“Urban Meyer isn't recruiting wide receivers. He's recruiting athletes. He's recruiting players that stress a defense in as many ways as possible.”
Since the hiring of Urban Meyer at Ohio State, a constant topic of the offense has been the lack of a true ‘Percy Harvin’ type of player on the team. But with the recruiting efforts starting to pay off and the constant preaching to recruits by Meyer that they could have a Harvin-kind of role on the team, it seems the offense is filled with them. It starts with Curtis Samuel, the one player that has emulated Harvin this season the most. Both second on the team in rushing and first in receiving, Samuel’s versatility has been the key factor in running Meyer’s offense this season.
Of course, it doesn’t end with Samuel. Players like Dontre Wilson, Noah Brown, James Clark, and Terry McLaurin were all recruited to fill this sort of role within the offense. All of the players listed could play both running back and wide receiver in high school and even in Wilson’s case, he was a true running back at the high school level. Now he’s converted to more of an H-back role and it’s paying dividends for both Wilson and the Buckeyes. The recruiting of athletes that built in a similar fashion to Harvin is working and now Ohio State has a receiving core that is one of the scariest in terms of potential for the present and the future.
“Honestly, I feel like we can play a lot better. When we correct all the things we messed up, I feel like we’ll be 20 times better.”
The road trip to Norman, Oklahoma would definitely be categorized as a success, even in the eyes of the players and coaching staff at Ohio State. A decisive 45-24 victory over the Sooners helped Ohio State in its maturation process as the Buckeyes grew up quickly on the road. The offense was impressive again, showing off its young playmakers such as Mike Weber and already solidified stars in J.T. Barrett and Curtis Samuel. But perhaps one of the more impressive feats on Saturday came from the defense filled with underclassmen. Marshon Lattimore had an interception while Jerome Baker added a pick six to his stat sheet as well.
Though the Buckeyes might have looked like they were rolling on all cylinders, many of the players and coaches are letting it be known that they still have a lot of things to work on and clean up. And that in itself might be a scary thought when you consider Ohio State looked that good in September alone. By the time November rolls around, this team could look even better. They’ll need to be too, with a tough conference schedule ahead of them including games against Wisconsin, Michigan State, and of course, Michigan.
“I think any receiver that gets four touchdowns, especially against a crew like Oklahoma, would be a surprise. But when you watch the film and you watch the strengths, he has such good ball skills.”
Noah Brown undoubtedly had his breakout performance that Ohio State fans have been waiting for since he broke his leg last year causing him to miss the entirety of the 2015 season. The performance included four touchdowns, tying a school record for receiving touchdowns in a game, and one of the better catches you’ll see in college football. It was exactly what fans must have dreamed about, after Brown’s teammates and coaches deemed him “unguardable” in last season’s fall camp. He certainly looked the part against Oklahoma and now has brought about the question of the rotation at wide receiver.
Ohio State has a great problem to have - most of its wide receivers are all capable of being starters. The actual problem is that there’s only a couple of spots on the field at one time, and so far the rotational approach has been working out. But with Brown’s latest game against the Sooners, it might be time to pen in Brown as never leaving the field. His ability to go and get a ball is impressive, and he’s a big target to have for Barrett should a play break down. Meyer says for now that they’ll stick to a rotation of all the receivers, but don’t be surprised to see Brown getting even more time spent on the field than off of it.