Ohio State Football: Power Ranking Braxton Miller's Go-to Weapons on Offense

Cory McCuneContributor IIIJune 23, 2013

Ohio State Football: Power Ranking Braxton Miller's Go-to Weapons on Offense

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    Braxton Miller finished fifth in the Heisman voting. In his first season under Urban Meyer, he led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season.

    For an offense that led its conference in scoring, it was relatively inconsistent. At times throughout the season, Miller was the only reliable playmaker.

    For Ohio State to repeat their undefeated success in 2013, that will need to change.

    The Buckeyes have a deep stable of running backs and veteran receivers to go along with several new weapons.

    This doesn't necessarily rank Miller's weapons in terms of talent or potential, but rather how valuable I think they will be to the 2013 Buckeyes.

5. Incoming Freshmen

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    Perhaps the biggest surprise of Urban Meyer's first two recruiting classes at Ohio State was that the Buckeyes didn't land a top playmaker on the outside in 2012.

    Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball have potential at running back, but Meyer didn't get the speed he wanted in that class. 

    But Meyer made up for it in the 2013 class.

    Players like Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall, Ezekiel Elliott and James Clark will give Meyer's offense that extra gear that was missing in 2012.

    I'm not sure how many touches those four freshmen will get, because the Buckeyes have several veterans at the skill positions. But I expect the touches they get to be exciting and productive.

4. Jordan Hall

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    Jordan Hall wasn't supposed to be on the 2013 team, but injuries derailed his senior year.

    Now he is back to give Ohio State the versatility in the backfield that they didn't have in 2012.

    Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn were the running backs, and all of them are bigger backs. Hall is a small and shifty back who could keep defenses off balance.

    But what could be the most important and valuable part to Hall's return to the offense is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield.

    There is also a chance that he could line up in the slot and return kicks. He will have to fend off the new freshmen to win those spots. But I expect the fifth-year senior to be a vital part of the offense.

3. Devin Smith

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    Even though Ohio State hasn't had the best (more like worst) passing game the past couple of years, Devin Smith has been inconsistent but capable of making huge plays.

    Smith has proven he can make ridiculous catches and get behind opposing secondaries. But in his first two seasons, he has also dropped several passes.

    I expect a more focused Smith in 2013.

    He will begin to realize he has all the athletic ability necessary to make it to the next level, and all he needs is consistency.

    Plus, even though Corey Brown is the team's leading receiver, Smith seems to have a good relationship with Braxton Miller. When Miller scrambles to escape pressure, it is usually Smith he looks for before he takes off. 

2. Corey 'Philly' Brown

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    Corey "Philly" Brown led the Buckeyes in receptions in 2012.

    At times he was Ohio State's only reliable receiver. While I don't expect that to be the case again in 2013, he will still be Miller's go-to-guy in the passing game, especially on the shorter routes.

    But to measure Brown's importance as just the team's leading receiver would be too little. Brown will likely contribute in the running game and return game.

    Brown will be one of the main reasons defenses won't be able to focus entirely on the running game, which will open up running lanes for Braxton Miller and the rest of the backs.

1. Carlos Hyde

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    Carlos Hyde is the thunder to Braxton Miller's lightning. 

    The lack of a passing game really hurt Hyde's productivity. Teams were able to load the box and Hyde wasn't able to break through often.

    Despite having good speed for his size, Hyde longest run was 29 yards.

    If Miller's passing and the receivers' consistency continue, then Hyde should have more open field to work with.

    There is a deep stable of backs behind Hyde, but I don't expect that to limit his touches, especially in big games.

    Improved playmaking on the outside, a veteran line, a better passer at quarterback and more rest should lead to a monster season for Hyde.