Aug 31, 2013Hype for Heuerman (J. Heuerman)
After a breakout season in 2012, highlighted by a memorable two-point conversion reception in the Buckeyes' come-from-behind win over Purdue, junior tight end Jeff Heuerman became a focal point of media attention this offseason.
From running go-routes, to blocking corners on the edge, tight ends are a critical position in head coach Urban' Meyer's offense. With his brute strength and athleticism - he has a 36.5-inch vertical leap and can bench press 225 pounds a team high 33 times - Heuerman is expected to become a valuable asset in the Buckeye spread attack. A native of Tarpon Springs, Fla., Heuerman has worked tirelessly during the summer to improve his skills and knowledge of the playbook in order to expand his role in the offense.
"I've worked hard to be the best I can be, "Heuerman said. "This season I want to be more of an all-around tight tend, not just a blocker. I've studied the playbook a lot so I understand the offense better. The more familiar you are with the plays and schemes, the faster you play and more difficult you are to defend."
With two talented tight ends at his disposal - Heuerman and sophomore Nick Vannett - Meyer has publicly stated his intent to include more two tight end sets in the Ohio State offense this fall. The opportunities the new package present have Heuerman excited.
"There are a lot of things Nick and I both do well," he said. "We're good blockers and we can also run vertical routes, which cause the defense to play both the block and pass. I think it will help open up the passing game because it is one more threat you have to account for."
Heuerman's improvement from last fall has generated tremendous expectations for his upcoming season, including a nomination to the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award. As the Buckeyes begin their 2013 campaign this afternoon against Buffalo, Heuerman is anxious to show he is worth the hype.
"You have to go out and prove yourself," he said. "Being talked about during the offseason is great, but it doesn't get you anywhere - you have to show you're worth the talk."