After the Fact 20-Most Important Buckeyes

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Football
After the Fact: The 20 Most Important Buckeyes of the 2013 Season
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As we have done the last few years, before this past football season began, each of the staff members here submitted a top 20 list of what we believed to be the most important Buckeyes heading into the 2013 season.

That list usually contains plenty of no-brainers, and a few projections. The surprises don't arrive, however, until we look back and see what we got right and what we got wrong.

Here is how the list appeared in August:

1. Braxton Miller
2. Ryan Shazier
3. Bradley Roby
4. Jack Mewhort
5. Carlos Hyde
6. Philly Brown
7. Christian Bryant
8. Corey Linsley
9. Adolphus Washington
10. Devin Smith
11. Noah Spence
12. C.J. Barnett
13. Jordan Hall
14. Curtis Grant
15. Andrew Norwell
16. Michael Bennett
17. Kenny Guiton
18. Rod Smith
19. Dontre Wilson
20. Tyvis Powell

Looking back at the list, Braxton Miller was the only possible answer for number one at the time. Seeing Adolphus Washington in the top 10 seemed like a great idea back then, but injuries set him back. Jordan Hall had a great start to the season, and would certainly warrant being higher on the list if not for his absence for much of the season following Carlos Hyde's suspension.

Kenny Guiton being on the list was a smart move, given Miller's issues with injuries, and Dontre Wilson was a proper projection. Rod Smith on the list was more of a response to Hyde's suspension and the Buckeyes needing a power running back in his absence. Smith's day never really arrived, however.

Obviously, that list would change if we were to resubmit our ballots today, which is exactly what we have done.

Here is our “after the fact” top 20 most important Buckeyes from this past season, with their preseason rank in parentheses:

1. Carlos Hyde (5)
2. Braxton Miller (1)
3. Ryan Shazier (2)
4. Jack Mewhort (4)
5. Joey Bosa (NR)
5. Corey Linsley (8)
7. Philly Brown (6)
8. Bradley Roby (3)
9. Noah Spence (11)
10. Michael Bennett (16)
10. Andrew Norwell (15)
12. Kenny Guiton (17)
13. Christian Bryant (7)
14. C.J. Barnett (12)
15. Devin Smith (10)
16. Curtis Grant (14)
17. Taylor Decker (NR)
18. Jeff Heuerman (NR)
19. Doran Grant (NR)
19. Dontre Wilson (20)
19. Marcus Hall (NR)

One surprise of the post-season list, of course, is the move by Carlos Hyde from fifth to first, and it was almost unanimous, save for one vote (mine). Jack Mewhort was the only player who didn't move on the list, staying at fourth, though it was impossible for him to move any higher than fourth on either list, given the presence of Hyde, Miller and Ryan Shazier.

Carlos Hyde
Photo by Dan Harker
Carlos Hyde

While Hyde is a huge surprise because nobody would have expected anybody other than Braxton Miller to be number one, the appearance of Joey Bosa at #5 has to be the biggest shocker. After all, he was just a true freshman and he happened to be playing the same position as our preseason #9 player (Adolphus Washington).

Looking at it now, however, I think Bosa is right where he should be on this list. There were times this season when it was hard to imagine a better defensive end in the nation. Staying with the defensive line, I think Michael Bennett is a bit low, though I am the only voter who put him ahead of Noah Spence, so I'm probably wrong.

The fall of Bradley Roby is not a surprise, as only two voters had him in the top 10. I put Christian Bryant at #5 on my list (Rob Ogden put him at #6) because of how different the defense was without him. Obviously, I think he is under-represented on this list.

Kenny Guiton's jump from 17 to 12 isn't just the result of Miller's injury, it's also the result of how effective he was when he was in the game. Any backup quarterback is important just based on how close he is to seeing the field, but an effective backup quarterback like Guiton is infinitely more important than a run-of-the-mill number two.

Devin Smith and Curtis Grant being so low on this list are pretty indicative of the seasons that they had. The passing game struggled and Grant dealt with injuries though the second half of the season. Clearly, for the Buckeyes to reach their potential (assuming they didn't), both of these players needed to be more important this past season.

Dontre Wilson appeared towards the end of three ballots, which was enough to get him near the end on the final poll. Even though he went entire games without touching the ball more than one or two times, his presence on the field was deemed extremely important by opposing defenses.

The presence of Jeff Heuerman on the list should give hope to Buckeye fans everywhere who are constantly wondering if the tight end is ever going to be involved. He was very involved this season, and will only get more touches next season.

Overall, I don't believe many people will argue with the top four on this list, but after that, all bets are off. How do you think we did? What would your list look like?

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