Get Your Coffee Ready: Don't Sleep on These Players

By Jeff Beck on August 15, 2012 at 6:00p

There are a few things we know for certain about Urban Meyer the coach. One, he wins national championships, two, he’s incredibly intense and three, he’ll field the best players…period.

V-REEDZYVerlon Reed looks to pick up where he left off last season.

Make no mistake, that last certainty is a definite shift from the Tressel years. While the former coach would occasionally allow young exceptional talent to see the field, often he was incredibly loyal to upperclassmen. This mentality bled over into Fickell’s 2011 tenure when the former head coach, now defensive coordinator, stuck (some all would say for far too long) with senior Joe Bauserman in place of the vastly more talented Braxton Miller during the early part of the season.

Meyer’s promise to field the best players adds a layer of intrigue that may have been absent in years past. Certain positions are set, but doors to others are hanging wide open. With that said, here are four players I believe will benefit from Meyer’s unapologetic coaching philosophy. Get your coffee ready because you won’t want to sleep on these players in 2012.

Verlon Reed (WR)

Many forget Verlon Reed was a bright spot at receiver during the early part of last season. The redshirt freshman started the first five games of 2011 and racked up nine catches for 132 yards (good enough for second on the team in both categories) before an injury in the MSU game ended his season.

On the team’s latest depth chart Reed is listed behind Evan Spencer, but during Sunday’s media day Urban praised Reed, highlighting him as one of five receivers (Smith, Brown, Thomas, and Stoneburner) who were performing well through one week of practice.

Reed certainly has the athletic tools to excel. The former Rivals three star played QB, DB and receiver for his Marion-Franklin High School squad. According to Ohio State, Reed passed for 1,714 yards and 18 TDs and rushed for an additional 1,658 yards as a senior.

As part of a receiving corps that is improving but not yet “Ohio State caliber”, Reed should push the starters for playing time.  If he stays healthy, don’t be surprised to see him on the field often by season’s end.

Nick Vannett (TE)

With Jake Stoneburner officially moving to WR, the road has been cleared for TEs Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. Meyer has said the two will split playing time, but both players are inexperienced. Heuerman, a true sophomore, tallied only one catch last year in the team’s final game of the season. Vannett (who was also a part of the 2011 recruiting class) redshirted all of last year.

Vannett hasn’t played a down of actual college football, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on him. 

Here's why: Despite a lofty rivals four-star rating and offers from major programs including Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin and West Virginia, Coach Meyer called Vannett “not functional” during spring practice.

Sign My VannettClimbing the depth chart. Is now "functional."

After the public shaming, Vannett apparently went to work. According to Meyer, the Westerville Central product put in ample time with tight ends coach Tim Hinton while meticulously studying the playbook during the offseason. The hard work seems to have paid off as Meyer called Vannett one of the team’s most improved players during Sunday’s media day. He also had this to say about the young TE:

“He’s going to be right in the middle of this thing. I didn’t see that at all in the spring. If you notice, I didn’t even bring his name up because he wasn’t a real functional guy for us. That guy got real busy about studying the playbook and learning the game.”

Vannett was a stud in high school, and it looks like he’s finally catching on at the next level. Meyer wants to throw to the tight end and I believe Vannett’s offseason momentum will carry over into gamedays, ultimately allowing him to emerge as a playmaker in this suddenly wide-open position battle.

David Perkins (LB)

Catch up on everything you need to know ahead of the season kickoff.

Perkins, a four-star recruit out of South Bend, Indiana, was originally committed to the Fighting Irish but chose to reopen his college search during the middle of his final HS season. He visited Columbus this January and committed to the Buckeyes soon after. 

Many schools were recruiting Perkins at running back due to his freakish 4.4 speed, but Meyer and company felt the burner's talents were more suited to the defensive side of the ball.

Perkins’ high school stats were absolutely off the charts. During his senior season, he recorded 103 tackles (26 for loss), 7 sacks, 2 interceptions (one for a TD), 8 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. In addition, he tallied over 1,300 yards and 20 TDs while playing running back.

It seems the 6’2’’, 215 lbs freshman has endless potential, and it sounds like he’s doing everything he can to make a name for himself during fall camp. 

During media day Sunday, Meyer referred to Perkins as a “fly and hit someone guy” and said the freshman would play this fall. 

I believe the coaching staff will try to utilize Perkins’ size and speed to rush the QB from the outside linebacker position. Don’t be shocked if you see the freshman in the opposition’s backfield a few times this fall.

Jamal Marcus (LB)

If you haven’t watched Jamal Marcus’ highlight tape, do yourself a favor and click here. Even with the bluest of blue chips, it’s rare to see such dominating talent. The tape was so impressive that Meyer spotlighted the recruit’s reel during his introductory press conference, calling it “ridiculous.” Marcus is a heat-seeking missile on film and it sounds like he’s continuing that trend during his first fall camp.

Recently Meyer had this to say about the impressive true freshman:

“There's a kid named Jamal Marcus; he doesn't know which way up is right now, but he knows how to get from Point A to Point B, and he'll run over anything in his way to get to Point B. There's a good chance we'll find a way to get him on the field.”

Despite only receiving three stars from most recruiting agencies, Marcus garnered offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame and USC, among others. Defensive coordinator and former UNC interim head coach Everett Withers was recruiting Marcus for the Tar Heels before heading to Columbus, and it’s safe to say Withers continued his courtship of the Durham North Carolina product for the Buckeyes.

Along with Perkins, Marcus is one of the incoming freshmen Meyer and company have been high on, and it’s easy to see why. The two bring a combination of size and quickness that Meyer loves in his defensive players. 

With a largely unproven group at LB, Marcus and Perkins should work themselves out of relative anonymity this upcoming season.

Meyer has constantly said he’s looking for guys who can go four to six seconds with relentless effort. If a player gives that, Meyer gives playing time, regardless of length of tenure in the program. 

It’s a definite shift from his predecessor, but you’ve got to imagine the young guys appreciate it. If you’re a baller, you play ball. End of story.

The four guys listed above have demonstrated their playmaking ability in the past, so I think they’ll be the emerging stars of the future.

Get your coffee ready and don't sleep on them.


Comments Show All Comments

Danify's picture

Is it Miami (OH) University Game Week? Can't wait for the hard work to pay off this season. Will be something exciting and entertaining to see.

cinserious's picture

Would the Miami (oh) game count towards 'trampling the weak'?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

osu07asu10's picture

THANK YOU! For showing some love to Verlon Reed. I was a little worried because he is coming back from a knee injury but he seems to have recovered. That being said, he is an athletic freak who was an all-state caliber QB (Big 33 MVP at QB). Granted he was a run first QB, and he was not recruited as one, he still has a mind for the game, picked up a new position quickly, has a tireless work ethic, and again is athletic as all get out.
I look for Verlon to find himself on the field more and more as the season wears on. He is a player who will make the most of his opportunities and see those reps increase 

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Triv's picture

My high school scrimmaged Marion-Franklin Verlon's senior year. The kid can absolutly fly out there. He was far and away the fastest player on the field and I can't wait to see him back in action in a competent offense.

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

gravey's picture

Verlon was my sleeper pick last year.  Those Columbus City League guys who are a bit under the radar have had a long history of showing up on an ICBM.   Griffin and Glenn pop into my head immediately, but there's been a good list of them over the years.

BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

Its officially Game week or thats how im looking at it!  Can not wait to kick off another Buckeye Season!

Michigan Sucks!

Boom777's picture

Watched Marcus's highlight when he commited and they are still amazing to watch again.

Wherever you are, there you be!

Buckeyejason's picture

Verlons a pretty nice kid..emotional, but nice. Hope he can contribute, still very young with 3 seasons left of eligibility. 
Its just my opinion but I think grooming Marcus for the Leo spot in the future is the best thing to get the full benefits out of him. If Spence is as good as advertised..which sounds like he is, then I don't expect him to be here after the 2014 season. Marcus seems like a pass rushing demon wih his speed and relentlessness..and could be the perfect guy to play there if Spence jets early. If hes the better strong side LB candidate for next season over Josh perry than I guess he'll be the Sam or the next 3 seasons:


William's picture

I think Josh Perry becomes that Leo and Marcus becomes the Sam. 

falconlax13's picture

Wow did Jamal Marcus tackle the punter? I believe its at 1:15 or so on the video. That is a ridiculous tape. The guy is a beast.

ccollins0325's picture

Yeah, a bad snap will get you killed when he is on the field.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Jamal Marcus is a freak... After watching his highlight film I can't understand how he was so underrated.  This kid is going to be a star at OSU and hopefully along with the other freshman and sophomores lead us back to a national title. 

cinserious's picture

According to the wasted look on vannett's face, he doesn't seem very 'functional'. JK LOL. But seriously he and heuerman will provide many a happy game where the tight end gets a chance to beast-out too! Perkins and Jamal Marcus excite me greatly, now we have this upcoming season to work on flipping '13 ND commit Jalon Smith back to where he belongs at OSU. Imagine having three LBs of that caliber in two recruiting classes. Hopefully Brian Kelly does something asinine this Seaton and w land Smith. Landing him at LB would be as sick for the linebackers as landing Da'Shawn hand would be for an already sick D-line! I can't believe we have to wait for the inevitable NC coming our way.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

cinserious's picture

"like Mr.Marcus, I get off blocks clean" ....Andre3000 from Outcast

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Right Again's picture

Marcus' highlight tape on YouTube...  660,000+ views!  Are you kidding me?

ccollins0325's picture

I think he may have killed the last QB in the video. Seems to have incredible vision and takes really good angles.

osubuckeye4life's picture

I hope Marcus gets an unblocked shot at Denard in November. 
There are so many guys that could explode on this team.