Dontre Wilson: Meet Ohio State's Next Big Thing

By Kyle Rowland on July 26, 2013 at 9:30a
Without playing a game, Dontre Wilson has become a favorite target for Braxton Miller.

CHICAGO — When Urban Meyer was hired, his first order of business was recruiting. It was late November, and February was looming. One of the essential ingredients in the effectiveness of Meyer’s up-tempo offense is a skill player whose speed is just as worthy as their elusiveness.

Meyer wasn’t able to identify a game-changer in Year 1. But he may have found that special someone this past February.

When Chip Kelly bolted Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles, DeSoto, Texas, native Dontre Wilson, already swaying on his commitment to the Ducks, became less enchanted with the Pacific Northwest. Tom Herman, the Buckeyes’ offensive guru and Texas recruiting whiz, never lost contact with the all-purpose back. Days before National Signing Day, Wilson chose Ohio State over Oregon and Texas. 

At Big Ten media days, when off-the-field issues and immense expectations weren’t being discussed, Wilson was. Quarterback Braxton Miller is already the President and CEO of the Dontre Wilson Fan Club. 

“I feel like he better be starting this year,” Miller said. “He can play multiple spots – H (slot) and Z (wide receiver), he can run any route and he can also come in the backfield and take handoffs. I feel like he can help us in every aspect.”

In January, when Wilson took his visit to Ohio State, Miller was eager to see the YouTube legend that was already a message board phenom. Miller remembers thinking Wilson must be fast since he was committed to Oregon. So he decided to watch a highlight film. 

“I was like ‘OK, he’s got something, huh?’” Miller said. “Then I made sure we got a commitment from him because I knew he could help us out big time.”

It’s not hyperbole, but a realization that Meyer favors playing impact freshman from the outset of their careers. At Florida, first-year players Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin – you may have heard of them – became integral pieces on the Gators’ 2006 national championship team. They were part of three touchdowns in Florida’s 41-14 win over Ohio State.

On Wednesday, Meyer was asked about his philosophy regarding playing time for freshmen and said simply, “Get them on the field.” It’s less challenging for skill position players and cornerbacks to get on the field early compared to quarterbacks and offensive linemen. It also helps offensive skill players when they develop a rapport with the quarterback.

“I could see how mature he was when he first got here,” Miller said about Wilson. “Throwing to him is a different kind of feel. He says, ‘Throw the ball anywhere and I’ll go get it.’ And I’m like, ‘What? A receiver is telling me throw it wherever I want? Alright.’ So I threw it behind him and that boy landed on his back and caught it. I’m like, ‘Wow, boy, you’ve got something special.’ It’s nice knowing I’ve got somebody special on the team that’s a playmaker. It feels good.”

Miller said he works with Wilson every day, including Sundays. But even though Wilson’s position is one of need and plaudits are ringing from all corners, Meyer put a clamp on all the early praise. 

“It’s nice knowing I’ve got somebody special on the team that’s a playmaker. It feels good.”

“We’ve got to slow down on Dontre,” he said, with a grin stretched across his face. “We’ve got to slow down.” No, he wasn’t referring to team speed.

From a small rural college town in Ohio, to the melting pot of Salt Lake City, and onward to a speed factory in Gainesville, Meyer’s squad’s have been celebrated as difference-makers when it comes to creating separation from the opponent’s defense.

The newest book had its first chapter authored a year ago with much to be desired. Big plays were virtually non-existent, even for a 12-0 team. Wide receivers rarely broke tackles and an adequate slotback never broke through after Jordan Hall went down with a season-ending injury.

In talking to Miller, though, a burst of speed will be sprinkled around to all the positions in 2013.

“Brad Roby is the fastest guy on the team – he runs a 4.32 (40-yard dash),” Miller said. “I’m the second-fastest. I ran a 4.36 last time we were tested.”

Asked where the new freshman speedster checks in, Miller was left speechless.

“Man, I don’t know. That’s a good question, because when that boy catches the ball, he bolts like a little fish running from a shark or something,” Miller said. “He’s fast, man. I’m glad to have him on my team.”

Aug. 6 is judgment day for the freshmen. They report two days prior, but shoulder pads and contact drills begins on Tuesday.

“When those go on and helmets go on and instead of running this way, there’s a big guy not letting you run that way and trying to hammer you, those guys disappear for a while," Meyer said.

After Wilson’s first performance, Meyer said he’ll be able to make a much better determination on what kind of attributes he brings to the 2013 Buckeyes. Wilson is listed as a running back on Ohio State’s official roster, but he’ll be a rover at several different positions. Fellow incoming freshmen Jalin Marshall and Ezekiel Elliott also fit the mold Meyer covets.

The potential for multiple gamebreakers makes an offense that set numerous school records a year ago among the best in the country.

“We were not a big-play team last year at all,” Meyer said. “Our fast guy was our quarterback. You need speed. To be truly a great offense, you have to have gamebreakers. You either develop them or go recruit them, and I'm hoping we did both.”

Lost in all the Dontre talk are the returnees who can catch the football and create space from the defense. All three starting wide receivers return. One year after 12 catches represented the team-high, Miller’s completions soared into the triple digits. Philly Brown caught 12 passes alone against Michigan State.

Still, the need for improvement is evident. Route running, breakaway skills and an overall dynamism were lacking.

“Man, they got so much better since last year,” Miller said. “They’ve got so much confidence now and they’ll tell me what they want to run. They give me the route. That’s how I like it. They tell me what they want and I just plant my feet and throw it to them and they catch it and get like a 10-yard burst after they catch it and then come back for more.”

Miller rattled off the names of Evan Spencer, Devin Smith and, with emphasis, Philly Brown as the receivers who’ve made the biggest strides in the offseason.

“Those guys are going to be impact players this year,” Miller said. “All those guys have made major jumps.”

But perhaps none can match the acclaim of the freshman from DeSoto.


Comments Show All Comments

Yenots11's picture

because when that boy catches the ball, he bolts like a little fish running from a shark or something
Love this analogy!!

Go Bucks!! 

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam!"

SaltyD0gg's picture

That was the exact quote I was going to reference.
And I shall call him "Nemo".

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

Goalscorer9's picture

And henceforth Dontre will be known as "little fish" in my mind.

BuckeyeSki's picture

I put Dontre in the slot for any formation that has the jet sweep play in NCAA14...kid has 95 speed as a true frosh. Can't wait to see him play for real

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Bucks's picture

These days aren't moving fast enough.

AJW_16's picture

This time of year I always wish time had a fast-forward button.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

Bucks's picture

I hear you. Tonight will be entertaining @ FNL & the updates from 11W keep me going but let's get this season started.
Oh and this new wrinkle for Eat Too needs to be cracked by TMZ or something along those lines.

cinserious's picture

The Dontre Wilson Effect has everything else look like its in slo-motion.

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

joeorozco12's picture

I can't wait for this cold weather!!!

RunEddieRun1983's picture

I like it.  Big nasty speed.  Give it to me in abundance.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

pjtobin's picture

I'm super excited to see Dontre in S & G !

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

hit_the_couch's picture

Ah the 12 reception season high receiver brings back memories. One of the most epic things about '11, was beating the Illini with 1 total reception for the game.
Miller = boss
2013 Buckeyes = oh shit.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

BKLYN_Buckeye's picture

Dontre is a BEAST! Funny thing is, James Clark is prolly faster...That's just a disgusting amount of speed...

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I see some offensive records being shattered this year!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

chromedomebuck's picture

I just want to see some of the preseason hype translate on the field in the fall. Every year is "so and so" looks great this Spring and then come fall he isn't on the field.
Enough of the negative though - Wilson looks awesome! A dynamic gamebreaker for sure. Don't sleep on the other freshmen though - Marshall, Clark, and Elliot will see the field too I would think.
This offense (and team overall) has a lot of potential but potential is a heavy burden to carry. Should be an exciting and interesting season!

Champions Bleed Scarlet & Gray

avail31678's picture

I hear ya, but there wasn't any talk or hype of game breakers or lots of speed last year.  Meyer himself said we need more playmakers and more speed.  It's not like playmakers were hyped up but ended up disappointing.  The offense we got was very similar to what Meyer said we had.
This year he's taking a cautious approach, but he's definitely acknowledging they've addressed the speed. 

buck-I.8's picture

Dont expect these guys to immediately be stars. The game is fast, the guys are bigger and stronger, and holes close much faster for these guys at the next level. We can hype guys' films and pre-season workouts as much as we want, the truth is that guys like Diggs and DAT are incredibly rare, and while Wilson or Marshall or one of the other guys may have that ability to make a seamless transition, they most likely won't. What we CAN look for, is getting these guys on the field as much as possible, especially in games like Florida A&M where they can have an easier time getting adjusted to college play. 

buckeyepastor's picture

Agree.   I remember Ted Ginn, talented as he was, and how it still took a season for him to really go from being an athlete to being a receiver.   In 2004, he made some big plays and helped our offense.   But there was a limited number of ways he could be utilized.  By 2005, he was a much more complete player.    Speed and raw talent got him noticed, but it wasn't until he really had a season to absorb the offense that he became an elite gamechanger.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

buck-I.8's picture

Absolutely. While it's possible, it's unrealistic to simply expect these kids to make the jump that fast. Whether you play in Texas, Ohio, or Utah, the majority of guys on your high school field aren't playing D1 at the next level, and when you're talking about 18 year olds on a field with guys who are 22 and 23, there is an inherent adjustment that will need to be made.

BABuckeye's picture

We only need a couple speedy play-makers to make a difference.  Last year, it seems like we only heard about Hall. When he got injured, we lost all speed options.  With some many fast players on the roster this year, it seems like much better odds of getting at least a couple game changers.  

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

I lol'd at "to the melting pot of Salt Lake City". One of my friends lives near Cedar Hill, and has seen Dontre play many times. His constant LaMichael James comparisons have me geeked.
and then, on top of this..EZE as well?

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Likely that Kyle is referring to the Ute Football team, not the general populace as the melting pot here. In "Urban's Way", he references the diversity of background of the players he coached at Utah such as Samoans and others who all learned to get along with each other.............

HotSauceCommittee's picture

My post is similar to Chrome's above......lots of hype and lots of playmakers. Lets just hope Braxton has improved his accuracy, decision making and reads. Even if his improvement is less than what we all expect, he now has another year in the offense and so have his teammates. Lets just hope they are are clicking by the Cal game.

Akeem96's picture

I sense some motivational head shrinking directed at the upper classmen here.

thatlillefty's picture

i hope we never lose tom herman

joeorozco12's picture

Let him get some head coaching experience then he can take over for UFM when he's ready to step down! Sounds like a master plan to me!!

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Absolutely LOVE that plan!

hit_the_couch's picture

I want back to back 70 point games like in '96. It would be even more epic if it was 70 on Mark May's alma mater.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

DannyBeane's picture

I just have to say that I have drunk so much of the Koolaid this year that my urine smells like Hawaiian punch. I am pumped!

jvd253's picture

This post is making me queasy, but I'm upvoting it nonetheless.  

"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

DannyAlmonte's picture

Crazy how Jalin Marshall gets lost in all this talk... Marshall is a damn freak. Between Marshall, EZE, Clark and Wilson, we got speed for days! These upperclassman 'starters' on offense better hold on to the football and step their games up.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Try to list all those guys off without cracking a shit eating grin.   I know I can't.   And they're the tip of the iceburg.  

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Phillips.449's picture

"I think I need a mint"
-Phillips says with a smile

HighBallAce's picture

EZE EZE EZE.....can't wait to see my boy droppin linebackers like their hot!
The one that I think everyone is forgetting is Corey Smith. This guy should be really good too! He's already had 2 years of college ball and he's already ready to play! These freshmen should be a blast to watch this year! We'll have to come up with a nic name for them like the Fresh Phenom's or something...

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Speed KILLS (especially skunk weasels, badgers, nit lions and assorted other vermin - human & animal)!!

dubjayfootball90's picture

This countdown to football is killing me. I cant wait to shred Buffalo

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

GoBucksToledo's picture

I think we not only have the speed we are all looking for, but now DEPTH to go along with it!

nickma71's picture

And when the second quarter rolls around and the "back ups" come in....Jalin Marshall, EZE, Wilson, Ball...good luck covering that formation.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Full. On. Buckeye. Boner.

pcuzz1's picture

I have watched his highlight tape multiple times... Yet I am still just as amazed every time by the speed this kid has!!

pat cozzens

63tinman's picture

Speed kills the competition, but thrills the good guys! With this depth of speed coming to the skill positions, we are going to see the term "fresh legs" bump to a whole new level.

tunehtraef's picture

No knock on Dontre (since we have been hearing raving reviews from Braxton and others), but I hope this attention given to him will motivate some of these other super-freshman to want the same...
I know these young studs are going to push the incumbents, but talent breeds competition, and the more we stock up on talented depth, the better we will be as a team.
Too many options to put on the field #OhioStateSpeed"Problems"

ejoceans's picture

This month is going to go in slow motion for most of us. So just try as much as you can not to think about the amazing team we will put out on the turf and focus on the fact that we will a lot better come october!!! hahahaha I LOVE IT!!!!!! Well friends, lets hope all our legal problems stop dead in their tracks and we never have to hear about anything but good news coming from the scarlet and grey from now on. O-(F-ing)H...

Lets do this Brutus

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I'm really looking forward to seeing some blazing fast Buckeyes rip apart the B1G this year!!!  I have a feeling there are going to be a great number of angst filled, Tums chewing, late nights for defensive coaches in the future!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Hovenaut's picture

"Touchdown, Wilson"


TWCBUCKEYE's picture

"Nothing cleanses your soul like getting the [Mark May] kicked out of you."

buckeybowhunter's picture

It' all about the speed
BME_Buckeye's picture

If the WRs perform the way Millers describes their improvements in games, I'll be looking forward to some really exciting football this fall. Touchdown!

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


unholy bucknut's picture

Thats some high praise coming from one of the best QB's in the land. This kid is going to be electric.

DenBuck's picture

This is Freakin' nuts! Can't wait...

Buckeye For Life

UrbanBuckeye's picture

People are forgetting the older guys like Philly Brown, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Chris Fields, Michael Thomas, etc. We'll be LOADED at WR.

Vonn Bell once asked me in class if he could borrow my pencil and he never gave it back. Ain't even mad.

MAVBuck's picture

This year will be great but imagine in 3 with the maturation of the 3 guys mentioned above!