April 10, 2014
Redshirt Junior Nick Vannett has matured over the past three years to become a crucial member of the Ohio State offense. With the implementation of some double tight end formations, Vannett and senior Jeff Heuerman have pushed each other to make a threatening pair and cause nightmares for opposing linebackers. The Westerville, Ohio, product played in 12 games in the 2013 season, earning a total 80 receiving yards and has caught the eye of many, including the coaching staff, this spring. Vannett took some time after a recent practice to talk about his progress as a member of the developing Buckeye offense.
"I think ever since Jeff and I came in, we had that [competitive] relationship even through the recruiting process. We always push each other to be great and challenge each other in practice. It kind of hurts not having him out here, but I took the challenge upon myself to go out there and get better."
"We're still finding our identity right now. When you lose guys like (Corey) Philly Brown, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde ... it's hard to replace those guys. Jeff and I are trying to step up and be those go-to guys. I think before he got hurt we were doing a really good job and we have to keep pushing it."
"Being a junior, it's time to mature. You have to watch more film and understand defenses better. I have two more years after this, I have to step up and take it as a serious job. I have to do everything I can to make this offense successful."
"There's something about central Ohio, I guess we just breed players like that. We go hard and make plays. Ohio guys are representing and that is always good for us. There aren't a lot of us here so we have to make some noise. "
"Coming in(to spring), we really didn't know who the back up was going to be behind Braxton. Cardale Jones has really taken it upon himself to step up and he has done really well. He has really grown up. He is taking charge and that is what you want in a quarterback: to take charge on the field. He is accurate with his throws and leading his offense in the right way."
"I think most of it is internal for me. I want the best for myself. I am a competitive person and my goals are to be the best tight end that has come through Ohio State. That is just the pride I have in myself. Every time I come out on the field, I just want to try to get better in one part of my game and help out the offense."
"One thing that is so special with our group is that we aren't selfish. We all are trying to help each other and trying to make each other successful on the field. I think that is what is so special about the tight end group."
"When they call your number you have to make plays. I think so far I have done really well. I think what has helped me is that I have gotten really comfortable in the offense. This is my third year here and its all settling in. I just have to go out there and execute the play. I'm not really thinking too much, I'm just reacting. I think Jeff and I are trying to become as good as we can. Anytime we have an opportunity to do that on the practice field, we're going to do that. We are just trying to prove to the coaches that they are making a mistake if they don't put us on the field together. This is the last year Jeff and I are going to be together, so if not now, then never."
Buckeyes in the NFL - Divisional Round