Despite Surgery, Heuerman Poised for Sweet Swan Song

By Chris Lauderback on April 5, 2014 at 8:15a
Five touchdown catches in 2014 would tie Heuerman with John Lumpkin for Ohio State's all-time record for tight ends (10).
12 Comments

Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman saw his senior season begin with a thud as he suffered a foot injury requiring surgery sidelining him until June but assuming there are no complications, the Naples, Florida product could make a run at the finest single-season performance by a Buckeye tight end since Rickey Dudley hauled in 37 balls for 575 yards in 1995. 

I know what you're thinking. Every year this theme crops up as the head coach, just like Urban Meyer did earlier this week, touts the headliner and the backups – Heuerman along with Nick Vannett and Marcus Baugh in this latest instance – as one of the most talented tight end units around only to see the group barely utilized in the passing game. 

Vannett and Baugh may not put up numbers worthy of the hype but with Heuerman coming off 26 catch, 466 yard season with four touchdowns, not only is the hype warranted, he might actually be flying under the radar. 

For some perspective, Heuerman's 2013 receiving output was good enough for third best on the team and Ohio State tight ends accounted for 19% of the receiving yards, good for the most during the Braxton Miller era. 

Tight End Production During Braxton Miller Era
YEAR / TE REC % REC YDS % YDS TD % TDS
'13 HEUERMAN/VANNETT 34 14% 546 19% 5 13%
'12 HEUERMAN/VANNETT 17 11% 217 10% 1 6%
'11 STONEY/FRAGEL/HEUERMAN 20 16% 282 17% 7 39% 

Heuerman's numbers carried the tight end production a season ago and included numerous clutch plays that should make him even more of a go-to target for Miller this fall as the senior quarterback lost his favorite target from a year ago (Philly 63/771). 

In a tight 34-24 win over Iowa, Heuerman recorded a career high five passes for 38 yards as he was targeted five different times on first down to help neutralize a solid set of Hawkeye linebackers. 

The following week, he blew up against lowly Purdue racking up five grabs for 116 yards including a 40-yard touchdown becoming the first Buckeye since Dudley in '96 to eclipse the century mark. 

In The Game, Heuerman exploited the Wolverine defense twice on seam routes, one a 22-yard touchdown putting Ohio State in front 35-21 in the 3rd quarter of what became a 42-41 victory. 

Finally, in the Orange Bowl loss to Clemson, Heuerman flipped momentum with a 57-yard touchdown grab with the Buckeyes trailing 20-9 late in the 2nd quarter, again down the seam, breathing new life into an Ohio State squad knocked on its heels to that point. 

Heuerman's impressive year quietly accounted for the most receptions in a single-season by a tight end since Ben Hartsock's 33 in 2003 and the most receiving yards since Dudley's 575 in 1995. 

In fact, the no-brainer choice as a captain is just another 26 catches from 6th place on Ohio State's all-time tight end receiving list and needs only 383 yards to move into 2nd place all-time among Buckeye tight ends behind Bruce Janikowski. He's also just five touchdown grabs away from tying John Lumpkin for the most by a tight-end in school history with 10. 

So when you hear Meyer talk about Ohio State making it a point to involve the tight ends, with a healthy Heuerman in the mix, this just might be the year to believe the hype. 

12 Comments

Comments

buckeyeradar's picture

I keep hearing he had a foot injury that required surgery, what kind of injury did he have and could it reappear?  Muscle, bone?  Just how long will he be out?

Buckeye in Texas

+1 HS
nikolajz1's picture

We heard the same thing last year and the TE's weren't used much, especially at the end of the season. 

+2 HS
SweetBabyJames's picture

some of those 2011 stats are inflated by Joe Bauserman

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture
+4 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

A thing of Beauty! Like catching fireflies. Lol

Go Bucks!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Promises promises ...

Would be great to see the tight ends get involved to complement having a QB who can pass and run, a power running back, a hybrid back and some WR's who can run deep routes as well as finding the seams.  The bucks will be very hard to defend obviously if all of those weapons come together.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Wesleyburgess1's picture

I have a feeling that our Tight Ends will be helping the O-Line pass block allot more than this previous season. Most likely wont catch as many as last year unless we start using more 2 TE sets so one can help pass block and the other can run downfield and make catches. Hope I'm wrong.

+1 HS
buckeyedexter's picture

I think the second level read option Meyer has been talking about could benefit the TE's a lot this year, but I also think our WR's are going to be a lot better, so overall I don't see the TE's getting more touches.

alust2013's picture

I think they honestly kinda forget about the TEs during games. Heuerman should have a minium of 35 catches this year, given his status as the 2nd best/most experienced returning target

...and Michigan still sucks.

+2 HS
ibuck's picture

If the QB doesn't see the tight end, he won't throw to him. Hopefully Braxton will see the TE's more often in 2014, and the TE will be open and catch the ball.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Kingbuck12's picture

Sometimes the tight end is the third and fourth read, for this reason I don't think he will ever get the record. Braxton Miller will not be able to find him. Just one man's opinion. 

Kingbuck12

Go1Bucks's picture

Heurman is the guy. Dead horse issue til I see impact this fall. Wishing it to be so. 

 

SL, dead horse gif insert here vvv :-P

Go Bucks!