President Trump holds rally in Youngstown

Latimer fired up to face home-state team

Indiana receiver Cody Latimer has a dossier of dazzling catches this year, but coach Kevin Wilson is more impressed with what the All-Big Ten performer is doing when the ball isn’t coming his way.

The Dayton Jefferson High School product is delivering for the first time in all phases of the game. And Wilson has been gushing about the 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior, labeling him a potential NFL player.

“The first two games, he’s got (five) catches and no touchdowns, and we’re grading him as having a winning performance. He was playing as well as any receiver because of his effort and his blocking, and he’s been great on special teams,” Wilson said.

“I think if we keep bringing him along, he can be a high-level player in this league and have a great future in football. I really love the way he’s playing.”

Latimer was a late bloomer — he didn’t go out for football until his junior year in high school — and he needed some prodding to give consistent effort and understand the full range of his duties.

But his diligence in practice is paying off in games.

“I just have more motivation,” he said in a phone interview. “Seeing my teammates to the left and right of me going hard every day, it pushes me to go because I know I have a big role on the team. People look up to me as being a leader. I have to come and bring it every day.”

Latimer is looking to have a huge impact for the Hoosiers when they visit Ohio State in a nationally televised game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. He realizes it’s not only a rare opportunity for him to display his skills on a big stage, but he also doesn’t want to disappoint family and friends who will be there to root him on.

“It’s exciting. It feels good to play at the Horseshoe. It’s a great environment,” he said.

“In the beginning of the week, it’s just preparation, getting to know them and getting to know what they’re going to do. Toward the end of the week, I’ll get juiced up — especially on the ride over and once I get into Ohio.”

He estimates he’ll have a personal cheering section of more than 20 — “My mom, dad, brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins, friends of the family” — and he was trying to supply all of them with tickets by collecting unused comps from fellow players.

“My teammates said they’ve got me. We’ll see if they keep their word,” he said with a laugh.

Latimer is third in the Big Ten with 60 catches and 926 receiving yards. He also has eight touchdowns. He’s considered a likely high draft pick if he turns pro after the season.

Asked what makes him effective, he said: “I think it’s my size and hands and speed. Most people think I’m not fast because I’ve got a big frame, and my speed can surprise some people.”

Latimer missed the Ohio State game as a freshman after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. But he played against the Buckeyes last year, finishing with seven catches for 68 yards in a 52-49 defeat.

He expects another high-scoring affair. Though the Hoosiers are ranked 122nd out of 123 teams nationally in total defense (allowing 534.8 yards per game) and are tied for 114th in scoring defense (38.8 points per game), they’re 14th in scoring (39.1) and 16th in total offense (496.8).

The Buckeyes are fourth in scoring (49.4) and sixth in total yardage (539.9).

“It’s going to be a shootout,” Latimer said. “Both offenses are going to put up numbers.”

A step back: After dominant defensive showings in their previous two outings against Purdue and Penn State, the Buckeyes were exposed a bit by Illinois, which racked up 420 yards, including 288 through the air.

Only California (503 total yards) and Northwestern (437) have had better outputs against OSU.

But co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers wasn’t discouraged by the performance.

“We played pretty decent. That was a pretty good quarterback,” he said of senior Nathan Scheelhaase. “I think he was No. 1 in the league in passing yards. He threw 50 times, and we gave up less than 300 yards. I’ll take that.”

But the defense probably will get a tougher test against Indiana. In last year’s game, the Buckeyes had a 52-34 lead, but the Hoosiers rallied with 15 points in the final 1:40 and then almost recovered an onside kick that would have given them a chance at victory.

Withers, though, doesn’t believe the game should have been that close.

“We dropped six interceptions. That’s a different ballgame if we catch the ball,” he said. “I think we’re a better defense overall than we were last year.

“What we’ve got to learn is when a team makes a play, we have to keep playing. That’s the growth we have to make as a defense. Don’t let one bad play turn into another.”

Injury report: Coach Urban Meyer said on his radio show Thursday that linebacker Curtis Grant is still hindered by an ankle sprain in practice, making him questionable for the IU game. Linebacker Josh Perry (head injury) and left tackle Jack Mewhort (knee) are expected to be ready.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Hartman: Same old Bengals, or is Cincinnati better than ever?
Hartman: Same old Bengals, or is Cincinnati better than ever?

Another pro football season started in Cincinnati on Tuesday, and the Bengals, it’s fair to say, could be a great case study on the pros and cons of change. The franchise’s 50th season is about to begin, and for the 15th straight season the men in charge are Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis. Brown spoke about sticking with one player who has...
Lewis, Brown in no rush on contract extension
Lewis, Brown in no rush on contract extension

Marvin Lewis is heading into his 15th — and possibly last — season as Cincinnati Bengals head coach as neither he nor team owner and president Mike Brown are expressing any sense of urgency in working out a contract extension. “I plan to proceed at my own pace and my own way and when I think it’s the right thing to do to rev...
Former Bengals/Browns WR Hawkins “hanging up” his cleats
Former Bengals/Browns WR Hawkins “hanging up” his cleats

Former Bengals/Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins chose an unusual way to announce his retirement Tuesday, just days away from beginning training camp with the New England Patriots. The 5-foot-7 former University of Toledo player, who toiled for Cincinnati in 2011-’13 and for the Browns from ‘14-’16 before signing with New England...
Police drop charges against former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead
Police drop charges against former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead

Police in Prince William County, Virginia, have rescinded a warrant to arrest former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead. “Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017, arrest of an individual named ‘Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.,’ the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being...
College Football: Five Flyers earn Pioneer League preseason honors
College Football: Five Flyers earn Pioneer League preseason honors

Five Dayton Flyers were named to the Pioneer League preseason all-league team Tuesday. Senior cornerback Christian Searles and junior punter Sean Smith were repeat selections for UD. Searles and Smith both are two-time, first-team all-PFL selections. RELATED: Flyers picked to finish second in PFL Linebacker Jack Crain, defensive end Nick Surges and...
More Stories