These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.
Two practices in, with the week of March 15th-March 22nd off as the players can enjoy the Ohio State spring break period. After March 22nd, Ohio State has thirteen remaining practices, including the April 18th spring game, to evaluate where the football program stands before fall camp begins.
6. Tight End
Key Players/Contributors Lost: Jeff Heuerman
Key Players/Contributors Returning: Nick Vannett (Redshirt Senior), Marcus Baugh (Redshirt Sophomore)
At first glance, it may seem puzzling that I have listed the tight end position group as a concern heading into spring practice. After all, Nick Vannett returns as the starter, and was instrumental in the 2014 season with nineteen catches and five touchdowns.
Where I am concerned is the lack of depth and experience at the position. Jeff Heuerman, a 2014 captain who battled through injuries during the season, leaves behind more than just his seventeen receptions and two touchdowns. Heuerman was a capable and dependable blocker in the Ohio State running game. Losing an experienced and reliable blocker at a key position on offense has to be somewhat disconcerting.
Yes, Marcus Baugh returns at tight end. Let us be honest – do you have any concerns about Baugh staying out of trouble after his first two seasons in the program? I am all for second chances, but it may not be far-fetched to suggest that the next offense could be the one that will result in Baugh being removed from the program.
Baugh did play sparingly in 2014, with his lone reception resulting in a touchdown versus Kent State. Even if Baugh stays out of trouble, is Baugh the type of blocker who can assist with the Ohio State running game as Heuerman or Vannett did in 2014?
Marcus Baugh just caught a touchdown pass. Didn't imagine typing that this season. It's 38-0 Ohio State.
— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) September 13, 2014
Here is an idea that I have read and heard from other Ohio State writers/bloggers/analysts regarding the tight end position ~ Noah Brown.
Brown is listed on the official Ohio State athletic department website as a wide receiver. At 6’1″, Brown would not be in the traditional tight end mold like Vannett or Baugh height-wise, but Brown is a tremendous blocker. Perhaps Brown will be given some repetitions at both positions this spring, and the coaches will make a determination as to which will best help the team.
In the 2015 recruiting class, A.J. Alexander and Rashod Berry were both listed at the tight end position. Both will arrive on campus this summer, and could make an impact upon the depth chart this season.
Is the tight end postion a concerning one for Ohio State in 2015? In the grand scheme of things, no…as long as Nick Vannett stays healthy. Finding players who will be able to spell Vannett, or contribute with Vannett on two tight end set formations, is something Coach Meyer and Ohio State Tight Ends Coach Tim Hinton may want to determine before April 18th.