Ohio State cannot afford to have a passing game ranked almost towards the bottom among all FBS teams this year, but returns mostly the same WR corps that they had while senior DeVier Posey served his 10-game suspension.
The addition of Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Tom Herman and wide receivers coach Zach Smith is going to do what they can to put life into a receiver corps that looked lifeless a year ago.
Granted, they did have a lack of experience on the field with their top two receivers from a year ago—Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher—off the team either due to suspension or graduation. And an injury to Verlon Reed who seemed to be blooming quickly really hurt this group dramatically.
This group did get some help in signing Michael Thomas, Ricquan Southward and Frank Epitropoulos, but were not able to land the big-time playmaker that an Urban Meyer offense relies upon, at least not that we know of.
They do have a group of pretty talented young receivers that really need to step up in a big way, led of course by junior Corey Brown.
Brown is the most explosive player of all the receivers, but he has been held back by the antiquated Jim Tressel offense that limited his use to deep routes almost exclusively.
In the new Meyer-Herman offense, expect Brown to be used much like former Florida superstar Percy Harvin. They present a similar skill set, although Harvin has much more breakaway speed than Brown.
Brown has some elusiveness that will be used to its fullest as long as Meyer follows through on his plans to make sure he gets his top playmakers the ball X amount of times a game.
Of course, he will have to fix his problems with not being able to reel in passes. If he is able to correct that and limit his drops significantly, that is when he will become the player most Buckeye fans thought or even should have been by now.
Second-year receivers Evan Spencer and Devin Smith also each will be asked upon to contribute heavily.
Both Spencer and Smith are similar players, as each has great speed and the ability to get open.
Smith got much more seasoning as a true freshman, including catching the game-winning touchdown pass from Braxton Miller against Wisconsin.
Smith has the ability to make big plays, but will need to continue to improve his speed as he plans on doing this spring with the OSU track team.
Spencer reeled in one of the catches of the year in the opener—an incredible one-handed catch in stride—but didn't do much since.
Those three guys will be crucial this year as the Buckeyes will look to give Braxton Miller some weapons to work with this season.
The Buckeyes don't hit the practice field for a couple of weeks, yet Meyer has already been very complementary of the work Brown and Smith have put into their offseason workouts.
How that translates to the field will be revealed soon enough as the pads go on shortly along with the installation of the new offense Herman and Meyer have created.
Whatever the new offense looks like, it will be up to the most veteran wide receivers on the offense, namely Brown and Smith, to emerge and be big-time players.
That's why they were recruited to Ohio State, and this season is a great time for them to turn into great college football players.
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