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Big Ten Football: Ohio State Could Lean on Sophomore Running Back

The Ohio State Buckeyes have quite a loaded backfield offensively, even with the five game suspension that will be served by senior Dan "Boom" Herron. This is the year of the sophomore running back in the Big Ten, it seems, and the Buckeyes have two big-name kids waiting in the wings who were top of the line high school prospects that could make impacts in 2011.

Former four-star prospect Carlos Hyde checks in at 6'0" and a whopping 238 pounds. He is definitely not a speed back by any means, but he is a north-south runner that can punish you between the tackles. He was listed coming out of high school as a fullback prospect, but the Buckeyes should be able to find some carries for him with Herron serving a suspension. At worst, it appears as though Hyde could be in line to be the Buckeyes' power and short yardage back.

Another sophomore runner who could make an impact this season is Jamaal Berry, who redshirted as a freshman in 2009. Last year as a redshirt freshman, he carried the ball 32 times, but showed in those limited opportunities that he has some serious playmaking skills, averaging over eight yards per carry last season.

Berry is much more of a speed type of back, and the Buckeyes might have a new thunder and lightning running duo with big potential. Both Hyde and Berry were four-star recruits coming out of high school, and they are also joined by another four-star prospect from 2010 who redshirted last year.

That youngster is redshirt freshman Rod Smith, whom Rivals.com compared to Eddie George, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State. Smith is a 6'3" 220 pound bruiser who has good speed, and was the sixth ranked running back in the country last year and a four-star prospect according to Rivals. 

This could be the making of a big time future in the backfield for the Buckeyes, and is something for fans to look forward to in this dark time.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.