Scouting Report - Shaun Lane

Despite battling an injury, OSU commitment Shaun Lane has been having a very fine season for Hubbard. Gary Housteau had the chance to check him out this past weekend and files this report.

Yeah, he's the son of Garcia Lane who roamed the Buckeye secondary more than 20 years ago, but Shaun Lane of Hubbard High School earned the privilege to follow in his father's footsteps and become the first member of the 2004 recruiting class of Ohio State because of his stellar play on both sides of the ball for the Eagles.

The similarities between Shaun and his father, who played quarterback in high school, are downright eerie. The quickness and elusiveness in the open field with the ball in hand are the most glaring traits the two have in common. And defensively, Shaun is very similar to his dad in his heyday as a Buckeye when he was known as someone who could lay a hit on you in the open field as an All-Big Ten performer.

Despite following Shaun's career, first at Youngstown Wilson and then at Hubbard over the past two years, I realized the opportunities to see him play in person were coming to an end and I hadn't had the pleasure yet. But he's been a fixture on the local television highlights with his sometime dizzying performances that usually net him 200 yards and a couple of scores every week.

And that was precisely the case when Hubbard took on Girard in a key conference match up this past weekend that resulted in a 33-19 victory as Lane unofficially rushed for 202 yards and scored twice in the winning effort.

But for a moment there, it looked like I might have picked the wrong game to attend to watch him play.

On the very first drive of the game as Hubbard was marching down the field courtesy of Lane on the ground, he got up from a tackle with a noticeable limp.

"My ankle's a little sore, but we won so that makes up for it," said Lane after the contest. "Someone landed on it like the third play of the game. But my offensive line did a tremendous job of opening the holes for me. They make me look good so I thank them."

Although he wasn't really sure of the extent of the injury, and still wasn't after the game, Lane played through the pain.

"I don't know what it is. I had to go in at halftime and ice it down and get it re-taped," he said. "It was real sore but as I ran it loosened up."

After shaking off the injury, Lane hobbled back in the game later in the opening quarter and proceeded to give his Eagles a 6-0 lead after racing around left end for a 9-yard touchdown.

"It seemed like when I tried to run faster it didn't bother me as much," he said. "But when I tried to cut and stuff, that's when it was giving me a problem."

In the third period, Girard, behind the play calling of one-time Buckeye Nick Cochran, took a 13-12 lead and the momentum looked to be shifting back their way after trailing 12-0 at one point. But Lane quickly answered by ripping-off a 65-yard touchdown run.

"The referee came up to me during the injury timeout (a Girard player was taken off the field on a stretcher) and said ‘Was that an unbelievably spectacular run by Shaun Lane?' And I said, ‘Well, it's in the top five,' because he just does it week-in and week-out," said Hubbard coach Jeff Bayuk. "He's hurt. He's banged up in a couple of different places, and he just keeps putting himself in there. He's such a competitor.

"A lot of kids in his position, knowing that they have a full-ride scholarship to The Ohio State University, might back off a little bit, but he just keeps putting his head down and getting that extra yardage. He's just a great kid."

I've been very fortunate to see some great individual plays all season long by guys like Ted Ginn Jr., Miles Williams and Raymond Williams, to name a few, and the run by Lane was in that epic type of category. He started to his right, very gingerly on his ankle, picked his seam, shot threw it like he was fired from a cannon and raced down the right sideline. When he encountered the first defender with an angle on him, he changed gears and threw him aside and then cut back across the grain for like the final 20 yards. He displayed great instincts, speed, vision and a desire to get into the end zone all in one play.

"I can't say enough about the kid," Bayuk said. "He's so good in the open field; he has vision; he makes unbelievable cuts; he spins; he's really some something."

With the seemingly dearth of viable running back candidates on the OSU roster at this time, Lane's performance against Girard allowed me to consider the possibility of him carrying the football for the Buckeyes.

With his size being a consideration, obviously, the 5-10, 180 Lane showed the skills of a true running back against the Indians, just as he has throughout both his junior and senior campaigns. And after seeing Freddie Russell of Iowa in person, there's no way that Lane, an avid weightlifter, can be considered too small to carry the ball in the Big Ten.

I asked him if he was dismissing any chance of being a running back at the next level.

"Not at all," he said. "I just feel like I've got to put on some weight because Ohio State is a power-back team which runs up the middle every play. So if I put on some weight I think I have a chance."

Bayuk, who routinely gives Lane 25 carries a game, adamantly echoed the sentiments.

"I don't necessarily think he can be a running back in an off-tackle style offense. But I think he can be a running back in a spread offense or a wide receiver. He can scoot," the coach said. "Yeah I would think that he would take too much of a pounding (off-tackle), but in an offense that spreads it out and does finesse things, he's just very difficult to tackle in the open field."

The OSU coaches haven't told him anything certain about his future as a Buckeye.

"They don't really know," Lane said. "What (Jim) Tressel told me is that they want players that can play on both sides of the ball. So that's me. But I'll do anything, whatever Tressel says. In high school, I feel like a running back, but it's going to be a totally different thing once I get to college."

He can always fall back on his defensive skills just as his dad did went when he went to OSU. Shaun has played both cornerback and safety in high school, depending on the threat posed by the offensive opponent.

"I'm probably leaning toward playing cornerback (in college) right now," he said. "But I'll play wherever Tressel says."

But for now he's focused on his team first and foremost. The victory over Girard helped immensely in their bid to make the playoffs. After nine weeks, Hubbard is ranked 7th in Division III Region 9.

"We needed to win," Lane said. "This was the first big one on the road. We had to make sure we can play in the white jerseys because we're pretty much sure we're going to be on the road in the playoffs. This meant a lot to my future to just get out of this game with a win for the fellas, for the team. I'm just glad we won."

But he admitted to getting a chuckle when he thinks about his future as a Buckeye.

"Every now and then I just sit there and think about it," Lane said. "I know where I'm headed, so I get excited, but I have to try to bring myself back to the present time and calm down."

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