After Year of Turmoil, Marcus Baugh Focuses Forward

By Kyle Rowland on April 16, 2014 at 9:15a

The first year of college creates indelible memories for teenagers across the country. For Marcus Baugh, the recollections were for all the wrong reasons.

Before his freshman season even began, Baugh was cited for underage drinking. The July incident put the thought of transferring into the Southern California native’s mind and squarely in head coach Urban Meyer’s crosshairs, ultimately resulting in being redshirted.

A suspect attitude and poor work ethic also contributed to Baugh’s stay on the coaches “no values” list, he said. But something clicked during preparation for the Orange Bowl. After months of practice and rebuilding his standing on the team, Baugh had his black stripe removed thanks to a recommendation by teammate Ryan Shazier.

“That felt good,” Baugh said.

But it wouldn’t last. In January, there was another alcohol-related incident. This time Baugh’s status on the team was in serious jeopardy. Trust is difficult to earn and easy to lose. In an instant, all the goodwill Baugh accumulated was reduced to rubble.

“I felt like I earned [the coaches trust] back, and then I lost it all again. It was rough,” Baugh said. “It definitely opened my eyes. I’m out of chances. I have to do this. After my second incident, I thought I was gone.”

Instead, he was handed an indefinite suspension and removed from team activities. Baugh gave himself another suspension – no more going out. He concentrated on academics and football, the two pillars that brought him 2,211 miles to Ohio State.

Grades weren’t an issue when spring practice began. By then, Baugh was focused on showcasing the skills that earned him dozens of scholarship offers, among them Ohio State, Florida, UCLA, Miami, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Those overtures came after he recorded over 1,200 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons at J.W. North High School.

Baugh’s 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame and accompanying speed and pass-catching ability makes him the prototypical Urban Meyer tight end. Flashes of the versatility Meyer craves was exhibited throughout the spring. On student appreciation day, Baugh had two touchdowns and more than 100 receiving yards.

“I’m just trying to show coach I can play hard,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t play so hard. I’m just trying to show him what I can do now, how much I bring to the table.”

“I’m just doing what they want me to do. I’m just trying to show that I am not a bad person.”– Marcus Baugh

The coaches are aware of everything Baugh brings. But a series of good practices don’t act as a miracle maker. When Meyer found out Baugh spoke to reporters, he was less than pleased. At Ohio State, you earn the right to talk to the media and Baugh hasn’t earned that right, Meyer said.

Tight ends coach Tim Hinton was Baugh’s lifeline when he hit rock bottom. Hinton offered Baugh encouragement and urged him to improve himself on and off the field. How one reacts to adversity fully forms their character.  

“He was my biggest supporter,” Baugh said.  

Said Hinton: “He certainly learned a lot of adult lessons. The expectations at Ohio State and the fan base and the administration are very high. The nice thing is that Marcus has a clear understanding that there are expectations in this program. He knows what’s expected of him. He knows how to handle his life. Every day we work to improve who he is as a person and make sure that he lives up to the expectations at Ohio State.”

In July, there wasn’t much communication between Baugh and Meyer. Baugh got the message, though, when he was suspended and lost in grant-in-aid. After the second incident, Meyer was more involved.

“Marcus had some issues,” he said last week. “He’s one foot in, one foot out right now. His effort has been really good. He’s trying to do things the right way. But to say he’s out of the woods – no.”

An injury to Jeff Heuerman gave Baugh added reps, even snaps with the first-team offense. He took the opportunity to highlight mismatches against the defense and run open down the middle of the field. When most improved players are talked about, Baugh’s name shoots near the top.

But Heuerman and Nick Vannett will factor into the offensive game plan during the season, leaving Baugh wanting more. His status is of no worry to himself. Baugh chooses to spend his time improving his blocking and understanding of the playbook.

“They’ve all helped me,” Baugh said. “We came together as a unit this spring. We’re functioning at a high level, pushing each other to go harder and fix mistakes. 

“I feel good. Maybe I can get some playing time this season. But that’s all up to [Coach Meyer]. I’m just out here doing what I can do. I’m happy with whatever I get. I just want to help the team out in any way.”

Blocking at the point of attack will come with experience, which breeds consistency. Baugh’s determined to make all of it part of his strengths. There are chances to develop every day and letting them pass by can be the difference in a career not taking off.

When Heuerman departs after 2014, Baugh will be waiting to break out. Of course, staying out of trouble will dictate his status.

“I’m just doing what they want me to do,” Baugh said. “I’m just trying to show that I am not a bad person.”


Comments Show All Comments

mtrotb's picture

Hopefully he will hang in there and do what he needs to do.  Won't see much time this year, but has 15 thru 17 to play a lot.


+2 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

I like Marcus. I really do. It sounds like he has the right perspective now. I think he will get in on some game situations this year. Just enough to get him hungry for a much more expanded role and needed player on the field the following year with Jeff leaving. Being a redshirt freshmen (correct?), he still has four years ahead of him. Three of those can potentially be as a starting TE for THE Ohio State University. The man is in prime position to showcase his skills for years to come, it all depends on if he can seize the opportunity. Judging by this quick write-up, I think he gets it, which is outstanding news to hear from a fans perspective. Very nice read.

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

+5 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I've been looking forward to this. Hope he continues the path and puts the work in, he has the ability to shine in Columbus.

Good to read that it appears he realizes it's all up to him. Keep pushing Marcus, plenty of us out here rooting for you.

+3 HS
AZBuckeyePhan's picture

Keep up the good work Marcus. Buckeye Nation is rooting for you.

+3 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Good to know that Marcus takes the responsibility for his actions.  I hope he earns some playing time.

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

First step towards being an impact player is getting your mind right. Glad to see he's improved in that respect so he can start to tune his game to Ohio State standards. Watching him the spring game, I wasn't too impressed with his ability, but that will surely improve should he maintain a good attitude, which it appears he has developed.

+1 HS
osubuck57's picture

Think all of Buckeye Nation is rooting for Marcus. If he stays on the straight and narrow, there should be no problems. Remember being excited when he committed to us, without even visiting the school yet. Hope he fulfills his potential on the field, even more so off the field!!


+1 HS
allinosu's picture

Good feeling about him now. He sure looks athletic on the field. His day is coming and I hope he uses his experience to mentor others as he moves forward.

+1 HS
southbay's picture

Can't wait to see him play, go Marcus!

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

It would be a surprising change of pace to our opponents to feature some 3 TE sets, and with the bodies at that we have, it could be an effective option.  No idea how it would work with the shotgun and read option, but to add that wrinkle as a viable option would give D-Coordinators fits, because then not only would that have to prep their nickel and dime packages, but also their big sets as well.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

CGroverL's picture

He's one of many that just needs some time to develop and grow up. There is lots of that on this 2014 team. Athletically, there is probably no better team. We just need something to pull it all together.

"I hope they're last in everything". One of Meyer's comments when speaking of TTUN after being hired at Ohio State.



BIGHEC39's picture

I'm rooting for this kid.... I live a few miles from where he went to High School and this kid was making a lot of noise with his play..... He just has to keep his nose clean and stay out of trouble..... If he stays out of trouble and hits the books, he will have a nice future.......


Go Bucks!


+1 HS
Jonnferrell's picture

I'm a fan, Marcus.  Go for it!

"I miss Brady Hoke."

+1 HS
sivaDavis's picture

So if Baugh can't talk to the media, how did we get these latest quotes from him? Was I the only one wondering that haha.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

osubuckeye4life's picture

Stay your path Marcus and you will prevail. 

Buckeye nation is behind you!

hetuck's picture

IIRC, there is an athletic dept.-mandated one game suspension for the second substance-related incident. Don't expect him in Baltimore Labor Day weekend. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Won't go into some of the stuff I was doing at that age ... I do believe in second chances, the chance to mature, redemption ... best wishes to Marcus, this can end up making him a better and stronger person.

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

Seattle Linga's picture

So excited to see his progress this year - keep the eyes on the prize young man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TraptnMI's picture

Marcus is more athletically talented than Heuerman and even more so than Vannett. Baugh looks like a thinner Antonio Gates. At the end of his career, Baugh could challenge Dudley's numbers. Stay thirsty my friend!

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "