Ohio State Football: Is Buckeyes WR Devin Smith's Starting Job in Jeopardy?

Is Ohio State WR Devin Smith's Starting Job in Jeopardy?

3/31/14 in NCAAF   |   rlnichols11   |   22 respect

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) makes a touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsAlthough the foundation of Urban Meyer's offense his first two years in Columbus has been the running game (led primarily by Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller), there has certainly been no shortage of talent at the wide receiver position.

Devin Smith, who is entering his senior season, has been an important part of the Buckeyes' passing game, serving as Miller's primary vertical threat down the field.

In 2013, Smith was second only to Philly Brown for the team lead in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He also led all Buckeye wide receivers with an average of 15 yards per reception.

With Brown graduating and headed to the NFL, one would figure that Smith and fellow senior Evan Spencer figure to step in and replace his 63 catches and 10 TDs. But in the words of the great Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend!"

Wide receivers coach Zach Smith has made it clear that the competition for playing time at wideout is very much an open one, and that veterans like Smith aren't simply going to be handed the job just because they are more experienced.

Johnnie Dixon and Curtis Samuel, two incoming freshmen who have enrolled early and are participating in spring practice, are both highly touted recruits that have a very good chance at seeing decent time on the field during their first season in Columbus.

Jalin Marshall, a 5-star athlete from the class of 2013 who redshirted last year to learn the wide receiver position, is an explosive playmaker who could play a lot this season if he can prove that he's made the transition from a quarterback in high school.

Other receivers on the roster like Michael Thomas and Jeff Greene (6-foot-3 and 6-foot-5 respectively) offer size that could be a significant advantage for the Buckeye offense, particularly in the red zone.

With that being said, despite the open competition and the loads of talent at wide receiver, I don't see any scenario where Smith isn't the go-to receiver for Miller this season.

Smith and Miller came into Columbus together back in 2011, and have built up a very solid chemistry over the last three years. 

Smith isn't the fastest or the biggest receiver Meyer has to pick from, he's been a very reliable weapon for the Buckeyes each of the past two seasons. He's got plenty of big-game experience, and after two full seasons as a starter in Meyer's system, he's more familiar with the offense than any other receiver.

I look for several different receivers to see significant time on the field this season. All of the guys I mentioned have been getting plenty of reps in practice this spring, and will likely all play somewhat of a role in Ohio State's 2014 season.

But as long as Smith does what he's supposed to during spring ball, he will be the No. 1 receiver for the Buckeyes when the season kicks off against Navy on August 30. And when they find themselves in need of a big play, Miller will most definitely be looking in Smith's direction every time.
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