Total scholarship players: 9
Average age: Sophomore
Average star ranking: 3.6
Total returning starts: 24
Notable stats: 56 catches for 919 yards and six touchdowns.
This is a group long on potential but short on accomplishments entering the preseason in 2012.
Meyer minced no words in assessing what he saw from his receivers leading up to spring ball, and he seemed to feel only slightly better about the youngsters when all was said and done in April.
Chris Fields is the eldest of the group as a fourth-year junior, but he finds himself backing up speedy true junior Corey “Philly” Brown at slot receiver, a position new to the official depth chart this season.
At one outside position, Evan Spencer is listed as a starter with fellow sophomore Verlon Reed backing him up. Devin Smith, another sophomore, starts on the other side with surprising freshman Michael Thomas backing him up.
Sophomore Tyrone Williams will also vie for a shot at playing time this fall, when incoming freshmen Riquan Southward and Frank Epitropoulos also join the mix.
Size is not an issue as all are listed at at least 6-0, but Meyer has lamented a lack of playmakers among the group.
Smith and Brown in particular have flashed the type of raw ability that could lead to stardom, but both have been asked to be more consistent in their craft. Brown battled injuries last season while Smith’s playing time was spotty despite a knack for making big plays when he was in the game.
Spencer was praised as having perhaps the best spring among the group until a shoulder injury ended his time on the field prematurely, but he is not expected to feel any effects of that this fall.
Reed enters as an X-factor after he parlayed a strong 2011 preseason camp into a starting role but missed the second half of the season and all of spring practice with a knee injury. A former high school quarterback, Reed has good size (6-1, 200 pounds) and natural running ability.
Thomas took advantage of those injuries to turn heads in the spring with his knack for getting open and making tough catches.
Williams could be a formidable weapon thanks to his 6-6, 229-pound frame, but catching the ball was an issue for him throughout last season. Much of his playing time last season came in obvious running situations.
With everyone scheduled to be back in 2013, this group’s best football figures to be ahead of it.
Epitropoulos heads to Ohio State with a familiar name (his father and uncle are former Buckeyes) and a big frame (6-3, 195) as he travels the short distance from Upper Arlington to Columbus. His size, hands and jumping ability make him a reliable target, and he can punt as well.
Meanwhile, Southward is something of an unknown because he was a late-bloomer at traditional Florida high school power Lakeland.
The search continues for more speedy playmakers to join this group from the 2013 class, although one answer already in the fold could be Jalin Marshall. A high school quarterback rated a five-star running back by Scout.com, Marshall could also be a pass catcher at the next level.
Current status: Cautiously optimistic
Future outlook: Unknown