A traditional Ohio State offense tends to be a bit bland, focusing more on power running and play action than read-options and vertical pass plays. This isn’t technically a bad thing, but with Urban Meyer now running the show, things on the offensive side of the ball have changed dramatically. In its initial installation, the spread attack was successful. The Buckeyes offense was much more effective in 2012, and that wasn’t even with Meyer’s own recruits.
Now with a full season of recruiting under his belt at OSU, Meyer has some new toys to play with. It was obvious that the Buckeyes' coaching staff was focused on improving their speed and athleticism at skill positions like running back and wide receiver. Meyer’s spread attack requires skilled weapons and the more he has, the scarier it gets.
Ohio State’s current offense is all about getting their best players the ball in the best position to succeed. This is accomplished with various mismatches and the utilization of their weapons in space.
Fortunately for Buckeye Nation, there are a few 2013 commits that will create great mismatches and succeed in Meyer's spread attack.
For the past few months, Ezekiel Elliott was an absolute lock for Ohio State. However, the talented running back just recently visited Missouri's campus, the university both his parents attended, and then declined to talk to the media afterwards. Naturally this had Buckeye Nation worried, but assuming Elliott signs as a Buckeye on February 6 (which I believe to be a pretty safe assumption), the all-purpose back will fit in famously with Meyer's spread attack.
The product out of Missouri is rated as a 4-star by Scout and the ninth-best running back in the 2013 class. At 6'0" and 200 pounds, Elliott has perfect size to take on the bulk of carries sometime in the future. Pair this size with exceptional speed and great hands and you have quite a weapon that could be very effective in a spread attack like Meyer's.
The most recent commit of the Buckeye's latest recruiting class, Dontre Wilson is a perfect fit for Meyer's offense. The former Oregon commit has electrifying speed and the potential to reach the end zone on any given play. Meyer's goal this recruiting season was to increase speed and athleticism at his offensive skill positions, and the commitment of Wilson did exactly that.
The Texas native can line up anywhere, and he will do just that at Ohio State. According to Rivals, Wilson is the fifth-best athlete in the entire nation and a 4-star at that. In Meyer's system, Wilson will get the ball in space on the regular, which is bad news for opposing defenses. He's a prototypical athlete to perform in the "Percy Harvin role" and could very easily see the field, at least on special teams, next season.
The craziest thing about the recent commitment of Dontre Wilson is that he might not even be the best athlete in the Buckeyes' class. Rivals clearly believes he's not, considering they rated Jalin Marshall as the best athlete in the entire 2013 class. But if you watch Marshall's highlights for a minute or two, it's hard to blame them.
The product out of Ohio generally played quarterback in high school but will line up everywhere for the Buckeyes. He's another recruit that could very easily fit in that "Percy Harvin role," and with a little more size than Wilson, Marshall should dominate in Urban Meyer's offense. His combination of speed and athleticism are perfect for this offense, and with Wilson and Marshall on the field together for at least the next three years, things could get ugly for opposing defenses.
Former Gator Aaron Hernandez proved how lethal an athletic tight end can be in Meyer's spread offense, and the Buckeyes have quite the athlete in Marcus Baugh. The California native has the size of a tight end but the athleticism of a bigger receiver.
At 6'4", 233 pounds with solid speed and great hands, Baugh will create countless mismatches for opposing defenses. Rivals rates the athletic TE as a 4-star and the sixth-best player at his position in the 2013 class. Meyer's spread system and creativity will put Baugh in a great position to succeed, and his size will give the Buckeyes a different type of weapon for years to come.
It will be very interesting to see what Meyer's plans are for the big and athletic pass-catcher, but it's probably a safe bet to say Buckeye Nation will like what they see.
Urban Meyer was very fortunate to inherit Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton when he came to Columbus, but sooner or later he was going to have to bring in his own field general. His first full QB commitment has to be considered a success. Meyer and his staff managed to dip into the Longhorn state for one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, a perfect fit for his offense.
It's almost essential to have an athletic QB to really maximize the potential of this offense. It makes just about every play call that much more threatening, and J.T. Barrett is the prototypical field general to lead Meyer's offense. According to 247Sports, Barrett is the third-best dual--threat QB in the nation and a 4-star recruit. Now, the only quarterback in the Buckeyes' 2013 class is recovering from a rough knee injury, but as long as he can regain his full health and remain that way, he could do some serious damage in Meyer's spread attack.