COLUMBUS — They might have the deepest room on the Ohio State roster.
The Ohio State tight ends have the talent, depth and the work ethic to shine on the field.
Will this be the year they break out as a unit?
It’s reasonable to expect that. Senior Luke Farrell has NFL potential and made huge plays in timely spots a season ago for the Buckeyes. Former No. 1 tight end prospect in the country Jeremy Ruckert has the ability to block for the run and stretch the field in the passing game. Jake Hausmann provides a big body to help with depth. Cade Stover is transitioning to the position, but showed in practice that he can make plays. Heck, throw in walk-on Mitch Rossi who plays like a scholarship player and the Buckeyes have even more flexibility.
Each tight end on the roster brings a different skillset. They all have to be able to do everything the Buckeyes need them to.
“Always working on fundamentals,” Farrell said in March during the shortened spring practice schedule. “Need to play faster, that’s always a big thing for me and the tight ends. Our jobs on a lot of plays ask a lot from us. So we want to be able to play even faster while doing that.”
Farrell is the most complete on the roster. He is a gifted blocker for running backs and can be on the field no matter the situation. And he can make impressive grabs for touchdowns in crucial moments.
He and Ruckert complement each other perfectly.
Ruckert, a player who dominated competition as a wide receiver in high school, had to learn what it means to be a complete tight end for the Buckeyes. He’s always been able to make plays like the one in the Big Ten title game — his one-handed catch for a touchdown was a game-changer.
And with another offseason to master how to block as a tight end, Ruckert could become even more well-rounded to further expand the Ohio State offense. He already began showing how far he has developed as a blocker late last season. He washed the defensive line down against Michigan, allowing J.K. Dobbins to run untouched for a touchdown.
Ruckert knew he would have to become a better blocker at Ohio State. Now, he’s showing his progress.
“I knew if I came here, I wouldn’t be able to get on the field if I didn’t learn how to pass protect and run block,” Ruckert said. “I think learning how to do those two things the last couple years has been crucial in developing me as a player. I mean, the goal was obviously to make it to the next level.
“If you’re a one-dimensional player, there’s only so many things you can do. So, with all the cuts they have and the small rosters they have [in the NFL], I think coming to a place like this to develop into a complete tight end was the best option for that.”
He’s developing into an all-around player. Luke Farrell is already a complete tight end. Hausmann can provide a bigger blocker if the Buckeyes need him. And Cade Stover provides depth and superstar potential in the coming years. Don’t forget about Joe Royer, too. The talented prospect arrived on campus this summer and will need to learn, but he shows promise.
Together, they all make the most talented tight end room Ohio State has had in years. And they give the Buckeyes everything they need to thrive offensively.