As part of the redesign of the Bucknuts.com web site, we have added an area
where we can publish excerpts from Bucknuts The Magazine. Each week, we will put
in a new excerpt from the latest edition of Bucknuts The Magazine.
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In each issue of Bucknuts The Magazine, we have in-depth features on Ohio State football players, coaches and prospects. We also have analysis pieces on
the Buckeyes as well as their opponents, the Big Ten and college football world
in general. Plus, we have features on OSU athletes in a variety of sports,
including men's and women's basketball, hockey, wrestling, baseball and other
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This week's excerpt is from the most recent issue of Bucknuts, the summer football preview issue that will be available on newsstands throughout the coming weeks. This article is on new OSU running back Maurice Wells, who could be seeing plenty of time as a freshman this year.
Headline: Quick Baptism
By Gary Housteau
While the Ohio State football team was conducting their annual spring game in
April, future Buckeye Maurice Wells of Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood High
School was with members of his senior class at an all-day/all-night senior day
event at an amusement park.
"I was out of town the whole time that day but I had heard the game went
good. I was thinking about it a lot on the 23rd (of April)," Wells said.
"I was thinking that if I would have graduated early that I could have been
up there with the guys, playing around with them. I definitely would have loved
to have been up there just to kind of get my feet wet and be there with the
guys, and prove to myself that I can compete on the next level and be kind of
good at it.
“But I’m entitled to enjoy my senior year and all good things come in
time. So I’ll wait until the summer to get with it."
Despite his physical absence from being so many miles away, Wells has been
kept abreast on a regular basis of what exactly is going on in Buckeye country.
"I definitely feel like I’m a part of the team. I definitely feel like
I’m a Buckeye," Wells said. "I get all of the team mail and I get
calls from the coaches and I talk to some of the players and stuff. Yeah, being
down here in Florida is hard, but I definitely do feel like I am a Buckeye and I
am a part of the team."
And he’s been doing everything that he possibly can, both physically and
mentally, to prepare for when he finally does become a Buckeye.
"I’m working out hard every day with one of my teammates that has a
scholarship to Murray State and I’m putting on some weight," said Wells
from his home in Florida. "I’m actually up to 191 (pounds) now and my
quickness and speed are still there. So we’re still down here working hard
trying to get ready for the next level."
Wells certainly knows that the expectations for him will be high when he
eventually gets to campus and that’s a major motivating force for him.
"The coaches, from what they tell me, expect a lot from me, and I don’t
want to be a disappointment to them or anybody," he said. "So I am
kind of anxious to get up there and get it all started."
As it stands now, Wells will report to summer camp at Ohio State as the third
tailback behind sophomore Antonio Pittman and redshirt freshman Erik Haw. Wells,
who packs a lot of speed and power into his 5-10 frame, is ready to shake up the
depth chart at the running back spot.
"I can run a 4.3 (second)-40 still. I can bet on that," Wells said.
"I can bench about 340 and I can squat at least 500 pounds. But I’m just
trying to get bigger, stronger and faster so that I’ll be ready to compete for
playing time when I get up there."
Wells might actually be the fastest of the three running backs but he’s not
one to shy away from contact by any means.
"As soon as I get the ball I’m going 100 miles an hour downhill, so
they say that I have good vertical quickness." Wells said. "My speed
and my vision, they say that I make all the right cuts, help me to score from
anywhere on the field. When I hit the hole, it doesn’t matter if anybody has
an angle on me or not, I’ll beat them to the corner and I can take it the
"I can slam it in there and I can get around the outside. I have all
aspects of my game down pat. I kind of do what’s necessary. I make the right
cuts but I don’t juke too much. I’m not a finesse guy; I can lower my
shoulder, too, to get the extra yard. I feel that I’m really a complete
package, a true running back. I’ve got moves, I can make you miss and I can
run you over. I can do it all."
Wells played some as a freshman on offense at wingback and then he was moved
to defense when a new coach came in for his sophomore year. About halfway
through his sophomore season, he was moved back to offense and played running
back where he recorded close to 1,000 yards in just five games. Wells then had
his breakout year in his junior campaign. He led the state of Florida in rushing
with 3,076 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. Wells was named the Florida Class 6A
player of the year and was regarded as one of the nation’s top running backs
"In my junior year I was actually the number one running back in the
nation for a minute but the rankings changed," Wells said. "But I was
the number one back in Florida and the number one player in Florida that
The following season, Wells was bit by the injury bug but still managed to
amass 1,900 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in just nine games.
"Overall I think that I had a pretty productive career at
Sandalwood," said Wells who is completely healed from a nagging hip-pointer
that cost him two full games during the middle of his senior season. "My
coach, Adam Geis, did a good job of putting me in the right position and calling
the right plays to get me to where I’m at right now."
And now he comes to Ohio State highly recommended by the likes of Bill
Conley, OSU’s former recruiting coordinator, and some national recruitniks who
have seen him play in high school.
"Maurice Wells has unbelievable quickness and athletic talent,"
Conley said. "He’s an exceptional talent that will play early for the
Buckeyes. He has the speed, quickness and versatility to play several positions
and could be a remarkable return specialist. He has great big-play
OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel is also excited to have Wells in the
"He's explosive and he's tough," Dick Tressel said. "To get
that many yards, you've got to be willing to get smacked lots of times. He is a
durable guy who has had a lot of carries.
"He was probably one of the first guys we had with a video evaluation
where we said, ‘That guy is a great player. We have got to offer that guy.’
To get him to sign with Ohio State, that is really special.”
Of course, Wells knows that no matter how highly touted he comes to Ohio
State, he still has to get the job done in practice first in order to earn his
opportunities for playing time on game days, be it as a starter or a backup.
"I’m just going to go in there and play my hardest and compete and try
to win the starting spot," Wells said. "If the coaches feel that I’m
the best back that’s available then I’m going to start. To me, it’s as
simple as that. But I’m going to come in and work hard, and if I don’t start
right off the bat, then I think I’ll eventually get my time to shine and get
my playing time."