Name: Rory Nicol
Hometown: Beaver, Pa.
High School: Beaver Area
Position: Tight End
Last season: Fourth on the team in catches (16 for 84 yards) and the top pass catcher among tight ends; played in all 13 games
This season: Third-straight year as the starting tight end
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Rory Nicol is part of one of the most experienced units on the Buckeyes. With three seniors and junior at tight end, Nicol is one of the leaders of the senior class.
“When you have a group of guys who are all seniors, one person has to be the leader among the leaders,” Nicol said. “I’m that guy.”
Coming into his final season as a Buckeye, Nicol has worked most of the off-season on improving his overall knowledge of the game. In 2007 Nicol became part of a two tight end set, along with junior Jake Ballard, in his second season as a starter.
“As a group the tight ends are very close with each other,” Ballard said. “Rory is always looking out for us and making sure we do things the right way.”
In his junior season with first-year starter Todd Boeckman calling the signals, Nicol saw an increased roll in the offense and hopes for that to continue in 2008. Boekman knows how much having a solid tight end on the field can help.
“Those guys are like a safety net for me,” Boeckman said. “I know I can’t take sacks so with the tight ends out there it gives me a great dump-off option.”
The offense returns most of its starters for 2008 and Nicol hopes to get better production from both himself and the entire unit.
“I can remember when Ben (Hartsock) was here they would get 20-30 catches a season,” Nicol said. “(The tight ends) need to play a bigger roll in the offense.”
More offense or not, Nicol isn’t all about catching passes. He also doesn’t mind getting into the trenches and making blocks either. In some ways he likes it even more than catching a pass in the flat.
“This is a power team. We play in the Big Ten, you have to be,” he added. “When we line up in the I-formation with two tight ends and it is man on man, those are some of my favorite times.”
~ Jeff Symonds, OhioStateBuckeyes.com