Stoneburner Transitioning to Tight End
When Jake Stoneburner arrived at Ohio State for spring practice in 2008, the Dublin Coffman graduate hoped to compete for playing time at receiver and insert himself as another weapon in the OSU offense.
By Mark Silverman
Things have changed.
After Stoneburner was forced to redshirt last season due to a stress fracture in his right shin, the coaching staff determined that tight end was a better fit for the freshman. Stoneburner came to campus at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. He has gained almost 20 pounds since, but still has the speed of a wideout.
The Buckeyes should benefit from the transition as production at the tight end position has deteriorated since 2003. The duo of Ben Hartsock and Ryan Hamby made a combined 51 catches that season and there has been a lack of a short passing game ever since.
Stoneburner brings a skill set to tight end that has been vacant since the departure of Rickey Dudley following the 1995 season. Not that Stoneburner should be compared to Dudley in this stage of his career, but the athleticism and potential is worth mentioning.
Although the blocking aspect of his game is unproven, Stoneburner’s speed should enable him to separate from linebackers and find holes in the middle of the field. What could separate Stoneburner from previous OSU tight ends is yards gained after the catch.
Assuming he stays healthy, Stoneburner has a chance to showcase his speed and agility at tight end and modernize the position to a level that Ohio State fans aren’t accustomed to seeing.