For Dontre Wilson to Be Spectacular, He Simply Must Be Effective

By Patrick Maks on September 1, 2014 at 8:35a

Dontre Wilson looked like one of Ohio State’s premier playmakers Saturday, but he didn’t do anything particularly spectacular. That’s because he didn’t need to.

In a 34-17 win against Navy, Wilson had 166 all-purpose yards (43 rushing, 46 receiving and 77 on punt/kick returns) and glided across the field with a certain combination of speed and power that he didn’t possess his freshman season.

Yeah, we get it: Wilson is really fast. But now he’s apparently added 15-20 pounds of muscle to a once skinny frame. He can hurt you outside on a jet sweep, or up the middle on an inside zone.

That’s the difference between Dontre Wilson, the sophomore, and Dontre Wilson, the frail kid whom head coach Urban Meyer called a “novelty” and a “hood ornament” last year.

"He was a hybrid guy that really wasn't great at anything. He had potential, but couldn't block at the level we expected him to (and) was not quite strong enough to run inside like you need that hybrid guy to do,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days in July.

“(He) was simply an outside running player. He's gained the weight. He's much stronger.”

That coupled with world-class speed, is why it’s obvious Wilson has the potential to be a special player for Meyer’s Buckeyes. He's also an increasingly-critical part of an offense that lost senior quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury two weeks ago. 

The supporting cast surrounding J.T. Barrett, the redshirt freshman charged with replacing Miller's star power, matters now more than ever. Wilson plays a leading role.

“Thats exactly what I did in high school. I’m prepared for it, I’m ready for it," he said Saturday in Baltimore.

At DeSoto High School in suburban Dallas, Wilson — who initially committed to play for Oregon before switching to the Buckeyes — was more talented than most of his competition. He was a start. The expectation is that he’ll be one in Columbus, too.

But for Wilson to be spectacular, he simply needs to be effective. And by that, he doesn’t need to be synonymous with big plays — which seems to be a trap players of his caliber fall into. 

If Wilson can rip off 50-plus yards every time he touches the football, good for him. But what Barrett and Ohio State really need are consistent and reliable weapons. Wilson was one of them against the Midshipmen.

He didn’t hit a home run. He didn’t need to. He’s talented enough to turn simple plays into great ones.  

“He's much more prepared for this level of football,” Meyer said. “He's always had the talent and he's always had the effort. He's an impact guy for us in a lot of ways.”

So don't make it harder than it has to be.  


Comments Show All Comments

Tater_Schroeder's picture

I'm loving the combination of him and Curtis Samuel.


+23 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Very good combo. Especially with marshall on the outside, and with dixon in the wings. All young, all going to get bigger, stronger, faster, smarter and more effective. The future is very bright.

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

+4 HS
Osurrt's picture

Agree. Watching the speed we can put on the field is downright scary at times. And Samuel runs tough between tackles as a fresh. Can you image if Braxton's speed was also in the backfield. Not a knock on JT, as he had a very good day and looks poised in the pocket. Remember he hasn't received game experience for almost 2 years. Would be fun to see JT under center in 2015 with Dontre, Samuel and Braxton in the backfield.

+2 HS
gumtape's picture

Percy Harvin is a freak. There is only one percy Harvin. Dontre could be percy without the migrainesr. i wouldn't bet against him.

High and tight boo boo

+9 HS
SPreston2001's picture

Dontre doesnt seem to have the top end speed like Percy! Percy was FAST!!!!

+2 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

That's silly, Dontre absolutely has that top end. He doesn't quite have the size, but he also hasn't really gotten the chance to hit top speed I don't think either. I'm waiting for the play where he ends up in a race to the edge with open space in front of him.

+1 HS
Bucksfan70's picture

i disagree.

last year he didn't have that explosive speed, his motor was revving high in 1st gear and he couldn't kick it into second. he was quick but not quick and fast. this year has that extra gear and plays a lot faster, he's a flat out burner.

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.” - Jerry Rice

BeatTTUN's picture

Just Do You

Go Buckeyes Beat Michigan

+7 HS
edr4225's picture

lets go bucks!!

+7 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

But now he's apparently added 15-20 pounds of muscle to a once skinny frame.

Kudos to you, Dontre, for putting in a lot of hard work in Coach Mick's chamber of horrors! We've been excited to see your true potential emerge since you committed to the Buckeyes - now you can either blow by, or blow up, defenders.

+4 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Just be the #2 RB, cause Ol' Herm ain't never gonna use the H-Back , and TE like UM did at FL. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

-9 HS
countrybuckeye's picture

And therein lies a problem -- Coach Herman must be shown the light by his peers and his players.  "Walk towards the light!"

"Momma told me there would be days like this."

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

I'd love to see a Wilson counter off the two back formation to the back side a la Navy. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

+3 HS
lsjSnail's picture

Not sure why this play has yet to be run at Ohio State with Meyer. That was such a successful play while he was at Florida.

AndyVance's picture

Let's see... J.T. Barrett, despite having the best debut of any Buckeye starting Quarterback of the past 40 years, was not "spectacular." Dontre Wilson, despite rolling up nearly 180 yards in total output, was not "spectacular." 

I move that we stop setting the bar at "spectacular" and ask for "solid," "effective," "textbook," or just plain old-fashioned #WINNING. I don't need to see our guys on SportsCenter, I just need to see them win football games.

+17 HS
Patrick Maks's picture

The point is that Dontre didn't do anything crazy. He didn't have a 70-yard for a touchdown or take a punt back to the house. He got solid yards every time he touched the football, though, and that's big. Urban called him a novelty last year becsuse he was only good for a home run play here or there. He proved he's a lot more than that Saturday. So no, he didn't do anything spectacular but was incredibly effective for Ohio State. 

PittBuckeye's picture

While he stopped shy of spectacular he does make you hold your breath every time he touches the ball. He looked killer on kick returns. I bet teams kick away from him by the end of this season. He almost broke 2 that I remember.

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Dontre came so close to busting one to the house Saturday, and eventually he will. He's been so close. Maybe vs. VT he'll do it. I can't wait because sooner or later he's going to take one all the way.



+4 HS
AndyVance's picture

Your point is well made, Patrick and I don't disagree... However, having read more or less the same analysis of two of Ohio State's most potentially potent offensive playmakers in the past 48 hours, I think it's clear that we're looking a set of expectations that only set us up for disappointment. Thus far, these guys are doing exactly what they need to be doing, and exactly what one would expect young players to do: play hard, learn fast, and keep improving.

+5 HS
SHAKENBAKE68's picture


Go Bucks!!

There is no such thing as "friendly fire"..

+1 HS
BenArazi4's picture

I thought his burst was pretty spectacular every time he touched the football?  Sure he didn't take one to the house but why don't we point out what he was instead of trying to point out something YOU think he wasn't?  He was GREAT and so was Barrett, especially for not playing a game since October 2012 and still having a better first game than Pryor, Miller and Smith.  That's pretty spectacular if you ask me.  Give credit where its due!  Its like some people have biases between players and its getting kind of silly.




-2 HS
camcop71's picture

Have to effective with the ball. And take the spectacular when it comes.

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back so I just ran him over.” -Joey Bosa, PSU 10/25/14

andretolstoy's picture

It's crazy to listen/read some of the narratives out there. "Ohio St. squeaked by Navy" or "Ohio State struggled" yet Alabama having their hands full with WV was normal. I'll be following Navy this year.

+2 HS
DC-town's picture

Andy Vance- on point.  The par be set at spectacular left some people actually using the word 'bust' for this true freshman last year...which is embarrassing-

Well said by Maks, 'we need consistent and reliable weapons' fast and deep as our rb and pivots are- if they're disciplined and hold onto the ball, defensive coordinators will be pulling out their hair prepping for our offense

'Piss excellence' -RB

+2 HS
904buckeye's picture

I LOVE Dontre! The kid looks like he's gonna be a star. Let this kid see everything click, I guarantee he'll be remembered for a long time.


Mortc15's picture

On that opening kickoff, a few of the guys I was with, all looked at each other and said "was that really Dontre?! He's huge!"

Those added pounds will do wonders for him as the season wears on, especially when the colder months come and running between the tackles becomes more important.


+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

More touches.

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

+1 HS
BenArazi4's picture

I'd like to see a jail break fake to Samuel on one side of the field then throwback to Wilson and vise versa.  I'd like to see some more screens getting Wilson, Marshall, Eze and Samuel involved.  My oh my, we didn't even tap the playbook at Navy.




-1 HS
TUNBUCK89's picture

Busting a kick return to the house is just a matter of time. Hopefully, it won't be called back due to a bad block. That would really be a shame.

Citrus's picture

As other commenters have mentioned, he was very close to taking a kick back against Navy. I was impressed with him. The constant production greatly expands the Buckeye arsenal and increases the chances Wilson breaks something open. Because he is more consistent, he'll be given the ball in a greater number of situations which improve the odds he'll get a crease and take one all the way.

Montana silver bullet's picture

Less experience on a team   =   more potential for growth and development.   SCARY THOUGHT for our adversaries-

Andy Vance on point on the unreasonable expectations, wait till the B1G schedule as this team will be firing on all cylinders.

Montana Silver Bullet

andretolstoy's picture

Didn't see Dontre before, but when I got a load of EZ and all the 'meat' he put on in the off season I was dumbfounded. Kid turned man in six months.

steveoz49's picture

Every time Dontre touches the ball I think "ooooohhhh boy, this could be the play!".  I'm still waiting for that first explosive play.  I know it's coming, he's very exciting and I believe that he's in for a  great season. 

Congrats on the hard work in the offseason, it will pay off...

+2 HS
Will in Arizona's picture

Dude needs to learn to block - he was constantly getting beat on Saturday.

+1 HS
teddyballgame's picture

Best thing from the Navy game:  we won and didn't have any major injuries (as far as I know)

Knarcisi's picture

It might have been his size that made it seem so, but he actually looked faster to me than he did last year. 

+1 HS
Bleeding-Scarlet-Grey's picture

Think of the possibility of Wilson, Samuel, and Marshall with Braxton hopefully all lined up in the same back field next year!!!! Bananas 

Brother man, I have MADE and LOST millions in my lifetime.... Brain cells that is! How I made those millions I do not know because the secret has been lost in the millions I have lost!!!! ~ Taco

+1 HS
mtrotb's picture

Yes, they can do the infamous diamond formation that was practiced back in the spring of 13, but never used last fall.


mfoster's picture

Just wait until the offensive line gels 100%! Hopefully it will at a much better level by this coming weekend against Va. Tech.!

*Buckeye 4 ever*

Txsbuckeye's picture

Dontre will be Dontre. Meyer brought him in to be spectacular. I am sure there are 20 "solid" guys he could have brought in. Spectacular trumps "solid" any day of the week and 14 times on Saturday. Spectacular makes the highlights on sportscenter and influences the playoff committee. Now I do agree that he needs to be dependable as well. J.t. Needs some dependability from his receivers an o-line.

Graduate Assistant at the Vonn Bell Academy For Children Who Can't Read Good And Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too

OSUBias's picture

Thought Dontre and Samuel were our best two skill players on Saturday, and loved how impressed I was with Marshall. 

Dontre looks like a completely different player. Literally because he gained 20 pounds and looks completely shredded, but also the way he played. He was all business, no histrionics, no outbursts, very focused and acted like he's been there before.  And he caught the ball well, other than the second play of the game. But I most loved how quickly he got north and south. There was one running play where he waited, waited, waited, then put his foot in the ground and was immediately 10 yards upfield. That is explosion that he didn't show last year. Extremely pleased with him. 

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

J.Mo's picture

Last season I thought Dontre was overrated and just all hype. I know he didn't do anything special against Navy but I think he sets this league on fire. 

buckeye phi's picture

It only makes sense that Dontre Wilson must be effective in order to have very many chances to be spectacular.  Hey - if he's not effective, Jalin Marshall may end up playing H-back.  He looked pretty good with his limited opportunities, too. 

This team is absolutely loaded with speed.  There are several Buckeyes who could have spectacular seasons.

Nobody's going to look very spectacular, however, if that youthful offensive line doesn't play better against the Hokies.  Virginia Tech always plays tough defense and the Beamer/Foster braintrust must be licking their chops watching saturday's game film - especially the first half.

Fortunately for Ohio State, the line play seemed to improve as the game progressed.  They should be able to build on that momentum.

That would be welcome news for Dontre, J.T., Ezekial, Jeff, Devin, Evan, etc

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers