Carlos Hyde made a name for himself this season out of the backfield for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller made up what was one of the most explosive running games in the country. He rushed for 1,521 yards in 2013 as he became the first 1,000-yard rusher under Urban Meyer.
Hyde made the best out of his senior season and will now be headed to the NFL. The big question now for Ohio State is who will replace him and the explosiveness he brought to the running game?
Even though there is no clear-cut replacement for Hyde, Ohio State fans shouldn’t be worried. Miller was a big part of that running game, and he will be back in 2014. Plus, the Buckeyes have some promising young running backs that are waiting to show what they can do and make a name for themselves. The running back position is definitely up for grabs.
Perhaps the most promising of these young running backs is sophomore-to-be Ezekiel Elliott. Meyer has raved about Elliott’s talents many times. In 2013, Elliott rushed for 262 yards on 30 attempts, averaging 8.7 yards per carry. Sound familiar? Hyde had 7.3 yards per carry this season.
Elliott will have some competition from fellow backs Bri’onte Dunn, Rod Smith and Warren Ball, but he seems the most likely to win the starting spot in 2014. Dunn didn’t get any playing time this season, while Smith and Ball only combined for 35 carries.
Elliott believes that Ohio State still has a great backfield even without Hyde. All of these young running backs did not get much of a chance to prove themselves this season with Hyde in the starting spot and fellow senior Jordan Hall as his backup. Come spring practice, fans will see what kind of future the Ohio State backfield has, and Elliott knows it’s a promising one.
Ohio State fans may be worried about a backfield without Hyde, but they shouldn’t be. With the mobility of Miller returning and promising young running backs ready to make their mark in Ohio State history, it should be another great year for the Buckeyes. Granted, none of these young players are going to match the abilities of Hyde right away, but they have the talent to do so in the future and can still help the Buckeyes win in 2014.
Hyde will certainly be missed and his talents will not be forgotten, but it is time for a new running back to make his mark for the Buckeyes.