Ohio State Spring Recap: Welcome to the #HBackTakeover

K.J. Hill makes a catch in the 2017 Ohio State spring game.

Curtis Samuel was one of the most productive players in the nation a year ago, rushing for 771 yards and catching 74 passes for 865 yards, scoring 15 total touchdowns in the process. The Buckeyes are now in the difficult position of having to try and replace that production. Perhaps more important than the actual numbers, however, is that these players need to provide the same threat that Samuel did. Ohio State isn’t planning on doing it with just one guy, which is good news for all three of the Buckeye H-backs.

Depth Chart
21 Parris Campbell, rJr (6-1 208)
14 K.J. Hill, rSo (6-0 200)
19 Eric Glover-Williams, Jr (5-9 178)

There isn’t a lot of experience on the Ohio State roster in terms of players actually playing H-back. Parris Campbell has only ever practiced at the position, and this spring was the first time he’s ever spent an entire camp there. Eric Glover-Williams moved over from safety in the offseason, so he’s still learning. K.J. Hill played in the slot last season as a redshirt freshman, but he’s never really been involved in the running game the way they’d like the H-back to be involved.

“It’s just where I think he needed to be. It’s where he best suits this offense, and it’s a way for him to be involved in the run game and the pass game. Our offense has always worked best when we’ve had the hybrid guy in the slot, and so that’s who I saw moving into that position for sure.” — OSU receivers coach Zach Smith on Parris Campbell

Toteable (Which player would do best with the football in his hands?)
No disrespect to K.J. Hill, but this is a battle between Parris Campbell and Eric Glover-Williams. EGW may be the most elusive player on the team, but Campbell could be the most explosive. This topic assumes the catch or hand-off is already made, so we don’t have to worry about drops. As such, I’m going with Glover-Williams because just look at this.

Linebacker Jerome Baker said this spring that he was happy when he heard that Eric Glover-Williams had moved to offense. He found out when he saw EGW tweet out the news. He said he had been lobbying for the move with the way Glover-Williams had given the defense trouble when working on the scout team as an opposing dual-threat quarterback.

If Parris Campbell as the No. 1 H-back can come close to doing what Curtis Samuel did a year ago, then he will earn plenty of All-B1G votes. He was already named Third-Team All-B1G last year as a return specialist, but if the Ohio State offense is going to be as good as expected, Campbell will need to earn some of those votes on offense.

Eric Glover-Williams is listed at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, and that’s about 18 pounds lighter than Urban Meyer wants his players to be if they plan on running between the tackles with any regularity. Until EGW gets bigger, his role might be a bit specialized.

“Just a quiet guy who runs good routes and makes catches K.J. Hill is. His best year yet this year should be. Be surprised when he is nearing 50 catches on the season do not. Ohio State’s secret weapon he could be. Yrsssss.”

Based on the spring, I think Zach Smith might be able to gloat about having two very talented and productive slot receivers in Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill. Hill is a guy who should emerge even more this season. He was effective all spring long, proving to be a terror against the safeties over the middle and on the sidelines. Don’t mistake him for a backup. When he was signed, Zach Smith called him electric with the ball in his hands. He’s going to get plenty of opportunities to charge folks up this season.

Odeable (What kind of song would be sung about this position?)
I can see Bob Dylan writing a 12-minute story song about a guy named Eric Glover-Williams because he has three names and there are plenty of things that you can rhyme with Glover-Williams, like…um…uh…hover…billiams?

Roteable (Learning through repetition.)
The out routes by the H-backs this spring were constant, repetitive, and usually good for about a 10-yard gain. With the middle of the field a more friendly environment for the Ohio State offense this season, the out routes could become a place for a turn and burn, though most of the time the passes were designed without yards after the catch in mind.

Um, the wind. Duh. Seriously. You disappoint me.

If Eric Glover-Williams catches more than 12 passes this season, then I guarantee somewhere in those 13 receptions he will have at least one taunting penalty.

Parris Campbell is the kind of player who can score from anywhere, on any kind of play. He hasn’t shown that ability in the games yet, which is the only place it really counts. Still, he has finally found a home at H-back after spending his first two years out wide. He will be matched up on safeties and nickel backs, which will make life a lot easier than being matched up on the opponent’s two best pass defenders. Campbell could end up being one of the most dangerous players in the Big Ten, especially when you factor him into the kickoff return game.

Sodable (Who will bubble up?)
K.J. Hill may not start a game for the Buckeyes (he probably will), but he will be one of their most productive pass catchers. In fact, I can actually see him leading the team in receptions. Let’s not forget, he’s the leading returning pass catcher (18-262-1) among the returning receivers. I can see him having a very similar season to Jalin Marshall in 2014, but more consistent all the way through.

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