Saturday, March 14, 2015

Five Deep—A Closer Look at Ohio State's 2015 Running Backs

By HD Handshoe—BlockONation Founder

Image courtesy of Taylor Wilhelm

missingA lot has been made — and rightfully so — of the unique position Ohio State finds itself in this coming season, with essentially three starting quarterbacks returning, but that's a discussion to save for later this fall.

While what happens this coming season at quarterback is about as clear as mud right now, the running back hierarchy should be a lot less cloudy.

Despite having off-season wrist surgery, certain 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate Ezekiel Elliott sits atop a heap of young and talented backs.

Running back coach Stan Drayton left the Buckeyes and took a job with the Chicago Bears in February causing some speculation that the production of Elliott and company could tail off without him.

Drayton was instrumental in developing the Buckeye's potent rushing attack during his three years in Columbus.

He also played a huge role in the recruitment of highly-touted running back Mike Weber, who signed with the Buckeyes just one day before Drayton's departure. Initially, Weber seemed to react somewhat negatively on Twitter but in the end was happy with Drayton's replacement.

Ohio State hired former Notre Dame running backs coach Tony Alford, whom many consider a very ample replacement and possibly even an upgrade.

Truthfully with each of their exceptional running abilities, I could go Eight Deep with this article or list Braxton Miller, JT Barrett and Cardale Jones at 3, 4, and 5 on the RB depth chart.

That's how great Ohio State is at running the ball, but since the QBs aren't RBs, I'll shelve that thought for the sake of this article.

How I see them stacking up

5. Mike Weber — 4-star incoming freshman that could potentially challenge Ball and/or Dunn for the backup to the backup spot. If my memory serves me correctly, being the 3rd man up wasn't a bad thing last season,...not at all...

4. Warren Ball Jr. 2014 Stats — 18 carries, 88 yards, 4.7 yards per carry.

3. Brionte Dunn 2014 Stats — 9 carries, 63 yards, 7.0 yards per carry.

2. Curtis Samuel 2014 Stats — 58 carries, 383 yards, 6.6 yards per carry, 6 rushing touchdowns and 11 receptions for 95 yards.

1. Ezekiel Elliott 2014 Stats — 273 carries, 1,878 yards, 6.9 yards per carry, 18 rushing touchdowns and 28 receptions for 220 yards.

We may know a little more about where the RB chips will fall under Elliott once Spring football concludes on Saturday, April 18th.

Than again, there could still be some jockeying behind Elliott and Samuel through the end of August and right up to kickoff in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech on Monday September 7th.


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