Forecasting 2013: Running Backs

By Alex on May 10, 2012 at 1:00p
Drayton has a new task at hand with the backs Drayton is looking for play makers at running back

Last week we took a look at what class of 2013 quarterbacks could end up in Scarlet and Gray come next February, and now in the second installment of Forecasting 2013, we look at the prospects Ohio State is targeting to man the backfield in the future.

The current junior class is strong nationally when it comes to running backs, which bodes well for Urban Meyer and Stan Drayton as they look for two quality players at the position.

It was always thought the Bucks would be in the market for one "speed" back and one "power" back in this year's recruiting class, and the good news for fans is the former is already taken care of. The search for the power back is still in the works, and today we walk you through who could possibly be in line to fill the void.

Join us after the jump to get a glimpse at some of the top high school running back prospects that are on the OSU radar. Once again we take a look at "who's in", "who's out", and "who's left", and hopefully you learn a thing or two in the latest edition of our summer series "Forecasting 2013".

Who's In?

Taking one look at Ohio State's running back situation and you may question why there is even a need to add one running back in 2013, let alone two. Once the 2013 prospects arrive on campus, Carlos Hyde will be a senior, Rod Smith will be a redshirt junior, Bri'onte Dunn will be a sophomore, and Warren Ball will be either a sophomore or redshirt freshman.

Chalk one up for MeyerElliott didn't take long to decide he was a Buckeye

That being said, Urban Meyer is always looking for play makers and those types of athletes usually come in the form of running backs or wide receivers, thus the need to add to an already talented crop of players.

The first prospect to raise his hand and come on board the Buckeye Train was Ezekiel Elliott of John Burroughs High School in St. Louis, Missouri.

The nation's ninth ranked running back according to Scout, Elliott fills the void at the "speed" back position. With an ability to make plays lining up in the I-formation or in the slot, Elliott brings the versatility to the offense that both Tom Herman and Urban love to use in stretching opposing defenses both vertically and horizontally. Last season for Burroughs he rushed for over 1,800 yards on just over 200 carries and 34 touchdowns, while also catching around 20 passes for 400 yards and scores (not to mention his two return touchdowns), so you can see the talent and big time play making skills are there.

Right now, as the situation currently sits, the Buckeyes could close out their 2013 recruiting class at running back and be perfectly fine with Elliott as the lone ranger in the fold. Of course, satisfactory isn't enough when it comes to Urban Meyer, and the Buckeyes backfield could become even more of a potent weapon when a back with a complimentary skill set is paired with the St. Louis native.

Who's Out?

There were many committable and non-committable offers out to running backs across the nation, and while it's hard to track down which offers were legitimate or not, it's not that hard to see who will not be playing their college football in Columbus.

Smith has a nasty stiff armLosing Smith to Michigan stings a bit

Players that claim offers from Ohio State that have committed elsewhere include DeVeon Smith of Warren Howland, Adam Lane of Winter Haven (FL) Senior High School, Keyante Green of McDonough (GA) Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Johnny Jefferson of Killeen (TX) Shoemaker, and Greg Bryant of Delray Beach (FL) American Heritage School.

From various information I have gathered, it seems that Adam Lane (Florida), DeVeon Smith (Michigan), and Greg Bryant (Oklahoma) were the three players on this list that probably had committable offers and were prospects Urban targeted and wanted. Green (UCLA) and Jefferson (Baylor) were likely players that needed to come to camp or be seen in person to get extended a committable offer, but they have decided to go in other directions.

Looking at this group as it stands today, you have to feel good about who the Bucks have "missed on" thus far. There are certainly going to be some big time names added to this list as the recruiting circuit shuffles out, but right now there aren't too many players off the board that were "must gets".

Who's Left?

As mentioned above, the good news is that there are plenty of prospects still remaining on the board for Ohio State to go after and pair with Ezekiel Elliott.

Derrick Green are you sure you're not in the NFL already?Derrick Green grew up an Ohio State fan

The players remaining with scholarship offers from the Buckeyes are Joliet (IL) Catholic Academy's Ty Isaac, Derrick Green of Richmond (VA) Hermitage, David Williams of Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep Institute Charter, Ryan Green of Saint Petersburg (FL) Catholic, Taquan Mizzell of Virginia Beach (VA) Bayside, Corey Clement of Glassboro, New Jersey, TJ Logan of Greensboro (NC) Northern Guilford, Corn Elder of Nashville (TN) Ensworth, and Dontre Wilson of DeSoto, Texas.

Starting with the players I think are long shots, I'd have to say I'd be very surprised if Isaac, Williams, Ryan Green, Mizzell, and Logan became Buckeyes. It appears Isaac is headed to USC, Notre Dame, or Michigan, Williams is thought to favor Penn State, Green has Florida, Florida State, and Notre Dame at the top, Mizzell is likely to stay in the Atlantic Region, and Logan hasn't had too much buzz regarding Ohio State surround him lately.

On the flip side, the prospects to keep an eye out for are Derrick Green, Clement, Elder, and Wilson. While Green is the only one of these players I truly see as a very realistic possibility, Clement has expressed over and over again that he is very interested in the Buckeyes, Elder is a newer offer and could be a sleeper candidate if Urban can get him on campus, while Wilson came out of nowhere to tell Marc Givler that he has OSU in his final two along with Oregon. In sum, while Green has wavered having Ohio State at the top, the Bucks have been recruiting him hard lately and I still think there's a great chance he ends up in Scarlet and Gray.

Finally, some prospects who are on the radar, but do not currently have offers include William Houston of Dublin Scioto, Aregeros Turner of Copley, Mark Dodson of Memphis (TN) Whitehaven, Khalid Thomas of Tallahassee (FL) Godby, and AJ Turman of Orlando (FL) Boone.

Dodson is the cream of the crop in this group and word is he is favoring Ole Miss right now. Ohio State has not offered yet, but it's not because of talent, so there must be some academic issues, or something of the sort that the coaches want to see first before offering.

The Ohio boys, Houston and Turner, are both solid players who have been in contact with the Buckeyes. Houston was at the Spring Game, but in my opinion he is far down on the list of targets and I see him ending up at a MAC school or lower level Big Ten school. Turner is an interesting prospect as he is a superb athlete who could play in the slot, but the commitment of Elliott may have ended his pipe dream of being a Buckeye. I could definitely see him landing somewhere like an Illinois, Tennessee, or Cincinnati.

As for Thomas and Turman, they both claim OSU offers, but I am 99% these are non-committable. Thomas has said he plans to get up to Columbus for Friday Night Lights in July, so we will learn more about his situation then. There is not much out there on Turman, but he does claim offers from some other good programs such as Wisconsin, Florida State, and Tennessee. I don't see either player as a Buckeye when it's all said and done.

Overall, the list of prospects still out there is pretty strong and as summer camp rolls along there will be more names added to the bucket. I think Ohio State can afford to be picky with the depth on the roster and Elliott already on board, so don't look for the staff to reach at all here. If I had to guess today I'd say the best bet of this list to end up in Columbus would be Derrick Green, as it seems if the coaches can show him enough love and that he is truly wanted, that OSU will win out over Clemson and the other suitors in pursuit.


Comments Show All Comments

TNbuckeye91's picture

Corn elder would he sick. I've seen him play. My younger cousin goes to his school and he is just insane

I come from a long line high, low, and in-between, the same as you. - TVZ

DMcDougal24's picture

I would make Derrick Green the #1 priority of these options. If he says no, I would maybe take Cornelius Elder or Dontre Wilson. After that, I think we're set at RB.

KSparkle's picture

What's so great about Derrick Green? I've seen better highlight types out of 3 stars than Derrick Green's. He's Bri'onte Dunn without the speed. 

Triv's picture

He runs a sub 4.4......

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

Colonel Quaritch's picture

Does brionte dunn run a 4.37 that Green has been listed as running? I would take Derrick in a heart beat.

"The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me." 

DMcDougal24's picture

Derrick Green is a power back with sub 4.4 speed. that's special. 

KSparkle's picture
guys, watch his highlight tape. If he runs a sub 4.4 he's not showing it. 

Maestro's picture

I will say this for D Green.  His OLine does a heck of a job at getting him into the secondary.

vacuuming sucks

DMcDougal24's picture

In his defense, there isn't a whole lot of him in open space. 
We're just telling you what we read. Here is Derrick Green's player profile on ESPN, where it says he ran a 4.31 40. He ran a 4.31 at the PSU Camp. He ran a 4.37 at the Virginia Tech camp. 

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

This is kind of how I felt watching the tape. He's not what I'd call slow, but he certainly does not feel like he is Sub 4.4. I am not really experience at judging it, but when I watched it I felt like it was slower than usual. Rivals has him at like 5.9 I think... They have Ezekiel at 4.5, and Ezekiel looks the quicker of the two. Just don't know how much I buy into this 40 time.

Triv's picture

Pretty sure he's not a 5.9 40 on rivals haha. I believe he is a 4.37

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

avail31678's picture

5.9 rating as an overall prospect (out of 6.1) - not his time for the 40.

bassplayer7770's picture

I do think Zeke looks faster, but that isn't to say Derrick is slow at all.  I think it's clear they'd be used differently in our Offense.

Squirrel Master's picture

There is a tape of him at a camp and it shows him running the 40 at 4.61 as a sophomore. I can see him getting faster than that in his junior year but even a 4.5 with his size, that is a a solid talent that would go well in this offense. I don't think Urban is just thinking about taking speed guys like he did in Florida. I think he wants this offense to have a blend of power and speed, something he didn't really have down there. Tebow was his power runner. Since Braxton is more of a elusive/speed runner, a power back to compliment him would work. That is why I really am interested in this year with Hyde and Dunn. I think they will work better with Braxton than Hall will, not that Hall will be that bad either.
Said it when Urban came on board, he had power with Tebow and Speed with Harvin/Demps. They worked together. So Braxton is the speed, power would go best with him. If Dunn and Hyde can show some burst, all the more better. Green would do that as well.
The future question should be, what would compliment JT Barrett? JT seems more a north/south runner with some power. Would a speed back compliment him?

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

SilverBullet's picture

What the hel are you watching? lol...Smh

SilverBullet's picture

What the hell are you watching? lol...Smh

Squirrel Master's picture

This is the camp video that he was in during his sophomore year. It shows he ran a 4.62 then. I figured everyone is now saying he is running a 4.37. IDK, I know that even if he got down to 4.5, he would still be fast enough with his size. I don't think Hyde or Dunn run much faster than that. again, IDK what his time is now. Just what I see in this video.
His 40 is at the 2:50 mark.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm watching a 10+ minute highlight film, and I don't see anybody actually catching up to him from behind.  In fact, there's a play starting at 6:33 that really shows his speed.  He is NOT slow...

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

Not trying to down Derrick, but I felt more impressed by Dontre's highlights. Hard to argue with Rivals and the laundry list of offers on Derrick though.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Derrick Green - the next Eddie George - now that is not a bad prospect, eh!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

JWG7's picture

In my opinion, I think Derrick Green should be the first priority for the Buckeyes.  But to me, a very close second would be Corey Clement.  If you haven't already, I suggest you watch his highlight film; it's a show to say the least!  I think he shows a great blend of power and speed, along with good size.  I'm kind of surprised I haven't heard more about him.  At the end of the day, I would be happy with Green or Clement.

SilverBulletInCincy's picture

I love that Green rocks that # 27!  It would be great to land him but Elliot is the real deal and Warren Ball is going to a great running back as well and I imagine they will red-shirt him.  

BuckinBama's picture

@JWG7 ... I agree completely I'd take D.Green ... C.Clement ... C.Elder in that order ... Clement's tape is SERIOUS ... and Elder can flat out fly ... In Green's defense I really didn't see anytime he actually had a crease to hit to really show his speed ...

Buckifan4Life's picture

Yeah,...Green and Elliott would be an awsome tandem! You know Urbs is working him hard.
Go Bucks!

Irricoir's picture

Listen there are people that evaluate a kids whole game not just a hi-light tape. Watching the tape I understand the concern coming from some of our fans in the Green vs. Wilson comparison. Alex is on board with green and he has proven his knowledge and reliability over his tenure here. These other scout speak highly of green and have him as our number one prospect. After listening to the hype and the speed comments, I look at the first run and I just don't see a sub 4.4 getting caught from behind like he did on that first play. I also didn't see a lot of power running on his part. Sure, he is built like a power runner but don't let body composition fool you. When I think of Speed, Power, and Balance, this is what I was hoping for Yes I know he has gotten negative attention at FSU but I was hoping Greens hi-lights would look something like this.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

Alex Root's picture

I admit I didn't watch the whole video of Wilder, but I don't see any speed from him either, all I saw was him running through guys which isn't a bad thing, but he is a straight line guy from what I saw. Idk I really like Green I would love to have him over the other backs I just don't know if they get him or take another RB. If they do take two RB's in this class, do they even need to take one in the next class. How many RB's does a college team usually carry 4-5?

Alex Root's picture

well I just saw Wilson's video and I am inclined to reverse what I said. That kid is fast and shifty, I would probably rather have him then green, only because we don't really have a guy like that and he can line up at WR as well.

rdubs's picture

no doubt dontre is a stud, but I find it hard to believe he ends up at osu, so i am focusing on others until i see something that convinces me otherwise.

Poison nuts's picture

I think another thing to take into consideration is the tape itself moves along very slowly and is basically a raw edit. I was actually impressed & only noticed the first or second run that he got caught on as somewhat slow. Other than that I saw a very powerful runner dragging people 10-15 yards on occasion.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Like most I really want Green to come to OSU (his speed, size and strength combo is hard to find).  However, don't be surprised if he goes elsewhere.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

David Sokol's picture

I can almost guarantee that the list of studs will change post summer after all the camps and new exposure.

We will see new players emerge and other players fade.

I honestly hope that the staff keeps a few spots open for late bloomers, unlike our rivals who are near capacity.

There is plenty of time..

TNBuckeye1421's picture

He ran a 4.62 here..
Not that impressed by his highlight tape...

buckeyedude's picture

Not many people were that impressed with a 3* recruit named Dane coming out of high school. Jim Tressel was though.



Jdadams01's picture

Generally, I believe big time college coaches like Urban, Stoops, Saban, etc. know running back better than I do. Look at Green's offer list.