COLUMBUS – The announcement that Ohio State defensive back Cam Burrows will miss this season because of a foot injury illustrates the uncertainty of college football for the players and the coaches who recruit them.
When Burrows became the first player to commit to Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class, he was rated a four-star prospect and considered someone who had a bright future ahead of him.
Instead, the two-time All-Ohio player from Trotwood-Madison has never started a game in his four years at OSU and this is the second season in a row he has lost to an injury. Another foot injury sidelined him after he played only three games last season.
“It’s been a tough go for him,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said at a press conference on Wednesday. “He’s an awesome guy, a guy who has become a leader on the team. He’s an excellent student with a great family.”
Burrows will work as a student assistant in Ohio State’s weight room, Meyer said.
SAMUEL’S ROLE: With the expected announcement that redshirt freshman Mike Weber will start at tailback against Bowling Green on Saturday, Curtis Samuel will split his time between the hybrid position of H-back and wide receiver in OSU’s offense.
Meyer has called the junior “our No. 1 playmaker on offense” and said, “I love his skill set.”
“Curtis Samuel is phenomenal. I’ve loved him since he walked on campus,” he said.
That might sound like a bold description of a guy who scored only three touchdowns, rushed for 132 yards and caught 22 passes last season. But a foot injury that required surgery in the offseason limited Samuel in the Buckeyes’ last four games in 2015.
So, a healthy Samuel could be a much more productive Samuel this fall.
“Curtis is a very skilled athlete, a very elite player with the ball in his hands,” Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. “We’re just going to try to find as many ways to use him as possible.
“He can do great things at wide receiver, he can do great things with the ball in his hands at the running back position. We’ll see where it goes,” he said. “At the end of the day I’d love to see Curtis touching the ball 10 to 15 times a game.”
Some highlights from Meyer’s radio call-in show on Thursday:
• ON TAILBACK MIKE WEBER: “If he continues to improve, Buckeye Nation is going to be very happy with our running back situation. He’s a little Carlos Hyde.”
• ON QUARTERBACK J.T. BARRETT: “He’s outstanding and he’s picked up back where he should be. It was his show all through spring practice, it’s been his show all summer. He’s as good as it gets. He has done fantastic and he’s really helped the maturity of the players around him.”
• ON CENTER PAT ELFLEIN: “The best center in college football.”
• ON OHIO STATE’S RECEIVERS: Meyer said wide receivers Parris Campbell, Noah Brown, Terry McLaurin, Austin Mack, Johnnie Dixon and James Clark, H-backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson and tight end Marcus Baugh all could be among the leading targets in the passing game on Saturday.
“We do have some depth, you’re going to see guys rolling through there. I feel better than I have in the last 12 months than I have about our receiving corps but they’re untested,” Meyer said.
• ON TAKING THE BOWLING GREEN JOB IN 2001: Meyer said his first instinct when offered the BGSU job was to turn it down but two of his mentors, Earle Bruce and Lou Holtz told him that would be a mistake.
“I called Earle Bruce and he just cussed me out for not taking the job, like he does very well,” Meyer said. And when he told Holtz he didn’t think he’d take the job because it “wasn’t a good job,” Holtz replied, “Of course not, if it was a good job they wouldn’t be calling you.”
• ON BEING TOUGH AT BG: “Eighteen kids quit within the first week and they should have quit. They didn’t belong there. It’s Division I football and you don’t act like that and play Division I football and do what they were doing,” he said.
• ON KICKER TYLER DURBIN: Durbin, a walk-on, will kick in the place of Sean Nuernberger on Saturday and will handle kickoffs.
Asked what he knows about Durbin, Meyer said, “I don’t know anything about him.
“He came out and started hitting punts in practice as our third punter. I heard it hit his foot because it was so loud. He was hitting bombs. Then he started place-kicking for us and hit a 62-yard field goal (in practice). I want to see how he reacts in the confines of The Shoe.”