I have to give some props to President McKinley. Born in Niles, Ohio, McKinley was the last American President to have served in the military in The Civil War, so McKinley certainly knew what he was talking about when it came to defeats and victory.
To say that the 2016 Ohio State football season ended with a thud is an understatement. While I certainly believed Clemson was capable of defeating Ohio State in The 2016 Fiesta Bowl, I never thought Ohio State would be so thoroughly outplayed, and, let's be honest Ohio State fans, outcoached.
As badly as I felt about that loss on New Year's Eve, the Ohio State coaches and players felt the sting of that loss much more so. Dramatic overhauls along the coaching staff, combined with early departures of players for the 2017 NFL Draft, have Ohio State with questions to answer as spring football began in Columbus on March 7th.
"The health of our program is very strong, other than getting our ass kicked in that last game." Urban Meyer addressing Ohio Coaches.— Eric Frantz (@jjhuddlenews) February 3, 2017
For the next several weeks, I will be writing position group previews, leading up to the Ohio State Spring Football Game in Ohio Stadium on April 15th, 2017. These position groups will be ranked, from least to most concern, as I perceive them. It is entirely possible that my concerns, as well as the coaching staff’s concerns, will be reevaluated after the spring game.
6th - Tight Ends
Players Lost: None.
Returning Players/Incoming Players: Marcus Baugh (Redshirt Senior), A.J. Alexander (Redshirt Sophomore), Jake Hausmann (Redshirt Freshman), Luke Farrell (Redshirt Freshman), Kierre Hawkins (Redshirt Freshman)
A few things to keep in mind for this position group...
- It was somewhat surprising, but very reassuring, that Marcus Baugh did not declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. With the departures of Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, and Dontre Wilson, Baugh enters into the 2017 season as Ohio State's leading returning receiver with 24 receptions in 2016. While Baugh has had his share of off the field disciplinary issues during his time in Columbus, Baugh has been [knocking furiously on wood] keeping on the good side of Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer. Here is to hoping that Baugh's good behavior continues.
- A.J. Alexander contributed four receptions in 2016, but was largely used as an extra blocker. Alexander's most famous play in 2016? "The Spot" versus That Team Up North, as J.T. Barrett's head was stopped by Alexander's...posterior.
- Jake Hausmann, Luke Farrell, and Kierre Hawkins were all redshirted in 2016. It will bear watching to see which player, if not players plural, emerge during spring practice.
- As stated up above, Baugh is the only tight end on the roster who has played substantially. Considering how the Ohio State passing offense will be under immense focus, and the possibility that the tight end position may be a considerable element of the offense, as new Ohio State offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson has historically involved the tight end in his offenses, this is why I have ranked tight end in this position of importance. On the first day of spring practice on March 7th, it was revealed that Baugh underwent a procedure that will limit Baugh's participation in spring drills. It will be so important for Baugh to not only stay healthy, but other tight ends to emerge by the time the season begins on August 31st at Indiana.