Depth chart: Carlos Hyde* starting ahead of Rod Smith
Next in line: Charges won’t be filed against Hyde, but the asterisk will stick around just to note that he won’t be around for at least the first three games after coach Urban Meyer suspended him anyway on Tuesday. The senior will clearly still be the feature back when he returns, but Smith will slide into the top spot for the start of the season and what was expected to be a close battle to be the third wheel would become a race for the backup job between Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball. More shuffling could conceivably be done, with senior Jordan Hall perhaps returning to the backfield on a full-time basis instead of focusing on the hybrid Pivot position.
New face: Ezekiel Elliott isn’t hurting for attention heading into his freshman season, but it’s a guy who will be splitting time between the running backs and the wide receivers who is generating by far the most buzz ahead of training camp. Dontre Wilson’s raw speed has had Ohio State coaches anxious to get their hands on him since national signing day, and his workouts this summer had veteran teammates raving about him last week at Big Ten Media Days. Meyer tried to tap the brakes a bit on all the hype, but it’s no secret Wilson is in line to touch the ball early in his career with the Buckeyes.
Recruiting trail: The Buckeyes don’t have a tailback in the fold yet for the class of 2014, but they have their eyes on a handful of ESPN 300 targets who could add to what will remain a deep stable of rushers. Hyde will graduate after this season. There are five offers still out for recruits ranked among the top 300 players in the country overall, with Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside) currently boasting the best evaluation from ESPN scouts.
Continue reading this article at ESPN: Position preview: Running backs