Ohio State Football: TE Jake Stoneburner Should Have Huge Year in New Offense

Luke Pashke@@luke_pashkeCorrespondent IMay 31, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 8: Tight end Jake Stoneburner #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for Ohio State's first touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhusker during their game at Memorial Stadium October 8, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 34-27. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Jim Tressel era was full of wins, Big Ten titles, a Heisman Trophy and even one national championship, but it never even came close to producing a Mackey Award winner. 

Clearly, this isn't the end of the world, but it always did seem that the tight ends at Ohio State were severely underused in Tressel's offense.

There was certainly not a lack of talent; former Buckeye tight end Jake Ballard has jumped off to a great start in the NFL, and other solid tight ends like Ben Hartstock were available to Tressel. Tight ends under the former head coach were expected to block first, block second and maybe catch third, if they were lucky.

Luckily for Jake Stoneburner, Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman see things differently.

At Florida, Meyer utilized tight end Aaron Hernandez extremely effectively, and the result was an impressive season and a Mackey Award for Hernandez. The tight end out of Florida finished the 2009 season with 68 receptions. That's almost double the amount of grabs Stoneburner has reeled in throughout his entire career in Columbus.

If you think Meyer is fond of the tight end position, you should see Herman. He once had a tight end snag 111 receptions in one season.

No, that is not a typo—in one season.

That is nearly triple the amount of receptions in Stoneburner's career at OSU.

These numbers are not a result of Stoneburner's lack of talent, either. The redshirt senior is impressively athletic for his exceptional size, and if utilized correctly, he could be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. This is exactly what Meyer and Herman have in mind.

Throughout the spring, Stoneburner was lined up all over the field and will clearly be used to create mismatches not only for himself but for others as well. 

Expect Stoneburner to become Braxton Miller's and Herman's best friend in 2012. The large receiver will be a favorite target, especially on third down and in the red zone. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Stoneburner hauls in 50-plus balls this upcoming season, and expect him to become familiar with the end zone as well.

That's right, the dark ages at the tight end position are coming to an end in Columbus. Bring on the tight end renaissance, please.