This time a year ago, most Buckeye fans didn’t know who current Ohio State freshman running back Miyan Williams was.
Back then, he was coming off of a junior season at Winton Woods in Cincinnati where he had just rushed for over 2,800 yards and was the runner-up for Ohio’s 2018 Mr. Football.
He eventually received an Ohio State offer in September and committed two months later. And even into the summer before that offer, many weren’t necessarily paying attention to Williams.
In June and July, most of the attention was on 5-star Arizona running back Bijan Robinson and 4-star Florida Jaylan Knight. There was a time when it looked like both would end up in the Buckeyes’ 2020 recruiting class. Things fell through for both players, however, and neither ended up at Ohio State.
The September offer to Williams finally sealed things up at running back for the Buckeyes, but it didn’t stop the questions. Williams, after all was the No. 45 tailback in the nation, which was quite the contrast from Robinson, who ended up as the nation’s No. 1 running back.
Buckeyes’ running back coach Tony Alford was pressed throughout the year on what happened at running back, despite the fact that he wasn’t permitted to talk about it. Even to this day with commitments from the No. 2 and No. 5 running backs in the 2021 class, Alford is still being asked what went wrong last year.
“Let me say this, and I’m not gonna lie to you, I get tired of talking about last year, quite frankly. Good, bad, or indifferent,” Alford said. “I’ll tell you this, next year I’ll get tired of talking about this class.”
Every team has a recruiting board of players, and those players are all ranked. Just because Williams wasn’t at the top of Ohio State’s list doesn’t mean he should be carrying the ball somewhere else, and Alford wants everyone to know it.
“But I will say this, if we want to talk about last year’s class, Miyan Williams is a really good player,” Alford said. “I’m really excited to have Miyan Williams part of our room and our group and our football team. So I want to make sure that that is very clear.”
Williams wasn’t slated to enroll until this summer, so he has yet to go through the winter workouts. He also didn’t get a chance to visit and just be around the team during spring practice.
That will put him behind everyone else in the running back room, but that’s generally how it goes for true freshmen on a deep team.
“The guys that are here, they know the offense. So Miyan’s still gonna have to learn this thing, and would,” Alford said. “So we’re doing that and we’re continuing to do that with him. But I gotta get him ready to go because the one thing that a guy like him, proximity wise, he would be able to come up and watch practice and see some things and kind of get his feet wet by by sight. And being here, sitting in and kind of watching practice.
“So since he doesn’t have that, the learning curve is gonna be a little bit steeper. But that’s also why we coach. That’s why they call us a coach. We’ve got to get them ready to go by whatever means necessary, and we’ll certainly try to get that done.”