Spring Rewind: What We Learned About Ohio State's Tight Ends

By Tim Shoemaker on April 23, 2017 at 7:45 am
Luke Farrell hauls in a pass during Ohio State's spring game.

Urban Meyer made the statement rather emphatically.

2017 Spring Preview

"Tight end is the most improved position on the team right now," Ohio State's head coach said a few weeks back during spring practice.

A bold statement, but one Meyer obviously felt comfortable making. And with starting tight end Marcus Baugh sidelined all spring due to offseason shoulder surgery, Meyer's claim spoke volumes about the depth the Buckeyes built this spring at the position.

A.J. Alexander, Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann and Kierre Hawkins make up the rest of new position coach Kevin Wilson's meeting room. And with Baugh held out, there were plenty of opportunities for each to impress.

According to Wilson, they did just that.

"I think the other tight ends had a good spring," Wilson said. "That’s in my world as a tight ends coach. To me, I just think we’ve got a lot of talented players that can play and you just want to see hungry and how humble and drive they stay in the summer."

Baugh caught 24 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns last season as the starter. With Wilson's influence on the offense, his production figures to top that.

It will be interesting to see how the Buckeyes incorporate their other talented tight ends, though. There may not be enough snaps for Alexander, Farrell and Hausmann — the next three in the pecking order — to all see the field in meaningful situations.

Alexander played sparingly last season as the No. 2 option behind Baugh. He caught just four balls for 27 yards. Meanwhile, Farrell, Hausmann and Hawkins — three tight ends Ohio State signed in its 2016 recruiting class — all redshirted as they weren't ready for major college football just yet.

Perhaps now they are. 

Wilson noted he hasn't had a chance to see Baugh play live yet due to his injury this spring. His performance last season was enough, however, and he'll be the main target at the position for quarterback J.T. Barrett this fall. 

But there is plenty of competition for that No. 2 spot this year and with Baugh graduating after the season, it's a key development year for the future of the Ohio State tight end. 

This spring helped the other four on the roster in a big way.

"We’ve got a long way to go with that group," Wilson said, "but Luke started training and competing. He’s got a ways to go to be as good as we need him to be. He’s on track. A.J. started coming through more consistent."

"I’m excited to see what Marcus is going to be. Jake Hausmann was doing well. Got an ankle sprain that limited him a little, but that’s a good group right now. It improved, but it’s not where I want it to be and it’s not where it’s going to be. We’re going to get that group stronger."

If that happens, perhaps the next time Meyer talks about his tight ends he will mention how they're among the best units on the team, not the most improved.

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