COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The first full week of fall camp is in the books for Ohio State and position battles are heating up.
There are plenty of returning starters from last year’s team and only a ‘handful’ of spots still up for grabs, according to OSU coach Ryan Day.
Most of those positions are on the defensive side where first-year coordinator Jim Knowles continues to implement his system. But it appears only one spot is still for the taking on offense — tight end.
The Buckeyes have had two tight ends drafted the last two years, Luke Ferrell and Jeremy Ruckert, which left the door wide open for several veterans to claim the spot. It will be a position where at least three players will rotate in and out, especially when OSU is in 22 personnel, an offensive set that includes two running backs, two tight ends and one receiver.
Fourth-year Buckeye Cade Stover was getting reps with the first team Thursday and made two catches for 25+ yards. That doesn’t mean he’ll start week one, but it’s a good sign Ryan Day believes in the former linebacker.
He began his OSU career as a linebacker but switched to defensive end late in his freshman season. Going into his sophomore year, Day and offensive coordinator coach Kevin Wilson saw the skills and size of a tight end.
“When I first moved over to tight end, it was more or less a learning curve,” Stover said on March 31. “I never played it, so I learned how to take that energy and passion but also keep that technique and now I know the scheme enough to where I can just go.”
But his experience at linebacker was needed in the second half of Ohio State’s Rose Bowl game against Utah where he played significant snaps in the Buckeyes’ win. He began spring drills practicing with the linebackers, but switched back to tight end shortly thereafter.
Day said he likes how Stover is progressing.
“In that room, we have guys who have a lot of different skill sets but Cade’s really worked hard,” Day said. “His physicality is what you notice the most and for a big guy he is athletic, has good ball skills and he’s worked hard in the offseason to work on his route running and catching the ball. That’s been excellent, so good start to camp for him.”
Also in the mix at tight end is graduate Mitch Rossi, junior Joe Royer and junior Gee Scott.