Ohio State Buckeyes: marcus baugh

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Almost as soon as it arrived, spring camp at Ohio State wrapped up. Time isn't likely to fly by quite as quickly in the offseason with the summer months sure to drag by until the 2014 campaign finally opens in August. The Buckeyes have plenty of work to do to get ready for their debut against Navy on Aug. 30, and to help pass the time, we're looking at some of the most pressing positional questions they'll have to answer to make another run at a championship.

Can multiple Buckeyes get involved in the passing game?

Ohio State finally lived up to its seemingly annual pledge to get the tight end position involved in the passing game. The next step is getting more than one of them rolling as a target to really expand the arsenal of an offense that can clearly create mismatches with size, strength and reliability in its impressive collection of athletes.

[+] EnlargeJeff Heuerman
Zach Bolinger/Icon SMITE Jeff Heuerman emerged as a weapon for the Buckeyes last season, and he could be even better this fall.
Jeff Heuerman finished third on the team in receptions last season, breaking out with 26 grabs for 466 yards and four touchdowns in a campaign that still might have only scratched the surface of his ability. And while Nick Vannett was a factor in different ways and chipped in eight receptions himself, the second option at tight end also seemed slightly underused at times considering how closely his skills match up with Heuerman's and the faith the coaching staff has in him as well.

Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman have both made it well known how much they value a versatile chess piece at tight end, a player who can line up all over the field and wreak havoc on defenses by creating mismatches in both the passing and rushing games. And the threat of Heuerman and Vannett as receivers combined with their above average blocking has surely helped tip the scales for the dynamic ground game over the past two seasons.

But as the spread offense continues evolving under Meyer, there's no doubt he'd like to see more passes flying at his tight ends, particularly after getting a couple glimpses at the explosiveness Heuerman can provide down the field with outings like his 116-yard performance against Purdue and with a 57-yard touchdown catch against Clemson.

And while Vannett is unlikely to evenly match the production of Heuerman, unleashing the two at the same time can create all kinds of problems for a defense that must account for a pair of players who stand taller than 6-foot-5 and can stretch the field with their legs while at the same time providing Ohio State the flexibility to shift to a power formation depending on the personnel lining up against them. That may require getting Vannett a few more touches than the 17 he's had over the past two years to keep a defense honest, and Heuerman could no doubt use a couple more also.

The Buckeyes might even throw redshirt freshman Marcus Baugh into that mix, giving them three big guys with speed to make them even harder to defend at tight end. But they laid the foundation by establishing one of those Buckeyes as a legitimate, consistent threat a year ago -- and if they can do the same with a second, an already dangerous offense will hit an even higher level.

Marcus Baugh in trouble again

January, 21, 2014
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State redshirt freshman tight end Marcus Baugh has been charged with underage drinking for a second time, and could again be facing discipline after a rocky first season with the program.

According to Franklin County court documents, Baugh was picked up near campus on Friday and cited with prohibited use of alcohol, a misdemeanor violation for which he will be arraigned on Monday. Citing sources, ElevenWarriors.com reported that the talented but thus far troubled tight end would be suspended by Urban Meyer.

A school spokesman was not aware of any discipline as of Tuesday evening, but Baugh was previously suspended by the Ohio State coach for a similar violation last July that cost him the first game of the season and left him without a scholarship during the summer and barred from team activities.

Baugh wound up redshirting after initially coming to campus with high expectations given his athletic ability and size at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. He was a four-star recruit according to ESPN.com after catching 68 passes for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns during his final two seasons in high school in Riverside, Calif. He was expected to develop into another difficult matchup in the passing game for the Buckeyes along with returning tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett.

Instead, Baugh spent his first season entirely on the sidelines after his early misstep -- and more punishment appears to be on the way.

Where does No. 1 TE Luatua land? 

September, 19, 2013
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Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Marida) is starting to narrow down his choices and has three official visits lined up so far.

He’s not one to brag or really go that much in depth about his recruiting, but the fact he has Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State already scheduled shows just how high the interest is in those schools.

While there are two more officials to set up, the Crimson Tide, Fighting Irish and Buckeyes are ready to roll out the red carpet for the ESPN 300 senior -- he’s ranked 68th overall and is the No. 1 tight end at the H-position.

Here is a look at all three schools and why each makes sense for the 6-foot-3, 243-pound Luatua:

Position preview: Tight ends

August, 9, 2013
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Breaking down the Ohio State roster as training camp heats us and the program turns its attention to the opener on Aug. 31 against Buffalo.

TIGHT ENDS

Top of the depth chart: Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett will split first-team work.

[+] EnlargeJeff Heuerman
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesOhio State tight end Jeff Heuerman caught eight passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in 2012. Expect bigger numbers this season.
Next in line: Redshirt freshman Blake Thomas turned in a productive spring and could push for action after sitting out last season. Thomas has plenty of size at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and he showed a glimpse of big-play potential with a 34-yard reception in the spring game.

New faces: Marcus Baugh gives the Buckeyes another versatile big man capable of throwing hard-hitting blocks while presenting a difficult matchup in coverage, but he’s currently off to a rocky start thanks to an off-the-field incident last month that led to a suspension for what would have been his first game with the program. There is still plenty of optimism about what he can do on the field, but he’ll have work to do to see it much with all the talent ahead of him.

Recruiting trail: Urban Meyer and Tom Herman have both proven they know how to use tight ends to exploit a defense, and neither could ever have too many of them on hand to manipulate opponents. That’s why Heuerman and Vannett are likely to spend a lot of time on the field together, and why the Buckeyes are still chasing four-star recruits even though the cupboard remains well stocked at the position. Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) is currently at the top of the rankings among players with an offer from Ohio State, one of three ESPN300 tight ends who remain uncommitted and chased by the program.

Flexibility: Given the similarities between Heuerman and Vannett and the packages that will feature both guys at the same time, there isn’t really much need to label one of them the starter and the other a backup. There will be plenty of opportunities for each to make an impact, but it will be interesting to see if Thomas can build on his solid work in March and April and make some appearances in the fall.

Notable numbers:

-- The Buckeyes hyped the position a year ago and planned on making Jake Stoneburner an integral part of the attack as he took on a hybrid tight end/wide receiver role, but the results were uneven at best. Stoneburner finished with just 16 receptions, though 4 of them went for touchdowns as he finished his career contributing to an unbeaten season.

-- The expectations for production at the position are high again entering the season, as the Buckeyes are once again making it an emphasis to get the tight ends involved in the passing attack. There’s reason to believe it’s not just lip service from Meyer and Herman given their track records, and Vannett and Heuerman are capable of making an impact after combining for 17 catches, 217 yards and a score a year ago.

-- Baugh might have to wait his turn before getting involved much offensively, but he’s got the hands and size to be a reliable option as a target when that chance arrives. Over his last two seasons in high school, the Riverside, Calif., native caught 68 passes for 1,138 yards and scored 10 times.

Big question: How much will the Buckeyes really throw it to the tight ends?

The offense isn’t short on weapons with a loaded backfield, veteran talent blending with talented newcomers at receivers and, of course, Braxton Miller working his magic at quarterback. But even with all those options elsewhere, Meyer has consistently singled out his tight ends for praise and made clear that he has great expectations for Vannett and Heuerman. They can make a mark even without the football in their hands thanks to their strength and willingness to clear the road as physical blockers for the ground game, and neither will complain if that’s all their asked to do. But they can really tax a defense since both are fast enough to run past linebackers and tall enough to have an edge over safeties in coverage, which should make them a tantalizing option for Herman calling the plays and Miller delivering the football.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A quiet offseason away from the field for Ohio State had its first hiccup, and a player who hasn't even suited up for the program yet broke the streak.

Marcus Baugh
Garry Paskwietz/WeAreSC.comOhio State tight end signee Marcus Baugh was charged with underage drinking and use of improper identification early Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
Freshman tight end Marcus Baugh was arrested on Sunday morning for offenses involving underage persons, according to Franklin County Municipal Court Records. He was charged with alcohol consumption and use of improper identification.

Baugh was arraigned Monday morning and entered a plea of not guilty. Ohio State had not commented on the matter as of Monday morning.

A four-star recruit in the 2013 class, Baugh is expected to compete with a talented group of returning veterans at the position, continuing to give the Buckeyes flexibility with its formations and play-calling. Baugh finished his senior season at John W. North High School in Riverside, Calif., with 38 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns.

After a pair of offseason incidents a year ago that became suspensions of varying degree for all three players involved, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer hasn't yet had to issue any public discipline over the summer for a team that is expected to be ranked in the top five when the season opens Aug. 31 against Buffalo.
ESPN 150 tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Christian) went flying off the board to Georgia on Tuesday. Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) followed suit to Michigan, and Nic Weishar (Chicago/Marist) took his talents to Notre Dame.

With all three committing -- and holding scholarship offers from Ohio State -- what does it all mean for the Buckeyes?


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State of the rivalry: Tight ends 

February, 21, 2013
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The writers at WolverineNation and BuckeyeNation put their heads together to break down the rivals' 2013 recruiting classes. They'll give readers a position-by-position look at who coaches Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer signed and, ultimately, which class edged out the other. It's too early to say what will happen through the next few seasons, and we won't make any promises except that Hoke and Meyer are going to put talent on the field.

Ohio State got: The Buckeyes hit the West Coast at the position, picking up Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) as the only tight end signee in the 2013 class. He committed on April 10 despite never having stepped on campus other than to take in a basketball game at Value City Arena with his cousins when he was younger.


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Spring forward: Tight ends breakdown

February, 15, 2013
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Marcus BaughErik McKinney/ESPN.comESPN 150 tight end Marcus Baugh hopes to battle for playing time in 2013.

With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore for an undefeated season in 2013 is spring practice. Before those workouts begin, BuckeyeNation will take a look at each position to see where the roster is at -- and where it's going.

TIGHT ENDS

    • Who's back: The Buckeyes had enough confidence in two young guys to make one slight adjustment in moving Jake Stoneburner from tight end to wide receiver. That move paid off so well, the coaching staff made an even bigger change thanks to the development and contributions of sophomore Jeff Heuerman and freshman Nick Vannett, handing them additional responsibilities formerly held by fullback Zach Boren when the senior was shifted over to linebacker in the middle of the year. The young tight ends proved to be stout blockers and were reliable targets in the passing game in complementary roles, and with two years of eligibility left for Heuerman and three for Vannett, that position is in great shape moving forward with the spread offense.
    • New face: After a year on the sideline, former three-star recruit Blake Thomas doesn't qualify as new to the program, but he's looking at perhaps his first real shot to try to crack the rotation this spring. The Buckeyes landed a signature from ESPN 150 tight end Marcus Baugh on signing day, but he won't be on the field with the team until fall.

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Meyer closes out a winner of a class 

February, 7, 2013
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During Urban Meyer’s news conference detailing the 2013 Ohio State recruiting class on Wednesday, the two-time national champion talked about delivering hits.

Meyer should have been talking about shutting things down, because the way he closed out the class is the very reason he has the reputation as a recruiting closer.


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BuckeyeNation signing day recap

February, 6, 2013
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We can almost put a bow on the 2013 recruiting class -- punter Johnny Townsend has not signed his letter of intent and is apparently having second thoughts -- and it was one of the best recruiting classes in school history.

The Buckeyes signed 24 players and finished third in the ESPN class rankings behind SEC powers Alabama and Florida, with 19 of the 24 signees at four stars or more.

Here's a recap of how the day unfolded. Follow the live blog after the jump.

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ESPN 300 OG starts OSU official visit 

January, 13, 2013
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After walking away from Michigan without a commitment, an ESPN 300 offensive guard arrived in Columbus, Ohio, just in time to watch Ohio State knock off the second-ranked Michigan Wolverines in men’s basketball.

That’s what started Cameron Hunt’s official visit with the Buckeyes.


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Key seniors set for visits to Ohio State 

January, 11, 2013
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Ohio State is looking to have its third big recruiting weekend in the last six weeks when it hosts eight official visitors Friday through Saturday.

Like before, it’s a weekend jammed with star-quality power from the 2013 class and one the Buckeyes hope puts a bow on an already-strong class.

While commit Johnny Townsend can’t make it, a late name has been added in Mississippi State commit Corey Smith and it’s one that should bring some interest, as the former Akron (Ohio) Buchtel standout was an Ohio State fan when he was a senior.

Here’s a breakdown of who is scheduled to head to Columbus, Ohio for official visits this weekend:


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The Horseshoe isn’t the only place Ohio State beat Michigan this season, as the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class is currently ahead of the Wolverines after the final ESPN 150 and 300 lists were released.


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OSU official visit weekend is jam-packed 

January, 10, 2013
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Ohio State will be busy this weekend as it welcomes some top recruits for official visits.


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Buckeyes still in hunt for linemen 

January, 9, 2013
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It looks as if Ohio State hasn’t given up in finding an offensive lineman to round out its 2013 recruiting class.

The Buckeyes are working hard on getting at least one more big man in the class.

They have targets in Dan Skipper (Arvada, Colo./Arvada) and Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial). That’s not news. What is news is the recent developments of landing the two.

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