Craig Young is Piece of Clay Finding His Shape for Buckeyes

Craig Young Ohio State Buckeyes

Craig Young’s recruiting profile listed him as an athlete.

When he arrived at Ohio State last year as a true freshman, that turned out to be a pretty apt description.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Young played both sides of the ball in high school. As a wide receiver, he caught 35 passes for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season. As a defender, his 10.7 100m speed allowed him to cover as much of the field as possible.

This past season as a true freshman, he put his athleticism to good use, playing in 10 games. He got a handful of reps at linebacker and was a safety on the scout team, but also saw time last year on special teams.

While the Buckeyes asked different things of him last season, they did it understanding that there was going to be a period of transition.

“A year ago he’s running nine routes and playing corner, and now we’re in the trenches,” linebackers coach Al Washington said. “He’s been great and his attitude is great. I’m excited about him. He can fly.”

Going from high school wide receiver to college linebacker isn’t something that is done every day, but Young has spent each of his days making it happen.

“It’s a learning experience. A very humbling experience,” Young said. “But I enjoy it. I embrace it every day. It’s a choice. Coach Washington is always telling us that it’s a choice. Either you make it or you don’t, and me, I’m a choice man, so I’m going to make that choice and get better.”

The fact that he was still growing into a position but didn’t redshirt should speak to his potential. Even though he was still getting his feet under him, the coaches also wanted those feet out on the field.

The hope is that it continues to pay off this coming season.

“Craig is a piece of clay and he’s starting to find his shape,” Washington said. “He’s another guy physically who is putting on so much weight and he’s going to be a big kid.”

Players find their shape at different speeds and Young is still working on getting there. Right now he’s just trying to soak up everything he can from Al Washington.

“Yeah, most definitely. I am learning from him every day,” Young said. “The way he teaches, the way he coaches, it’s just awesome. It’s more coaching than anything else. It’s more tough love and I know the person giving the tough love, it’s harder for them than it is for us. Coach Washington is a great coach and a great mentor. He’s everything you want in a coach. He teaches you the fundamentals, so everything has gone well.”

Young’s biggest impact as a freshman may have come via the scout team last season. The scout team can be difficult for players because they have to be somebody other than themselves, though Young will tell you that he made plays on a daily basis.

He saw the scout team as an opportunity to hone his skills and go against the best the Buckeyes had to offer. If iron sharpens iron, then consider Young much sharper than he was when he arrived.

“Coach [Kevin] Wilson, he runs the scout team and he shows us tough love,” Young said. “He recruited me. He enjoys us every day. Playing on the scout team is one of the best things I’ve ever done in football because I’m learning and I’m playing against a guy who is probably going to the NFL in the next couple of years. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done at Ohio State.”

The Buckeyes are very deep at linebacker this season, so Young’s playing time will be very much up in the air. What isn’t up in the air, however, is Young’s future at the position.

After losing Cade Stover to defensive end at the tail end of last season, if there are any thoughts of moving Craig Young to a new position, Al Washington will have some words for whomever comes calling.

“We’re gonna fight for him,” he said. “Craig is right where he needs to be.”

3 Responses

  1. He could be Craig Powell 2.0 if he takes to the LB position. Otherwise, make him a pass catching TE. Even if he only got to 225, 230 lbs he could do some things at TE

  2. That man should have redshirted last year. He’s so slight he needs a year off to gain weight. The new silver bullet? He may not have the quickness of a slot player but he has the top end.
    Put him at TE, talk about mismatches, defender’s wouldn’t have his speed.

  3. IMO this article speaks well of every coach and player involved.

    Intrigued that Young’s ‘versatility’ may approach a consistent ‘roverback’ who is a ‘matchup nightmare’ as our coaches create mismatches with their scheme and player matchups… every game, even at times ‘every adjustment’.

    it’s a dynamic game. He’s a bird [safety] ! He’s a plane [LB] ! He’s … ;-{)}

    a versatile disrupter and blitzer!

    …let’s play football, and leave the hyperbolic supermans out of it!

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