Ohio State football has been known for its running game, producing quite a few talented running backs throughout its history.
2013 should be no different, as the Buckeyes return quite a strong group of runners from a team which finished No. 10 in rushing yards per game last season.
The group that OSU returns certainly earns a right to be considered the best set of running backs of any team in all of college football.
Alabama may have something to say about it, but the Crimson Tide did lose their top back in Eddie Lacy and don't have all that much proven depth behind star sophomore T.J. Yeldon. Adding 5-star prospect Derrick Henry, according to Scout.com, among others helps, but there isn't a lot of proven talent behind Yeldon.
With many of last year's good backs like Montee Ball and Kenjon Barner off to the NFL, the Buckeyes' depth in their running back corps only adds to the idea that it could be the best in the country.
Leading the way is senior bruiser Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 16 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards in just 10 games—and doing so without having a gain longer than 29 yards.
Hyde's backup, Rod Smith, may still be battling a fumbling issue but proved to be just as effective with the ball in his hands. He carried it 32 times last season for 215 yards with two touchdowns, and with how Urban Meyer wants to run the ball with a bevy of backs, he will get his fair share of touches.
Bri'onte Dunn returns after getting a decent amount of carries as a true freshman and runs with power, much like Hyde.
Also returning for the Buckeyes in more of a slotback/hybrid role will be Jordan Hall, who only played in three games last year after dealing with multiple injuries.
In his limited action, he ran the ball 40 times for 218 yards and caught three passes for 31 yards. A healthy Hall will likely be involved more in the passing game and give the offense an outside threat running the ball outside of Braxton Miller.
To make matters worse for opposing defenses is the signing of highly touted RB Dontre Wilson, who will provide quite a change of pace to the vast array of power backs currently on the roster.
Wilson has elite speed and elusiveness in the open field, giving OSU the home run hitter it lacked outside of Miller in the running game. Expect combinations of Hyde and Smith to pound away at defenses and then Miller, Hall and/or Wilson to combine for big plays on the perimeter.
On paper, OSU's running game looks as good and deep as it's probably been since the mid-1970s with Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson splitting carries.
The combination of power runners and outside threats on the ground is one that few teams, if any, can equal.
Adding Miller to that is why Ohio State is going to be one of the best offenses in college football once again this season, provided he stays healthy.
But the growth of the OSU backs like Hyde and Smith can help take some pressure off of Miller. He may learn quickly, if he hasn't already, that he has the benefit of possibly the best group of running backs in college football.
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