Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer Is Bringing Elite Speed to OSU

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Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer Is Bringing Elite Speed to OSU
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

When Urban Meyer took over at Ohio State in January 2012, it didn't take him very long to identify the Buckeyes' biggest problem.

Despite having a quarterback who was tailor-made for his spread offense and a stable of capable running backs, Ohio State was missing consistent playmakers on the perimeter.

“My biggest area [of concern] is the playmakers. Where are they or do we have them,” Meyer said last February, according to The-Ozone.net. “When your leading receiver only has 14 catches and one of them is a tight end, that’s alarming. That’s my biggest concern. Where are our playmakers at and do we have enough to do what we want to do?”

It turned out that Meyer had plenty of playmakers on hand as the Buckeyes marched through 2012 unscathed, completing just the sixth undefeated season in school history.

Receivers Devin Smith and Corey Brown emerged as reliable targets for Braxton Miller, combining for 1,287 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches. Smith, though, faded down the stretch after a hot start to the season, and Brown was more of a possession receiver than the breakaway threat that makes Meyer's offense so special. 

Despite the rise of Smith and Brown, the Buckeyes didn't have a guy who could take a screen pass, make a few defenders miss and take one to the house in 2012.

After Meyer put the finishing touches on this year's recruiting class, the Buckeyes will likely have that type of playmaker in 2013.

Ohio State added four dynamic 4-star players who could line up at wide receiver for the Buckeyes next year in Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith, Dontre Wilson and James Clark.

Marshall brings elite speed to the OSU receiving core. Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com

Smith, the slowest member of the group with a reported 4.5-second 40-yard dash, is a JUCO transfer who might be the most acclimated to the speed of college play. Wilson and and Marshall both have 4.4 speed (according to 247Sports.com), and Clark ran a 10.4-second 100-meter dash as a track athlete New Smyrna Beach High School in Florida.

The highlight films from these four prospects showcase how dangerous they are in the open field.

Smith lines up on the outside much like Devin Smith did for Ohio State last year, stretching the field with his speed and catching ability.

Wilson was more of a hybrid in the mold of Percy Harvin, lining up in either the backfield or the slot in high school. All he did his senior season was pile up more than 2,600 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Marshall, who played quarterback in high school, may need some time to adjust to the wide receiver position at Ohio State. When he does, the Buckeyes will have a tremendously dangerous open-field runner to unleash on opposing defenses. 

Clark is a long strider who excels at getting yards after the catch, and all he needs is one step to get past a defense.

 

Meyer might have some new concerns for his team going into the 2013 season, but thanks to his efforts on the recruiting trail, a lack of playmakers isn't one of them.

 

All recruit rankings per 247Sports.com

David is the lead Ohio State football writer for B/R. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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