Tapping into my inner Tony and without doing the research, I’d assume there are not many running back rooms around the country which consists of two former 1,000-yard rushers. I’d assume there are even less that had both of those guys rush for over 1,000 yards in their respective freshman seasons.
Going into last season, the Buckeyes had Mike Weber coming off of his freshman year where he ran for 1,096 yards and averaged 6 yards per carry. Weber looked to really explode onto the national scene in his second year as starter. Behind him was an abundance of extremely talented but unproven younger players.
Fast-forward to this year and you have a similar situation. You have two guys established as the starters and a room full of potential.
In my next stop on the pre-fall projection tour, we take a look at the running back room.
With Dwayne Haskins opening up the offense a little, the 2018 season is going to be the J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber show. The biggest question will be how many carries does each talented runner get?
There were few freshmen around the country who dominated as much as J.K. Dobbins did. Sure, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor got all the accolades in the Big Ten, but anyone that watched the B1G championship game knows who the best freshman running back on the field was. The true freshman from Texas finished the season with over 1,400 yards rushing and averaged a whopping 7.2 yards per carry.
Weber went into last season as the unquestioned starter and was ready to run wild on the Big Ten, but things did not go as planned. After battling a groin injury all through fall camp and into the season, Weber was only able to manage 10 or more carries five times during the season. Even with being extremely limited, Weber was able to rack up 10 touchdowns on the season and average 6.2 yards per carry.
These two star running backs combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns last season. With J.T. Barrett and his carries now out the door, expect even more from these two.
With the departure of Antonio Williams, the running back room is lacking any depth with experience. The Buckeyes brought in two four-stars to the fold and they should be more than enough to supply the Buckeyes with some depth behind Dobbins, Weber, and the H-backs.
The man who has already exploded onto the scene is Master Teague. After early enrolling, Teague was able to introduce himself to Buckeye Nation after rushing for 74 yards (would have been more if he had to be tackled) and a touchdown in the spring game. Teague was the 11th-ranked high school running back by 247 Sports.
Right beside Teague in the RB room is fellow four-star true freshman, Brian Snead out of Florida. While Teague may be the flavor of the month, Snead may be the one with the most potential out of the two. At 5’11” and over 200 pounds already, Snead was ranked as the third-best high school running back by 247 Sports.
With the new redshirt rules, I fully expect both of these true freshmen to play this year. Last year, Williams was the number three back and he played in exactly eight games. I would not be shocked if both Snead and Teague played in exactly four games this year to maintain their freshmen statuses.
PREDICTED DEPTH CHART
1a. J.K. Dobbins
1b. Mike Weber
3. Master Teague
4. Brian Snead
PREDICTED RUNNING BACK STATS
As I’ve alluded to over this entire article, I think Dobbins and Weber are going to have a field day against almost every defense. The loss of Billy Price and Jamarco Jones will hurt early in the season, but the addition of Dwayne Haskins will benefit Dobbins and Weber more than anybody.
Last season, these two dominated and teams were even able to crowd the line of scrimmage more than they will be able to do with Haskins. Barring injury, I have both of these two surpassing the 1,000-yard mark on way to combining for over 2,500 rushing yards.