Wilson's Playmaking Already Turning Heads

By Michael Citro on September 9, 2013 at 2:30p
The kid's got wheels and moves for days.

Throughout fall camp, Ohio State freshman Dontre Wilson’s hype grew to legendary status over the course of just a few weeks. We heard players and coaches raving about the 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back from DeSoto, Texas. 

The buzz grew to levels that made some people – myself included – wonder if it all wasn’t just some big smoke screen. How good was Wilson, really? Would he cut against the grain and see significant playing time as a true freshman? How would he even be used? At running back? Receiver?

It’s only two games into the 2013 season and these questions are starting to get answered, and skeptics such as myself are beginning to believe.

Wilson has shown his explosive speed and dynamic shiftiness in space in just a few early touches. In his debut against Buffalo, Wilson saw the field in a limited capacity, but made good use of his chances. He carried three times for 11 yards and caught a pass for 18 yards. One of his carries resulted in a lost fumble (he is a freshman, after all).

He also returned a kickoff for 51 yards in the season opener. What was immediately apparent, aside from his blazing speed, was the way it appeared that any time Wilson touched the football, he was a threat to score.  Very few players in football strike that kind of fear into opposing defenses.

Wilson saw the field a bit more in Week 2 against San Diego State. He took care of the football this time, and finished with 51 yards on just five carries (10.2 YPC), scoring his first career touchdown. Ohio State Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman took advantage of Wilson’s speed on the play, clearing out the defenders on the left side and allowing his freshman to jet into the end zone.

“When I saw the end zone I had to get there,” Wilson said.

See end zone, get end zone.

The frosh also returned a kickoff for 25 yards and caught three passes, though only for six yards, owing to poor blocking help by Buckeye receivers, including a couple by fellow freshman James Clark in the fourth quarter.

Who was the last Buckeye freshman who looked so dangerous? You probably have to go back to Ted Ginn Jr.’s first season for that, back in 2004. And, although it’s possible Ginn has greater straight-line speed than Wilson, it appears that Ohio State’s rookie hits top speed quicker and is much more slippery in space.

“I’m way faster than a lot of people. Now, I have to go out and prove it.” – Dontre Wilson

Wilson knows his speed an elusiveness are his greatest attributes, and he plans to exploit them.

Because Urban Meyer is Ohio State’s coach, a lot of people like to throw around the name “Percy Harvin” when discussing the weapons in the Buckeye offense. A comparison to a player like Harvin is a difficult load for anyone to carry. Yet Wilson might just be able to pull it off. Harvin scared opposing defenses to death pretty early in his career. Similarly, Wilson is a player that defenses must respect whenever he checks into the game.

Over the arc of his Ohio State career, we’ll all find out just how fair (or unfair) it is to compare Wilson to Harvin. But just the fact that he’s already making that discussion seem reasonable is cause for Ohio State fans to celebrate.


Comments Show All Comments

cinserious's picture

I could watch that TD .gif all day long! Thats just good blocking and flat-out beating people to the edge with amazing speed. Dontre will get plenty of those this year and when he has to put on some moves.... we ain't seen nothin' yet!

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

Ahh Saturday's picture

Wilson catches the pitch on the hash at the 15. The safety who gets beat to the edge is a step short of the hash at the four. The tackle is missed at the five, meaning Wilson and the safety have covered nearly the same horizontal distance, but Wilson has covered 10 yards vertically while the safety has only moved one yard vertically. That's fast.

brylee's picture

good eye! 
this kid is going to be special.

pjtobin's picture

I'm glad you pointed that out. You are spot on with your observation.

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

ScarletGray43157's picture

It reminds me of Ginn in the Army All-Star game when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown and smoked the kicker who had a tight sideline angle on him.  A pure raw speed move.  Dontre Wilson is like that.  It is really fun to watch, as long as he is on our team.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

BamaMike's picture

It's definitely pleasant to see!  The defender took the correct angle... to tackle a normal "fast" person.  Unfortunately, he's a faster than normal fast and was a step ahead.  Running the ball, good blocking, great field of vision.  I'm a fan already.

o_to_da_h's picture

I re watched the pick Mack had, if Mewhort knocks him down, Wilson is GONE!

From here, went here, love here!

Edincostarica's picture

This young man is going to do some great things for the Buckeyes.


brylee's picture

B1G SECsy speed kills!

Sgt. Elias's picture

That safety thought he had it sniffed out: "I've got the speed & angle..wait...sh*t."

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

droessl's picture

didn't mean to parrot this comment. Serves me right leaving a page open for ~10 minutes before responding.  

droessl's picture

I love seeing the SDSU DB adjust his angle after realizing "oh shit, this guy is FAST"

jdagrava.1's picture

The way I see it, if Chip Kelly wanted this kid, then there is something special about his ability to fly down the field.  He is a show-string tackle and a missed block away from having another receiving TD and a return TD already on the year.  If nothing else, he will be valuable as a major distraction from Braxton when teams are trying to spy on the more athletic Buckeyes.  Bet of luck to the rest of the B1G, but I just don't think you're gonna be able to catch this guy.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

OurHonorDefend09's picture

Need to run this guy to the field more, rather than the boundary. TD was prime example of how dangerous he is when he gets that extra yardage to pick up speed and make people miss.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

I've been stoked about Dontre since I saw that he chose flipped to OSU over Oregon. If he was good enough to be a speedster at Oregon, he's got to be a helluva threat. I think we're already seeing glimpses of his potential.

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

cinserious's picture

Even better yet is that with Texas down, and people seeing what kind off offense Urban Meyer runs, we'll get alot more of those fast ass Oregon-type gamebreakers headed this way. Even Dontre said as much about his types coming out of Texas. Hermann's killing it down there!

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

njclebuckeye5's picture

I love how he's so fast that he doesn't need to dive, or even sprint through the pylon, but he can tap his feet like four times in the corner for good measure

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

ChazBuckeye's picture

I can see him being very dominating in big games like week 5, 6 and at seasons end.  As Michael stated, Wilson gives a defensive coordinator much more to think about before they play OSU.

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Denny's picture

My favorite part is the celebration he clearly wanted to jump and hug his teammate right away after he scored his first Buckeye points


bucknutjeff's picture

Also of note on this play, the receivers did a hell of a job with down-field blocking.

Ahh Saturday's picture

Absolutely!  Chris Fields destroys his man.

lsjSnail's picture

Gets up to speed almost instantly.

Buckabroad's picture

Harvin is a great player, but we should not compare Dontre to him. Dontre has his own unique skill and is his own mind-blowing qualities. He is not only fast, but reaches afterburner speed almost instantly without sacrificing shiftiness. This is just one quality that will distinguish him from his peers. Look out for Dontre, he is about to make his own name!

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

Gulfstreambuckeye's picture

He made that look easy. Flat out ran the sdsu player that had a good angle. I think hall doesn't score there, but damn the o line is looking good.

Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust...but life goes on.

Brohio_born's picture

Wilson reminds me of Tavon Austin more than he does Harvin. Both are a huge compliment. It's only a matter of time until he has a monster game.

Seattle Linga's picture

Cal's defense will be happy they only see Dontre once as he almost went to Oregon and would have faced him four years in a row.
They will be singing ooooooo-weeeeeeeeeeee what up with that - what up with that

buckeyenut10's picture

And, although it’s possible Ginn has greater straight-line speed than Wilson, it appears that Ohio State’s rookie hits top speed quicker and is much more slippery in space

As much as I'm LOVING Wilson, there's no way the "hits top speed quicker" thing is correct. Not only did Ginn seem to hit 125% speed IMMEDIATELY, the guy was training to be an Olympic Sprinter/Hurdler.
That being said, I think Wilson has the opportunity to have a better career than Teddy (and I loved me some Teddy punt returns)

will0327's picture

Gus Johnson x Dontre Wilson x Saturday night College Football = Electric 
I can see Dontre taking a kick back this week


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Michael!  Dontre has started off great. 

pjtobin's picture

That little joker is fast!

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

cbusbuckeye's picture

Wilson is gonna tear it up in B1G play, mark it down! Right now he's only getting carries on very predictable read option type runs and is averaging 10+ yards a carry....once they really open up the offense, watch out!!

ScarletGray43157's picture

Agreed.  Wilson is no doubt still in the learning curve as far as knowing the offense.  Guys tend to speed up once it becomes automatic, when they learn it enough to not have to think it through as they are doing it.  Even though he is flying now, he has to be still thinking things through at this point.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Buckabroad's picture

Very true. And it does not hurt that our O-Line is playing pretty well, too. Once Dontre works in cohesion with our mauling O-Line and learns to exploit the holes they open more naturally, he could really become even more of an every-down threat. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

hit_the_couch's picture

I hope he's a beast when tOSU starts playing better teams. 

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

darbnurb's picture

He has to be careful.  That speed could kill him.  Case on point was the clothesline he received while returning a kickoff last Saturday.  

buckskin's picture

“I’m way faster than a lot of people. Now, I have to go out and prove it.” 
He thinks he's fast, he knows he's fast, and he still wants to prove it on the field.  The definition of a competitor.  This is not cocky, this is confidence.  I love this man's attitude.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

My man is making fast dudes with angles miss.