Ohio State's backup tight end A.J. Alexander will miss the 2017 season due to a knee injury suffered earlier this month while playing basketball, a team spokesman confirmed for The Dispatch on Friday.
Alexander underwent surgery to repair the knee, the spokesman said.
It appears that Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann, two members of the stellar 2016 recruiting class, will battle for the backup post behind returning starter Marcus Baugh. Farrell and Hausmann were redshirted last season, and each stood out in spring drills earlier this year.
But Alexander, a third-year sophomore from Burke, Va., who emerged as the second team tight end last season, also had a strong spring. He worked primarily with the first team offense in place of Baugh, who sat out the drills while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Alexander played in all 13 games last season, though he had just four catches. Baugh is the leading returning pass catcher on the team after snagging 24 last year.
Under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, there appeared to be more emphasis in the spring in using the tight ends in the passing game. Ironically, Wilson is also the tight ends coach.
Development of depth led OSU coach Urban Meyer to say "Tight end is the most improved position on the team right now," near the end of spring drills. Now that depth will be plumbed.