Wilson Hoping Two is Better than One Next Fall
By Patrick Murphy
“One is the loneliest number.”
The number one may not have been the loneliest for Dontre Wilson in 2013 but it certainly wasn’t what he had hoped. Wilson finished his freshman season with 983 all-propose yards and three total touchdowns, but many, including Ohio State’s number one, viewed this as a disappointment.
It could have been due to Wilson not wanting to be one at all, but wanting the number two.
“I was gonna get number two last year, but Jordan Hall or Rod Smith had it,” Wilson said. “I told Coach that I wanted to 'get back to me'. I feel like me now.”
Photo by Jim Davidson
Wilson claimed the vacated number and was the talk of spring camp, with head coach Urban Meyer declaring him the starting H-back, the main playmaking role for the Buckeyes.
Coming from DeSoto Texas, Wilson was a speedy running back with high school playmaking ability. The OSU coaching staff hoped he would make the H-back role his own, but Wilson struggled at times in his first season. Meyer harped on the freshman’s lack of size and blocking ability that made him a liability on the field.
“My head wasn't getting big over the hype, I just wanted to come in and play,” Wilson told reporters.
“The year didn't turn out how I wanted to, but now I'm starting at the “H” position which is the most prolific position on our offense beside running back and quarterback. Now I'm getting a lot more touches and I'm getting a lot more involved in the game.”
In 2013, Number One touched the ball 52 times from scrimmage, but was used as decoy when on the field for much of the second half of the season. This year, Number Two expects a much bigger and different role as he is more comfortable with all things related to football.
“Now I'm a pure receiver.” Wilson said during spring practice.
“Coming out of high school I played all running back. It's totally different for me. It's a game changer, but I'm used to it now and I'm getting way better at it. I picked up a lot of weight learning how to block, so spring right now is looking really good for me.
“I'll still [carry the ball], but we haven't put it in right now. We're still trying to get me focused and just make me a better receiver.”
Ultimately, that is what Wilson lacked a year ago. He had the speed and ability to make people miss with the ball in his hands, but needed an overall understanding of the game to be a constant threat on the field.
Throughout the spring, Wilson has demonstrated that he is ready to take on the responsibility needed, so much so that wide receivers coach Zach Smith called him one of the more reliable players in the position group.
“We're excited about Dontre and what he's able to do, his versatility,” Smith said.
“He's probably performing at the highest level in the group right now. I don't know if he's the focal [point] of the offense, but he's probably a focal point just as far as the effort and consistency goes. Definitely that.”
Having a full year in the system and working with Smith and strength coach Mickey Marotti has helped Wilson add to his skillset. He is now able to lineup fulltime at the H-back and fulfills the necessary qualities of the position. Add that to the abilities in which he arrived on campus and Wilson might start living up to his hype.
“Now that I've been in it for a year I understand it a lot,” Wilson said of the H-back position.
“We're pretty much learning a lot of next-level stuff, and just becoming an all-out receiver is really helping me with the position change.”
The H-back is one of the more crucial in Meyer’s offense because of the diversity it provides. Finally having someone that can play it to its full potential would give the Ohio State offense something they have not had the last two seasons.
Wilson is hoping for a change this season and – like his coaches and Buckeye fans – more production. The number change may be the key ingredient for this change. After all, two is better than one they say.