Actually, you really can’t replace an Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott was one of the top Ohio State Running Backs of all time and you just can’t replace a guy of that quality.
When you start talking about Ohio State Running Backs, you are talking about two time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and Eddie George. Beanie Wells, Carlos Hyde, Keith Byars, Pepe
Pearson, Carlos Snow and Michael Wiley are some of the game’s better players over the decades. It wasn’t just Woody Hayes and the three yards and a cloud of dust offense that brought about great Running Backs. Ohio State coaches Earl Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer all also liked to rely on the running game to win football games.
Ezekiel Elliott was one of the best.
Elliott played high school football in the St Louis area at John Burroughs High School. He was an outstanding all around athlete playing not only football, but basketball and track and field. To demonstrate what kind of athlete that Elliott is, he won 4 state championships in track and field. The state of Missouri is not really a state known for speed, but Elliott won state in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. He also won the 110 high hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
That’s an amazing feat and especially when you consider that Ezekiel Elliott weighed over 200 pounds even in high school.
Elliott was the 11th ranked Running Back recruit in the ESPN ratings. Scout had him rated as the 9th best at Running Back.
He was listed as 6-0, 205 during his senior season, but he played at around 225 or 230 the past two seasons. If you think he lost any speed, then you clearly did not watch the playoffs in the 2014 season when he ran off and left the Alabama defense in route to running for well over 200 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Elliott with their 1st pick this last NFL Draft and Elliott will likely be a big star in the NFL.
What exactly are the Ohio State Buckeyes going to do about replacing such a talent?
Redshirt freshman Mike Weber was thought to be in competition with Bri’onte Dunn, but Dunn just got booted from school leaving Weber as maybe the sole front runner.
Weber is 5-10, 215 and from Detroit. He was the 14th rated Running Back in the country by ESPN which is not that much different from where Elliott was ranked. ESPN had him at 14th, but the other services like Scout, Rivals.com and 247 Sports, had him in their top 10. He ran for over 2,200 yards and 29 Touchdowns even though he missed 3 games. His high school coach said he was the best
Running Back in the city of Detroit in the past 30 years.
While Weber was 215 coming into Ohio State, he was a pretty chubby 215. He reportedly still weighs 215, but he is all muscle now. He put his freshman redshirt season to good use.
The lean and mean Weber is all set to take over the job in 2016.
The Buckeyes also return Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, but these guys are not going to be every down Running Backs. Samuel ran for 132 yards last season and Wilson has been injured for the past year and a half.
The other option for the Buckeyes could be true freshman Antonio Williams, a 4 star recruit from New London, North Carolina. Williams is almost identical to Weber is size at 5-11, 215 and ESPN had him as their 10th ranked Running Back in the nation. Rivals had him as their 5th best which is very impressive.
He ran for 1 yard under 8,000 in his high school playing days and he is a burner with many long,
breakaway runs to his credit.
Williams was an early enrollee and participated in the Spring practices with the Buckeyes. He may need a little time before he is ready to compete for the starting job, but who knows what will happen in the Fall.
There’s also more to a Running Back’s job than just running the ball. He has to be a good receiver out of the backfield.
But, most importantly of all is the Running Back has to be able to block. He has to block on certain plays, but he also needs to learn to read the blitz and pick it up if necessary. If he doesn’t, the Quarterback is going to get hammered and the coaches are going to search for another Running Back to play.
Ezekiel Elliott could do everything that a great back needs to do. Can Weber, Williams, or Curtis Samuel block? That, we don’t really know as of yet.
With Ezekiel Elliott now in the NFL, it might be easy for Buckeye fans to stress out about the coming season.
But, Buckeye fans should be excited about the future with Mike Weber.
If he can block.