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Ohio State's All-Time Recruiting Rankings: Running Back

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Matt Gutridge's picture
January 13, 2019 at 4:16pm
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Recruiting

Recruiting rankings are a relatively new tool. This series takes a look at the ranked Ohio State commits by position. Remember, many great Buckeyes never entered the program with a recruiting ranking. Also, some players came in with overly hyped numbers, or extremely low numbers. With that in mind, you will find the highest rated Buckeye running back commits below. 

RECRUITING RANKINGS: HIGHEST RATED RUNNING BACKS
RANK PLAYER RATING STARS COACH YEAR STATE
1 BEANIE WELLS .9965 5★ TRESSEL 2006 OH
2 SAM MALDONADO .9964 5★ COOPER 2000 NY
3 MAURICE CLARETT .9841 5★ TRESSEL 2002 OH
4 JALEN GILL .9831 4★ MEYER 2018 OH
5 LYDELL ROSS .9815 4★ TRESSEL 2001 FL
             
6 JAAMAL BERRY .9812 4★ TRESSEL 2009 FL
7 JK DOBBINS .9791 4★ MEYER 2017 TX
8 DEMARIO McCALL .9767 4★ MEYER 2016 OH
9 ROD SMITH .9753 4★ TRESSEL 2010 IN
10 MAURICE HALL .9749 4★ TRESSEL 2001 OH
             
11 EZEKIEL ELLIOTT .9711 4★ MEYER 2013 MO
12 DONTRE WILSON .9694 4★ MEYER 2013 TX
13 MIKE WEBER .9627 4★ MEYER 2015 MI
14 BRIAN SNEAD .9607 4★ MEYER 2018 FL
15 BRI'ONTE DUNN .9570 4★ MEYER 2012 OH
             
16 BRANDON SAINE .9360 4★ TRESSEL 2007 OH
17 ANTONIO WILLIAMS .9286 4★ MEYER 2016 NC
18 WARREN BALL .9260 4★ MEYER 2012 OH
19 ARAM OLSON* .9817 4★ TRESSEL 2006 SC
20 MASTER TEAGUE III .9132 4★ MEYER 2018 TN
             
21 CARLOS HYDE# .9000 4★ TRESSEL 2010 VA#
22 MARCUS CROWLEY .8883 3★ DAY 2019 FL
23 JORDAN HALL .8875 3★ TRESSEL 2009 PA
24 DANIEL HERRON .8750 3★ TRESSEL 2007 OH
25 ADAM HOMAN* .8653 3★ TRESSEL 2009 OH
26 ZACH BOREN* .8559 3★ TRESSEL 2009 OH

*Committed as a fullback
#Signed in 2009 as a senior from Florida, but gray-shirted and entered with the 2010 class after attending a school in Virginia.

OHIO AGAINST THE WORLD
11 of the 26 running backs in the table above are from Ohio. Beanie Wells and Maurice Clarett are Ohioans and make up 2/3 of the Buckeyes' five-star running backs. Wells and Clarett etched their names in Ohio State lore with stellar careers. Of the other Ohioans listed above, Demario McCall, Maurice Hall, Brandon Saine, Daniel "Boom" Herron and Zach Boren have also made their mark. 247sports has 20 other backs from Ohio listed, but not rated on their site.

With Jalen Gill signing with the Buckeyes last year, Ohioans represent three of the four highest committed Ohio State running backs. Fans are hopeful that Gill follows in the path of Wells and Clarett and steers clear of the journey taken by Sammy Maldonado.

Where the ranked running backs come from: Ohio (11), Florida (5)*, Texas (2), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Carolina (1) and Tennessee (1).

Ohio or the World?
If you had to pick a one-two punch in the backfield, which duo would you take? Ohio or the World? To make it easier I will give you the two running backs for each side.

Team Ohio: Maurice Clarett and Beanie Wells.

Team World: Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde.

Base your decision on what the players did for the Buckeyes on the field.

Honorable mentions for Team Ohio are: Boom Herron, Brandon Saine and Zach Boren. The Team World honorable mentions are: JK Dobbins, Mike Weber and Jordan Hall.

COMPARING THE COACHES
The table below breaks down how each coach performed with running backs that were rated by the recruiting services. 

Coaching Recruiting Performance On Rated RBs
COACH 5★ 4★ 3★     AVG HT AVG WT     POS AVG AVG RATING
COOPER 1 0 0     74.0 215.0     2.0 .9964
MEYER 0 11 0     71.2 200.5     6.1 .9571
TRESSEL 2 7 4     72.0 217.6     14.0 .9332
DAY 0 1 0     73.0 200.0     26.0 .8883

If you're a kid wanting to grow up and play for the Buckeyes, the current trend is for the player to be about 6 foot tall and 200 pounds. You should also be blessed with blazing speed, toughness, great hands, a willingness to pass block and blood that bleeds scarlet with specks of gray.

Like the quarterbacks, I find it surprising that Meyer did not sign a five-star running back during his seven years at Ohio State. Then again, this points to having more faith in the coaches and their player evaluation notes over what the recruiting services believe. Player drive (heart) and development is also a factor.

When factoring in Cooper's non-rated commits, the average height and weight for his running backs was about 6' 0.5" and just under 207 pounds. Amazing how Cooper, Tressel and Meyer recruited players at this position within the same size frame. Surprising to me, because it always felt as if Meyer went after guys that were not as tall or big as Cooper's and Tressel's backs.

Team Tressel or Team Meyer?
Forget about the recruiting rankings and base this decision on how the players performed on the field. Which coach's recruiting rated contributing running backs would you rather have? 

Team Tressel: Lydell Ross, Maurice Hall, Maurice Clarett, Beanie Wells, Brandon Saine, Boom Herron, Jaamal Berry, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde.

Team Meyer: Ezekiel Elliott, Dontre Wilson, Mike Weber, Demario McCall and JK Dobbins.

Note, players listed above are in order of commitment year.

WHAT ABOUT US?
For those wondering about the running back recruits that did not receive a rating, you're in luck. Let's finish this little piece with all of the running backs listed by 247sports since 1994 that did not get a rating.

NON-RATED RUNNING BACKS
PLAYER YEAR COACH STATE
KEVIN GRIFFIN 1994 COOPER WA
JERMON JACKSON 1994 COOPER OH
JOE MONTGOMERY 1994 COOPER IL
PEPE PEARSON 1994 COOPER OH
MATT KELLER 1995 COOPER OH
CHARLIE SANDERS 1995 COOPER MI
NICK GOINGS 1996 COOPER OH
MICHAEL WILEY 1996 COOPER CA
DEREK COMBS 1997 COOPER OH
SCOTT FULTON* 1997 COOPER MD
SEAN PENNY 1997 COOPER OH
JAMAR MARTIN* 1998 COOPER OH
JONATHAN WELLS 1998 COOPER LA
RICHARD HALL 1999 COOPER OH
JESSE KLINE 1999 COOPER OH
KELTON LINDSAY 1999 COOPER OH
NATE STEAD* 1999 COOPER OH
BRANDEN JOE 2000 COOPER OH
TERRY POGUE 2000 COOPER OH
JA JA RILEY 2001 TRESSEL CA
BRANDON SCHNITTKER* 2001 TRESSEL OH
ERIK HAW 2004 TRESSEL OH
DIONTE JOHNSON* 2004 TRESSEL OH
DENNIS KENNEDY 2004 TRESSEL FL
ANTONIO PITTMAN 2004 TRESSEL OH
MAURICE WELLS 2005 TRESSEL FL
BO DELANDE 2007 TRESSEL OH
JAMES GEORGIADES* 2008 TRESSEL OH
CALEB LAPS 2013 MEYER OH

*Recruited as a FB

PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS
About what this is worth, but my thoughts on the questions posed above.

Team Ohio versus Team World is tough when looking at the running backs. Maurice Clarett didn't have the numbers, but he was the engine that powered the 2002 offense to a national title. The program's first since 1968.

Beanie Wells carried the 2006 and 2007 teams to the title game. Unfortunately, he was underused in both of those losses. On the bright side, Beanie was a Wolverine slayer and rewrote the record books in The Game. Wells rushed for 412 yards (7.0 ypc) and four touchdowns in the three games he played against That Team.

Looking at Team World, it's hard to go against Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde. Elliott had the best three-game stretch in Ohio State history as he ran 85-yards through the heart of the south. If it wasn't for him having an illness the week of the Michigan State game in 2015, there's a strong argument the Buckeyes would have won back-to-back titles. When looking at Zeke's running, blocking and receiving skills, he is arguably the best to ever suit up at Ohio State.

Hard to believe that Carlos Hyde has become an after thought to some fans, but that's what happens when a guy like Elliott immediately fills your spot. Hyde was the Big Ten Running Back of the Year in 2013 and became the first running back in Urban Meyer's career to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Unfortunately, what Hyde may most be remembered for is a play in which he did not get the ball. "Give the damn ball to Hyde" is what everybody wanted on the 4th and short against Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten Title game. That didn't happen and the Buckeyes fell short. Had Hyde been given the ball, would he have picked up the first down? Don't know, but the tough running back did not have a negative carry that season. So yeah, I think he would have made it.   

I want to go with Team Ohio. I love the fact that Clarett brought home the title and Beanie destroyed the Wolverines. However, Clarett only played one season and Wells was injury prone.

So, in the end my vote is going to Team World. However, I like Team Tressel over Team Meyer due to the amount of great backs the Senator brought in. Clarett, Wells, Herron and Hyde gets the slight edge over Elliott, Weber and Dobbins.

Next Up: Wide Receivers

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