Spencer Hopes to Shine in Crowded Receiving Corps

By Tim Shoemaker on August 25, 2014 at 6:21p

Evan Spencer came to Ohio State as the son of one of the most prolific running backs in the school's history.

His father, Tim Spencer, lit up the fields in the 1980s and is third on Ohio State's all-time rushing list (3,553 yards) behind only Heisman Trophy winners Eddie George and Archie Griffin.

Unlike his dad, however, Evan is a wide receiver. And now in his fourth year with the Buckeyes, he's trying to make a name for himself at a position that is loaded with young talent.

“There wasn’t really pressure that I felt personally," Spencer said about coming in as the son of an accomplished Ohio State player Monday. "The kind of vibe that I kind of pulled from it was that we played different positions. He was a great running back here, and I came here trying to make a name for myself."

"Yeah, I am Tim Spencer’s son, but I’ve gotta go out on the field and perform. So that was probably the only pressure that I had was just knowing that you’ve gotta go out and make a name for yourself, really.”

It's been somewhat of a tough going so far for Spencer, though. During his time as a Buckeye, he has often been praised for his blocking ability, but his pass-catching numbers haven't met that same standard. He's hauled in just 37 passes for 430 yards and four touchdowns in his three seasons.

Now, as a senior, he finds himself in a rotation with roughly five or six other players. None of whom, with the exception of fellow senior Devin Smith and sophomore Dontre Wilson, have much experience for Ohio State.

It's such a crowded group, in fact, that head coach Urban Meyer still doesn't know who will start the Buckeyes' season-opening drive just five days from now against Navy.

"I couldn't tell you the starting receivers either right now," Meyer said at his press conference Monday. "Evan and Devin. Evan Spencer, Devin Smith. You got Dontre Wilson, you got Jalin Marshall, you got Mike Thomas and Corey Smith. And all of them could march in, and they all deserve playing time, so it's just a matter of who breaks the huddle first."

While Ohio State cannot play six or more receivers at the same time, Spencer said the depth of the group, and his place in it, will be a huge asset to Ohio State's offense this season.

“In our room, we’ve got like five or six 1s. You guys will see on Saturday, but we’re gonna rotate so much that we’re gonna try to keep fresh people on the field because we have the players to do so," Spencer said. "We have the athletes to do so and everybody’s comfortable enough in the system. They know what they’re doing, they know why they’re doing it more importantly and because of that, we’re gonna have so many more people in the rotation which in the big picture is gonna help us out . We’re gonna be more fresh, more athletic and more on our game I think.”


Comments Show All Comments

mtrotb's picture

Be interesting to see if they reach down and play any third teamers this year like Johnny Dixon and James Clark??  Dixon can redshirt while Clark used his last year after he got hurt in game 3.


osu07asu10's picture

Hey he can talk to the media again!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+8 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Totally forgot about that.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+1 HS
Habu71's picture

If the true and redshirt freshmen come in and live up to their billing, the statement "embarrassment of riches" comes to mind. 

+2 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

A crowded receiving corp needs a good distributor.  

+6 HS
Balkestud's picture

That is a good looking snook you have there sir

It gets kind of rough in the back of my limousine,



+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

I have this dream that J.T. will be able to see what the other team is giving us and take it.  That is what a good distributor does.

New York Buckeye

+1 HS
MikeTheBuckeye's picture

I'm excited to see all the young players this year. It's not every year you have this many players who've never taken a collegiate snap that not only have the ability to come in and start but also have break out player potential. And even though Dontre Wilson doesn't exactly fit this billing, I'm excited to see all the progress that he has reportedly made. Should be an exciting year, Braxton or not.

+1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+5 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

I hope that the opposing teams feel pain!! And to be clear, I hope they feel the pain of losing to OSU...............not this kind of pain.......................

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+3 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

Wtf was that?  Found myself reaching down to check I was all intact. 

Anyway, is it me or are we sitting wth a bit of Scarlet glasses expecting the Disteibutor to throw the ball to an open man who can house it every down?  I am realistically trying to temper my expectations and predict everyone will get lots of short yardage touches early while they probe defenses. 

I do have to admit tho. The first one to go the distance Buckeye Nation is gonna exhale big time. 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+6 HS
Buckeye419er's picture

I don't thing any of us (well, the realists) believe that anyone will "house it every down" but we do expect him to hit short routes repeatedly which leads to first downs which eventually leads to housing it as you say. I look for it to be much more of a fast paced march down the field not really a quick strike. With that said, if any of the guys (and by any I mean all of them hopefully) can show elusiveness and get down the field after the catch, I will be all for it.

There can be only one

Vinsaniti's picture

Is it Saturday yet? I just want to see all of this depth and young talent perform. Let's play already!

+1 HS
Bags5150's picture

Don't sleep on Jeff Greene!

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

+1 HS
BassDropper's picture

The coaching staff is.


-1 HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

For the first time since his hiring in 2011, Meyer has the speed and depth he's been looking for on both sides of the ball this year. That depth is going to be huge later in the season as the weather worsens and games perhaps get tighter late 3rd and 4th quarter. I think the pieces are all there this season despite the youth and inexperience. There is a blend of veterans and athletic youth with lots of speed. It is going to be FUN watching this team develop. As a great systems operator used to say in the 1980's........I feel.....the need......for speed.

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

D-Day0043's picture

In context, being a starter really just means you are out there for the first play of the game. Other than quarterback, I could really care less who is starting. There are roughly another 70 to 80 snaps in a game, so there is more than enough room for everyone to contribute something.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
wyatt's picture

I look for Jalin Marshall and Johnnie Dixon to show what they can do. These receivers always seem to get pre-season hype and then disappear during the games. A big time clutch receiver who we can depend on would be appreciated. 

buckeyeT24's picture

"don't sleep on Jeff Greene", "don't sleep on James Clark", "Don't sleep on Corey Smith". I feel like this could be said about six guys right now at the WR position! Very excited to see what is to come!

+1 HS
Crumb's picture

Yeah this may be the most loaded we've been at receiver since 2005 when we had Holmes, Ginn, Gonzalez, Robiskie, Hartline (who was red shirting), and Roy Hall. Scratch that we may be even more stacked cause we got Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett at tight end too!

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

GVerrilli92's picture

Well, I'll believe it when I see it.

If Mike Thomas didn't see the field last year, I'm worried about who won't see the field this year.

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

apack614's picture

I think the coaches are good enough to get it right. they know who should play and who shouldn't. Good luck Spencer

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

QBYBuckeye's picture

Ability and potential (talent) got them on the Roster.  It will take Attitude and Hard Work to get them on the field.

New York Buckeye

+2 HS
I'm Ron Burgundy's picture

I know there's strength in numbers and all that, and this offense with J.T. at the helm is going to be designed to spread the ball around and get everybody involved. But is it me or have we been lacking for awhile now, that true go to #1 receiver that makes big plays when we need them? I just think back over the years and some of the QB - WR combinations we've had:

Bobby Hoying - - - Terry Glenn

Joe Germaine - - - David Boston

Craig Krenzel - - - Michael Jenkins

Troy Smith - - - Santonio Holmes, and then Ted Ginn/Anthony Gonzalez

I guess the common thread is all those above WR were 1st round picks in the NFL, so maybe it is a little unfair. But those were all guys that I felt no matter the down and distance, we had a good chance to convert a big passing play when the QB dropped back to pass.  I could maybe stretch and put TP - - - Posey/Sanzenbacher on there but I never got the same feeling with those guys as I did the ones above. And definitely haven't had the same feeling with this current crop of receivers.

The WR group has gotten a lot of preseason hype the past two years, but for whatever reason we haven't seen it materialize on the field. Hell, even guys we thought had tons of potential didn't even play a down.  And I'm not sure whether it is because the WR aren't as good as we thought, or the QB has not been able to consistently find them and hit them on time, or the coaching/playcalling just does not lend itself to that type of passing game. It's probably a combination of all three.

Ahh, not sure where I'm going with all of this, other then - - - we should probably temper our expectations for the production of this group, at least compared to some of the all time greats we've had at the position in the last 15-20 years.

BuCkIfReAk's picture

johnny Dixon isn't gonna be a third teamer...    we know Wilson is technically a starter at hb, and devin smith is a starter, but I think Dixon has earned equal time with Michael Thomas and Evan Spencer. Spencer is the blocking wr at that spot, Thomas the redzone guy, and Dixon the all-purpose guy... Dixon will see as many snaps as the others.

Mark May is an alien.