At the conclusion of every college football season, it is pretty much the same story. Fans wonder if some of their favorite players will skip their senior season to seek the riches of the National Football League.
It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite greatest hits compilations. Greatest Hits 1974-78 by The Steve Miller Band ranks as one of the best-selling albums in history, and I am partial to the song, "Take The Money And Run".
Ohio State fans are all curious as to whether defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins and/or cornerback Bradley Roby will be leaving early. Speculation about both players leaving for the NFL has been fairly consistent throughout the 2012 season.
While I have not heard much about this next player, the more I think about it, the more I wonder...
Will Carlos Hyde leave Ohio State for the NFL?
Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I do not believe Carlos Hyde should leave for the NFL. Hyde was truly instrumental in Ohio State's perfect season in 2012. Hyde will certainly enter into 2013 spring football as the starting running back.
Carlos Hyde carried the football 185 times for 970 yards, averaged 5.2 yards per carry, with sixteen touchdowns on the ground. Hyde also added 8 receptions for 51 yards, with one touchdown through the air. These accomplishments helped land Carlos Hyde on the 2nd-team All-Big Ten team for 2012.
Why would Hyde leave Ohio State, after such a great season as a junior? Carlos Hyde just came within thirty yards of a 1000 yard rushing season, and that was with missing 2.5 games with a sprained MCL during the Central Florida game in September. Hyde demonstrated how a power runner could truly carry Coach Urban Meyer's during the crucial Big Ten run in October and November.
Who else on the roster could fulfill Carlos Hyde's role as a power runner, if needed in 2013? Look at the depth chart for 2013, and think this through.
How about Rod Smith, who surprisingly emerged as an alternative this season? Rod Smith will be a redshirt junior next season, and at a listed 6'3", 228 pounds, could be a possibility. Yes, I know Rod Smith has had fumbling issues in the past, but perhaps with another Coach Meyer offseason, will finally take strides towards becoming the player Ohio State fans envisioned when Rod Smith signed with the Buckeyes in 2010.
How about Bri'onte Dunn? Dunn played sparingly as a true freshman in 2012, but is listed at 6'1", 210 pounds. Dunn could also fulfill a power runner role for the Buckeyes.
How about Warren Ball? Ball redshirted in 2012, after suffering an injury in preseason fall camp. Ball is listed at 6'1", 215 pounds on Ohio State's website.
I want to emphasize – I do not want Carlos Hyde to leave for the NFL. I am merely speculating on how Carlos Hyde may be comparing his situation with that of Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
Montee Ball has had a tremendous career with Wisconsin. Ball recently set the NCAA career touchdown record with 79 touchdowns, and has rushed for nearly 5000 yards in four seasons.
Will Montee Ball play in the NFL? Absolutely. Will he play for long in the NFL? That is completely uncertain.
Montee Ball has already carried the ball a lot during his college career. And there is a belief that running backs only have so many carries in their bodies. Perhaps Carlos Hyde will think to himself that if he is going to carry the ball, he should get paid for it by an NFL team.
Will Carlos Hyde decide to "Take The Money And Run" to the NFL? I am hoping the answer is no, but only Carlos Hyde knows for certain (and it could depend on how he's graded by the league's NFL Draft advisory board; no early projections have him as a first or second day pick). Carlos Hyde will not need to make a decision until the beginning of January 2013. Ohio State fans may have to be prepared to bid adieu to a major reason for the successful 2012 season at that time.