Drinking From a Fire Hose

Urban Meyer has stressed since day one as Ohio State’s head coach that the plan is not to redshirt players once they step foot on campus.  Obviously that plan does not work out for every freshman, but Urban has shown a willingness to let his youngest players perform early and often in their inaugural college football season.  Today we will take a look at some young Bucks who have excelled under Urban Meyer as true freshman and project who could make a similar impact in this years class.

Impact Freshman during Urban Era

  • Joey Bosa – 44 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks and 1 TD
    • Biggest impact freshman under Urban Meyer at Ohio State.  Garnered Freshman All-America honors from multiple outlets at the conclusion of his stellar freshman season.  Ranked sixth in all of the B1G Ten conference in sacks while earning All B1G Ten Honorable mention.
  • Curtis Samuel – 478 total yards from scrimmage (6.9 avg) 6 TDs
    • Samuel received more touches last season than any other true freshman under Urban Meyer.  69 touches in total for over 700 all purpose yards for the Buckeyes.  Became not only the main kick-off return man by seasons end, but also the #2 running back behind Elliot.  Samuel was electric with the ball in his hands and was a surprisingly physical blocker which led to his influx in playing time.  Samuel was the most well rounded offensive Freshman we have seen during Urban’s tenure.
  • Raekwon McMillan – 54 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks
    • Split time with fellow five-star MLB Curtis Grant, who was unselfishly McMillan’s mentor and partner in crime.  Raekwon played up to his billing while appearing in all 15 games for the Buckeyes during the Title run.  Named a Freshman All-American by numerous publications and has already assumed the starting middle linebacker spot for the Buckeyes this fall.
  • Dontre Wilson – 460 yards from scrimmage (8.7 avg) 3 TDs
    • Wilson played in every game his freshman season including two starts during B1G Ten play.  He totaled nearly 1,000 all purpose yards as he was a main threat for the Buckeyes in the return game.  Dontre was slim coming out of high school and relied on his agility and speed to get by defenders.  Coach Meyer admitted to using Wilson primarily as a “decoy” and a “hood ornament” during his freshman campaign due to his inability to block downfield and beat press coverage.
  • Ezekiel Elliot – 33 touches 285 yards (8.6 avg) 3 TDs
    • Behind El Guapo on the depth chart, EzE played heavily on special teams  during his freshman campaign.  We all remember his hit on kick-off coverage against Purdue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt99HRQx3Xo), but Elliot was also able to shine offensively during mop up duty early in the season.  His breakout performance came against Florida A&M where he amassed 162 yards on only 14 carries in little over a quarter of action.  It was surely a sign of things to come for the Heisman Trophy candidate.

Projected Impact Freshman for 2015 Season

Urban places a huge emphasis on special teams and there is no better way to force yourself onto the field than excelling on special teams.  Every player listed below plays on the offensive side of the ball.  As of this writing, three of the four have already had their black stripes removed.  I personally love the linebacker class of Hilliard, Baker and Connor, but there is so much young talent in front of them (Dante Booker is going to shock some people) that I don’t believe they will play enough impactful minutes this year.

  • Torrance Gibson
    • During the recruiting process, one analyst said that if TG classified as a WR he would have him at the top of his individual player rankings.  Has the size and speed to be an AJ Green type of receiver for the Buckeyes.  With the suspensions and recent injury to Noah Brown, the offense will be in need of a spark at the wide receiver position week one against Virginia Tech.  Gibson has the ability to stretch the field vertically and he has received glowing praise during camp.  I am excited to see how he develops now as a full-time WR for the first time in his life.
  • Mike Weber (2nd player to lose black stripe)
    • Was already taking second team reps during camp behind Elliot before injuring his knee.  Prognosis says he wont be 100% for a couple more weeks but should be able to return early in the season.  This is a three year player at Ohio State – he is that good.  Nicknamed Baby Los (after Carlos Hyde) by his teammates, he said he broke off several long touchdown runs during the Buckeyes first scrimmage in camp.
  • KJ Hill (3rd player to lose black stripe)
    • Was impressing coaches and teammates early in camp, and like I stated earlier, the Buckeyes have plenty of reps to go around at the wide receiver position week one.  I believe Hill will make the most of his opportunity and continue to steal reps away from his older teammates as the season progresses.  Already one of the better route runners on the team, Hill will continue to mold into a prototype receiver under the guidance (or torture) of coach Marotti.
  • Isaiah Prince (1st player to lose black stripe)
    •  It is exceptionally difficult for lineman to shine while playing on either side of the ball (Joey Bosa is a freak) during their freshman season, so I will just say this regarding Isaiah Prince:  He is going to be really really really good.  You will see him quite a bit during mop-up duty early in the season, and he is already in the two-deep at RT behind Senior Chase Farris.

Which incoming freshman do you think might make a splash this season?

Comments

  1. Great article Andy. Already looking forward to calling Weber “Baby Los”. I wish it was “El Guapo Pequeño” but I guess it’ll do

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