OSU's playmakers lead improving units
One of the top returning tight ends in the country caught 14 passes last season.
How can that be, you ask? Seven of those receptions were for touchdowns, perhaps a record for (the unkept) touchdowns-to-catches ratio.
That automatically makes Ohio State Buckeyes fifth-year senior Jake Stoneburner highly dangerous, even before factoring in the fact that his new coach, Urban Meyer, has a penchant for making tight ends a featured part of his offense. Aaron Hernandez's 68 catches for Florida in 2009 is a great example. (After Meyer was hired by the Buckeyes, ESPN's Todd McShay provided a great breakdown of how Meyer creates mismatches from the tight end position.)
Meyer has marked Stoneburner and running back Jordan Hall as playmakers who have stood out during Meyer's first spring with the Buckeyes. And that's the case even though Stoneburner missed the bowl game -- against Florida, ironically -- with a knee injury and eventually had surgery.
The Buckeyes will need some playmakers to emerge on offense, as the unit ranked 88th in the country in total yards per play, and one of the primary culprits was a lack of explosive plays. According to cfbstats.com, Ohio State ranked 102nd in the nation in plays of 10 yards or more last season. For the Bucks to significantly improve on last year's win total, that number will have to change.
To read more about Ohio State's playmakers and the rest of the list of key units that could improve in 2012 (including FSU, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas), become an ESPN Insider today.