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Tale of the Tape: Knowing the basics of Buckeyes tight ends

Spencer-Holbrookby:Spencer Holbrook06/10/24


COLUMBUS — Ohio State returns plenty of its tight ends. The Buckeyes don’t bring back the rock of that unit, though.

Cade Stover is now with the Houston Texans. The Buckeyes need new tight ends to step in and become big-time contributors for a critical — yet often overlooked — spot on the offense.

Lettermen Row is in the early stages of Tight Ends Week, a weeklong series that will dive deep into the room, the contenders to play and much, much more. Let’s get it started with a basic primer, going through just who these six tight ends are — and why they might earn playing time this fall.

Fifth-year tight end Gee Scott Jr.

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 243 pounds

High school: Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Washington)

On3 Industry Ranking: Gee Scott Jr. was the No. 52 overall player in the country, the No. 7 wide receiver and No. 2 player in the state of Washington in the class of 2020.

Picked Buckeyes over: Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU, Florida, Florida State and a dozen others

Career stats: Scott has 20 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns at Ohio State.

Biggest strength: Catching the ball. Scott has gained weight to fit the mold of a tight end and has grown into a better blocking player, but he is a high school wide receiver who willingly wanted to play tight end. Scott is a threat in the passing game as the fifth-year tight end and unit leader.

Fourth-year tight end (Ohio transfer) Will Kacmarek

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 260 pounds

High school: Mary Institute & St. Louis Country Day (St. Louis, Missouri)

On3 Industry Ranking: Will Kacmarek was not ranked.

Picked Buckeyes over: Will Kacmarek committed to Ohio State after spending three years at Ohio Unviersity.

Career stats: Kacmarek had 42 catches for 507 yards and two touchdowns during his three-year career at Ohio.

Biggest strength: 

Third-year tight end Bennett Christian

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 260 pounds

High school: Allatoona (Acworth, Georgia)

On3 Ranking: Christian was the No. 35 tight end in the country and No. 49 player in the state of Georgia.

On3 Industry Ranking: Christian was the No. 318 player in the country, No. 19 tight end and No. 36 player in the state of Georgia in the class of 2022.

Picked Buckeyes over: Tennessee, where his father played football.

Career stats: 0 career catches at Ohio State

Biggest strength: Bennett Christian has the size needed to be a successful tight end at Ohio State. At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Christian is a solid blocker who is still developing as a pass-catcher in an attempt to become a complete tight end. Expect to see him on the field in the future for the Buckeyes — maybe even this year as a blocking ace.

Second-year tight end Jelani Thurman

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 258 pounds

High school: Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Georgia)

On3 Ranking: Thurman was the No. 149 overall player, No. 8 tight end, and No. 14 player in Georgia.

On3 Industry Ranking: Thurman was the No. 117 overall player, No. 5 tight end, and No. 6 player in Georgia in the class of 2023.

Picked Buckeyes over: Auburn, Alabama and Michigan State

Career stats: Jelani Thurman had two catches for 18 yards during his freshman season at Ohio State.

On3 Scouting Report: Tall, long tight end with one of the larger catch radiuses in the 2023 cycle. … The length shows up by way of the large catch radius. Has the reach to attack the ball at its highest point or scoop up low throws off the ground. Shows strong hands to finish through contact in contested situations. Makes high level grabs at a rate that is among the best of 2023 tight ends. Moves well, showing the quickness to separate though he’s still developing as a route-runner. … Plays in-line at times for his high school and shows a willingness as a blocker. Needs to continue adding to his lower body strength which will aid the ability to break tackles after the catch. Both parents were professional athletes.

First-year tight end Max LeBlanc

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 225 pounds

High school: Baylor School (Chattanooga, Tennessee)

On3 Ranking: LeBlanc was the No. 21 tight end, and No. 9 player in Tennessee.

On3 Industry Ranking: LeBlanc was the No. 264 overall player, No. 17 tight end, and No. 7 player in Tennessee in the class of 2024.

Picked Buckeyes over: Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee

Career stats: 0 career catches at Ohio State

First-year tight end Damarion Witten

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 205 pounds

High school: Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio)

On3 Ranking: Witten was the No. 40 tight end, and No. 30 player in Ohio.

On3 Industry Ranking: Witten was the No. 497 overall player, No. 30 tight end, and No. 20 player in Ohio in the class of 2024.

Picked Buckeyes over: Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee

Career stats: 0 career catches at Ohio State

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