Luke Farrell’s Emergence Bolsters Untested Buckeye Tight Ends

Luke Farrell Ohio State Football Buckeyes Buckeye Football

Spring is a time of rebirth in nature and a time of tight end discussions in the Ohio State football universe. The Buckeyes must replace two-year starter Marcus Baugh this season, and in spring camp it was redshirt sophomore Luke Farrell who emerged as the front-runner to get it done.

Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson also coaches the Buckeye tight ends, which is why it wasn’t surprising after about five minutes of fielding questions this week about the OSU quarterbacks that Wilson finally jokingly asked if he could talk about his position group for a bit instead.

Coming into the spring, there were several questions about the Buckeye tight ends, and also several assumptions. One of those assumptions was that last year’s backup tight end — Rashod Berry — would emerge as the starter at the position. That did not happen.

“Luke has separated himself as our best performer,” Wilson said this week. “Rashod had a minor injury that’s not going to hold him back, but it limited him the last week of practice. He’s a little bit more athletic. Jake Hausmann came along, and then with [incoming freshman Jeremy] Ruckert, I think we’re going to need all four.”

Hausmann and Farrell are classmates, coming to Ohio State together as two of the most-sought after tight end recruits in the nation. Neither played much last year as redshirt freshmen. This summer, the Buckeyes will once again add in a highly-recruited tight end prospect in Ruckert.

Even though this is a group with all of eight career catches between them, it could be the deepest the tight ends have been at Ohio State in years. It’s certainly more than Kevin Wilson is used to.

“Rashod is very, very, very talented. We’ve got to keep him coming along,” he said. “Jake Hausmann really started to progress this spring. And we’ve got a talented guy [coming in]. I think we’re finally going to get that group to have value, instead of just one guy. When I got here we had one guy and a bunch of young guys. I think our group can have value and I think we’re going to need our group.”

Without a player like Farrell to step to the forefront, however, Wilson’s group might not have the value that it currently does. Farrell’s emergence not only gives the offense someone that it can rely on, but it also gives the tight end room a leader to follow and learn from.

So what was it that put him over the top?

“I think right now, Luke Farrell is demonstrating where he’s close,” Wilson said. “He’s gotten strong. We’re talking here’s a tall guy and I think he did 225 [lbs] 21 or 22 reps. He’s gotten strong. He plays in a much better football position.

“I think initially he can be at the point of attack as good a blocker or maybe better than Marcus was a year ago. I don’t know if he’ll flash on some of those pass plays where Marcus would hurdle over somebody. And not that Luke’s not athletic, but Marcus was a very, very good pass receiver.”

Replacing a pass catcher like Baugh is also key for the Buckeye passing game. That may not all be put on Farrell’s growing shoulders, however.

“He’s pretty good in the passing game. It’s just Marcus was a very athletic and natural receiving tight end,” Wilson said of Farrell. “I think Jeremy Ruckert can be a very natural, just naturally fluid. Marcus could sometimes run routes and you thought it was a wide receiver if you didn’t know who was who when he’d put his toe in the ground. So Luke is not a poor receiver, that was just Marcus’s definite strength.”

While Farrell might not be the pass catcher that Baugh was, he should step in immediately and make the run blocking and pass blocking an ongoing strength.

“I think with Marcus having a shoulder injury, I think Luke’s going to be stronger,” Wilson said. “I think he’s going to hold the point and be more physical at the point of attack. And I think he’ll be better in pass pro. I think we’ll complement him.”

Overall, Wilson likes the makeup of his group. They will work to make Farrell a complete player, but the other three tight ends will complement him well.

“I think Ruckert’s going to be in that line to be that really good receiving guy,” Wilson said. “And I think Luke Farrell is going to be very, very complete and competent. And we’ll see what we can get with Jake and Rashod to complement. I think we’re going to need three guys playing to get a great group there.”


2 Responses

  1. Seems like another ho hum year at TE. Thing is we have enough weapons all we need is for the TE to be serviceable in the passing game and a good blocker.

  2. If I had $100 for every block Baugh whiffed on… Never mind. Here’s hoping Rashod can get consistent and Ruckert is all that and a bag of Buckeyes.

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