Chris Fields has been a bit of an enigma for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The fifth year senior has flown under-the-radar for the Buckeyes yet, has also made some very meaningful contributions to Buckeye lore. He is a frustrating, but equally gratifying story.
Fields came to Ohio State in 2009 from Harvey High School in Painesville, Ohio, as a highly coveted receiver. The 2009 Lake County Player of the Year, Fields was ranked as the 19th ranked wide receiver in the country, the 129th player overall, and the fourth best prospect out of the state of Ohio. He also was a top-notch baseball player and track runner, but he ultimately decided that football was his most lucrative path. He was recruited by current Purdue head Coach, Darrell Hazell, and became a Buckeye with little hesitation.
Redshirted during his freshman season, Fields came out strong in his second year with the Buckeyes, earning playing time in eight games. During those eight games, he grabbed three receptions for 22 yards and took a step in the positive direction.
His sophomore season, the one during which Jim Tressel resigned, was his best effort to date. Helping a less-than-stellar group of receivers, Fields played in each of the 13 games the Buckeyes played in 2011 and grabbed a career-high eight receptions for 114 yards. He also set himself up as one of the Buckeyes premier punt-return specialists, as he had five returns for 88 yards, including a crucial punt-return touchdown in an all-too-tense win against the Toledo Rockets.
With yet another step forward as a receiver, and a leap forward as a punt-returner, Fields was set to break out in 2012… or so we thought.
Urban Meyer did not utilize Fields much in 2012 and the receiver returned to his 2010 form. He saw action in only 8 games in 2012 and had 4 receptions for 55 yards, essentially half of his 2011 total. His punt return totals were nothing notable, as he failed to garner more than 10 yards total on returns.
Fields did, however, make his performance felt in one of the biggest games of the 12-0 season.
It was Fields who owned the day against the Purdue Boilermakers and helped Kenny Guiton to orchestrate one of the most masterful comebacks in the history of Ohio State football. With a couple of seconds left, as we all remember so distinctly, Guiton rolled right and threw a bullet to Fields who dove and caught the ball, just as it was going to graze the red turf in the end-zone.
While his first career touchdown catch was the most meaningful play of the game and his career-to-date, Fields also recorded a career-high 35 yard reception and another catch on the day.
In the rest of his 2012 season, Fields accumulated only one more catch, an eleven-yarder against Illinois, in a 52-22 route of the Illini.
There is no doubt that Fields, the former four-star prospect, is frustrated with his lack of playing time, but heading into his senior season, he expects to be a leader. He has poured all of his frustration into his offseason workouts and team-based exercises.
Chris Fields is bound and determined to make an impact for the 2013 Buckeyes, while cementing his legacy and chasing the coveted crystal ball. There should be no doubt that he will be able to do so.
Chris Fields Touchdown Catch Against Purdue (Comes at 1:10)
Chris Fields Punt Return Touchdown Against Toledo