Future Forecast: Nick Vannett

BuckeyeSports.com continues its series of looks ahead at where the members of the 2011 recruiting class fit into the program once they finish high school and begin suiting up in scarlet and gray. Next up: tight end Nick Vannett.

As if anyone still believed Ohio State might move too far away from its power football roots, Jim Tressel and his coaching staff seem to have put those thoughts to rest by stocking up on tight ends in recent years.

When Nick Vannett, a four-star tight end prospect from Westerville (Ohio) Central, committed June 30 he became the fifth tight end to do so in the span of four recruiting classes.

Because of redshirts given to 2008 signees Jake Stoneburner (whom Scout rated as a tight end but began his Ohio State career at wide receiver) and Nic DiLillo, the room figures to be crowded for some time to come, so where does Vannett fit in?

During the recruiting process, he told BuckeyeSports.com he expects to be used as more of a traditional tight end than Stoneburner, who possesses uncommon speed and has experience as a receiver in high school and early in his Ohio State career, and Vannett's junior highlights show a rangy kid who runs well.

We see his Westerville Central High School team in a variety of formation that allow us to see a couple of sides of Vannett.

The four- and five-receiver sets, Vannett provides a big target on short routes in the seam and over the middle, but he also looks comfortable as a tight end in a pro-style, two-back look both as a blocker and a pass catcher.

He shows the ability to adjust to the ball in the air and use his body to shield away defenders.

The 6-6, 230-pounder does not shy away from contact, but he does not show much ability to break tackles or make many yards after the catch.

As a blocker, the film finds Vannett looking serviceable both against down linemen and defenders in space.

On one particular play in the red zone, he does a good job of coming from tight end and finding a linebacker then turning him outside and staying with the block after initial contact, clearing a path for the running back to cut up the field off him.

Like most young players (especially tall ones), he could stand to fire out lower, but he moves keeps his feet moving when he engages with a defender.

He will likely need to do everything pretty well to make any kind of effective argument he deserves playing time early in his career, but there is no doubt Vannett presents the type of prospect who can help the Buckeyes in every way they use their tight end.

Vannett and fellow 2011 verbal commit Jeff Heuerman figure to be far behind the elder statesmen when they arrive in Columbus, but after a two-year apprenticeship under current sophomores Stoneburner, DeLillo, Reid Fragel and Spencer Smith (a walk-on who turned some heads with his performance this past spring), the depth chart figures to open wide for them all at once.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories