Carlos Hyde Is the Best Running Back in the Big Ten

Austin KempAnalyst IFebruary 27, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 03:  Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs past Mason Monheim #43 of the Illinois Illini on November 3, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Illinois 52-22. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

A year ago at this time, the running back position was a huge question mark for the Ohio State Buckeyes.  After losing playing time to Dan Herron as the season went on, question marks still surrounded Carlos Hyde. 

Would he be able to carry the load for the whole season?  Would he in fact take control of the starting job?  Jordan Hall was an option, along with Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn.

However, a foot injury sidelined Jordan Hall—Hyde took the position and never looked back.

Rushing for 970 yards in ten games last season, Carlos Hyde got stronger as the year went on and became an unstoppable force in Big Ten play.  At 6’1", 235 pounds, Hyde is the prototypical Big Ten running back who can wear down defenses throughout the game, and then slam the door in the fourth quarter.  

While averaging over five yards per carry in conference play, there’s no question that Ohio State’s offense relied heavily on what Hyde did with the ball.  In both of the Buckeyes overtime games in 2012, against Purdue and Wisconsin, Hyde carried the ball less than 20 times in each.  Look back at the one-point victory over Michigan State—Carlos only toted the rock 11 times. 

What’s this mean?  When Carlos Hyde doesn’t get his touches, the offense sputters and doesn’t perform at its elite level.

The Buckeyes scored a season-high 63 points against Nebraska—in that game, Carlos Hyde received 28 carries, which was also a season-high for him.  This goes to show just how important Hyde is to the Buckeye offense.  

As the season progressed, we saw Carlos start to run with a chip on his shoulder, a mean streak that couldn’t be matched.  Time and time again, Hyde would get to the second level of the defense, lower his shoulder and keep on his feet for extra yards.  By the end of the year, you could say that, besides Braxton Miller, the most important player in this offense was in fact Carlos Hyde.

Hyde is entering his senior year and will look to add to his accomplishments from 2012.  After being named second-team All-Big Ten last year, Hyde will run with an even bigger chip on his shoulder as he proves to be the best back in the Big Ten. 

Heck, with a fully healthy season, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be considered one of the best running backs in the entire country.  With four offensive line returners and a year of coach Meyer’s system already under his belt, the types of accolades that Carlos Hyde could potentially receive is mind-boggling to think about.

This Ohio State veteran offense should be able to dominate defenses up front the whole year, and Carlos Hyde will be in the middle of it.  He’s a true battering ram that the Buckeyes will be able to lean on each and every game.  Opposing defenses will have their hands full as a huge season awaits Hyde in his last season as a Buckeye.