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tBBC Pre-Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers

Discussion in 'News' started by Brandon Zimmerman, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Pre-Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers
    Brandon Zimmerman
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    With the recruits signed, sealed, and almost delivered it is officially time to look forward to the 2016 football season. While the Buckeyes are already getting ready behind the scenes, things do not start to jump into another gear until the Buckeyes begin their spring practice on March 8th. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be taking a look at each positional group for the Buckeyes and discussing who might start and how the depth chart may shake up. In this outlook, I will take a look at the stacked wide receiver roster which consists of two seniors, one junior, four sophomores, and six freshmen. For the purposes of this outlook and the way Ohio State utilizes so many people at different positions, I will include the H-Backs here.


    Redshirt senior Corey Smith has had a winding road to this point. He is originally from Akron but had a winding path to Columbus through Grand Rapids Community College and East Mississippi Community College. Smith has had his ups and downs during his two years at Ohio State but consistently is able to work his way into the rotation because it is obvious to see how talented he is at wide receiver. Last year, Smith only played in four games last year due to a gruesome injury. On signing day, Coach Meyer announced Smith would receive another year of eligibility due to a medical redshirt. After losing all three starters from the 2015 team, Smith coming back for a third year with the Buckeyes will be huge. For his Ohio State career, Smith has 25 catches for 317 yards.

    Another senior plagued by injury for most of the 2015 season, Dontre Wilson is primed to take back his H-Back role which he lost when he broke his foot during the Michigan State game in 2014. Wilson came to the Buckeyes as a last minute flip from Oregon and immediately started gaining a following within the Buckeye community. His speed was [​IMG]something the Buckeyes had coveted for their H-Back spot and the expectations went through the roof. During his time in Columbus, Wilson has done a little bit of everything and will be counted on to carry a much larger role in 2016. For his career, he has 49 rushing attempts for 350 yards, 50 receptions for 573 yards, 14 punt returns for 136 yards, 60 kick returns for 1,218 yards, and 6 total touchdowns.

    Junior speedster James Clark is another guy looking to put the injury-bug behind him as he keeps working his way up the depth chart. Clark came to Ohio State as a highly rated recruit out of Florida where he quickly worked his way into the rotation as a true freshman until he had a horrific leg injury versus Florida A&M. He spent his 2014 and 2015 season playing sparingly and has yet to catch a pass during his Ohio State career. This spring will be huge for Clark as the buckeyes have a very young and talented roster of wide receivers looking to pass him up.

    This past year, sophomore Noah Brown was in-line to start opposite Michael Thomas before he was injured during the preseason. The center of many conversations due to his highlight reel catches and dominance during practice, the hoopla was building for a monster 2015 season for Brown after seeing the field as a true freshman. With all three spots up for the taking, Brown should be able to fill a major need in 2016 as long as he is completely healthy. At 6’2” and 222 pounds, Brown will give Barrett and big body to throw at. For his career, Brown has 1 reception for 9 yards and 1 rushing attempt for (-4) yards.

    Sophomore Parris Campbell was the starter at wide receiver opposite Thomas to begin the year. After Brown went down with his injury, Campbell stepped up and received the start after being praised for his blocking ability. He missed a few opportunities on big plays during the Virginia Tech game and never seemed to bounce back. As with what seems like

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    every wide receiver last year, Campbell battled injuries which severely hurt his season. For the season, Campbell had no catches but will play a major role in the offensive success for the 2016 Buckeyes.

    An absolute burner, sophomore Terry McLaurin is another young guy nipping at the heels of the vets for more playing time. Coming out of Indiana, McLaurin was a four-star recruit and former Mr. Football. In 2015, McLaurin was a major contributor on special teams as he racked up 7 tackles. As everyone knows with Urban Meyer if you want to see the field you better be willing to play special teams.

    Another highly recruited wide receiver who fills the wide receiver room is sophomore Johnnie Dixon. As a consensus Top-100 player coming out of high school, Dixon was a big time get for the good guys out of Florida. Dixon quickly worked his way into the rotation but began battling knee issues which has severely cut into his playing time during his first two seasons at Ohio State. If healthy, Dixon has a chance to make some major strides this season. For his career, Dixon has 1 reception for 29 yards and four rushes for 20 yards.

    We have already spoken about redshirt freshman Torrance Gibson in the quarterback room. No one is too sure where he will end up yet. At 6’4” and possessing superior athletic ability, it is easy to see why he dazzled everyone who watched him play wide receiver in practice last season. There are three open spots for new starters but will Gibson throw his hat in the ring again this year or will he head back to the quarterback room? Only time will tell…

    Gibson was not the only freshman last year who seemed to always be talked about by the coaching staff but never got to see the field. Redshirt freshman K.J. Hill seemed to always [​IMG]be talked about but never received the playing time to back up all the talk about his practice success. All of that will change this year as the wide receivers are facing a youth movement. Hill was a four-star recruit out of Arkansas and was the number 16 wide receiver coming out of high school.

    One more redshirt freshman will be attempting to crack the depth chart in the form of 6’3” Ohioan Alex Stump. Originally committed to Kentucky, Stump flipped to Ohio State and will be entering his second year with the good guys. Stump was a four-star recruit.

    Three ultra-talented true freshmen join the wide receivers for the 2016 season. Demario McCall will come to Columbus and will presumably be an immediate factor in special teams and the H-Back position. Rated as a four-star recruit by 24/7 composite rankings, McCall is rated as the 44th best player in the country for the 2016 class. With blazing speed (he reportedly has ran a 4.3 40) and moves that remind many of Braxton Miller in space, McCall has the potential to succeed very quickly at Ohio State.

    Another big-time recruit is early enrollee Austin Mack from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mack was one of the main targets for Ohio State for the 2016 class and eventually received the commitment from Mack. At 6’2” and 205 pounds, Mack is already built to take on a major part in the offense. Mack was a consensus four-star recruit and rated as the #10 wide receiver by 247Sports composite rankings.

    Last but not least, the Buckeyes have true freshman Benjamin Victor out of Florida. At a little under 6’4”, Victor gives the offense a big body outside who could develop into a huge red zone threat. Victor was a four-star recruit and rated as the #12 wide receiver by 247Sports composite rankings.



    1. Noah Brown
    2. Torrance Gibson
    3. Johnnie Dixon


    1. Corey Smith
    2. K.J. Hill
    3. Austin Mack


    1. Dontre Wilson
    2. Parris Campbell
    3. Demario McCall

    This positional group is one of the toughest to predict. There are so many young talented players it is pretty much a toss-up on who will have the best spring and summer and set them up for a huge 2016 season. Additionally, there are too many unanswered questions right now. Will Smith finally put everything together? Will Wilson and Dixon be healthy? Will Gibson stay at wide receiver?

    As crazy as it is to say, I think the wide receiver position is better set up to succeed this year than they were last year. In 2015, you had two players playing out of position and learning on the fly in Braxton Miller and Jalin Marshall. Both were way too talented to not see the field so the staff did what they had to do and let them grow during the season in new spots. This season’s crew is all pure wide receivers who have been playing the position for multiple season (outside of Gibson) and will be able to advance the passing game.


    Quarterbacks – 15 Feb

    Running Backs – 17 Feb

    Wide Receivers – 19 Feb

    Tight Ends – 22 Feb

    Offensive Line – 24 Feb

    Defensive Line – 26 Feb

    Linebackers – 29 Feb

    Secondary – 2 Mar

    Special Teams – 4 Mar

    The post Pre-Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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