Monday, February 15, 2010

The Buckeye Stable: Ohio State Backfield Overflowing With Talent Heading Into 2010

Anyone not living in a cave that follows college football knows who Terrelle Pryor is.

For those who may have lived in a cave, he was the top recruit in the nation in 2008, and is the starting QB for THE Ohio State Buckeyes.

Clearly, he is the most known and recognizable player in the OSU backfield, but he's not the only guy who can carry the rock.

In years past, USC has had what some referred to as a "stable" of stud running backs. Most recently, notables include CJ Gable, Joe McKnight, and Stafon Johnson. Florida's Emmanuel Moody began his career at USC and was the Pac-10 freshmen of the year in 2006 before leaving SoCal for the Gators.

Before that, there was Reggie Bush and LenDale White who split time and both ended up in the NFL. But enough about USC.

The talent that Ohio State will field at RB this coming season will rival, and very well could/should surpass any stable Slippery Pete ever assembled in his tenure in LA (2001-2009) before he scrambled out of town, just before the NCAA likely slams the sanctions hammer down on the Trojans.


1—Brandon Saine

"Zoom" was finally healthy for the majority of a season in 2009 and he was able to show off the ability and speed that made him a two-sport star for Piqua (Ohio) High School in track and football.

According to, he was a 4-star recruit as a member of Ohio State's 2007 recruiting class.

Even though he wasn't the full-time featured back in 2009, Zoom still scored six total touchdowns, and managed to gain over 950 total yards, while averaging over five yards per carry.

A healthy senior season with more time as the featured back for him just might help lead the Buckeyes back to another BCS title game. Also, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could end up calling Saine's name on day one of the pro draft come April, 2011 if he and the team, each have a big year.

2—Daniel Herron

Like Saine, "Boom" was also a 4-star recruit for the Buckeyes in 2007. However, he was redshirted his freshmen season.

In 2008, with Beanie Wells missing four games after he was injured in the opening game of the year vs. Youngstown State, and with Saine out almost the entire season due to injury as well, Boom got his chance to show Ohio State did well in recruiting him.

In those four games, and some other spot duty in place of Wells, Herron gained 439 yards on the ground with an average of 4.9 yards per carry, and scored six touchdowns.

In 2009, Herron was named the starter to begin the season. He himself missed some time due to injury which opened the door for the finally healthy Brandon Saine. Even so, Herron did rush for 600 yards and scored eight total touchdowns.

Dan should still be one of the main men for tOSU in 2010 seeing as how Coach Tressel tends to favor experienced upperclassmen, but we'll have to see just how much playing time the young guys might earn, and if that affects Boom in the coming months or not.

3—Jordan Hall

In a limited role for the Bucks last season, soon-to-be sophomore Jordan Hall showed some excellent potential heading into the future.

The 2009 3-star recruit played in six of the Buckeyes 13 games and although he didn't get a ton of carries, Terrelle Pryor's former high school teammate from Jeannette, PA made the most of his opportunities when both Boom and Zoom each were nursing injuries.

On 48 carries, Hall picked up 248 yards for a 5.2 ypc average, and scored one touchdown.

He's a bit on the small side height-wise, but he's also pretty fast and he hits the hole and gets through it when it opens. He could easily make a push for more playing time if there are injuries, if he impresses this Spring, or with plenty of hard work once Fall camp begins.

4—Jaamal Berry

Berry is somewhat of an unknown commodity at this point. He was considered the top prospect in the OSU 2009 recruiting class, but a leg injury forced him to redshirt and miss the entire season.

With Saine and Herron returning, and Hall impressing the coaches when he saw the field this past season, Berry, a four to 5-star rated prospect out of Miami (Florida) Palmetto HS may or may not have a shot to earn substantial playing time this coming season—if he can get, and remain 100% healthy that is.

This will be a classic wait-and-see situation, as far as how much Jaamal does or doesn't play in 2010.

5—Carlos Hyde

A year ago, Carlos just missed being eligible to enroll at Ohio State, literally by one point on his ACT.

So instead, the 4-star fullback out of Naples, Florida attended Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia before enrolling at tOSU this Winter. That particular route worked out quite well for another Buckeye RB back in the mid-1990's.

Eddie George attended Fork Union MA before coming to Columbus. Then he went on to win the 1995 Heisman Trophy, was named 1996 NFL Rookie of the Year, and played a total of nine seasons in the NFL (1996-2004).

Carlos (6-1, 225) is not quite as tall as George (6-3, 240), but he has been compared to him based on his build and ability.

As a senior for Naples in 2008, he gained 1653 yards on the ground and scored 16 touchdowns. He's one to watch if and when he gets a shot on the field.

He may be redshirted (if eligible), or that may happen to our last but not least player to watch, or it could even happen to both of them with this much depth.

6—Roderick Smith

Speaking of last but not least, and of a guy many have compared to Eddie George, Smith (6-3, 225) is that guy. He's also drawn comparisons to Beanie Wells. Those are some big footsteps to follow in, but not uncommon for a four to 5-star level player.

He is considered by many to be one of, if not the best DI football prospect ever to come out of Indiana, a state traditionally known for its' exploits on the hardwood rather than the gridiron.

As a four-year high school starter, Smith gained over 6,500 rushing yards and scored 66 career touchdowns—and to think, as of right now, he's No. 6 on the depth chart.

He's probably a year away with the others who are here and ahead of him in terms of knowing the system and playbook, but I for one cannot wait until he hits the field, whether it is 2010, or not until 2011.

The talent, specifically at running back, that the Buckeyes have been able to assemble over these past four recruiting years is flat-out sick.

The way things are looking for Ohio State in the near future, we'll all need to do what the song says.

Some might say this over-abundance of talent could lead to dissension in the locker room, or transfers down the line.

I suppose there might be some truth to that, but to be honest, it is certainly a "problem" I don't mind having.

I'd be much more concerned if we had one guy who was golden, and a cupboard full of backups that aren't worth a grain of sand combined...

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