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Mad Dog? Jamaal Berry Will Have Important Role in 2009

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2009

With fall practices starting up  shortly, it's time to see how the new crop of Buckeyes fits in with the old guard.

No doubt, the top offensive player in the 2009 class, RB Jamaal Berry from Miami, Florida, will be under intense scrutiny.

Many fans felt that Berry's incredible speed and game-breaking ability would allow him to compete instantly for some playing time in a crowded backfield.

However, an arrest on June 11 for possession of marijuana could have destroyed his chances of seeing the field.

The felony charge, however, was lowered to a misdemeanor, and Berry showed up to Columbus in time to start summer practices and to begin workouts with the team.

The police report on Berry stated that he was in possession of about 20 grams of marijuana, enough in Florida for a felony but only a misdemeanor in Ohio.

The immediate fallout of the incident was that either Berry's scholarship would be revoked or that he would start the season in Jim Tressel's "doghouse," which WR Ray Small had fallen into last season.

However, necessity has pushed Berry back into the fold as it was reported on July 9 that fellow freshman RB Carlos Hyde did not achieve the minimum ACT score for eligibility and will be forced to retake the test and attend a prep school starting in the fall.

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Hyde is planning to be back in Columbus if he gets the necessary score of 17 on his test on September 12, which coincidentally is the matchup between Ohio State and USC.

With Hyde not available this season, Berry's situation is pushed more to the backburner because he is on campus. Certainly, Tressel will keep an eye on him to make sure he stays in line.

Berry is most likely to be the third RB on the depth chart behind Daniel "Boom" Herron and Brandon "Zoom" Saine at some point in the season.

Still, it's up to him to get up to that point.

He has to take advantage of his opportunities.

He has to show a great work ethic and perform well on the field and in the classrooms.

And most importantly, he has to prove to Coach Tressel that he is not a troublemaker.

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