Gee Scott may not be a star for the Buckeyes this season, but that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually get there, and it also doesn’t mean there won’t be a role for him this season in Ohio State’s offense.
Scott came to the Buckeyes as a 4-star wide receiver last year, but a move to tight end in the spring has altered his timing a bit. It didn’t necessarily alter the destination, just the route he’s going to take getting there. Any time a player moves positions there is a learning process. It’s not exactly returning to square one for a player, but they can see square one from where they’re standing.
Scott’s move came as a surprise when it was revealed this spring, but the decision wasn’t made on a whim. Scott went to the coaches and made the suggestion himself. Being a big receiver at 6-foot-3 and over 210 pounds, it was also revealed that he was doing everything he could to stay at a receiver’s weight and that maybe it was best for everyone if he just listened to his body and made the move up to tight end.
“I think he and his dad thought about it, and with his size, I would kind of joke around a year ago when he showed up like, ‘Hey, you know, you put an extra patty on that cheeseburger there and make it a double and we can make you a tight end real quick here,'” offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said last month.
If a player isn’t all-in on a position move, the move won’t work. For this to be Scott’s idea, that bodes well for the future. You don’t have to look long or hard in today’s game to find tight ends who can alter an offense just as much if not more than a wide receiver. Defending a tight end who who runs like a wide receiver is always going to pose problems, but that’s only one part of the job.
That’s the kind of offensive mismatch that the Buckeyes will want for Gee Scott as a tight end, unfortunately he was slowed this spring so they didn’t get to put in as much work on the practice field as they would have liked.
“He’s going to run routes well,” Wilson said. “He was limited with a hamstring injury that wasn’t major but did limit some practice. Would’ve loved to have had him on the field a little bit more. So he’s gonna need a great summer, but his skill set in the passing game will be good. And it’s our ability to help him understand and physically gain some weight and strength. It’s gonna be a developmental process.”
The development will involve more than just a second patty at lunch, but size and strength are a prerequisite at the tight end position. Scott is putting in the work both in the weight room and training table. He will be attached to strength coach Mickey Marotti and his staff working daily on reaching goals. It’s not quite baby steps, but it’s also not as simple as just saying “Okay, you’re a tight end now.”
How this summer goes will then dictate what happens this fall for Gee Scott. When training camp starts, they’ll assess where he is and then figure out the best way to get the most out of him. But the 2021 season will just be the first leg of this journey.
“We’ll see how we can enhance and use his skill to complement the position and complement the offense,” Wilson said. “And then it’ll evolve through the fall, next offseason, and next year — because again, we’re basically asking these guys to play a little bit of left tackle and a little bit of wide receiver. He will be very comfortable in the receiving game and the matchups there. But we don’t want him to go on the field and always be a guy that now we’re throwing the ball because he’s in the game. He needs to be very competent in the blocking game.
“And we’ll be very smart in trying to develop him, but also putting him in matchups where he can gain confidence in the schemes and the plays that are called and the formations that he’s in. Play to his strengths. But over time, hopefully he’ll get strong enough and big enough. Right now he’s in the low 220s. So we need to get him hopefully about 230-235 by the fall. And maybe a year from now he’s a 240-245-pound guy and be a much more complete player. Excited to have him though.”
Scott won’t be asked to do anything this year that he can’t do, but the more he can do, the more they’ll ask of him. This is just the beginning of a new road for Gee Scott, but one that could take him further than the one he was on previously.