With So Much Talent, Who Will Be the Buckeyes' Leading Rusher?

Kyle StrittholtCorrespondent IMay 5, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Dan Herron #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the USC Trojans during the college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Last season, if you asked who would be the Buckeyes biggest rusher, it would be no question: Chris “Beanie” Wells. Now, Wells is in Arizona to make a big difference and the Buckeyes have to find a new rushing leader.


Last season, Ohio State’s second leading rusher was Terrelle Pryor; he was a dual threat through the air and on the ground. As a runner, Pryor gained 631 yards and scored six touchdowns.


I don’t think the Buckeyes want their quarterback to be their leading rusher unless it’s all for big gains. Pryor is looking to be a throwing quarterback more than a running quarterback. He likes to think of himself as a “quarterback with speed.”


If you look at Tim Tebow, his team wasn’t as productive when it was him running the football and scoring 20 touchdowns on the ground.


The Gators won the National Championship when others were leading the running game and it wasn’t all on Tebow to run.


I think Tebow and Pryor are two completely different styles, because Tebow likes the contact. But in order for the team to make defenses panic, they need to have a solid runner added with a dual threat quarterback.


Ohio State has a lot of talent in their backfield even with the loss of Wells. Daniel “Boom” Herron had a very productive year last season, gaining 439 yards and six touchdowns, and Brandon “Zoom” Saine looked good in the spring game with a couple of fast dashes.


Saine has been battling injuries his past couple seasons, which has limited his playing time. He did prove to be productive his freshman season, mainly in his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.


As I said, he had a very productive spring game and I expect him to be a hybrid threat for teams out of the backfield. He can lineup as a wide out or in the backfield and can really boost a young Buckeye team.


Dan Herron was the back-up for Beanie Wells last season and the starter when Wells was injured. He is more of a power-type runner who fought his way each play, and averaged nearly five yards per carry.


He really busted out with some great runs at the end of the season, and got some long runs the Buckeyes needed.


Against Michigan last season, the Buckeyes were backed up when Wells gained nearly 50 yards on one carry; when he went to rest, Herron took it the rest of the way with a 49-yard touchdown run.


He also scored the near-game winner in the Fiesta Bowl that put the Buckeyes in front of the Texas Longhorns and their No. 2 pass defense. If it weren’t for Colt McCoy and his heroics, Herron would have been the hero.


In recruiting, they also have three freshmen coming in; Jordan Hall from the same high school as Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pa.), Carlos Hyde from Florida, and Jaamal Berry also from Florida.


The biggest prospect is Jaamal Berry, who is the Buckeyes' No. 1 recruit. If you watch film of the kid, you can see something special about him. To think we stole this kid from Urban Meyer and the Gators is something spectacular as well and I think he will have a bright future.


The Buckeyes backfield is packed, and I think they will have limited problems running the ball as long as the offensive line can open up holes for these young athletes to work and score.