As the series progresses, I will continue to repost the opening few paragraphs from Part I in all ten segments in the event that a new reader who may have missed a previous segment begins to follow along so if you've been following from the beginning, please bear with me and thanks!
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.
These guys are the ones who will 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. 9—Dan "Boom" Herron, RB
Boom (5-11, 195) was red-shirted as a freshmen in 2007 out of Warren G. Harding high school in Warren, Ohio.
He's a talented tailback who got his first chance to play and compete in 2008 when Beanie Wells missed time after a foot injury in week one vs. YSU.
He possesses great versatility, strength and is a reasonably fast (4.5 40-yard dash) and elusive between-the-tackles runner.
He was ranked the No. 7 recruit in Ohio and the No. 27 running back in the nation in 2007 as a first-team All-Ohio selection that year.
He led Harding High to a 9-4 record and a berth in the regional semi-finals as a senior and totaled 1,434 yards and 18 touchdowns that season.
He also rushed for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, earning all-conference, all-district and honorable mention All-Ohio honors and as a sophomore, he ran for 900 yards.
I'm not sure he was expected to see as much action for Ohio State in 2008 as he did, but overall he performed well for the Bucks while filling in for Beanie Wells.
His lack of experience however, did put Ohio State at an immediate disadvantage in week two, where the Buckeyes narrowly escaped with a hard-fought victory in what was expected to be an easy win over the Ohio Bobcats.
Then again in week three when the then No. 5 Buckeyes traveled to L.A. to face the then No. 1 USC Trojans in the Coliseum. I'm sure a reminder of that games' final score is not needed.
Over the course of the season, Herron impressed the coaches and earned playing time even after Wells returned. He showed on several occasions that he belonged on the field.
His biggest game of the year fittingly came vs. Michigan at the Shoe. He rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns as Ohio State crushed UM 42-7.
For the season, he ended up with 439 yards rushing on 89 carries for a 4.9 ypc average and he found the endzone six times.
Heading into the 2009 season, with Chris Wells opting to leave a year early for the NFL, Herron is thought to be the front-runner to take over as the No. 1 back, followed closely by Saine.
In fact, OSU may actually employ a similar model to that of USC with dual-threat QB Terrelle Pryor, Herron, Saine and possibly highly-touted new-comers Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde all in the mix to see action in tOSU backfield.
Just as I said in Part I of this series about Saine, Herron too will make it easier for Buckeye fans to transition and sleep at night.
While we won't ever forget Beanie, we won't miss him as much as we were first thinking we would when he announced he was leaving early.
Thanks for reading—Please add your comments!
Part III coming soon!