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Dane Sanzenbacher: College Football at its Finest

Relatively undersized for today’s big-time college football game, 5’ 11,” 175lb. wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has made huge plays for the Buckeyes so far in 2009. In fact, his hands might be as important to the offense right now as Terrell Pryor’s feet.

In four games, Sanzenbacher leads the Buckeyes with four touchdown receptions, and averages a scorching 23.1 yards per catch. In a heartbreaking 17-15 loss to USC, he caught a pass over the middle, made All-American safety Taylor Mays miss, and sprinted for a 56-yard gain to give the Buckeyes first-and-goal. A week later, this time against Toledo, he scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, including a 76-yard catch-and-run on the game’s first drive.

But skills alone are not entirely what make him fun to watch. Rather, the way he conducts himself on the field is equally as refreshing. He always appears focused, but at the same time plays with an air of confidence, suggesting that he is well prepared and determined to get the job done. Sanzenbacher does not possess a particularly imposing figure, but crisp routes, sharp cuts, and excellent hands have made him the first option for Pryor and the Ohio State offense.

In street clothes, he could pass for a regular college student, and his muscles do not bulge out of his jersey like former OSU receiver David Boston, but he is a guy that will answer the call on a big third down when the team needs it the most.

Having never met Sanzenbacher, I cannot claim that he is a great person with an excellent personality, but his actions and demeanor these last two-and-a-half years strongly suggest that he is a solid young man. And unlike so many major college players, he has not been associated with any violations of team rules or off-the-field antics, which can give coaches some major headaches.

Sanzenbacher has put the team first, and is now flourishing as the “main man” of the receiving core. He has never publicly demanded the ball, or shown any sign of selfishness (even when he caught only 21 passes and one touchdown in 2008). Instead, Sanzenbacher has quietly gone about his business this season, a business that is proving extremely profitable for the Buckeyes.