Ohio State Football: Most Important Players for the Buckeyes in 2012

Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 2, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 24:  Devin Smith #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes pulls in a 17-yard touchdown catch over Greg Henderson #20 of the Colorado Buffaloes in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Ohio State football needs some help. 

After losing the Underachievers Bowl against Florida and finishing 6-7 in 2011, the Buckeyes desperately need a shot in the arm. Getting head coach Urban Meyer is a good start, especially for recruiting, but the players are going to have to do something, too. 

Interestingly enough, that's how you win games.

What follows is a look at the players who are most important for some Buckeye wins this season. 


Devin Smith, WR

I realize it's the Big Ten, but can the Buckeyes please open it up a little bit? Quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Joe Bauserman combined for just 127 passing yards per game last season.

This is all Miller's team now, and he can struggle with his accuracy, but if the Buckeyes are going to score points, they will have to throw the ball much better.

With No. 1 receiver DeVier Posey gone to the NFL, someone will have to step up to help Miller.

That someone will be sophomore Devin Smith. He didn't get a ton of opportunities last year, but still led the team in receptions all while averaging an impressive 21 yards per catch. 

Miller will have to continue to break out if this offense wants to have anything that resembles balance. 


Jordan Hall, RB

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Jordan Hall #7 of Ohio State Buckeyes is tackled by a group of Florida Gator defenders during the first half of the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Ha
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Speaking of offensive balance, Daniel Herron is now appropriately a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback Braxton Miller will kill teams with his scrambling ability, but the Buckeyes still need a consistent running back. 

Stepping up for that role will be either Hall, Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith or even freshman Bri'onte Dunn. 

There will certainly be a timeshare and Hyde looked a little better than Hall last year, but Jordan Hall is more important. 

He's a better receiver out of the backfield, and even though he's undersized, he is more suited for work in between the 20s. 


John Simon, DE

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 5:  John Simon #54 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates a third down stop against the Indiana Hoosiers in the first half at Ohio Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Ohio State's secondary is young and athletic—and could be scary good—but the front seven needs someone to consistently make plays. 

That is going to have to be John Simon, a future NFL player who is versatile enough to play DT or DE. He racked up seven sacks last year and he will continue to bother opposing quarterbacks in 2012. 

Not only will he likely lead the team in sacks, Simon will attract double teams and make things easy for the rest of the line.