Sep 7, 2013

Making It Count (C. Fields)

Fifth-year senior Chris Fields has evolved into a starting wide receiver for Ohio State and is poised to be a key contributor for the Buckeyes this season. His relentless effort and drive to improve earned him a starting spot on the roster following the 2013 spring game and he is prepared to stake his claim as one of the leaders on the team.

Fields, one of 16 seniors and one of 11 fifth-year seniors, is ready to lead by example and use his knowledge to be more of a presence as a veteran wide receiver on the squad.

“I’ve been here for some years and have some experience under my belt,” Fields said. “I’ve changed my leadership style to be more vocal and help the younger players adjust to the play system and techniques I’ve learned through three different position coaches here.”

Heading into his final season, Fields has dedicated himself to making each moment count.

“Now that I’m a senior, my mind set has totally changed,” Fields said. “Being a leader has been the biggest difference for me this season and I am concentrated on being more consistent, making big plays and always being there for my teammates.”

As Fields grew into a more mature player and leader, he drew inspiration from a player he revered above all others, NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, and a conversation they shared nearly five years ago.

The All-Ohio performer at Painesville Harvey High School had the opportunity to meet with Rice as a high school senior following the 2008 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

“I wore No. 80 when I came to Ohio State because I had always watched Jerry as a child and admired the way he played the game,  Fields said. “Having the chance to sit down and talk to him over dinner was incredible.”

Much of their exchange still resonates with Fields today.

“He expressed to me how important it is to have a strong work ethic and to work my absolute hardest to improve every time I step on the field,” Fields said. “I’ve always had a competitive nature and work ethic, but I try to develop it more and more each day.”

In 2012, the Painesville, Ohio, native saw action in eight games, pulling in four receptions and one touchdown for the Scarlet and Gray. His first career touchdown could not have come at a more clutch time. With two seconds left in regulation against Purdue last season, Fields scooped and cradled a pass from quarterback Kenny Guiton that, with the two-point conversion, forced overtime against the Boilermakers and protected the Buckeyes’ undefeated record. Fields also added a career-high 35-yard reception from Braxton Miller in the game.

“I’ve always had faith in myself,” Fields said. “I knew that if I had a chance, I would capitalize on it. This season, I have the same chance to make big plays for my team and I want to take full advantage of it.”

By Chelsea Zoellner, Athletics Communications