First off, let me say this article is not for die-hard Ohio State fans. I suspect you will know the players I highlight.
Instead, I wrote this in response to my recent preview article about the OSU/USC football matchup in Columbus this fall. A lot has been made by non-OSU fans of how USC will be reloaded as usual, and thus, many of these people believe that Ohio State will have zero chance of beating the Trojans.
Pretty much everyone who isn't a Buckeye fan seems to believe this, but the problem is, they are overlooking the fact that USC lost far more than OSU.
They are also making a generalization about how good or how not-so-good the Buckeyes will be based on Ohio State's big-stage losses, starting with Florida in the 2006 BCS title game and culminating with their lop-sided loss in Los Angeles last September.
They are also focusing on the players OSU is losing and aren't looking at the players who are here and ready to start, including a few guys from the last two highly-regarded recruiting classes, and that's where I come in!
To help educate those doom-and-gloom prognosticators who make those type of general statements about the Buckeyes 2009 season outlook, I've decided to create a 10-part series to spotlight 10 players who will make a name for themselves nationally and step in for Ohio State and sufficiently fill the holes left by the likes of Beanie Wells, James Laurinaitus, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, Brian Robiskie, etc.
Obviously, no Buckeye fan, player, or coach will deny that losing Beanie Wells is beyond huge; but remember, Terrelle Pryor is an amazing dual-threat quarterback who will carry the ball more often in 2009 if needed, but he's not the only potential game-breaking playmaker that will see action in the Buckeyes' backfield.
No. 10—Brandon Saine
Saine, now a junior tailback, played high school football and ran track for the Piqua, Ohio Indians.
He was compared favorably to Reggie Bush while entering his freshman year at Ohio State due to his ability to be a jack of all trades—running, blocking and even spending time in the slot as a WR, which he may also do occasionally this season in Columbus.
Saine has been officially timed at 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash, although he has been unofficially timed at 4.25 seconds.
As a H.S. junior, he ran for over 1,300 yards and scored 21 touchdowns while garnering All-State, All-Conference, and Conference Player of the Year honors.
In his senior year, he ran for 1,895 yards and 27 touchdowns on 259 carries, while recording 30 receptions for 412 yards.
Saine, who is physically comparable to Wells (6'1", 218), was the 2006 Ohio Mr. Football Award recipient and was ranked second overall in the 2007 football recruiting class from Ohio by Rivals.com, and ranked 50th among the Rivals 100.
After being stuck in the shadow of Beanie Wells in 2007 and being injured in 2008, Saine is finally healthy and poised for a breakout campaign at running back where he will be able to show off the speed that earned him the Ohio Division I state record in the 100-meter dash, with a time of 10.38, which he set in 2006. He also won four State track titles and a National Championship in the 60-meter dash.
He will definitely be in the mix this year and if he stays healthy, he will contribute and should help to soften the losses at both running back and wide receiver!
Next installment coming soon—Stay tuned!