Better Know a Buckeye: Drue Chrisman

By Vico on April 15, 2016 at 10:10 am
Drue Chrisman punts at an Ohio State football camp.

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its tenth installment. We profile Drue Chrisman, a punter from Cincinnati. Chrisman is the punter designate in Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class and the only specialist Ohio State recruited this past cycle.

Drue Chrisman

  • Size: 6-2.25/198
  • Position: P
  • (Hometown) School: Cincinnati, OH (LaSalle)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★
  • National Ranking: 771
  • Position Ranking: 1 (P)
  • State Ranking: 32 (OH)

However, Ohio State got value for its focus on just this punter for 2016. Chrisman is the No. 1 punter among all 2016 prospects. He's also a three-star overall prospect in 247sports' consensus rankings. He's actually ranked higher overall than some of his classmates Ohio State signed in 2016 even though punters and kickers rarely get rankings higher than two stars.

Specialists also don't have extensive recruitment periods since many programs opt to use walk-ons for those jobs and save precious scholarships for other positions on the field. Still, Chrisman had a solid offer sheet, including offers from Brigham Young, Florida State, and UCLA, that he weighed before committing to the Buckeyes on May 5 of last year.

I retell this recruitment below and provide a scouting report, as best I can, of a punter. I close with a projection of a redshirt and some highlight film for you to watch.


Coaching staffs try to recruit every position on the field in each recruiting class. This is true even at positions where reserves do not play a lot. For example, Ohio State aims for a quarterback in every recruiting class even if it intends to play just one in a given game for the entire season. This is a rather common approach among all college football programs.

Specialists are different. Kickers, long snappers, and punters do not see the same level of action in a game as a quarterback or running back. Football rules and regulations even protect these players more than other positions on the field. Depth is not a high priority.

These positions do not get much attention in a given recruiting cycle, especially if the current starter at kicker, long snapper, or punter has years of eligibility remaining. Walk-ons can round out depth, if necessary, and save a coaching staff a scholarship it can use at another position of interest.

Ohio State's coaches do not see walk-ons as a desirable talent pool for first team specialists, though. Urban Meyer, a special teams-oriented head coach, wants top talent at those positions when need arises. Punter was a position of need at 2016 as Cam Johnston will enter his final year in an Ohio State uniform this fall.

Ohio State offered LaSalle punter Drue Chrisman on March 31, 2015. Chrisman already had a solid offer sheet by that point. Brigham Young offered him a scholarship. This was Chrisman's "dream school" since he was raised in the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS). 

Florida State may have been the tentative leader for Chrisman's services. He visited Tallahassee for its junior day festivities in February and left with a scholarship offer. This was his first offer. It resulted in a return trip at the end of March, just a few days before a second visit to Ohio State resulted in Ohio State's scholarship offer.

The Ohio State offer elicited an actual "wow" from Chrisman, who was surprised Ohio State offered him without ever seeing him punt in person or participate in a camp. 

Chrisman could have dragged his recruitment out several months, but he already had a solid offer sheet from which to choose. Florida State was his first offer and just a year removed from a national championship. Brigham Young was his dream school. Ohio State, which had just won a national championship, was close to his Cincinnati home. He had additional offers from Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA to select if he wanted.

It was "committing time" by the beginning of May when Kerry Coombs visited Chrisman in Cincinnati. Chrisman knew what he wanted to do a few days later.


Drue Chrisman committed to Ohio State as the punter designate in its 2016 recruiting class. He selected the Buckeyes over Brigham Young and Florida State, among others.

Chrisman elaborated on the decision in our Community Interview with him, highlighting that distance played an important role in his decision. Specialists do not have a lot of options in their recruitment. An ability to play close to home is a luxury for specialists, all things considered.

"They have great academics, I'm sure anywhere I would have gone would have had that, but just the comfortability of it... Being two hours away (from Cincinnati), having your parents and friends be able to come watch the game. Maybe get away for a home-cooked meal every now and then. I just felt at home, and you don't get more comfortable than home."

Columbus' LDS community also played an important role in gravitating Chrisman to Columbus in lieu of Provo.

"Brigham Young University was very hard to turn down not just because of the religious factor but the phenomenal academic and athletic programs there... I actually visited the institute near campus in Columbus on one of my visits, which was very helpful in my decision. To be able see that there are very strong LDS members in Columbus to help me feel right at home."


Kohl's Professional Camps, which specializes in evaluating and training kickers, punters, and long snappers, described Chrisman as the most college-ready punter in the 2016 class. Their evaluation of Chrisman highlights several features about him that are unique among his peers in this class.

One, Chrisman has a quarterback's frame at punter. In fact, he was previously a quarterback before an injury that required Tommy John surgery behooved him to focus more on punting. This quarterback's frame is a premium, though not as uncommon among his peers. His height allows for an effective follow-through on his punts. This aids in the air he is able to put underneath a punt as well as the repeatability of his punting motion.

Chrisman's quick hands and drop are unique among his peers. This aids his reliability in placing punts inside the 20-yard-line and makes him an effective pooch punter as well.

Finally, Chrisman is not a bad tackler as far as punters go. His highlight film features several tackles as his LaSalle team's kicker. No one would confuse him for a linebacker, but this is good to see.


Chrisman's internal clock is not that consistent yet, at least from my limited viewing. There are a few instances in which he seemed oblivious to a punt rush. I'm sure this is natural among punters who will have to adjust to the speed of the college game, but it's worth noting.

This might coincide with a real difference I've seen between his motion in drills and his motion in games. I think he hurries some punts and does not get as much air underneath them as he is capable of doing. Thus, he outkicks the coverage. This is ultimately correctable.


Drue Chrisman will not see game action in 2016, barring a catastrophic injury to Cameron Johnston. He'll even grayshirt his first year on campus. Expect him to factor prominently in the race for starting punter in 2017.



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