Skull Session: Buckeye Offense is loaded for the next three years, why Ohio State needs a tight end and the Buckeyes push the Directors’ Cup

Apologies for the end of Skull Session, I fell asleep on my couch painting my house.

In other news…

My Reds beat the defending World Series champions yesterday, so I’m just going to pretend it works like pro wrestling and claim the world title for Cincinnati.

Sometimes you just need to create your own rules.

Word of the day: Lacerate.

LOCKED AND LOADED. At this point, it would be considerably more shocking to those in Buckeyeland if Ohio State *didn’t* have the best offense in the nation for the foreseeable future.

It looks like the rest of college football is coming to this fact as well, with ESPN predicting Ohio State will have the best offense in the nation for the next three years.

Scouting the Buckeyes: The effect of several strong recruiting cycles under coach Ryan Day is showing with an Ohio State offense that is expected to be loaded throughout the 2024 season. fullback CJ Stroud is entering what is likely his final college season as the top Heisman Trophy contender, having passed for 2,165 yards and 21 touchdowns in his last five games last season. Kyle McCord should be ready to step in for 2023 and possibly 2024, and QB recruiting remains strong. Ohio State could have the best triple threat in the nation with Stroud, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson, who will play at least two more seasons at Columbus after rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true freshman. Smith-Njigba (1,606 receiving yards) will lead a wide group that will rely more heavily on Julian Fleming, Marvin Harrison Jr. and dynamic sophomore Emeka Egbuka. Sophomore Miyan Williams, who averages 7.2 yards per carry, will support Henderson.

Ohio State has hired Justin Frye to upgrade an offensive line that’s not lacking in talent but needs a boost after being overpowered by Michigan late last fall. Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr. form one of the best tackle tandems in the nation, while center Luke Wypler and guard Matt Jones each earned an All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021. Josh Fryar, a rotational piece on guard. The Buckeyes will miss Jeremy Ruckert at tight end and should look to veteran Mitch Rossi, junior Gee Scott Jr. and others.

As hilarious as it is, you could almost safely make that projection five years instead of three, even without having any idea who will be on the roster in *check notes* 2027.

I don’t need to know specifically who is going to throw, catch or run the ball in the future. All I know is that based on how Ryan Day recruited and stocked his offense, they’re going to be good as hell.

WHY TIGHT END. Ohio State has what must be the most absurd stock of wide receiver talent in college football history. It’s probably not hyperbolic to say the Buckeyes have four or five players who would each be the best receiver on 95% of college football rosters — and that’s after two receivers left to become first-round picks.

And yet, we’ve spent the last few weeks worrying about who will play tight end.

Thing is, if I was running this attack on a video game, I probably wouldn’t even be playing with a tight end. I was just rolling with four or five wide receivers every play and cutting through defenses like a surgeon cutting through cookie cake.

But this is real life, not a video game. And it turns out there are very real, valid reasons why Ryan Day insists on playing a tight end or two every play.

Ohio State has signed four of the top 11 receivers in any class, according to the 247Sports Composite, from 2019 through 2021. It has signed nine of the top 100 receivers overall in those three years. Oh, and there was also Chris Olave, who surpassed his lower recruiting rating and played as one of the best receivers in the nation during that span. And over the past three years, the offense has tended to play multiple tight ends more often.

Whether it’s 10 people (four receivers, one fullback, no tight ends) or 20 people (three receivers, two fullbacks, no tight ends), teams have shown that running football without a tight end tight can be done. But Ohio State didn’t venture much down that road under Day. The Buckeyes have made 2,557 official plays with Day as head coach (and de facto offensive coordinator), and only 62, or 2.4%, have been without a tight end on the field, per PFF. This falls well below the FBS average of 14.6%. The Buckeyes have accumulated receiver talent better than any program in that span and haven’t played a single play with five receivers on the field.

It seems strange living in a world where at some point you had Olave, Garrett Wilson, KJ Hill, Ben Victor, Austin Mack, Jameson Williams, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka , and have done little to utilize groups of staff who try to get even four of these players onto the pitch at once.

It comes down to how Ohio State wants to run the ball.

“It’s easier (if you have a tight end),” offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said. “I think if you don’t have a tight end that’s really good, you’re bound to go quarterback and be part of the running game. When the tight end isn’t involved, you get into a lot of running games with a quarterback.

And Ohio State doesn’t want to live in that world.

It totally makes sense while still leaving me wanting four or five sets of receivers.

Could we find some kind of compromise? Please?

COME FOR THE CUT. Ohio State has never won the Director’s Cup (last year was the first time in my life that Not Stanford won the Director’s Cup), but after an absolutely absurd run through the winter, the Buckeyes are within reach.

A strong winter sports season saw the Ohio State Department of Athletics surpass 35 schools and take third place in the LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup winter standings.

This winter, the Ohio State women’s hockey team, which won the national championship, and three other teams that ranked in the NCAA Top 10 led the way: women’s swimming and diving, men’s swimming and diving and fencing.

Ohio State has 701.50 points in the fall and winter sports seasons trailing only Michigan (761) and Notre Dame (754). Stanford and Texas complete the Top 5 with 690.50 and 679.50 points respectively. Wisconsin, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Arkansas round out the Top 10.

I don’t mean to be a depresser, but I’m not sure Ohio State has enough power behind the scenes to make a push, but I’ve been told I was wrong before.

YOU JUST HATE TO SEE THIS! For those unfamiliar with college hockey, the Wolverines had an incredibly and borderline unrealistic roster.

Michigan’s college hockey roster features 13 NHL draft picks, including a record seven (!!!) NCAA first-round picks — including the first two overall picks and four of the top five.

Needless to say, anything short of a national title would have been a huge underperformance this season.

Well…

Whoops! Better luck next year, I guess!

SONG OF THE DAY. “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys.

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