As we wade through the 2013 recruiting waters position by position, it is time to take a deeper look into what is going on at running back. We previously looked at the quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, and defensive back positions.
One of the positions everyone has been interested in watching under the Urban Meyer tutelage is running back. Many assumed that there would be an instant shift in recruiting from the big bruising backs like Beanie Wells, to the quicker more versatile backs like Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. In all reality, Meyer and the staff are targeting a little of both.
Coming into the 2013 class, the staff didn't have a huge need for the big bruising back. With Rod Smith already on the roster, and Warren Ball and Bri'onte Dunn coming in as freshmen, the staff has a lot of options there. As for a speed back that can split out wide, well, the options are pretty limited. Jordan Hall, who best fits that role for Meyer currently, is a senior. Carlos Hyde also has some versatility, as he will show in Hall's absence early in the year, but doesn't really fit the definition of a scatback. So that was definitely the biggest need for the Buckeyes in this class.
Fortunately, the staff landed one of the best in the country in Ezekiel Elliott. When he first committed back in April, some fans were a little unsure of why the staff allowed him to commit so early with some of the big names still on the board. All Elliott has done since then is prove why the staff was so high on him. He's skied up the rankings by the recruiting services after his showings in summer camps and at "The Opening", and is proving he's one of the most important pieces in the 2013 class for OSU. The young man not only has 4.4 speed, but his junior statistics are gaudy - 1,802 rushing yards (8.5 avg), 34 rushing touchdowns, 401 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns.
Aregeros Turner (5-11 180 pounds, Copley HS) - The chances are most of you have never heard of Turner because his name hasn't come up much. He's an in-state athlete who ran a sub-4.5 forty at Ohio State's camp back in June. At that camp he worked out at corner quite a lot too, and could play a couple different positions at the next level though he plays running back now. He's heard from the Ohio State staff a little bit, but at this point there isn't much action going on, mostly because the staff already has Elliott on board. Depending on how his senior season plays out and how the scholarship situation shakes out, you never know. Right now he has offers from Illinois, Tennessee and Washington, and will probably end up in one of those places.
Derrick Green (6-0 215 pounds, Richmond, VA) - Green has been one of the most sought after players by Buckeye fans in this class. Not only did he grow up as a huge Eddie George fan, but he is easily one of the best running backs in the country this year. A few months ago it seemed like the Buckeyes would easily land Green, but now are in the midst of a big battle. Following his appearance at "The Opening", Green narrowed his list of schools down to 13 schools - Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He's about to visit Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss, and then will find himself at Ohio State at Friday Night Lights on July 27th. Then on July 28-29th he will be at Michigan. He's not planning on making a choice until close to signing day, so there is a long way to go.
David Williams (6-0 188 pounds, Philadelphia, PA) - Another speedster that hasn't gotten a lot of buzz in Buckeye Nation, but the staff has been consistently after. While he claims a top ten including Ohio State, he went on record recently as saying that South Carolina, Penn State and Wisconsin are standing out right now above the others. That being said, he will also be at Friday Night Lights in Columbus at the end of July and is still very open to what Urban Meyer and the staff has to offer. Following that visit, it should be clear if the Buckeyes have a realistic shot in this race.
Corn Elder (5-11 170 pounds, Nashville, TN) - I included in Elder in my defensive back radar and I could have easily included his name on the wide receiver list as well. He's definitely a very versatile athlete who could end up at several positions. As I reported in my last radar, he is wanting to play basketball first, but only has big time offers to play football currently. That may change, as he just put on a show at the Adidas Invitational. He is planning a visit to Ohio State this fall, and by then it should start to become more apparent on whether he decides to fully commit to football.
What about Taquan Mizzell? Well he's bumped up his announcement to July 27th, which pretty much cements that he won't be picking the Buckeyes.
With lots of depth at the position and Ezekiel Elliott on board the staff really has no urgency to land another running back. So guys like Green and Williams take their time and the staff isn't concerned at all. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see one of those two land in this class if the staff shows them enough love, but I'm not counting on it at this point. Buckeye fans will be upset if Green doesn't end up in this class, but I think he will wooed by the lack of depth and schemes of some of the other schools on his list in the end. As for Elder and Turner, if either of them do end up in this class, my guess is that they won't be playing running back.