COLUMBUS — Marcus Baugh thought he could play as soon as he got to Ohio State. It has taken a little longer to convince other people, beginning with OSU coach Urban Meyer.
But it appears he is making a believer out of Meyer.
Talking about the fifth-year senior tight end after a 62-14 win over Maryland last Saturday, Meyer said, “Marcus Baugh is really coming on at the right time. He’s getting much better. He’s hitting his stride at the right time.”
A few days earlier, the OSU coach said, “He (Baugh) has never achieved what he could be. He’s getting close, though.”
Baugh arrived at Ohio State as a 4-star tight end recruit in 2013 after catching 68 passes over his final two seasons at John W. North High School in Riverside, Calif.
He was redshirted in 2013, which probably did not sit well with him. Then he caught five passes in the next two seasons combined before being honorable mention All-Big Ten last season when he caught 13 passes. In six games this season, he has 10 catches.
Baugh reportedly nearly left Ohio State in the spring of his freshman year, then skipped an offseason workout that summer. There were two underage drinking arrests early in his career and he was suspended for the season opener in 2014 for what Meyer described as “stuff.”
Despite that list of troubles and a shoulder surgery along the way, Baugh said the journey has been worth it.
“I wouldn’t take anything back. I don’t regret anything,” Baugh said after Ohio State’s win over Maryland.
“It was hard going through what I’ve gone through and coach changes and coordinator changes. You just roll with it and do what you’ve got to do. But this year I’m playing how they thought I’d play,” he said.
Baugh says the explanation of how he got to the level expected of him isn’t complicated.
“Coach Wilson (offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson) just told me I have to play hard. Coach Meyer told me to play hard. I just have to focus in on playing hard and not worrying about being right or wrong, just trust the people around me and play hard.
“I knew I could do more. It wasn’t a big deal for me. I just gave them more of what he asked for,” he said. “I’m playing good but I can play better. I can execute better, I still can play harder. I probably always feel like I can play harder and execute better.”
Center Billy Price, also a fifth-year senior, said, “There are a lot of good things coming from Marcus now. He can bring a different dimension to what we can do.
“Marcus has been in the program five years now. The coaches know what he’s good at and what he’s bad at. Marcus does a lot of good things and he’s a huge part of this offense. Without him some of those outside runs we have going on, or some of the pass routes, if it wasn’t for him the execution wouldn’t happen,” Price said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @lima_naveau.