The 14th installment of this edition of the Better Know a Buckeye series continues with Alex Stump. Stump, a wide receiver prospect from St. Edward, generated considerable excitement from Ohio State fans when he flipped his commitment from Kentucky to Ohio State last October. Despite St. Edward routinely producing some of the best teams in the state, Stump is only the second alumni to sign with Ohio State since Alex Boone ten years earlier. Nate Oliver also signed with Ohio State in 2007.
- Size: 6-3.5/195
- Position: WR
- School: St. Edward (Cleveland, OH)
- 247 Composite: ★★★
- National Ranking: 302
- Position Ranking: 37 (WR)
- State Ranking: 13
I retell Stump's recruitment below, starting with the late interest he got in the summer and early autumn. Then, I discuss his decision to change his commitment from Kentucky to Ohio State. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for Stump and project whether he redshirts in 2015. I conclude with highlight film for you to watch.
Not many Ohio State fans knew of Alex Stump before Ohio State's coaches offered him on September 21 last year. By that time, Stump had been a Kentucky commitment for the past four months. One of several recruits to head south to Kentucky from the Buckeye State under Mark Stoops' tenure, Stump committed to Kentucky over Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, and several MAC and Ivy League offers. In other words, Ohio State fans that did know of Alex Stump through the summer of 2014 may have considered him little more than another name as part of the Big Ten's "Kentucky problem".
More Alex Stump at 11W
Stump actually turned down overtures from Ohio State and other Big Ten programs through the summer of 2014. Stump wanted to remain firm on his commitment to Mark Stoops and Kentucky, even if it meant turning down auditions for offers from bigger programs closer to home. His stance softened later in the summer when Stanford offered on June 15. Afterward, he took an unofficial visit to Palo Alto on July 26. He had great things to say about the visit to Stanford and even found time to watch a Giants game for his hassle, though was coy on saying what the Stanford visit may mean for a "timetable" or for his standing commitment to the Wildcats.
Stump's recruitment changed course when he finally visited Ohio State on Sept. 21 last year. He left with a scholarship offer. It may have seemed like a fait accompli to Ohio State fans that Stump would switch his commitment sooner than later. After all, Stump grew up following the Buckeyes with an intense devotion. Further, it's conceivable Stump may not have committed to Kentucky when he did if he had received solid interest from bigger programs like Ohio State. However, Stump was torn, mostly for his respect to Mark Stoops. The early offers tend to forge stronger bonds between recruit and program.
While Stump may have been torn, a foot injury he suffered in early September gave him time to consider what he really wanted. The realization came a little over two weeks later.
On Oct. 12, 2014, Alex Stump announced his new commitment on Twitter. He had flipped from Kentucky to Ohio State.
I am flipping my commitment from Kentucky to THE Ohio State University. It has always been my dream to stay home and play for the Buckeyes— Alex Stump (@ShowTime_Stump) October 12, 2014
Stump reiterated that the decision was not an easy one. It was difficult to inform Mark Stoops about his change of heart, though Stoops was reportedly understanding of Stump's decision.
"I have so much respect for Kentucky, the guys I've gotten to know through my recruitment, their coaches and everyone associated with their program, and now I've got a couple of teammates going there too," he said. "They believed in me from the start, and I appreciate that they gave me the opportunity. Letting coach (Mark) Stoops know I was changing my decision was incredibly difficult, because he's done so much for me. However, I have to make the decision that's the best for me and my family. I know that 'Big Blue Nation' is going to be disappointed, but I hope they'll respect what I've got to do and why. They are going to continue to see big things coming their way and I'll always root for them. This was not an easy decision, and I know people thought that it was going to be."
WHERE HE EXCELS
In a star-studded recruiting class, Alex Stump is almost the median prospect. He and Joe Burrow are in the middle of the distribution of the composite rankings for all the members of this signing class.
At 6-3.5 and almost 200 pounds, Stump is not a small wide receiver. In fact, his size is a magnifier of his skill set. He runs okay routes, but he is difficult to jam or reroute because of his size. He is great at tracking footballs and high-pointing the ball when appropriate. He's not terribly fast, but is fast enough and can use his size and concentration to fight for footballs.
All told, Stump shines in his natural ability to make the most of his frame for his position. He plays like he's aware that his frame allows him to win certain one-on-one battles on the margins against defensive backs. This may seem like I'm arguing he's limited in what he can do, but far from it.
MUST WORK ON
Nothing I saw of Stump indicates that St. Edward's offense had a sophisticated passing attack. A lot of the film I watched of Stump featured him in bubble routes, go routes, or corner routes. This is basic, simple stuff. I saw enough to think he could thrive in red zone situations, but he will need to polish some of his routes and how he creates separation. In other words, he can make it easier on himself by running better routes.
While Stump could shake some defensive backs on go routes, given the right play-call in a run-oriented offense like Ohio State's offense, he is not exactly a home run threat. He'll work over the middle of the defense and is not afraid to do it. He'll pick up yards on the intermediate routes. Don't expect him to "house" one of those, all else equal.
I don't think Stump's foot injury will deter him when he enrolls in a few weeks, but I think there are enough options ahead of him (even for a wide receiver rotation that took a hit in graduation) to make Stump a likely redshirt candidate.
This is from Stump's junior year.