Earlier today, Ohio State announced that running back Carlos Hyde has been suspended from the team for an alleged assault of a woman at a bar over the weekend. In the police report obtained by Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors, Hyde is considered a “person of interest” in the case.
With Hyde gone for the time being, the next question (from a football perspective) concerns who can step in to replace him. Here are some players who are most likely to fill the void in the back:
Rod Smith was the backup for Hyde for most of the season last year and showed some flashes of potential to be a really solid running back. He will most likely get the first chance to make an impression as the featured back. Like Hyde, he is a big, powerful runner who is tough to bring down once he gets a full head of steam.
The biggest knock on him has been holding onto to the ball. With Hyde gone, expect him to potentially get a majority of the workload.
Dunn saw some playing time last year as a true freshman in the backfield as well as on special teams. He also had a 100-yard rushing performance against Illinois. That being said, he’s been involved in some legal troubles himself when he was arrested last year for marijuana possession – although the case against him was later dropped.
You have to wonder if Urban Meyer would trust him enough to back up Rod Smith, so his performance at training camp will definitely play a big role in determining who gets playing time.
How quickly can things change in a year? Ask Jordan Hall. Hall was slated to be the starting running back in 2012 but injuries plagued his year and limited his time on the field. Unlike Dunn and Smith, Hall is a smaller, shiftier back who can provide a change of pace from the typical Ohio State power running game.
With the new offensive system, it was reported that he would be used as a “Percy Harvin” type of player. Whether that actually happens, we’ll find out.
The other two players who could get playing time are redshirt freshman Warren Ball and true freshman Ezekiel Elliott. With kickoff just over a month away, Ohio State will be looking for guys to step up in the running game this year – let’s hope these guys can fill the void.