The receivers are one of the least experienced groups on the entire team. The suspension of Devier Posey compounds the issue significantly.
As young and inexperienced as they may be (and let me reiterate, they are), they are also extremely talented- as you would expect from any group at Ohio State.
It may take a few games to work out the kinks, but if the passing attack starts rolling, these players are fully capable of taking over a game.
The good news is that they don’t need to take over games; they only need to take some pressure off the running backs by giving the defense something to worry about.
At this, they should be more than capable, no matter who the quarterback ends up being.
Corey “Philly” Brown
#10 Sophomore, WR
5’11” 182 lbs.
Philly Brown is, without a doubt, the most electrifying receiver on the roster (including Posey). He combines outstanding quickness in and out of his breaks with elite speed, making him one of the more exciting players on the entire offense.
Fans got a glimpse of Brown last season in limited action as a true freshman, but much more will be expected of him this year. He has been playing with the first team since day one of practice, which means that he will be “the man” for the first five games.
There is no question that Brown has the skills to be a game changing playmaker, but it will be the little things (routes, timing, and repetition) that make the difference this season. In this regard, Brown reminds me of Ted Ginn Jr.
If Brown can transform himself into a polished receiver, the sky will be the limit for him (Ginn was never a polished receiver, which has hurt him in the NFL).
The most important thing will be getting on the same page with the quarterback, whoever that may be. If he can be where the quarterback expects him to be, and if the quarterback gets the ball to him, Philly Brown will be one of the most exciting players in college football.
#9 RS Freshman, WR
6’0” 195 lbs.
Verlon Reed has been the second receiver with the first team since the start of camp. As a redshirt freshman, he has yet to see the field, making him a complete unknown to most fans.
Based on practice, the sense I get is that his best attribute is route running. He won’t set the world on fire with his speed, but he gets the separation he needs through crisp routes and he has sure hands.
If Reed can provide a consistent and reliable presence to go along with Brown’s electricity, the two could turn into quite the 1-2 punch on the edge.
In the perfect scenario, he will turn into the Santonio Holmes to Brown’s Ginn. We can dream.
#11 RS Junior, TE
6’5” 245 lbs.
Jake Stoneburner enters his second season as the primary starter at tight end, which makes him one of the more experienced passing targets on the team.
He came to Ohio State as a receiver before converting to tight end, and that early experience could provide a major boost for the passing game early in the year. Stoneburner has been lining up (or motioning) wide in certain formations, making him the de facto third receiver at times.
At a position that is traditionally a safety blanket for new quarterbacks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stoneburner as one of the top targets early in the season- and possibly throughout.
He can create serious matchup problems for opposing defenses at tight end, and if the Buckeyes can take advantage of these (based on the formations and motion, they are planning on it), Stoneburner will be one of the top weapons this season.
#80 RS Sophomore, WR
6’0” 180 lbs.
Chris Fields has been the primary third receiver on the field in three-wide formations during practice.
From Anthony Gonzalez through Dane Sanzenbacher, the third (slot) receiver has been an extremely active and effective part of Ohio State’s passing attack in recent years.
Chris Fields has the perfect set of skills (great quickness, precision routes) to carry on the tradition of excellence that has been established by past slot receivers, and I expect him to be an impact player at the position…eventually.
Unfortunately, the passing attack may not be advanced enough under a new quarterback to utilize a three-wide formation very much this year. On top of that, the steady presence of Stonburner as the third receiver may diminish Field’s role in the offense as well.
His ability to make an impact will be diminished somewhat by the circumstances, but the future is very bright for Fields, and I am excited to see what he can do when given the opportunity, even if he isn’t fully utilized for another year or two.
#88 Junior, TE
6’8” 280 lbs.
Reid Fragel is the perfect counterpart to Jake Stoneburner in two tight end formations.
Stoneburner provides the receiving threat while Fragel provides the size and strength to be an impact blocker in the running game.
At the same time, Fragel proved in the Sugar Bowl that he can stretch the field as well, making him a well rounded weapon.
It is a bit out of the ordinary I’m sure, but Fragel is one of the players I am looking forward to seeing the most this season.
#15 Freshman, WR
6’3” 190 lbs.
Devin Smith has been extremely impressive during camp. He combines great size, great hands, great speed, quick learning, and above average route running.
Smith unsurprisingly worked his way up to the second team during camp, and he may see the field in games.
Only a freshman in what will be a limited passing attack, Devin Smith’s best years are certainly ahead of him, but between Smith and Evan Spencer, the future at receiver is in great shape.
#16 Freshman, WR
6’1” 190 lbs.
The other half of the dynamic duo I mentioned above, everything I said about Devin Smith basically applies to Evan Spencer as well.
He made an appearance on the official depth chart yesterday, which means that his chances of seeing the field are even greater than Smith at this point.
The future is exciting with these two players continuing to grow and improve in the system.
#86 Freshman, TE
6’5” 240 lbs.
With the benefit of spring practice under his belt, Jeff Heuerman looks like he will see the field as the third tight end off the bench.
Given how impressive he was all the way back in winter conditioning, it is no surprise that he has continued to make an impression during practice.
Heuerman will likely have a limited role in the offense this year, but he has already made significant improvements on and off the field. If he continues at the same pace, he will be a great one down the line.
#18 RS Freshman, WR
6’5” 228 lbs.
If it was possible to base evaluations on the “look test,” T.Y. Williams would be the top receiver on the roster. He towers above his teammates and is no doubt an extremely intimidating assignment for the secondary to cover.
Size isn’t everything, however, and his problems holding onto the ball have been well documented during camp.
It is important to remember that Williams is only in his second year with the program, so it is way too early to write him off due to the dropsies.
At the same time, Williams has been playing with the second team during camp for a reason, and he will likely stay there until he adjusts to the college game a bit more and can haul in passes on a consistent basis.
#8 Senior, WR
6’2” 210 lbs.
Devier Posey is an outstanding all around player and a possible first round talent; he will make the team better when he returns to the field.
During practice he has been a leader and a coach for the younger players, and his presence will be valuable through the first five games, even on the sidelines.
Posey will provide the spark that could ignite the passing game this season. Even if it is simply drawing double teams, he will open up the defense for the younger players to exploit.