Ranking Ohio State's H-Backs Under Urban Meyer

By Kevin Harrish on January 10, 2017 at 10:10 am
Curtis Samuel is the best H-back in Ohio State history.

Every year since Urban Meyer's arrival at Ohio State, fans have been searching for the player to serve the "Percy Harvin role" in the his offense. After the departure of one of the best, we rank Ohio State's top H-backs under Meyer.

5. Dontre Wilson

Dontre Wilson was hailed as the second coming of Percy Harvin before he even stepped on campus.

Flipping from Oregon, the highly-touted running back took his talents to Columbus and entered his freshman season as perhaps the most hyped recruit Urban Meyer ever brought to Ohio State. Turning the heads of players and coaches in the preseason, it was almost certain Wilson would be the Buckeyes' next big star.

Wilson never quite lived up to the insane hype (really, how could he?).

Undersized entering his Buckeye career and plagued with injuries during it, Wilson never really materialized as the hybrid player he was expected to be. He spent most of his career behind the likes of Curtis Samuel, Jalin Marshall and Braxton Miller on the depth chart and had the most productive season of his career in 2016 when he played a more pure receiver role while Samuel handled H-back duties.

4. Braxton Miller

Braxton Miller will go down as one of the most electric players to ever put on a Buckeye uniform.

While he was undoubtably more effective as a quarterback, his transition to a legitimate receiving threat in just a few months was nothing short of remarkable. His senior season, Miller hauled in 25 catches for 340 yards and three touchdowns while also carrying the ball 43 times for 261 yards and a touchdown.

If Miller played H-back his entire career, there's little doubt he could have been the best. But with little experience playing the position while on a team loaded with other offensive weapons, Miller really only had flashes of greatness as an H-back.

Still, he was successful enough to get drafted and earn a spot on an NFL roster.

3. Philly Brown

Philly Brown is a different sort of player than anyone else on this list. For starters, he was not recruited by Urban Meyer, but inherited when Meyer arrived in Columbus.

More than that though, he was not exactly the hybrid player the other H-backs were. Brown technically only had 14 carries in his Ohio State career compared to his 123 catches.

He may not have been the rushing threat the others were, but he certainly did some damage on the jet sweep pop-pass and is by far the best true slot receiver Meyer has had at Ohio State.

Those skills have translated nicely and Brown has had a successful NFL career as a slot receiver with the Carolina Panthers.

2. Jalin Marshall

Jalin Marshall seemed to be Buckeye fans hoped Dontre Wilson would be.

His redshirt freshman season, Marshall burst onto the scene and split H-back reps with Dontre Wilson until he became the team's lone option after Wilson was sidelined for the season with a broken foot. He was the most versatile option Ohio State had ever had at the position and helped lead the team to a national title.

With Braxton Miller and Curtis Samuel getting more reps at the H-back position in 2015, Marshall moved to more of a traditional receiver role. It seems to have worked to his benefit as the converted quarterback now plays wide receiver for the New York Jets.

1. Curtis Samuel

It's time we put the term Percy Harvin Role to rest – it's now the Curtis Samuel Role.

Samuel was the best H-back Urban Meyer ever coached and it's really not that close. His senior season, he put up more rushing and receiving yards than Harvin ever did in a single season, racking up a whopping 1,636 yards from scrimmage.

After a season where fans grumbled about certain players being given obligatory touches, it seemed Samuel couldn't touch the ball enough. At times, he seemed to be Ohio State's only offensive weapon, and everyone knew who was getting the ball, but teams still couldn't stop him.

Samuel is the new prototype for the H-back position. You had a good run, Percy.

Next Man Up

Ohio State has a number of options at the H-back position in 2017, but the most likely candidate is running back Demario McCall, who backed up Mike Weber this season much like Samuel did in 2015.

Another future playmaker is incoming freshman Tyjon Lindsey. Once he adds weight to his 160 lb. frame, the four-star receiver out of Bishop Gorman may give the Buckeyes their best true slot receiver since Philly Brown.

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