Drew Thurman (10:33 pm)
One of the most interesting positions to watch in the 2009 season is wide receiver. Last year was a big transition year for the Buckeyes at wideout after losing Ginn and Gonzo, but this year the position seems much more solid. So let's break it down...
Last year Robiskie was the most influential wide receiver with 935 yards on 55 receptions and 11 touchdowns. Robiskie is obviously the clear number one wideout going into the summer, even though he is coming back off of injury. Robiskie is going to be very interesting to watch this next year. Robiskie's numbers severely dropped in the last few games of the season in 08, and he and Boeckman seemed to not be on the same page anymore. I still think Robo is going to have an even better year in 09 though. Boeckman should be much more confident, and Brian's role should be even more important.
Hartline was very solid in the slot last year for the Buckeyes. He had 694 yards on 52 receptions and 6 touchdowns. Hartline always takes on the big hit, and continues to fight for tough catches. This was very obvious in the spring game where Hartline dominated the defensive backs he was paired against. Hartline could very well lead the Buckeyes in receptions in 09 and maybe even more. Hartline is emerging quickly, and he and Boeckman look very in sync together.
Small is probably going to be the most interesting wideout to watch in 09. Small was very disappointing in 08, and only came away with 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. Small never seemed to get in rhythm and use his speed. Then with grade problems in the spring, Small got himself in the dog house. Small seems to have dug his way out though, and actually looked very solid in the spring game. His route running was much improved, and he looked to use his speed in other ways than just burning down the field. I am rooting for Small in the fall, but he still has a lot to prove as a starting wideout.
Washington (pictured) was pretty much a non-factor in his first season with the Buckeyes. That all very much changed with his breakout performance in the spring game. Washington had one incredible touchdown and had another called back. After watching him in that game I want to know how the staff is going to keep him off the field. Not only does he have size and speed (which we already knew), but it looks like he is finally learning how to play the position better. Ray Small better watch his back because Washington is a very talented playmaker.
Sanzenbacher suprised everyone with his playing time in 08. Coming into the season he seemed like a candidate for a redshirt, but this was not the case. He did not have break out numbers as a freshmen, but he showed flashes of real talent in the slot. If Hartline was not on this team, Sanzenbacher would be getting some serious playing time in the slot in 09. Instead this may be a transition year for him, but I think some great things are coming in the future.
No one expected Torrence to get put at wideout. I guess we should not be suprised since Tressel is the king of transforming defensive backs into wideouts. Torrence like the other freshmen was very limited in 08, but no one doubts his athleticism. I am very interested to see where the Buckeyes play Torrence, but I feel most of his playing time may come as a returner.
DeVier Posey, Jake Stoneburner, and Lamaar Thomas
The Buckeyes have brought in these three gentlemen in the 08 class. Posey seems to be the early favorite to make an impact, and he is extremely talented. I have seen Posey play in person, and I can say he is the real deal. With that said, the fans should not be so quick to forget about Jake Stoneburner. Stoneburner has participated in spring practices, and even looked pretty decent in the spring game. He obviously has a lot of things to still figure out (x's and o's), but the raw talent is there. With his intangibles I see him making an impact earlier than many believe. Finally, don't forget about Lamaar Thomas either. I am not totally sure of his immediate impact, but you have to love his speed. I have a feeling the Buckeyes will find a way to use that speed!