Perhaps last in the shuffle of Ohio State's staff turnover this spring was the fact that the Buckeye tight ends have a new position coach.
That job had been held by Ed Warinner, who coached the tight ends in addition to his duties as offensive coordinator last season. Warinner is now the offensive line coach at Minnesota, and Kevin Wilson, who is the Buckeyes' new offensive coordinator, is coaching the tight ends as well.
With Wilson in charge, and even with starter Marcus Baugh sitting out this spring, head coach Urban Meyer said the tight ends have made a big jump.
"Tight end is the most improved position on the team right now," Meyer said after practice on Tuesday.
Last season, Baugh was really the only Ohio State tight end with much offensive production. He led the group with 24 receptions, 269 yards and two touchdowns through the air, good for fourth-best on the team in all three categories. Other than Baugh, though, A.J. Alexander – now a sophomore – was the only other tight end to catch a pass. He had four receptions for 27 yards and his most notable involvement was as a blocker on J.T. Barrett's fateful fourth-down conversion against Michigan.
Beyond Baugh and Alexander, the other returning tight ends for Ohio State are redshirt freshmen Luke Farrell, Kierre Hawkins and Jake Hausmann. All three players were on the team last year, but none of them played a snap. Meyer said Farrell is slightly ahead of Hausmann in the pecking order for now, but the two players are close to each other. Hawkins, on the other hand, has missed time this spring while dealing with an academic issue.
Tight end development was a big deal this spring, partially because Baugh is still working back from an injury and partially because the Buckeyes elected not to sign a tight end in the 2017 recruiting class. So far this spring, that decision seems to have paid off, and the group could be going from a question mark to a strength once the season rolls around.
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