Fields Alters Course, Becomes Starter

Several players had standout springs for the Ohio State football team. One of those got a special recognition by head coach Urban Meyer following the spring game, however, as Meyer named fifth-year senior wide receiver Chris Fields a starter - capping an impressive turnaround for the Painesville (Ohio) Harvey product.

One of the most notable traits of the Urban Meyer era for the Ohio State football team is honesty. Sometimes it's brutal honesty. Sometimes it is complimentary. But whenever Meyer, his assistant coaches or his players have spoken to the media, the unvarnished truth usually comes out.

That was on display yet again Saturday afternoon following the Buckeyes' spring football game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. After watching fifth-year senior wide receiver Chris Fields catch five passes for 35 yards, carry the ball twice for 9 yards and score two touchdowns in Scarlet's 31-14 victory over Gray to cap a successful spring, Meyer minced no words about Fields – in a good way.

"I'm going to name him starter today," Meyer said. "I told him I would if he finished the spring (strong). Chris Fields has earned a starting spot on the offense, which is amazing."

The reason Meyer called it amazing was because of how far Fields progressed, especially since the end of Ohio State's perfect 2012 season. Fields did play a hero's role in last season's overtime win against Purdue, catching a crucial touchdown pass from backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, but more often than not Fields was an offensive afterthought.

Fields caught four passes for 55 yards last season in eight games. All but one of those receptions came in the win against the Boilermakers. On an offense that was looking for players to step up, Fields said he did not put his best foot forward.

"Last year, I didn't have a good first impression when Coach Meyer came here and that led to camp and being with the twos," Fields said. "I just faded away."

Rumors began to swirl that Fields would not finish his career as a Buckeye. The Painesville (Ohio) Harvey product said, however, that leaving Ohio State was never something he seriously considered.

"I was never going to quit on Ohio State," Fields said. "I love Ohio State no matter what. I always told myself that I wanted to go to Ohio State since high school, and I wasn't going to quit on myself.

"I just wasn't raised like that. I was raised that I'm going to work and go through adversity at times, but I know there's going to be a light at the end of the tunnel."

Fields then took it upon himself to make some changes. He said he made changes on and off the field and went into the spring with a new outlook.

"I'm keeping a positive mindset every time I go out on the field," Fields said. "It's been beneficial since then."

Whatever changes Fields has made has worked. Whether in practices open to the media or in the spring game, Fields usually had at least one notable play per practice.

Fields not only caught the attention of his head coach but also improved his stock with OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

"Chris was a guy that really was not as good as he could be the last 12 months," OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith said. "Then coming out of last season I think he saw the writing on the wall that it was his last year.

"He was always talented enough to play here. There was just a different level of commitment by him both in learning the offense, understanding the offense and really developing himself fundamentally as a wide receiver. He did a great job this spring. I couldn't have been happier with what he did."

Fields often manned at the H-back position in the spring but it is unclear if that is the "starter" role Meyer had in mind. That is yet to be determined, especially with fifth-year senior Jordan Hall set to play the H-back in the fall.

Either way, Smith said Fields still has work to do.

"He still has steps to take, but he went from a guy that I thought could play to now a guy that I feel like we can count on," Smith said.

Fields does not want to rest on his spring laurels, either.

"I want to take advantage of every opportunity that I get," he said.

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