The Buckeyes' Ted Ginn Jr. was a vital part of special teams. In his three years at OSU he returned six punts for touchdowns (school record) and two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Without Ginn, the Buckeyes allowed two kickoffs to be returned and were ranked 58th in punt returns. The problems get worse—they were a terrible 117th on kickoff returns.
This year the Buckeyes will have three running backs handling the kickoff returns—Maurice Wells, Brandon Saine, and Dan Herron—in hopes of improving on the terrible 117th ranking.
The Buckeyes will keep Ray Small and Brian Hartline as the punt returners. Both were not bad, but hopefully Small lives up to the hype that was put on him to be the next Ted Ginn Jr.
I hope that Small becomes a threat this year because that's what I believe is missing on our special teams.
Ted Ginn Jr. was the threat in years past. Sometimes opponents wouldn't even kick the ball to Ginn, which allowed the Buckeyes to have great field position. Even if the teams pressed their luck and tried to kick it to Ginn, he would most likely make them pay for it.
If Small has a few breakout returning days, I think he will start to gain this respect. This will make his confidence go up and the Buckeyes' stats go up.
Small is an amazing athlete. He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and has Ginn-like bursts of speed. He also has great moves. Small has the ability to make people miss—maybe not as good as Ginn, but close to it.
That's why I think that Small will be the answer to the Buckeyes' need for a return threat, and he will put up Ginn-like numbers as he goes on to become a first team All-American and lead the nation in returns.