The accolades were endless for Redgie Arden coming out of high school.
SuperPrep first-team All-American, No. 1 overall player in Ohio, Division IV defensive player of the year, three-time first-team All-State.
Arden was expected to be the next great linebacker at Ohio State. He had the size, the speed, the toughness and yes, the hype.
But not everything pans out like expected. Early last spring, the OSU coaching staff approached Arden about moving to tight end.
Unlike some players, Arden never questioned the move. The coaches told him they thought it was good for the team and that's all he needed to hear.
"I was also a tight end in high school, so it really hasn't been that much of a change except for formations, different plays and things like that," Arden told Bucknuts.com. "I think it's been a good move for me so far."
There was no initial disappointment in making the move? None at all?
"No, I wasn't disappointed. I knew (tight ends) coach (Bill) Conley because he recruited me out of high school and I was kind of close with him. I just looked at it as an opportunity to help the team. They felt we were pretty good at linebacker and they knew we had some good guys coming in, so it was not a disappointment at all. Offense is fun. You know, we get to catch the ball a little bit and run. It's been a change, but it's been fun."
Arden's reps are a bit limited right now since he's backing up Ben Hartsock and Ryan Hamby, but he got plenty of snaps last spring.
"I was kind of thrown into the fire since we had two tight ends that were hurt, but I adjusted and everything is going really well now. I'm not getting as many reps as I did in the spring, but I know the position much better and what's expected of me," the redshirt freshman said.
Any chance of moving back to linebacker in future seasons?
"As of right now, probably not. I see myself staying at tight end."
As was eluded to earlier, Arden came out of tradition-rich Ironton in 2001 as the No. 1 player in the state. Is it hard living up to the expectations that go along with that honor?
"That's just how it goes. Guys come in like that every year... some live up to the hype and some don't. But, you can't really pay attention to the media that much. You just have to come in and play and whatever happens, happens.
"I mean, it was nice to be ranked that high, but I knew then and I know now that what you did in high school doesn't matter once you get to a place like Ohio State."
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Arden is not as buried on the depth chart as one might think. He is the third-team tight end right now, but an injury to Hartsock or Hamby would have him on the field a lot considering how much the Bucks like to use two TE sets.
"Yeah, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This year, I've been rotating in a little bit. I missed the first two games (due to suspension), but the third game and this past week against Cincinnati I was in there in short-yardage and goal line situations and stuff like that. But, hopefully maybe later on this season, or next season, I'll start getting more PT at tight end."
What about special teams? Is Arden helping out in that area?
"Yeah, right now I'm on the backup kickoff return team and I think I'll be starting on kickoff coverage this Saturday against Indiana. I like playing on special teams. It's just another way to get on the field and help the team out. I'm still a young guy, so it's just nice to chip in anyway I can."
Does Arden have any regrets about coming to OSU? He could probably be a starter at most other programs.
"Ohio State is great place, I have no regrets about coming here. This is a great program and we're having a great year, so far, being ranked in the top six in the country. Everything is going great, so it's a lot of fun to be here."
So if you've already written off Redgie Arden as a bust, you might want to re-think that. He is very impressive physically and his attitude is even more impressive. Maybe he'll turn into a Kenny Peterson-type player. You know, a guy that comes to OSU with all the hype, but doesn't make big contributions until the fourth or fifth year.
Redgie Arden came to OSU as one of the highest-rated defensive players in the nation. However, he is not on defense anymore. Dave Biddle talked with Redgie about his move to tight end, how he's adjusting, and more.