Most Important Buckeyes: No. 5
By Brandon Castel
Photo by Jim Davidson
COLUMBUS — It would be interesting to see where Jordan Hall would have fallen on this list had he been out there practicing all fall, but his absence opened the door for tailback Carlos Hyde, who comes in at No. 5 on our countdown of the Top 20 Most Important Buckeyes for 2012.
Regardless of Hall’s status this season, Hyde was always going to be an important piece of the puzzle for Urban Meyer and Tom Herman offensively, but he has a real opportunity to become a star for the Buckeyes this season.
The junior out of Naples, Fla. dropped some weight this offseason and is reportedly in the best shape of his life heading into what will easily be the most important football season of his life.
What Makes Him Important
Outside of Braxton Miller, there may not be a more important player to the OSU offense in 2012 than Carlos Hyde. At least until Jordan Hall is back in there to play the hybrid ‘pivot’ position.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Until then, Hyde will be the featured ball-carrier for the Buckeyes, and he has all the tools to play in Meyer’s version of the spread offense, which wants to be a downhill, two-back system that runs the ball with power.
They are going to give the ball to Hyde early and often, and he has to deliver for the Buckeyes or this offense simply isn’t going to be very good. There is already a lot on Braxton’s plate. They already have questions at the other skill positions.
Hyde needs to be the rock of this offense and needs to be the guy who can move the chains for them and get them into the endzone. That will free up Braxton Miller to do what he does best.
What Can Be Expected Of Him
The key for Hyde was and is going to be his conditioning level. OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton recently admitted he thought Hyde was a lazy football player as a sophomore last season.
That might explain why he didn’t see the field more down the stretch. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman also mentioned they didn’t know if Hyde was a guy who liked to work hard when they took over in January.
What they found out was that Hyde was ready to be the guy they needed him to be. He lost some weight – or jelly fat as Braxton calls it – in the offseason and according to Herman, Hyde has done a complete 180 in his demeanor and work ethic.
He has put a rocky sophomore season behind him, and there is no reason to think Hyde can’t be a workhorse in Meyer’s offense. They are going to run a lot of no-huddle, hurry-up stuff, and that should actually open running for Hyde, who has proven to have another burst when he gets to the second level.
What Would the Buckeyes Do Without Him
Things would be a lot more stressful for Meyer and Herman heading into the season-opener. With Hall out until at least the second week of the season, the staff is counting on Hyde to be their guy.
Even when Hall returns, they are going to ask a lot of Hyde in the running game. Without him, they have a few other options, but Drayton said neither Bri’onte Dunn or Rod Smith are completely comfortable in the new scheme just yet.
Those two are battling for the backup spot, with freshman Warren Ball also in the mix.
Most Important: No. 6 Jack Mewhort
Most Important: No. 7 Ryan Shazier
Most Important: No. 8 Curtis Grant
Most Important: No. 9 Jake Stoneburner
Most Important: No. 10 Bradley Roby
Most Important: No. 11 Zach Boren
Most Important: No. 12 C.J. Barnett
Most Important: No. 13 Devin Smith
Most Important: No. 14 Corey Brown
Most Important: No. 15 Jordan Hall
Most Important: No. 16 Christian Bryant
Most Important: No. 17 Reid Fragel
Most Important: No. 18 Ben Buchanan
Most Important: No. 19 Michael Bennett
Most Important: No. 20 Drew Basil
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