Football

How Will Ohio State Football Replace… Marcus Baugh

Rashod Berry Ohio State Football Buckeyes

 

Marcus Baugh started for the last two years at tight end for Ohio State, catching 52 passes for 573 yards and seven touchdowns in that span. This past season, his 28 receptions were fourth on the team, as were his five touchdowns. He was just one of two Buckeyes with a reception in every game last season.

Baugh was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and the media. With so many receivers and running backs involved in the passing game, Baugh was often overlooked, but he scored the game-winning touchdown against Penn State and a game-tying touchdown at Michigan.

Marcus Baugh came to Ohio State as a pass catcher who had to put in the work to become a viable blocker. He redshirted his freshman season and played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman. In 2015, he became OSU’s No. 2 tight end, which is where he really honed his blocking skills. As a starter the past two seasons, he helped an Ohio State running game that was one of the nation’s best.

The Buckeyes will miss Baugh’s experience, but will be replacing him with a talented group of players. That group, however, has eight career receptions to their credit.

The Candidates

The Buckeyes will likely have four tight ends on the roster this season, though that number could stretch to five if freshman athlete Alex Williams ends up there once he arrives in the summer. The most probable starter among the group, however, is redshirt junior Rashod Berry. Berry (6-4 260) came to Ohio State as a tight end, but moved to defensive end as a redshirt freshman in 2016. He played in 10 games that year and finished with seven tackles. He was moved back to tight end prior to 2017, and ended up making plays like this one.

The No. 3 tight end last season was Luke Farrell, who will be a redshirt sophomore this season. He caught two passes for 19 yards last season in a limited role. Farrell (6-6 250) was rated the No. 7 tight end in the 2016 class. He provides a large frame for his quarterbacks. Redshirt sophomore Jake Hausmann (6-4 252) was rated the No. 2 tight end in the 2016 class, but didn’t catch a pass last season in a very limited role. Urban Meyer has heaped both praise and criticism on Farrell and Hausmann in their time as Buckeyes, but this is the year they are going to be counted on to live up to their respective hype.

Farrell and Hausmann could both get a push from incoming freshman Jeremy Ruckert. Ruckert is the No. 2 tight end in the 2018 class and the No. 37 overall prospect in the nation. Ruckert (6-6 240) brings quite a bit of hype and expectations with him, which didn’t slow down any when Urban Meyer said Ruckert “might be the best tight end prospect that I’ve ever seen and recruited. His skill set is ridiculous. Now it’s a question of getting him ready to play.” Ruckert will arrive in the summer.

As mentioned above, true freshman Alex Williams could also get a look here depending on the needs of the team. At 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, he certainly has the size required for the position. He played tight end in high school, as well as defensive end and defensive tackle. He will end up where the need is greatest. Williams will arrive in the summer as well.

Spring Outlook

Rashod Berry, Luke Farrell, and Jake Hausmann should get a ton of reps this spring, and each one of them will grow because of it. This will be the first spring any of them have gotten a good number of spring reps, so it would be fair to expect some blossoming over the course of camp. Each of them possesses unique abilities. Berry might be the best overall athlete on the team and could turn the position into one that commands the ball more than it did a year ago. He still needs to work through consistency issues, which should continue to improve throughout the offseason.

Best Bet

Rashod Berry should emerge as the starter, but he is going to get pushed by both current teammates and a future teammate. Urban Meyer has cited Berry’s lack of consistency as his major downfall last season, but Berry sees the opportunity ahead of him and knows what he is capable of doing as long as he minds the little things. The entire group should grow and improve this spring. Don’t be surprised if it starts out as one of Meyer’s initial concerns and ends up as the group that makes the largest move by the end of camp. Also, when Jeremy Ruckert arrives in the summer, he is going to be given every chance to show that he belongs. The rest will be up to him. The rest of the tight ends won’t just sit by and wait for their spots to be taken, however.

Prediction

Expect Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann to both emerge as legitimate contributors to the team this season. They were both highly-regarded recruits, and both have been on Urban Meyer’s good side at different times in their careers. In other words, he has seen things that he’s liked from both players. This being their third year in the system, it is time to begin to produce. Marcus Baugh’s third season is when he became the No. 2 tight end, but still wasn’t involved in the passing game. One of these guys should be able to outdo Baugh’s redshirt sophomore season of two catches. The competition that they will have with each other will make them better.


How Will Ohio State Football Replace…

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2 Responses

  1. One of the most part-time players in recent memory. Had a few really memorable plays and more whiffs on blocks than Carter had liver pills! I wish the young man well, but good riddance for the Buckeyes!

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