The Ohio State football team only had three scholarship tight ends on the roster this spring, so there isn’t exactly a lot to recap. There was news, however. Redshirt sophomore Luke Farrell emerged as the team’s top tight end, while redshirt junior Rashod Berry and redshirt sophomore Jake Hausmann competed where they could to provide a complement to Farrell.
89 Luke Farrell, rSo (6-6 250)
38 Rashod Berry, rJr (6-4 255) OR
81 Jake Hausmann, rSo (6-4 245)
Coming into the spring, it was assumed by most that fourth-year junior Rashod Berry would emerge as the team’s No. 1 tight end. He spent the 2017 season as Marcus Baugh’s backup and played in every game, catching six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The criticism of Berry last year was a lack of consistency, and it would appear those same factors contributed to Luke Farrell seizing the job this spring. Offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson believes the Buckeyes will get better run blocking from the position this year than they did last year with Baugh due to Baugh having shoulder issues in 2017. Farrell is a big, physical tight end, but can he also be a weapon in the passing game? That’s still a question that Wilson has as well.
“So Luke is not a poor receiver, that was just Marcus’s definite strength. I think with Marcus having a shoulder injury, I think Luke’s going to be stronger and I think he’s going to hold the point and be more physical at the point of attack. I think he’ll be better in pass pro and I think we’ll complement him. Rashod is very, very, very talented. We’ve got to keep him coming along. 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.” — Kevin Wilson
He will not hit campus until this summer, but 5-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert already has Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson excited. Meyer has previously said that Ruckert may be the best tight end he’s ever scouted and recruited, so there will definitely be plans for him this season. Wilson knows that Ruckert will be more of a pass catcher this year and not a run blocker, so they are already factoring that into their plans. Incoming freshman Alex Williams was also mentioned as a possible tight end on signing day, but Larry Johnson said this spring that he will start out on the defensive line.
Rashod Berry showed everybody last year what he was capable of doing with the ball in his hands. He may have shown some of those same attributes this spring, but the Buckeyes need a complete tight end at the top spot. Berry is the best athlete of the bunch. Last year Wilson said he was “as innately physically skilled as any kid I’ve dealt with.” If Rashod Berry ever puts it all together, the Buckeyes could have something special. After all, this isn’t something typical human beings can do.
Rashod Berry ?????????? pic.twitter.com/1XLGNI4AwP
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) September 23, 2017
Jake Hausmann spent the spring trying to prove his worth to his coaches. Luke Farrell emerged as the leader, but there are still things Hausmann can do to get on the field. As Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson said, he certainly got better this spring. The more reps he can get, the better his production will be. Wilson would like to run more two tight end sets this season. Hausmann’s ability to block may be the difference in that happening or not. As the tight ends coach, Wilson wants to reward his players with playing time. Hausmann could perhaps emerge as the second tight end in the running game. I could see him floating around the line of scrimmage like an NFL H-back or quasi-fullback in motion to provide an additional punch.
I would love to see more 2 tight end sets as well. I remember we ran a lot of those in 2014 with Heuerman/Vannett
Anyone can lose a block. I wouldn’t knock Baugh if that were the issue. But as many times as he WHIFFED on blocks anyone the Buckeyes could put in, including Gerdeman, would be an improvement in the blocking part of the TE game.
Pass-catching there are so many questions. Will the Buckeyes even try to get it to TEs? Will the receivers necessitate looking for TEs? If Ruckert had come in January we’d have a lot clearer idea, but since he didn’t, this is gonna be a mystery position until the 1st B1G game or two.
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