The Breakdown: Wide Receivers

Wide receiver is a weird position for Ohio State going into 2010. After two solid options at the top, coach Darrell Hazell has plenty of talent both young and old but very little experience among that group vying for playing time. Check out the candidate pool in this edition of The Breakdown.

8 – DeVier Posey
6-2, 200
Cincinnati LaSalle
Career: After arriving as a five-star prospect and the No. 4 receiver in the nation, Posey was expected by some to shine immediately. While showing potential, Posey ended 2008 with only 11 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown which came against Youngstown State in the opener. Wideouts coach Darrell Hazell still spoke glowingly of Posey throughout the year, and the wideout fulfilled his promise on the field with a breakout sophomore season, catching a team-best 60 passes for 828 yards (13.8) and eight touchdowns as the Buckeyes' No. 1 receiver.

Standout Performances: Made six catches for 81 yards in the marquee home game vs. USC in 2009. … Set a career high with nine grabs for 87 yards and a touchdown at Purdue. … One week later, made eight catches for 161 yards and touchdowns of 62 and 57 yards vs. Minnesota. … Caught a 62-yard touchdown pass to blow open the Buckeyes' road victory against Penn State. … Salted the 2010 Rose Bowl win vs. Oregon with a 17-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to cap a day in which he caught eight passes for 101 yards.

Honors And Accomplishments: Placed sixth in the Big Ten in receptions per game and seventh in yards in 2009.

Outlook: Posey has battled a few problems with dropped balls, but other than that he's everything a college football team could want in a No. 1 receiver. Posey has speed, size, and agility, making him an equally useful target on short, intermediate and deep balls. He's primed for an elite season as Terrelle Pryor's favorite target.

Coach Comment: "He's got a lot of characteristics of a lot of different guys. He's got the explosiveness of Santonio Holmes, he's got almost the top-end speed of Teddy (Ginn), he's got wiggle like (Anthony Gonzalez) has in the slot, so he's got a lot of different characteristics of a lot of those guys. So it's pretty fun to watch." – Hazell

12 – Dane Sanzenbacher
5-11, 180
Toledo Central Catholic
Career: Pegged as a dependable receiver coming out of high school, Sanzenbacher almost immediately lived up to that reputation with a touchdown catch in his first game against Youngstown State in 2007. He finished that year fourth among receivers with 12 catches for 89 yards, then placed tied for second on the OSU squad with 21 grabs for 272 yards (13.0) and a touchdown in 2008. He continued to showcase his skills last season as a solid No. 2 target and slot receiver with 36 catches for 570 yards (15.8) and six touchdowns.

Standout Performances: Made six catches for 82 yards against Penn State in 2008, setting career highs at the time in both categories. … Caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from Pryor on the Buckeyes' first drive against Toledo in 2009, kick-starting a day in which he snagged five balls for 126 yards. … Had two touchdown catches vs. New Mexico State. … Brought in a team- and career-high nine catches for 64 yards in the Rose Bowl win against Oregon.

Honors And Accomplishments: Won the Paul Warfield Award as Ohio State's best wideout in 2009.

Outlook: Sanzenbacher has proven his abilities as a wideout always in the right place and willing to sacrifice his body to make the big catch. The coaching staff loves his ability to do the little things, and as a fourth-year player Sanzenbacher should have a solid campaign, especially with Pryor expected to air the ball out more this season.

Coach Comment: "He can get better. He has to work on second-level releases and those types of things, but he's got a chance to be really special for us this year." – Hazell

5 – Taurian Washington
6-1, 181
Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's
Career: Washington looked like a possible big-play performer when he made a 37-yard touchdown catch and run in his first game against Youngstown State in 2007, but he has found it hard to crack the lineup since then. He made only three catches for 46 yards that first season in five games, then did not make a catch in 2008. Last year, Washington was slated to fill the team's No. 3 wideout role, but he struggled against Navy in the opener and didn't see much time on the field the rest of the year. He did play a prominent role as a blocker vs. Oregon in the Rose Bowl to cap the second straight year in which he did not make any catches.

Outlook: Washington enters the season as the favorite for the No. 3 wideout spot, but he must show a consistent ability to hold on to the football. If he can do that, he should have a solid senior year considering he has good speed and size and can block well for a wideout.

Coach Comment: "Hopefully he can give us some depth this year. We need him to give us some depth this year." – Hazell

Player Comment: "I went through a lot of adversity, but at the same time there's been some good and bad things that have happened."

80 – Chris Fields
6-0, 185
Painesville (Ohio) Harvey
Career: A three-star wideout coming out of high school, Fields redshirted last year but drew a comparison from head coach Jim Tressel to Holmes during one weekly press briefing. He then impressed onlookers during spring ball, capping the 15 practices with two catches in the Scarlet & Gray Game.

Outlook: Fields will face a difficult battle for playing time in 2010, but the plaudits he received from teammates and coaches alike in the spring might show he has a chance to see the field. A solid mix of size, speed and moves, Fields can help the Buckeyes in numerous ways.

Player Comment: "It was tough last year sitting out for a whole year, but it was worth the while, just sitting back and watching everybody play and learning the game mentally. I felt that I did that this year. Coming out of high school I didn't really know the little things really count. Coach Hazell breaks down the film and shows me what I need to do. That helped me during my redshirt year."

17 – Grant Schwartz
6-0, 210
Dana Point (Calif.) Dana Hills
Career: Schwartz arrived at OSU as a two-star defensive back but moved to wideout in time for the 2008 season. He has mostly made his mark on numerous special teams units during his Buckeye career.

Outlook: Schwartz is athletic enough to have stood out in practice at times over the past few years and figures to be in a hard-fought battle with Fields and Washington, among others, for the No. 3 wideout spot during his senior season.

15 – James Jackson
5-10, 184
Grand Ledge, Mich.
Career: Despite enrolling early as a four-star prospect in 2009, Jackson – who has dabbled at defensive back already in his OSU career – redshirted a season ago and then missed portions of the spring with injury. He recovered enough to make a 43-yard catch in the 2010 spring game.

Outlook: Jackson has seemed unable to catch a break so far, especially when injury limited him in spring. He still boasts elite speed, which could help him break into the lineup in 2010 whether it be at receiver or on special teams.

6 – James Louis
5-10, 176
Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic
Career: A four-star prospect and the nation's No. 29 receiver, Louis has speed to burn and was a coveted prospect in the Sunshine State. He accounted for 38 catches, 682 yards and 10 scores as a senior in high school one year after snagging 56 receptions for 1,100 yards and 12 TD as a junior.

Outlook: Freshman wideouts have a tough time contributing at OSU simply because of the talent in front of them and the fact that Hazell likes his charges to be complete players before stepping onto the field. As a result, it might be tough to expect much out of Louis, but his speed should get him looks in one form or another, and Hazell sounds high on his out-of-state find.

Coach Comment: "James is really explosive. Great hands. Great quickness. Gets off the jam. A little further advanced than the other receivers that are coming in in terms of years past. Loves to play the game. Great personality. Really an explosive guy. Phenomenal ball skills. Excellent returner." – Hazell

18 – Tyrone Williams
6-5, 218
East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw
Career: Known as T.Y., Williams earned four stars and the No. 32 ranking among players at his position from Scout. He played in the Ohio North-South All-Star Classic after finishing his prep career with 39 catches for 685 yards and 14 scores as a senior.

Outlook: They say you can't coach speed, but what Williams has might be even more rare – lots of height and the knowledge of how to use it. Williams is a legit 6-5 with a solid body, prompting some to wonder if he can see the field as a red-zone specialist at the very least in 2010. Whether it happens depends on what Hazell sees out of his prospect in camp.

Coach Comment: "I said that if this kid put his mind to it nobody was going to be able to deal with him because physically he's so much stronger. Tyrone really has a junior- or senior-type body in college. He's truly a specimen for a kid that he's only 17 years old. He still has some growing to do. He's quite the specimen." – Shaw head coach Rodney Brown

10 – Corey Brown
5-11, 170
Upper Darby, Pa./Springfield Cardinal O'Hara
Career: A four-star prospect and the No. 25 wideout in the country according to Scout … a three-time all-conference pick, two-time all-state choice and the Philadelphia Catholic League MVP … career numbers of 3,000 yards rushing, 1,500 yards receiving and 50 touchdowns scored … also a standout sprinter.

Outlook: Much like Louis, Brown brings speed to the table, and early returns on his skills have been good. Predicting how the wideout battle will shake out and which youngsters can help in 2010 is difficult, but Brown could be in the mix.

Coach Comment: "He's an explosive player. He's played a lot of different positions. He can really run. He's a sub 21-(second) 200-meter guy." – Hazell

14 – Verlon Reed
6-0, 190
Columbus Marion-Franklin
Career: Reed starred as an athletic quarterback for an excellent Red Devils squad his senior year of high school, passing for 1,714 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,658 yards as a senior. A three-year starter at multiple positions, Reed compiled a 23-6 record as a starting quarterback and led his team to the state semifinals last year. He also performed well in a pair of summer all-star classics, the Ohio North-South Game and the Big 33 Classic

Outlook: Reed planned to come to Ohio State as a quarterback, but he was listed as an athlete on the February signing release and is now a wideout on the initial roster posted on the Buckeyes' official website. Whether that's true or not, many have suggested his best chance at OSU is to line up at wideout or defensive back. Either way, Reed brings a lot to the table both on and off the field, though he looks like a redshirt candidate in 2010.

Player Comment: "(My greatest strength) is my athleticism, but sometimes that can be counted against me. People say, ‘Oh, he's not a passing quarterback. He wants to run and then pass it last.' I'm a passer first, and then I run when I have to as needed. That's the biggest strength for me."

81 Ricky Crawford (6-3, 215): Now a senior, Crawford has been a sizable target for Buckeye defensive backs to practice against for years. He's always seemed on the cusp of playing time but as of yet Crawford has been unable to pull in a catch during a game.

89 Garrett Hummel (5-11, 195): Another senior, Hummel has impressed in the past only to see injuries get in his way. Playing time seems unlikely but Hummel could turn heads again with a strong camp.

83 Joe Cech (6-2, 186): Cech stands out among the wideouts for his size, providing a big target to OSU's third-string and younger quarterbacks during practice time. Going into his sophomore season, he's noticeably improved during his time at OSU.

87 Chris Roark (5-9, 180): Roark provides needed depth to the Buckeye receiving corps going into his sophomore campaign.

85 Tony Harlamert (5-11, 179): A redshirt freshman, Harlamert was a high school teammate of fullback Adam Homan at Coldwater High School.

Committed for 2011Evan Spencer, Vernon Hills, Ill., 6-1, 185 pounds; Scout's No. 20 WR in 2011. The son of former OSU running back and coach Tim Spencer, Evan is a four-star prospect and one of the top receivers in the Midwest. Considering his size and Buckeye lineage, it's hard not to think of him as a potential Brian Robiskie clone.

Devin Smith, Massillon (Ohio) Washington, 6-1, 175 pounds; Scout's No. 41 WR in 2011. Smith could be the top wideout in Ohio in his class. Coming off an excellent 2009, Smith impressed observers at OSU's first June advanced camp, earning his offer there and subsequently committing. He could be the second coming of Fields upon arriving at OSU.

2011 Prospects Darius Patton, Poland (Ohio) Seminary, 5-9, 170, Scout's No. 78 wideout in 2011; Shane Wynn, Cleveland Glenville, 5-8, 155, Scout's No. 87 wideout in 2011.

Top 2012 Prospects Tres Barksdale, 6-2, 180, Solon, Ohio; Cameron Wilson, 6-2, 190, Dublin (Ohio) Jerome

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