Ware Would Offer Many Options To OSU

Spencer Ware may be ranked Scout.com's No. 8 running back prospect in the class of 2008, but look for him to do a little bit of everything for Cincinnati Princeton as a senior this fall.

Vikings head coach Bill Leach told BuckeyeSports.com his prized pupil will return to his familiar role at quarterback but also play free safety and return punts. He could end up handling punting chores, too.

Kicking off and returning kickoffs might be the only things Ware does not do for Princeton, which finished 5-5 last season.

Throwing the football will be nothing new for Ware, a 5-11, 215-pound prospect.

He finished second in the Greater Miami Conference in passing yards last season with 1,938 in 10 games. He completed 134 of 236 passes with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

He added a team-high 741 yards rushing, and with 15 touchdowns on the ground, Ware had a hand in 28 of his team's 38 total touchdowns.

Some of his junior numbers were down slightly from his standout sophomore campaign in 2007 when Ware was 125 for 204 passing for 1,958 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions and ran 163 times for 952 yards and 18 TDs.

As a junior, he also played defense at important junctures of games, but look for his role on that side of the ball to expand this season.

"If you're going to win championships, you've got to play defense, and there is no doubt we could play him anywhere on the defensive side of the ball and he would be the best player at that position," Leach said.

That could mean fewer snaps on the offensive side of the ball, but Ware will still be a major part of the Viking attack.

"We'll probably put him back at free safety just because he sees the field so well," Leach said. "That's the best place to play him just because he reads the field and reacts really well. He'll come up and hit you, too. He's not afraid to take anybody on.

"Because he's playing both ways we may have to spell him on offense, so we're working on some things we're going to do offensively where we can get him out of the mix, where he can take a blow or take a play off."

Taking time off from the recruiting process, though, appears to be something that will be more difficult to do.

With more than a dozen offers already, from a group that includes Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina and nearby Cincinnati, Ware has yet to do much narrowing down of his list of suitors.

Earlier this month, Ware told Scout.com he had no timeframe for a decision, and Leach says he and the four-star prospect plan to sit down soon to begin to sort out offers.

"I've got to get a feel for what he's thinking, what his top priorities are," Leach said. "I think his top priority is to play both baseball and football, and I think his second priority is to be able to play for a national championship. I think he's really enamored with a championship, the rings and all the stuff that comes with it."

With three appearances in the BCS National Championship Game this decade, the latter desire would seem to favor the Buckeyes.

As for baseball, Leach said the Ohio State coaches are aware of Ware's desire to play both sports, but the coach has not specifically discussed the topic with them.

For the gridiron, most schools are recruiting Ware without a specific position in mind, and Leach thinks Ohio State is no different.

"My impression from Ohio State is they are bringing him in as an athlete but they know he can play quarterback; they know he can run the ball; they know he can play defense," Leach said, noting Ohio State tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator John Peterson handles Ware's recruitment for the Buckeyes. "I think they'll figure out where he fits in their system."

Leach had a hard time deciding what to identify as Ware's best attribute as a football player, but the coach eventually settled on carrying the pigskin.

"He's a runner, a pure runner," Leach said. "He's got a low center of gravity. He's got great hips. He's naturally strong, which makes him a great runner."

That said, Leach sees Ware as capable of making every throw a quarterback needs to: short, deep, intermediate, from the pocket or on the run.

"He's a powerful runner, but then when you say that it's overlooking the fact he's got a big-time arm, too."


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