What the Dontre Wilson Flip Really Means to Ohio State Football

Adam Jacobi@Adam_JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterFebruary 5, 2013

Photo via ESPN.com
Photo via ESPN.com

Dontre Wilson, a 4-star RB/WR from Texas, made waves by "flipping" from Oregon to Ohio State late Monday night, per Eleven Warriors. Wilson had been a longtime commit to Oregon; per 247Sports.com, he committed to the Ducks in late May of 2012, and his decommitment wasn't official until his "flip" to Ohio State. As official as a verbal decommitment can be, anyway.

The move doesn't exactly come as a surprise, though, as Wilson had been visiting places like Texas and Oklahoma State in the wake of former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL, and the fact that Ohio State was able to beat out multiple schools with such better proximity to Wilson's home in DeSoto (a Dallas suburb) speaks volumes to Urban Meyer's recruiting prowess.

But what does adding Wilson actually mean for Ohio State's recruiting class and the upcoming season? Wilson brings the one thing Urban Meyer always loves to have in his offense: versatility.

Here's a highlight reel of Wilson's senior year.

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Yes, that hitch and go move is ridiculous and unfair. Yes, the kid's got wheels. Yes, he's going to go bananas in the slot as soon as he's good enough to be on the field.

But you'll also notice that he spends a significant amount of time in the backfield, and while he's merely serviceable between the tackles, he's comfortable on jet sweeps and swing passes, and that is exactly what the pivot men in an Urban Meyer offense do between the slot and backfield.

Here's more from last year about the role of versatility in an Urban Meyer offense. Eleven Warriors also describes the "pivot" position in Meyer's schemes, and if there's one great example of such a player in Meyer's history, it's also the same player that Wilson reminds us a lot of.

Percy Harvin.

Now, Harvin was a truly great collegiate player and that's a goal for Wilson to aspire to, not a baseline of expectations. Harvin's also bigger—he was recruited at 6'1" and 188 pounds, while Wilson's coming in at 5'10" and 165 pounds. So if you want to find differences, you can find them.

The similarities are more striking, however, and if there's one player that was missing from Urban Meyer's offense last year, it was a guy who could play like Percy Harvin and add that dimension of versatility to the Buckeye offense. Meyer ran a successful power offense in 2012, but it didn't challenge opposing linebackers side to side nearly enough, and Wilson's got the versatility to give them nightmares.

Senior tailback Jordan Hall will be coming back after a medical redshirt, and he's also athletic enough when healthy to be another swing man in and out of the backfield. But without Wilson on board, Hall pushes that total to one. Depth is always better than no depth, and if Meyer can cycle Hall and Wilson in and out (or even put both on the field at the same time, which is hardly against any rules), he can keep stressing opposing defenses and testing their overall team speed over the course of four quarters.  

As mentioned before, Wilson's weight is a bit of a concern at 165 pounds; if he can push it to 180 or more, he'll probably be physically ready to be on the field and take contact enough to make a difference in the Ohio State offense. If he can't between now and September, a redshirt might be in order—and obviously health is an assumed necessity.

Meyer's got to want Wilson to be ready to be on the field from Week 1, however, because his explosive ability and versatility would make everything else the Buckeyes want to do that much easier.