Wilson Leads Parade of Freshman Speed

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Last updated: 08/12/2013 2:18 AM
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Wilson Leads Parade of Freshman Speedsters
By Rob Ogden

Dontre Wilson surrounded by media members on Media Day
Photo by Dan Harker
Dontre Wilson

It’s getting awfully crowded on the Dontre Wilson bandwagon. First it was just his quarterback, but when big defenders start jumping on as well, things start getting a little cozy.

It’s one thing for an offensive guy to say one of his peers looks good, it’s another thing when the defense won’t stop talking about him either.

That was the case with Wilson on Sunday.

“That kid is really fast,” linebacker Josh Perry said. “He’s got a good change of direction and he’s really starting to understand what the college game is about.”

Asked what separates Wilson from the other guys at the position, Perry answered quickly:  “Pure speed.”

“It’s nothing you can teach,” Perry said. "He’s just really fast and has that little burst and explosiveness that you look for.”

Freshman safety Vonn Bell is a pretty highly regarded prospect himself, but even he couldn’t escape talking about Wilson.

Bell didn’t hesitate when asked who the fastest guy on the offense was.

Von Bell
Photo by Dan Harker
Von Bell

“That’s Dontre, as far as speed and elusiveness, that’s Dontre,” Bell said about his roommate. “You better get your hands on him quick before he runs down the field.”

Wilson was seen as a big get for the Buckeyes when he flipped his commitment from Oregon to Ohio State on signing day, but the hype really started to grow when quarterback Braxton Miller singled him out as the most exciting freshman at Big Ten Media Days last month.

Without a single word from Wilson before Sunday, the expectations for the running back continued to grow, reaching almost unattainable heights.

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier tried to subdue the hype a little bit, saying it’s foolish to expect too much from a true freshman.

But even that came only after Shazier lauded Wilson’s speed.

Wilson seems to be taking it all in stride.

“I take it all to heart, but I’ve got to stay humble and do what I’m asked to do,” he said.

“But it is something that I like to hear,” Wilson added. “Who wouldn't like the starting quarterback, Heisman hopeful, to say that he would like you to be on the field with him?”

Ezekiel Elliot
Photo by Dan Harker
Exekiel Elliot

In a different year, freshmen Jalin Marshall and Ezekiel Elliott would be the ones surrounded by a mob of media members.

Instead, they’ve often been overshadowed by Wilson, but that doesn’t mean their teammates haven’t taken notice.

Along with Wilson, Perry singled out Elliott as another guy who adds a different element to the offense.

Marshall hasn’t gone unnoticed either.

Coach Urban Meyer and Miller both said those three players provide something the offense was missing last year.

That injection of speed, Miller said, will bring the offense from about 75 percent, where it was operating last year, to 100 percent this season.

Meyer didn’t leave any doubt.

“We’re a faster team,” he said. “You’ll see it.”

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