I'm calling it. Right here, right now. I don't care anymore that this flies in the face of all established logic and reason. I don't care anymore that my opinion on this matter will likely see me labeled as an idiot, a joker, or a pariah. I don't care that I will almost certainly be proven wrong in less than three months, my manifesto joining the likes of the Know Nothing party, the Communist League of America, and the Tea Party upon the great historical trash heap of failed ideologies. Today, I will say what I have been waiting years to say. Something that I believe with absolute certainty. In my heart. In my mind. In my soul. Jake Stoneburner, TIGHT END, will be the number 3 receiver on the 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes football team and have between 25 and 35 receptions for over 500 yards. He will do this. Oh yes. He will do this. But first I must address the naysayers. Their argument boils down to essentially one reason why this won't happen, but even I have to admit that it is a fairly strong Why Not.
REASONS WHY JAKE STONEBURNER WILL NOT BE A PASS CATCHING MACHINE
1. Tressel's offenses don't throw to the TE's. That's it. There are no other Why Nots. What's sad about this is that Ohio State actually has had TE's capable of making catches during Tressel's reign. But truthfully, until Stoneburner's commitment, Tressel has never had a true NFL-style TE (or even a Wisconsin-style TE). In every game they've almost always been used as glorified offensive linemen whenever they've seen the field, with a few notable exceptions. Most of this can be attributed to the offensive scheme. Tressel has even admitted (2:55 in the video) that his offense simply doesn't use the TE in the passing game very often. In fact, Jake Ballard's 14 catches last year were the most by an OSU TE since 2004, when Ryan Hamby had 16. And this was only after Ballard was convinced we'd open up the passing game for him a bit. Still...
REASONS WHY JAKE STONEBURNER ABSOLUTELY WILL CATCH A BAJILLION FOOTBALLS THIS YEAR
1. Depth Look at the spring depth chart. Now that Carter and Small are gone, the people behind Posey and Sanzenbacher are Mr. April and about 50 other guys with next to zero playing time. Stoneburner has been in the program for two years now, knows the offense, and the assumed starter at TE this year meaning he will often be on the field regardless of what he's being assigned to do. With no consistent receivers behind Posey and Sanzo (and possibly the RB's), someone will have to step up to become an established threat in the passing game. And hey, how about this TE over here why not?
2. Terrelle Pryor, opportunistic passer Last season gave us no small number of gleeful moments, but one that still brings me immense joy is the memory of watching Zach Boren, fullback, catch an 8 yard pass for a touchdown against Indiana. point being, Pryor has shown that he will try to get the ball to anybody he sees open, and Stoneburner is a pretty big target. Even if he's 10th or 12th on the progression list, there is a better than decent chance Pryor will say the hell with it and get it to the open man.
3. He's awesome I was high on Stoneburner the moment I saw his (non-50 Cent, non-Nickelback, non-Drowning Pool themed) highlight film from high school. His body control is excellent for a person his size, and his hands are insured by Downy so they can discover the secret of their softness. His overall speed (a legit 4.5 40) and ability to create separation makes it extremely easy to see why he stood out so much in spring practice, and why he initially signed on as a WR. This, coupled with his 6 foot 5, 245 frame, means that Stoneburner has the ability to be a deadly red zone threat and a terrific short range safety net for Pryor. He has the tools and build necessary to be a star, he just needs the opportunity.
So go ahead, tell me I'm wrong, tell me that the rise of a pass catching tight end at Ohio State is naught but a fever dream brought on by spring practices that rarely bear fruit. Just remember that when you see the terrible visage of a Burner of Stone catching footballs left and right sometime in the fall before trucking opponents and destroying all in his path, months before there stood Johnny, sounding the clarion call.
You may say that I'm a dreamer. And I might be the only one. But I hope some day you'll join me. And we'll watch TE's catch passes in the autumn sun.