Ohio State Football: Three Options at Tight End Heading Into 2024 Season


Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Gee Scott Jr. (88) celebrates his touchdown catch in the third quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. | Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

As Cade Stover heads to the NFL, the Ohio State football team has a three-way completion for the Tight End position. 

Most of the skill positions seem set in stone heading into spring practice time at Ohio State. However, the tight end group has many options that could start come the fall. With starting tight end Cade Stover going to the NFL, the spot is now anyone’s to grab for the unit.

Stover finished his Buckeye career with a great season in 2023. He caught 41 passes for 576 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Stover was second for the Scarlet and Gray in yards and touchdown receptions and tied for second in receptions.

The void left by Stover is immense, and there will be very big shoes to fill in the new-look Buckeye offense under new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. Here are some of the names battling for the spot, and some others that will help fill out the group.

Will Kacmarek is the name being floated around the most when talking about the starting tight end spot. He is a senior transfer from the in-state Ohio University, where he produced some numbers each of the last two seasons. In his past two seasons, he has caught 20 and 22 passes for 264 and 243 receiving yards respectively. He had two touchdown receptions in 2023.

Kacmarek brings a 6’6 frame and is very good in the pass and run-blocking game, which will be crucial next season for the offense. The former Bobcat showed signs in the passing game with the ability to make some plays and could be asked to do the same in Columbus.

Gee Scott Jr. is the most familiar name returning amongst the tight ends. The 6’3 graduate tight end come the fall has recorded at least five catches in his last three seasons with the Buckeyes. Last season he had 10 receptions for 70 receiving yards and one touchdown. Scott Jr. also had a combined 70 receiving yards and a touchdown the two previous seasons combined.

Scott Jr. started some games last season and is by far the most experienced tight end returning with the team. He has shown some flashes in both the pass and run game, but Kacmarek and the next option could steal snaps throughout the campaign.

Jelani Thurman will be a sophomore after spending his first collegiate season in Columbus. The 6’6 product from Georgia caught just two passes last season for 18 yards. In a position usually dominated by older veteran guys, Thurman played just 24 snaps on offense in a crowded room. Like the other options, he can make plays for the offense and has arguably the most amount of upside when given the opportunities. He will battle with Kacmarek and Scott Jr. to be on the field more, and will likely exceed his freshman snap count very quickly.

In an offense that is not afraid to play multiple tight ends at much, especially in the run game, depth for injuries and other circumstances is always a plus. There are a variety of other tight ends on the roster for spring ball, including junior Bennett Christian, senior Patrick Gurd, senior Zak Herbstreit, and senior Jace Middleton.

With the Big Ten tight end of the year and first-team all-Big Ten tight end Cade Stover going to the next level, there will be a need to fill the production he provided. It may be a group effort in 2024, but the Ohio State tight end room will need to provide blocking and a spark in the passing game if the Buckeyes want to win its first title in 10 years