Washington Third Wideout As Camp Begins

The loss of Duron Carter for at least the 2010 season has opened an opportunity on the Ohio State depth chart, and the first man who stands to benefit is Taurian Washington. As camp continues, find out where the senior has fit into the depth chart so far and who else is part of the conversation.

In DeVier Posey's mind, the leader for Ohio State's third wide receiver position has a clear leader – senior Taurian Washington.

"Going into camp it's definitely Taurian's job to lose," the junior wide receiver said. "Taurian is a great receiver. You guys see what he does to our corners every spring game. He puts on a clinic. Our corners are a lot better than the competition I go against on Saturdays. I feel like we have great players here. I feel like it's his time to show what he can do."

From an experience standpoint, Washington would appaer to be the guy. A former four-star prospect out of high school, the senior has simply been on campus longer than nearly all of the wide receivers. When it comes to on-field production, however, the gap narrows between Washington and his teammates.

After scoring a 37-yard touchdown on his first reception, a catch-and-go play against Youngstown State in the 2007 season opener, Washington would go on to record two more catches as a freshman. He has not made one in the ensuing two seasons as he has failed to carve out any significant playing time.

Now, with last year's occasional No. 3 wideout Duron Carter enrolled at a community college, Washington has a chance to seize the spot. Today is the first day of hitting in pads for the Buckeyes, but wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell said Washington's early showing in camp has been positive.

"I think Taurian definitely deserves to be in that No. 3 spot right now," the coach said. "He's worked hard and it's very important for Taurian. I think the thing for Taurian is that he's got to continue to do what he's doing right now and to play with confidence and continue to make plays for us. After camp, we'll see where we land but right now he's the No. 3 guy and doing a good job."

OSU's top two wide receiver spots are set with senior Dane Sanzenbacher and junior DeVier Posey returning after each starting all 13 games last season. The Buckeyes started three wide receivers five times last season, with then-senior Ray Small earning four of those starts.

When the Buckeyes faced Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Washington earned the starting nod with Carter sidelined for academic reasons and Small suspended for undisclosed reasons. He did not record a statistic in OSU's 26-17 victory.

Regardless of who ends up becoming OSU's third wideout, the role might not be a highly productive one. The third most prolific receiver last year was running back Brandon Saine, who caught 17 passes for 224 yards during his junior season. Next on the list was Small, who had 15 grabs for 175 yards. Neither of the two had a receiving touchdown.

This year, Saine remains a likely candidate to be involved in the pass game. So, too, does converted tight end Jake Stoneburner, a former wide receiver.

"They're definitely going to be factors in some capacity," Hazell said. "I think their ability to go outside and play outside will be tremendous for personnel reasons and will create some problems for the defense."

However, Hazell pointed out his goal this fall is not to stop with developing three wide receivers. In preparation for what could be a more wide-open offense, the position coach said he is working to have five players ready for action.

Among those impressing the coach in the early days of camp have been senior Grant Schwartz and redshirt freshman Chris Fields.

"Grant has done a great job for us, he really has," Hazell said. "I'm very pleased with him. He brings a lot because he's a physical guy. He plays hard all the time. I feel really confident with what Grant has done the first couple of days. We'll see if he can compete and keep doing it.

"The next guy that has stood out the first three days has been Chris Fields, who has really taken a great leap for us. I'm pleased at where he is."

Fields said Carter's departure provides him with an opportunity.

"I know Duron sadly is gone, but I'm the type of person to step up and take advantage of that," he said. "We'll see how camp goes. Because he left I got an opportunity to play so I've got to study more, I've got to lift weights more (and) I've got to get ready because this is my first year playing. I've just got to get ready."

While the battle for the third receiver spot will continue, Hazell said he likes the potential of this group of wideouts.

"I am very pleased at the amount of potential playmakers we have in camp right now," he said. "Now, they have to develop, but day three after what I've seen I'm really happy as to where we are and where we could be."

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