Stoneburner would like to join them in professional football next year, but he understands that's contingent on what he's able to accomplish in his final season with the Buckeyes. His production from his junior season simply isn't going to cut it.
"Let's be real – 14 catches isn't going to open many eyes in the NFL with the draft and how they think you can play," Stoneburner told BuckeyeSports.com.
Urban Meyer scoffs at that reception total. Stoneburner is relieved that he isn't alone in thinking he isn't being used to his complete potential.
Stoneburner still hasn't become the player he envisioned he'd become at Ohio State. A standout wide receiver from Dublin (Ohio) Coffman, Stoneburner thought the move to tight end was a way to mold him into a dynamic pass-catching playmaker.
Three years of playing time later – and only 37 career receptions to show for it – Stoneburner has one final shot to prove he can make plays in the passing game. Meyer, who has singled out the tight end as one of the best offensive weapons the Buckeyes have multiple times, will likely give him that opportunity.
"Finally," Stoneburner responded when asked what he felt when Meyer was hired. "I love Luke Fickell and I love Jim Tressel, that's why I cam here. But I have one more shot at this and he is going to use me in every way possible and he is going to get every ounce of talent I have out of me. I have nine more months here, so now I am going to live it up and see what Coach Meyer can do with me."
Stoneburner was recruited by Meyer while he was at Florida and it was during the time where former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez was being molded into one of the biggest weapons in college football.
In Hernandez's senior season at Florida he caught 68 passes for 850 yards before becoming a fourth-round selection of the New England Patriots. Still with the same NFL team, Hernandez is one of the best players at his position in the league.
"I always thought about how awesome it would be to be in the situation Hernandez had at Florida," Stoneburner said. "Now Coach Meyer here and it is what I have always wanted. I want to get the ball as much as I can and for Coach Meyer to want to get me the ball, I couldn't ask for anything better."
Last year may have been an anomaly for Ohio State, who turned to a freshman quarterback in one of the program's most difficult transitional periods. The Buckeyes simply weren't effective throwing the football.
OSU finished 115th nationally in pass offense and only six Division I teams attempted fewer passes than Ohio State's 245. Stoneburner wasn't happy with his reception total, but no other Buckeye had more.
But Stoneburner flashed the ability to change games even with scarce opportunity. Half of his receptions (seven) went for touchdowns. Again the Buckeyes have a youthful wide receiving corps and it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Stoneburner to be the team's leading receiver given Meyer's track record.
"I have been split out a lot more and I feel like they're getting the ball more and there definitely is more opportunity to make plays," Stoneburner said. "I'm just in open space and we get open with different routes. It is a proven fact that I'm going to get the ball. It isn't if - it is just how."
Though Stoneburner has yet to have a season in which he's featured like former tight end Ben Hartsock was in 2003 — he caught 33 passes — the senior has somehow been able to maintain a positive outlook on what this future may hold.
Perhaps Meyer's presence makes for a sense of relief for Stoneburner, but the pressure is still there. This is his last go-around to prove that he's a playmaking tight end, but Stoneburner feels that he's in a situation now where the coaching staff recognizes that.
"This is what I was born to do," he said. "It came later than I expected, but I'll take it."