Ohio State Football: Freshmen with a Chance to Contribute in 2013
Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes have their targets set on a national championship in 2013, and incoming freshmen like Eli Apple have a chance to make a big contribution toward that goal.
Apple isn't the only freshman capable of earning some serious playing time this upcoming season, either.
Meyer scored a major haul of talented players during the recruitment period, and chances are a few of them will be key players for the Buckeyes in 2013.
Here are the three incoming freshmen with the best chance to play meaningful minutes for Ohio State this year as the team attempts to replicate its undefeated record from one season ago.
Eli Apple, Cornerback
Scoring Apple was a major coup for Meyer, as this young man was heavily recruited by some of the top teams in the nation, including Notre Dame and Alabama—the two teams in last year's BCS title game.
Apple enrolled early in January to get a head start on his college studies, and he'll be participating in spring practices in March.
Ohio State's defense wasn't spectacular against the pass last year, allowing over 243 yards per game.
Apple was the No. 3-ranked cornerback prospect in the nation, and his ability to play tight coverage and make plays when the ball is in the air will be an invaluable contribution to the Buckeyes' defense.
Though Apple's coverage skills are exemplary, he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty defending the run. His toughness and physicality, combined with his natural athletic skills, will garner him valuable playing time this upcoming season.
James Clark, Wide Receiver
Meyer's spread offense is predicated on speed, and Clark comes with a set of rockets already installed.
According to the Orlando Sentinel's Buddy Collings, "Clark has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.38 seconds and at 10.43 for 100 meters on the track."
Yeah, he's fast.
He's also productive. During his time at New Smyrna Beach, Clark totaled over 2,000 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.
Clark is listed as a wide receiver, and he'll get most of his work done in the slot or on bubble screens, but he can also be utilized to break off huge gains as a running back on option plays.
Basically, Clark is a Swiss army knife-type player that is too talented and too fast to keep off the field.
Dontre Wilson, Running Back/Wide Receiver
Another major score and versatile player for Meyer's 2013 squad, Wilson changed his mind at the last second and chose Ohio State over Oregon.
Wilson was highly sought after by the top programs in the nation, thanks to his ability to score touchdowns from seemingly anywhere on the field on any given play. He totaled more than 2,600 all-purpose yards and scored an eye-popping 46 touchdowns last year (h/t ESPN.com's Damon Sayles).
Though he's not as fast as Clark, Wilson reminds many people of a former pupil of Meyer's: Percy Harvin.
Wilson will be an instant impact player for the Buckeyes as a slot receiver and as a trailing runner on jet sweeps. His ability to make defenders miss in the open field, combined with his exceptional start/stop, change-of-direction skills, will be an invaluable tool for Meyer's offense in 2013.
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