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tBBC The Ohio State Class of 2013 will cement its legacy during the 2016 season

Discussion in 'News' started by Joe Dexter, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Joe Dexter

    Joe Dexter Guest

    The Ohio State Class of 2013 will cement its legacy during the 2016 season
    Joe Dexter
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    How much more can you ask from a recruiting class that has produced five NFL players in a little over two seasons?

    The Ohio State Class of 2013 has already left it’s mark on Ohio State.

    A group that became instant leaders as youngsters during the 2014-15 season — winning the first College Football Playoff national championship. Players like Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Darron Lee, Vonn Bell, Jalin Marshall, and Eli Apple moved on to the NFL after two very successful years on the field for the Buckeyes.

    Now, Ohio State will look to replace a Big Ten Conference high sixteen starters from a year ago. And still, the Class of 2013 lives on — with a ton still to prove as one of the best recruiting classes in Ohio State history.

    The Buckeyes find themselves in a situation where their young player base will again be asked to compete at a national championship level. Just like the last go around, the Class of 2013 will again be imperative in Ohio State succeeding on the field. The young studs that stunned the college football world with their elite playmaking ability in 2014, will now be asked to provide leadership.

    That starts and ends with Joe Thomas Barrett, the current heart and soul of the Ohio State program.

    The pack leader has already proven his talents on the field, leading the Buckeyes down the road to a playoff appearance as a red shirt freshman. He completed nearly 70% of his passes in 2014. After a loss to Virginia Tech, the young man asked to replaced an injured Braxton Miller played at a Heisman level. Last year, he had great performances late in the season and in his role as a redzone quarterback.

    Now, the only thing left to prove on the college level is winning a championship as the sole leader of his team and being the signal caller on the field in the final moments of a championship run.

    Fellow class member Billy Price might not have anything to prove, but the former defensive tackle continues to be one of the most underrated players in the program.

    Ohio State fans have always given credit to the group better known as “the slobs.” Former offensive line coach Ed Warinner garnered praise across the country for his development of turning untested offensive lineman into a cohesive unit.

    Price is the player that consistently sets the tone for the program. He’s proven that in his nearly 30 starts over the last two years. Urban Meyer might not have deemed him a captain at the end of last season, but his role as a leader is as important as any other Buckeye in the program outside of Barrett.

    At the skill positions, this class still has four key contributors in 2016 that are out to prove something.

    Tight end Marcus Baugh is looking to go from not being good enough to be on the depth chart at the start of last season, to the third straight lead tight end drafted out of Ohio State.

    With the emergence of Baugh, Ohio State was able to bolster it’s rushing attack late in the season with multiple two tight end sets. The Riverside, California native had seven catches in the spring game after a season with just two catches.

    COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 13: Marcus Baugh #85 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a two-yard touchdown pass in front of Nate Holley #18 of the Kent State Golden Flashes in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    College football guru Phil Steele doesn’t believe that Baugh is worthy of being one of the four tight ends selected to his 2016 preseason All-Big Ten team. The beauty is he doesn’t have to be in order to be a successful member of this class. Nick Vannett finished 99th in receiving yards a year ago and was selected by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Jeff Heuerman’s receiving production was cut in half his senior season. The Broncos still selected him as well in the third round of the 2015 draft.

    Wide receiver Corey Smith was well on his way to fulfilling a key role as a receiver last year. When Noah Brown broke his leg in the fall, it looked like Smith was set for a breakout year.

    After facing the same injury himself against Indiana, the senior has one last chance to prove his nearly 13 yards per reception average throughout his career isn’t a fluke through the lens of just 25 career receptions for 317 yards and zero touchdowns. He could be the final piece in a young offense looking for a leader at wide receiver.

    The Ohio State coaching staff has praised the work he’s put in all season. And as Land Grant Holy Land’s Ian Hartitz points out — every Ohio State fan should be excited he’s back next season.

    The receiving numbers might not jump off the page, but the sixth-year senior will be imperative as a special teamer, blocker, and speed threat in 2016.

    Fellow speedster Dontre Wilson has had similar issues during his time at Ohio State. Many thought he would be the star of the Class of 2013. Instead, he finds himself at the crossroads of hype and success.

    Like Smith, a lot of that has to due to injury. The DeSoto, Texas native has missed the better part of two seasons. While fans have been quick to judge his ability, it’s hard to deny his skill out of the backfield. Wilson has averaged over seven yards per carry out of the backfield over two seasons. During Ohio State’s championship run, he averaged over 14 yards per catch and scored three touchdowns.

    In total, Wilson has scored just six touchdowns in his Ohio State career. While some of that is due to injury, a lot of it also has to do with consistency.

    This spring, the former four-star recruit and all-purpose back has added nearly 10 pounds of muscle to his frame, in an effort to retain his health for his senior season and be a more diverse player in the offense.

    While many are writing him off, Dontre Wilson could play a huge role as a running back, h-back and receiver in 2016 — erasing his legacy as the top prospect in the Class of 2013, that ended his career as a footnote to one of the greatest recruiting classes in college football history.

    Finally, former four-star Florida prep star James Clark had the best spring of his career. With a slew of wide receivers figuring out their roles, Clark exclusively lined up with the first-team offense during spring practices.

    He’ll factor in for serious playing time at the flanker position.

    BLOOMINGTON, IN – OCTOBER 03: Zander Diamont #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers runs with the ball while defended by Gareon Conley #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    On defense, two of Ohio State’s returning starters are players that are forgotten as members of the 2013 class.

    To think that Gareon Conley is forgotten as a member of this great class is laughable. He might have been the best cover corner in the program last year. This season, he’s the only returning starter in the secondary.

    For the first time in his Buckeye career, the way Conley plays this upcoming season will be the paint the canvas to a masterpiece that rivals that of classmates Darron Lee, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, and Tyvis Powell.

    Tyquan Lewis led the Buckeyes in sacks a year ago and will get his chance to shine without the shadow of Bosa’s presence as one of the greatest defensive players in Ohio State history.

    He’ll be joined by Michael Hill and Tracy Sprinkle — who look to build on their success in the interior against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The two seniors helped to hold Notre Dame to just 121 yards rushing and 3.8 yards per carry.

    Both are players that have proven their worth in the past, and will be granted the highest stage to perform. With defensive line coach Larry Johnson looking to key cogs to fill the gap of losing experienced lineman like Adolphus Washington, Tommy Schutt, and Donovan Munger (who is also part of the 2013 class).

    At linebacker, the class of 2013 has already seen a three-star athlete without a position turn into a stud in Darron Lee.

    Chris Worley will have the same opportunity in August as a projected starter at strongside linebacker. Coaches have often compared the two and Worley showed in his limited playing time last year that he can have the same type of impact.

    Heading into the season, it was clear that Ohio State’s class of 2013 could be the greatest in school history.

    If these impact players help keep the Ohio State winning tradition alive in 2016 — it’ll be damn near impossible to make an argument against them.

    The post The Ohio State Class of 2013 will cement its legacy during the 2016 season appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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