Redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Alexander is out for the season due to a knee injury. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer spoke with the media Friday evening and confirmed the news, which was first reported by Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch.
According to May, Alexander injured his knee playing basketball.
The injury comes on the heels of a very good spring for Alexander. He was building on a solid redshirt freshman campaign in 2016 where he was the Buckeyes’ No. 2 tight end behind Marcus Baugh. Alexander played in all 13 games last year, starting once. He caught four passes for 27 yards.
With Baugh out for the spring with shoulder surgery, Alexander stepped in as Ohio State’s No. 1 tight end and showed off an athletic skill set that could have been put to good use in 2017.
“Tight end is the most improved position on the team right now,” Meyer said in the spring. “A. J. Alexander is really coming on, and Luke Farrell is a little ahead of Jake Hausmann, but they’re both very comparable. Most improved position on the team.”
Meyer said on Friday that the team will rely on Hausmann and Farrell to step in for Alexander. He also mentioned that they are looking at moving defensive end Rashod Berry over to offense. Berry was moved to defense from tight end a year ago, so he has plenty of familiarity with the position.
Considering the glut at defensive end for the Buckeyes, a move for Berry wouldn’t be the worst thing for the redshirt sophomore. Unfortunately for him, the more he keeps moving, the longer it will take him to develop into the kind of player who sees the field as much as he would like.
Redshirt freshman Kierre Hawkins is also on the roster, but he spent the bulk of spring camp working on academics rather than football.
Hausmann and Farrell were both very highly regarded coming out of high school. Hausmann nearly played as a true freshman last year, and Farrell looked very good in the spring.
Losing Alexander is a blow because he provided the Buckeyes with a change of pace at tight end. At 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, he is a bit undersized, but he made up for it in speed and athleticism. It would have been interesting to see how he would have been utilized in Kevin Wilson’s Ohio State offense.