What Can Number Ones Do For You?

By Jeff Beck on March 21, 2014 at 11:30a

Torrance Gibson, the nation’s No. 1 dual threat quarterback recently tweeted this little gem to the nation's No. 1 running back, Damien Harris:

The tweet should get fans of programs pursuing the duo excited. It’s not often a team lands two top recruits at the quarterback and running back positions. So it got me thinking, when was the last time the Buckeyes had two No. 1 recruits operating in the backfield together?…and how did that pan out?

In order to find out, its necessary to go back to 2008. Buckeye Nation was abuzz with anticipation after all-everything recruit, Terrelle Pryor, pledged his—albeit delayed—allegiance to the Buckeyes. Fans salivated at the thought of having the 6’6’’, 235 pound dual threat running the offense, but it was who he would be paired with that whipped Columbus into a frenzy; running back, Chris “Beanie” Wells.

The former No. 1 recruit was ready to begin his junior season after a stellar sophomore campaign. In his second season, Beanie rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 TDs.  And just like that…the Buckeyes looked to have one of the most dangerous backfields in the country.

Of course Terrelle had yet to prove anything at the college level, and it looked as though he’d have to wait to get his shot. Returning was senior quarterback Todd Boeckman, a player who led the Buckeyes on an improbable national championship run the year prior.

Boeckman would start the first two games against Youngstown State and Ohio University before laying an egg in an embarrassment at the Coliseum. The 35-3 loss forced Tressel to shake things up, inserting Pryor into the starting lineup against Troy. Terrelle’s performance lived up to the billing, going 10-16 for 139 yards and 4 TDs.

The Pryor era had officially arrived, but fans would have to wait until the following week for the Pryor/Wells hydra to be unleashed. Downed with turf toe in the team’s first tilt, Wells was out of commission for the most of the squad's first four games.

In week five fans would finally get a glimpse of the two...and they delivered. Against the Gophers the power couple rolled up 66% of the team’s total offense and had a hand in 21 of the squad’s 34 points.

But, it was the next week against Wisconsin that truly proved how dangerous the two could be. Pryor and Wells accounted for 95% of the team’s offense but highlighting that stat would be burying the lead. It was the threat of either player charging into the endzone at the end of the game that ultimately won it for the Buckeyes.

Down 13-17 with roughly a minute left to play, Pryor rolled to his left with Wells trailing him for a potential pitch. Tasked with accounting for both players, Wisconsin’s defense flinched. All it took was a shoulder shimmy for a defender to bite on Wells and Pryor had a clear path to the endzone. Game. Blouses.

The win kept Ohio State’s national championship hopes alive, but not for long. Three weeks later, those aspirations were dashed by a 13-6 loss to Penn State in the ‘Shoe. Still, the two helped power an impressive season that saw wins against No. 20 Michigan State, No. 24 Northwestern and Michigan (a 42-7 throttling).

In all, Pryor and Wells’ campaign together was more than impressive. The two accounted for 69% of the team’s total yardage, and 26 of the squad’s 42 total TDs.

Not all top recruits pan-out, but  Wells and Pryor certainly did. The speed and power combination was a veritable force for most of 2008. Unfortunately that was the only season they spent together. Imagine what could have been with more than 10 episodes of the Pryor/Wells road show.

Gibson and Harris have that chance. If they commit to the same school AND if they're half as deadly as Pryor and Wells, the college football world is in for a treat.


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Bucksfan's picture

I watched that Wisconsin game with some Badger friends.  They showed up with a 2/3 case of warm Coors that was sitting in their trunk for who the hell knows how long.  I feigned not being deeply offended that Wisconsin fans showed up at my apartment with warm, crappy beer, but I used that as an excuse to get completely shitfaced and intolerable.  Rare form, my friends....rare form.

+17 HS
Hovenaut's picture

That headline pic of Beanie is oh-so-good. I see grass in the mouth of a run-over "defender".

Gibson and Harris would be awesome, love the TP and Beanie reference. And while they may not have been number one recruits, Brax and El Guapo were one helluva one-two punch the past couple years.


+8 HS
DoubleB's picture

The pic at the top brings a tear to my eye. Beautiful.


+3 HS
TheNorthernBuckeye's picture

Long way to go but with Urban anything is possible. Does anyone know how we are sitting with these two? Any insight on how we rank in their lists? In Urban we trust. 

Stay the course 

Wesleyburgess1's picture

Pretty sure that Gibson has us 1 but he says we are in his top 3. Harris looks like he really wants to play in THE GAME. Just not sure what side he will be playing for. He is visiting other schools but it really seems that as of right now Osu is the only school that is in both players top 3

mh277907's picture

We all imagine what Beanie and Terrelle would have looked like in Urban's system. This duo would give us a pretty darn good glimpse.


+3 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

There's a really, really long way to go here, but BY GAWD would I be ecstatic.

+2 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I'd love to have both, but I need to see a little more from Gibson in his passing game during his senior year.  I don't want an ATH playing QB, I want a true QB running our offense.  Hopefully JT Barrett is the real deal.  If he is, we can bring Gibson in for a redshirt and develop him for a few years before taking over after Barrett.  

+4 HS
BuckeyeJ's picture

Well said! I think JT is the next man up.

BuckeyeLaw's picture

I am pretty sure Torrance Gibson also tweeted something a while back about wanting to play with Christian Kirk '15 WR from AZ. Could you even imagine...

OSU 2011 - Toledo Law 2014

+4 HS
HighBallAce's picture

so basically what he's saying is they are gonna be Alabama recruits flashin dollar bills ya'll.......lol

+1 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

Not to be a dick or anything but "The former No. 1 recruit announced he would be returning for his junior season after a stellar sophomore campaign"  -- it's not like he had a choice, he was a true soph. so he couldn't have entered the NFL.

kareemabduljacobb's picture

Let's land these 2 then land Kirk at WR. 

+2 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

oh the havoc that could be wreaked

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
Jbucks's picture

i love the idea of Gibson, Harris, Kirk.... but Gibson in my eyes is going to take a full year (FR) to get ready for NCAA ball, reason being his reading ability and his throw accuracy, not knocking the kid but alot of his throws in his 2013 season highlights are picks on the next level, his feet will allow him to extend plays but thats only going to help so much he has go to be able to make all the throws consistantly. give him a year under a QB coach and this guy is GOLDEN. 

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

+3 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I agree.  I think he's going to need 2-3 years under a QB coach on the college level to learn.  

nburns18's picture

Those 2 guys in the backfield would have been insane in Urban's system. With Gibson and Harris, they could be even better because theyd be able to establish a relationship. We gotta get these guys!

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

teddyballgame's picture

No doubt Gibson is going to be a bit of project for someone. 

I wonder if Tom Herman's fast rising stock is going to be a concern.  Would Gibson feel comfortable to sign on knowing that Herman is probably going to be in the mix for bigger jobs at the end of every season?  Both Jamarco and Demetrius had some doubts after Warriner shopped around for a HC gig.

Gibson will probably wait and see how the season plays out (if the offense is really good then Herman is going to be highly sought after).  I think he will decide close to national signing day because Herman's intentions would be clear by then.

As long as this season goes reasonably well and Herman is still around in February then I think we land him.

+1 HS
BassDropper's picture

You said Beanie announced he would be coming back for his junior season, did he have much of a choice?


+1 HS
vitaminB's picture

I'm guessing he redshirted his freshman season.

IGotAWoody's picture

He played as a true freshman, including a long romp that was integral in #1 OSU getting the win over #2 Meatchicken in 2006. So no, he didn't have a choice of going pro after his soph season.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

BassDropper's picture

No, arguably Beanie's most famous play of his career came his true freshman year in THE GAME


dwcbuckeye's picture

Thinking about Gibson and what we currently have at QB I can't help but wonder if he would even sign with us.  If (big IF) Barrett is eventually the heir apparent to Braxton, Gibson would come in and sit for 3 years.  He would have one year of eligibility left or two if he redshirts.  Kid seems like he has a healthy sized ego which is probably a good thing for a QB, but does he have the personality to sit for 3 years?  If he finds another top 10-20 program where he feels he has a better chance to start within one year, he may take it.

Anyone else thinking the same thing?

JDunc686's picture

I've thought about that too, but if Barrett is the real deal then he may head to the NFL after his redshirt Junior year.  Also, athletes at this level are typically supremely confident in their abilities and he may believe that he will be the best QB in the country after a year or two in the system.

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Barrett could actually leave after his Redshirt Sophomore year (2016), like Manziel, if he is as good as advertised.  So Gibson would technically only be sitting 1 season, could use his redshirt for that.  And if Gibson's as advertised, I would think Urban's philosophy of getting the best 11 on the field would mean Gibson playing somewhere his freshman year, whether it be at WR, gadget plays, or as a decoy a la Dontre.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

cpewster's picture

He already said that competition won't deter him from signing somewhere. Someone asked him about the Buckeyes recruiting Wimbush.

Si vis pacem parabellum.

teddyballgame's picture

Pretty sure he's not going to be a backup QB anywhere.  If he can't win a QB job he will be a starting WR.

+1 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

So whats the hold up? Lets gitter dun!

Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Squirrel Master's picture

They might not have been the top players at their position as recruits but I wouldn't mind if Gibson/Harris were as good as Braxton/Hyde as well. If they are that good, with a solid defense with them, that would be good enough.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

I don't think it's fair to compare Harris to Beanie. I just believe Beanie was on a whole 'nother level. Plus, he never committed to Michigan.

okiebuck's picture

First things first; I'm excited to see Braxton and Double E / Rod Smith / Brionte; and add in a little Dontre for speedy hot sauce!!!

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

+4 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I'm not trying to be a hater at all but I'd really like to see us land a kid like Kyle Allen.  I want to see us sling it around for 300+ a game and then let Zeke get 150 a game.  I'm not a big fan of the ATH at QB system.  

+2 HS
southbuc's picture

Then you aren't a fan of Urban's offense...

+2 HS
bleedscarlet's picture

I don't know about that. I'm sure Urbz wouldn't have a problem watching a QB simply utilize all that firepower he brings in. No doubt in my mind that if a big time pro style QB came calling he'd stick the option on the back burner.

Slingin' swag since 1970


+1 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Actually a huge fan of Urban's offense. Just a bigger fan of his Utah version. Alex Smith was a really good QB and was very effective in Urban's offense at Utah. I'm not a huge fan of Tebow, but even he threw the ball better than Braxton has. 

+2 HS
Youngbuck85's picture

Didn't Kyle Allen have alot of interest in us at one point? He's the kid that's going to A and M right? 

Seattle Linga's picture

True good point - he did like us and played well during the UA game in San Antonio.

JohnnyKozmo's picture

The whole offense is based upon the defense having to account for a mobile QB.  When the defense faces a pocket QB, there is technically an extra defender that isn't accounted for.  If the threat of a mobile QB is there, then the D has to commit that extra defender to spying or coverage in some way.

Alex Smith was a great fit, because he had mobility AND could read defenses.  Tebow was adequate as a thrower, and with the athletes Florida had, they were usually wide open.  Whether it's Gibson, Wimbush, whoever, the best situation is to play like Troy Smith his Senior season.  Use mobility when things break down, but get through all of their reads before taking off.  Braxton doesn't seem to do that, it's option 1, maybe option 2, then takes off.


The bottom line is the QB has to be a threat to run, or the offense won't work properly.  While the offense isn't the same as Urbans, think Vince Young against USC in the NCG.  That Defense for USC was unreal, but because they had to account for a mobile QB (and didn't very well), they became a normal defense.  Vince Young was no Marino when it came to throwing, and he got one on the good guys to in the 'Shoe.  But he didn't need to be, because the threat of him running, freezes LBs, DBs, and even DL who can't afford to lose contain.  That leads to bigger spaces in the D, if they are playing Zone, and a lot of single man coverage, with little help over the top from a safety.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

GVerrilli92's picture

"Braxton doesn't seem to do that, it's option 1, maybe option 2, then takes off."

I wish this were true, but too often he takes the sack. This offense only needs Braxton to make the first read, check to see if the RB swing is open, and then take off. I wish he could dissect a D, but that's not his forte.

I like the comparison to TP in this regard, because Braxton is stuck between doing things the right way and doing things the most effective way. For him, they aren't the same thing. And from a pure numbers standpoint, QB scrambles are guaranteed yards for him and I honestly believe he should never take a sack with his mobility. On pure drop-back plays I would like to see Brax take off sooner, and it would be very refreshing to see us roll the pocket ala Troy his senior year and Russel Wilson at Wiscy

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

osuguy2008's picture

Since Beanie was never redshirted , saying he "announced he was coming back for his junior year" is like saying Lebron announced after his junior year of high school he was returning for his 4th and final year at Akron St Vincemt Mary - they both had no choice, they kinda had to

-1 HS
hetuck's picture

Imagine Gibson/Harris in a world where Dave is merely the first name of a late night talk show hack. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

DannyBeane's picture

I'm still recovering from the 13' recruiting season. Ever since Urban's been in town its been non-stop recruiting hype. I feel like even with the playoffs, this is our year to reclaim the pigskin throne.

+2 HS
steveoz49's picture

Have number ones is always nice. However, if the number ones don't fit what you're doing, then you have a problem.  I'm not sure that Beanie would've been as good in Coach Meyer's offense.  He was more of the traditional power back.  Carlos thrived because (in my opinion) he had better footwork, was more nimble than most realized and could catch coming out of the backfield.

btalbert25's picture

Even in the type of offense he played in, Beanie made catches.  Granted Hyde had 16 this past season but Beanie had 8 in his last year here.  That in an offense where they didn't throw to the RB out of the backfield very often.  I think Beanie would have been more successful because, what Hyde didn't have was that breakaway speed.  If Beanie got through the line, no one was catching him.  Carlos wasn't running for any 65-70 yard TD's. 

btalbert25's picture

I'm not knocking Hyde, I loved the guy and he was great.  I just look at what Beanie did, with the mediocre offensive lines and 0 creativity by his play callers and think wow.  The other team knew he was going to get it a lot, and get it on the same stupid play every time and he was able to accomplish so much.  I couldn't imagine how good he could have been had he played in an offense that ran something other than Dave all the time. 

btalbert25's picture

Why is it such a done deal that Barret is the next man up at QB? I know he's done well in camp, but wasn't Meyer just raving about Cardale too?  If he proves he can make the right decisions on the field I think Cardale is the next man up.  He has tremendous size and  good speed.  He can a great arm.  The last time Urbs had a big bruising runner at QB he did pretty well. 

+1 HS
btalbert25's picture

One thing Gibson and Harris will never match are the 1-2 punch that was the Stiff Arm of Justice and Pryor's stiff arm.  Beanie and Pryor had NASTY stiff arms. 

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

I'm picking up what you're throwing down


+1 HS
btalbert25's picture

Just to reminisce the Stiff Arm of Justice I watched a couple YouTube Videos.  I honestly don't think I've seen one player just brutalize defenders as much as Beanie did.  I know he was prone to some unusual injuries and people questioned his toughness, but my god that guy got yards by hitting defenders and the line like a wrecking ball, using that stiff arm to destroy defenders, and hell even even hurdled a guy.  I don't know how anyone could have actually watched him play his career here and think he wasn't tough.  Then again people always question how hard Braxton is and that blows my mind too. 

Jeremypreemo81's picture

Simply put....AWESOME if this happens! 

sbentz4's picture

You tease, you big tease...

Chadding Tatum's picture

I tend to fall on the side of the fence that doesn't think Barrett is automatically the next guy up. Not saying he can't be. But if he was, I kind of doubt he'd be having much trouble beating out Jones for the backup job. I know it's just spring ball. I actually really like Stephen Collier. I know he's not as highly touted, but watching his film I think he could really excel in this offense. My guess is with Braxton gone after this year, you could see a wide open, four-way battle for the job next year between JT, Jones, Collier and a freshman.