Spring has almost sprung in the Midwest and that means the beginning of spring football in Columbus and many places. Here at Buckeye Wire, we are kicking off our Spring Football Preview. Next, we are looking at a deep and talented backfield.
2018 Spring Preview
Ohio State Spring Football Preview: The Running Backs
Ohio State has always been known for producing running backs, and it has one of the deepest and most talented group of backs in the country heading into 2018.
How this will all play out with playing time remains to be seen, but the options are limitless with several blue-chippers returning, and more on the way. With that, we’ll dive right past the pile-on and preview the running back position group as we head into spring practice 2018.
* We are not including Demario McCall in this list. He’s reportedly been moved to H-back.
Ohio State returns its top three running backs from 2017. There should be plenty of creative options available.
The 5-10, 208 lb. sophomore to be was the benefactor of a hamstring injury returning starter Mike Weber encountered in pre-season drills last year. Just a true freshman in 2017, Dobbins took the baton and may have cemented himself as the No. 1 guy this year.
He possesses elite-level burst and lateral movement that you just can’t teach, and showed last year that he’s the biggest home-run threat Ohio State has out of the backfield. He’s a guy that got a slew of yards after contact, and he should be stronger and more comfortable with reads this year.
Despite being overtaken by Dobbins last year, Weber still has top-end talent and will likely be listed as the co-starter when everything shakes out.
The coaching staff raved about his improved break-out speed after shedding some pounds and making that an emphasis over the off-season last year, but he wasn’t able to truly show that because of being literally hamstrung by injury last year.
However, all you have to do is look at his touchdown run late in the game in the Big House when he was fully healthy to see what the coaches were talking about.
Weber surprised many by coming back for his junior year, but he should be featured almost as much as Dobbins will be in the running game. Don’t be surprised to see the coaching staff get them both on the field at the same time.
Williams was the clear No. 3 when things got out of hand last year. He spelled both Weber and Dobbins, and would probably be a feature back at other places in the Big Ten.
The 5-11, 208 lb. former Wisconsin recruit hits the hole quickly and has shown flashes of his talent when given the chance, he’s just unfortunately buried behind two really talented guys.
Buckeye fans shouldn’t fret though if one of the two featured guys go down, because he’s more than capable of carrying the torch as well. However, he’ll be the No. 3 guy again unless something drastic happens in the spring and fall.
The Incoming Class
Teague has flown a little under the radar in recruiting circles, but he’s had some crazy numbers with speed and athleticism in previous workouts that put him in a category you don’t see very often.
Out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Teague had to sit out most of his senior season because of injury, but he’s almost 100 percent now and is already enrolled at Ohio State and taking part in workouts.
Teague is 5-11, 210 lbs, and because of his speed and athleticism may eventually be moved to the H-back position. He has a high ceiling and is a dark-horse player to watch.
At 5-11, 200 lbs., Snead was the third overall running back recruit in the 2018 class according to 247Sports and one that Urban Meyer went after hard.
As you would expect, he has a lot of speed and comes from an area of the country where he’s playing against some of the best high school players in the country.
Depending on what Dobbins does after his junior season — and what role Teague takes — he could very well be the next feature back in a couple of years at OSU.
Gill is a local product out of Weserville, Ohio. He was known to be an OSU lean being from the area, so his recruitment didn’t generate quite as much buzz as it could have.
But don’t let that fool you.
Like Teague, because of his breakaway ability and pass catching skills, he could eventually end up in the slot or H-back, but time will tell. It’ll all depend on who’s available and who develops in the positions the coaches insert them into.
At 6-1, 182lbs., Gill is more lean and elusive than some of the bigger backs on the roster. He makes good reads and makes subtle cuts in the hole while still moving forward.
Predicting The Pecking Order
- J.K. Dobbins
- Mike Weber
- Antonio Williams
- Brian Snead
- Master Teague
- Jaelen Gill
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