbs., Columbus, OH
Another walk-on, Devin Hill joined the team in the early months of 2012 and did not record a statistic as a fullback last season. Hill previously spent two seasons at Purdue, where he red-shirted in 2011.
Hill played running back and also linebacker at Northland High School nearby in Columbus. Hill returns in 2013 as the only true fullback on roster and with coach Meyer’s new system another season in, it should be an interesting sight to see how much, if any, the fullback plays a role in 2013.
Football Extra Points Greater Ohio Sports Reporter
Formerly the Sports Editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau