Stoneburner Hopes To Do It All

Jake Stoneburner was a tight end part of the time at Ohio State and a wide receiver at others. That combination meant his skills might not have been best utilized while he was in college, but the central Ohio native hopes he can use all of his abilities to gain an NFL foothold.

Of all the numbers that can be associated with Jake Stoneburner to describe his Ohio State career, the one that will always stand out is 53.

That's the total number of catches Stoneburner had in 48 career games and 23 career starts, a far cry from the 168 grabs he pulled in while starring at nearby Dublin Coffman High School.

Those numbers made Stoneburner a four-star prospect and a player the Buckeyes – and their fans – were certainly thrilled to add in the 2008 recruiting class. Four years later, Stoneburner leaves the school having not rewritten any of the record books he thought he might have taken a pen to, but on the whole, he has no regrets.

"For myself, I had high expectations," Stoneburner said. "Team-wise, heck, we went to the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and went 12-0. That's exactly what I came to Ohio State for. Yeah, I would have like to have made a little bit more plays, but you have to put the blame a little bit on yourself. Hopefully, at the next level, I can show some more."

Even though his Ohio State career wasn't as prolific as hoped, Stoneburner has done a good job of earning the notice of professional scouts over the past few weeks. Included in that showing was a workout at OSU's Pro Day in early March that had to turn heads, as Stoneburner didn't drop a pass from former Ohio State signal caller Troy Smith while working out in front of representatives of 28 NFL teams.

"I was very happy with my performance," he said. "I had a decent quarterback out there. I think he was able to hit me in stride a couple of times. That was the main thing I wanted to do was look good in routes and run a better 40 than I did in Indy."

Stoneburner certainly did that. Despite checking in at a solid 250 pounds, Stoneburner ran a 40-yard dash at Pro Day that checked in anywhere from 4.52 to 4.55 seconds, taking a solid chunk off his time of 4.65 in Indianapolis.

"I'm usually a 4.5 guy," Stoneburner said. "It's usually what I run, but out in Indy, it got to me. It's a tough process, but that's what I wanted to come here and run because I knew I could run faster."

His hope is to try to convince people he's in the mold of Jake Ballard, the former OSU tight end who wasn't used much as a receiver but ended up playing an integral part in the New York Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011.

One of the reasons Stoneburner just didn't have the productivity at Ohio State as was expected was that the team never could answer the question of position. He arrived at Ohio State with both wideouts coach Darrell Hazell and tight ends coach John Peterson maintaining he would play receiver, and that's exactly what he did during his redshirt season of 2008.

But a year later, Stoneburner had bulked up and moved to tight end, where he caught two passes while playing in every game during the 2009 campaign. He was a tight end the next two seasons as well, pulling in a career-high 21 passes in 2010 and then making a team-high seven touchdown grabs on the '11 squad.

Then, when Urban Meyer was hired as head coach, the new staff figured he was most useful as a slot receiver/H-back. After an offseason mishap that included a charge of public urination that resulted in his losing a scholarship during the summer, Stoneburner came back to make 16 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns his final campaign, including two TDs vs. Cal and a game-clinching 75-yard score at Penn State.

But Stoneburner feels that experience at two positions can be a major plus for him as he tries to make it in the professional ranks, where he has heard he will likely start at H-back.

"I was an H-back here, but I was more of a receiver," he said. "I think the NFL's H-back has more of a fullback's responsibilities and doesn't split out as wide, but that's mainly what I'm hearing is like an H-back-type role. I really feel comfortable in that because I have a tight end background for a couple of years and a receiver background for a couple of years.

"Mesh them together with some work and I feel like I could help someone in the NFL."

Stoneburner worked out as a tight end while attending February's NFL combine, showing his athleticism there by placing among the best at that position in many of the drills. He also feels that his work in Ohio State's power offense from 2009-11, when he had to help block players like J.J. Watt of Wisconsin and Adrian Clayborn of Iowa, shows he can be useful in more than just a pass-catching role.

"I'm not going to be a guy that's going to go out and block J.J. Watt and try to pancake him, but I feel like I can get in there and maybe make a running lane," he said. "Also, I feel like I can split out and make some linebackers miss, make some safeties miss, make some plays. I don't feel like I'm a wide receiver and I don't feel like I'm 100 percent a tight end. I feel like I can do them both."

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