A pair of backs in 2016

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Last updated: 06/12/2014 11:35 PM
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Football Recruiting
Looking at a Pair of Talented 2016 Ohio Running Backs
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Whenever possible, Ohio State likes to keep Ohio's best talent from leaving the state. In the 2016 class, two of those players happen to be running backs George Hill (Hubbard, OH) and Demario McCall (North Ridgeville, Ohio).

Hill (6-0 182) rushed for 1,175 yards last year as a sophomore on just 100 carries, scoring 15 touchdowns. He went through a three-game stretch late in the season in which he rushed for 504 yards on just 31 carries (16.3 ypc), and he did this while sharing carries with 2015 running back L.J. Scott.

Ohio State offered Hill last month. He also has offers from Michigan State, West Virginia, Kentucky and Cincinnati. The way things look at the moment, he could become a Buckeye any time now.

Talking to Ohio high school football scout John McCallister about him, it sounds like Hubbard has a good one.

"He's pretty good," McCallister said. "He's really good."

Wait, so is he "pretty good" or "really good"? 

"He's really good," he reiterated. 

"He's more than just a fast guy, he's a good football player. He has the frame to be an every-down running back, but hardly anybody plays every down anymore. He's gonna be fine. I think he's the best running back in the class. He's fast."

Just a sophomore, Hill is only pushing 190 pounds, but the frame is there to handle the added weight and strength, which should then aid in handling the added workload. Though McCallister isn't even sure what that entails anymore.

"I've had guys who used to say that they can't carry the ball 20-25 times every game, well who does anymore? That's silly. In fact, running backs are almost a dying breed. I tell kids to be linebackers."

In today's game, an every-down tailback is more likely to receive 15 carries than 25. Even Carlos Hyde only had five games over the previous two seasons where he carried the ball 25 times.

In his two seasons in high school, George Hill has definitely shown the ability to make the most of whatever number of carries he does receive. He is a big-play threat with speed, but he also does the little things necessary for his team to win.

Like Hill, DeMario McCall (5-11 180) was offered by Ohio State last month. He rushed for over 1,500 yards last season, and might just be one of the fastest players in the state.

At Ohio State's camp last week, he was timed at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. He probably projects to the slot, and it's not a coincidence that he worked out at receiver during OSU's camp.

McCall is electric with the ball in his hands, but there may be some concern about the level of talent that he has played against.

"I've seen him, and he's fast," McCallister said prior to the OSU camp. 

"He's not as big as you'd like, but he's a really good athlete. I haven't seen him in camp yet. He's got to make sure that he can play top-level competition. He's one to see, though. He's a good player."

If the Buckeyes can lock up Hill at tailback and McCall in the slot, they could essentially wrap those positions up for the 2016 class.

Given the uncertainty of the running back situation two years from now, however, don't expect Ohio State to put a bow on anything any time soon.

Soon there will also be the 2017 class to worry about, and one of the in-state tailbacks to watch in that class is Akron Hoban's Todd Sibley.

Following last season, Sibley was named a Freshman All-American by MaxPreps.com, and even though he does not yet have any offers, it's just a matter of time at this point. He rushed for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman, and is already on the radar of plenty of national programs.

According to McCallister, that can be both a blessing and a curse.

"I think he's got to stay a little more focused, but I think the head coach up there will keep him in line. He's done pretty well. I think he'll be okay. He's fast and he's a good football player. It's just with freshmen, it's hard to say what they're going to be, but he should be okay."

Recruiting is always a bit easier for Ohio State when the in-state talent is there to fill the class. While Urban Meyer and his staff will never stop looking nationally, for the near future, they have to be relieved to know that there is enough local skill to lay a strong foundation.

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