Ohio State Football: Ranking the 5 Best Offensive Weapons for the Buckeyes
One of the biggest reasons Ohio State went undefeated in 2012 was because of its offense, which finished No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring by averaging 37.2 ppg.
Not only did Braxton Miller have a lot to do with it, but he had some help around him to get the job done.
Nearly all of the Buckeyes' offensive skill players had their best seasons in 2012, and all but Jake Stoneburner and Zach Boren are back for 2013.
But which players mean the most on the Ohio State offense?
Here are the top five offensive weapons that the Buckeyes have. For the purposes of this list, only players who were on the roster last year are on this list which means incoming freshmen like Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson will not be on this list.
5. RB/WR Jordan Hall
Jordan Hall may have only played in three games last year, but he had an impactful three games with 249 yards of total offense and a touchdown.
Hall will be moved to a hybrid role ala former Florida WR Percy Harvin which means he will be used in both the running and passing game, the way Buckeye fans hoped he would be since his career began.
Hall returns for his last season hoping to shake off the problems that have plagued his last two seasons, in which he has played just 13 of 25 games due to suspensions or injuries.
If he can stay healthy and stay on the field, Hall may be able to end his Buckeye career on a high note.
4. WR Devin Smith
When Ohio State's passing game needed the home run, it turned to Devin Smith who delivered several big plays throughout the season.
He had 30 receptions for 618 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season, more than 300 more yards than the year before with only 16 more catches.
While Smith had a much better year in 2012, he still had two games without a catch and one with only one reception for nine yards.
He needs to be more consistent going into his junior season and become a more well-rounded receiver for Braxton Miller.
3. WR Corey "Philly" Brown
2012 was the type of year that Ohio State fans were hoping to get from Corey Brown, who emerged as the top receiver on the offense and Miller's favorite target.
Brown had a team-high 60 receptions—more than four times the amount he had in 2011 (14)—for 669 yards and three TDs, plus a rushing score and two more from punt returns.
Miller made Brown the closest thing to a security blanket he had available to him, and Brown rewarded him with five games of at least six receptions, including a career-high 12 at Michigan State in Week 5.
Brown should be the No. 1 target in the passing game again with his great combination of speed and hands which are getting better all the time. He can also be used in the running game as evidenced by his 10 rushes for 93 yards last season.
2. RB Carlos Hyde
If Carlos Hyde had played a full season instead of just 10 games, he would have been the first running back in Urban Meyer's coaching career to rush for 1,000 yards.
He fell just 30 yards short of the feat in 2012, getting 185 carries for 970 yards and 16 TDs in a breakout season.
Hyde did all of his damage without getting a run longer than 29 yards all year long, which is a testament to his combination of speed and power that makes him very tough to stop in short-yardage situations.
He will be the go-to guy in Meyer's backfield along with Miller as they will anchor an offense looking to build off of last year's No. 10 rushing attack.
1. QB Braxton Miller
It's impossible to not put the player who set Ohio State's single-season total offense record at the top of this list. What's truly scary is that Braxton Miller has the ability to break his own record this coming season.
As a sophomore, Miller threw for 2,039 yards and rushed for 1,271 more, accounting for 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Miller is not a finished product by any stretch, but he made tremendous strides in his development from his freshman season to his sophomore year. Playing in Meyer's offense had a lot to do with it as well, allowing Miller's athleticism to be used to its full potential.
If Miller's passing mechanics continue to improve as the coaches hope they do, there's no reason to think Miller won't rewrite the record books by the time his Buckeye career comes to an end.
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