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Ohio State running back Mike Weber named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

The redshirt sophomore is one to watch after becoming just the third Buckeye freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Ohio State Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Weber, the 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman last season for the Ohio State Buckeyes, has been named to the Doak Walker Award watch list.”

-Ohio State Buckeyes

After redshirting in his first year at Ohio State, last year running back Mike Weber had the tough task of trying to replace Ezekiel Elliott. The Detroit product performed even better than many could have expected, starting all 13 games and becoming just the third Ohio State freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards, finishing the year with 1,086 yards and nine touchdowns. Weber’s performance in his freshman season not only earned him the Big Ten’s Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year award, but he also was a freshman All-American.

Weber figures to only get better as his Ohio State career rolls on, which is why he was named to this year’s Doak Walker Award Watch List. The Doak Walker Award was established in 1989, and Ohio State has only won the award once, with Eddie George taking home the trophy in 1995. Sixty other running backs around the country were placed on the watch list, with nine of those coming from other Big Ten schools. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Northwestern’s Justin Jackson, and Michigan State’s LJ Scott are just a few of the other notable names from around the Big Ten who were included on the watch list.

“There will undoubtedly be some new names emerge in 2017, though, and everybody has a guess as to who those players will be.”

-Tim Shoemaker, Eleven Warriors

With the rate at which Ohio State sends football players to the NFL, each year the Buckeyes need some new players to step up and make a name for themselves. Last year, Malik Hooker stepped into a depleted secondary and turned into a first round pick in the NFL Draft. There are plenty of talented options who could do the same this year for the Buckeyes, but Tim Shoemaker of Eleven Warriors tabs wide receiver Binjimen Victor and linebacker Dante Booker as players who could be breakout stars for Ohio State.

Wide receiver was an area of weakness for Ohio State last year, and with Noah Brown having moved on to the NFL, the Buckeyes will need to find production somewhere. Sophomore Binjimen Victor is a name many are expecting big things from over the next few seasons. Last year Victor didn’t see much time on the field, hauling in just four catches for 64 yards. Victor became more acclimated to college football as the year went on, catching two passes for 36 yards against Maryland, and catching one pass for 21 yards in the shutout loss against Clemson to end the year. Head coach Urban Meyer had high praise for Victor in the spring, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him become one of J.T. Barrett’s favorite targets this spring.

Last year, linebacker Dante Booker was looked at as one of those players who could become a breakout star, but was injured in the season opener against Bowling Green. While Booker was able to return to the field later in the year, by that time linebacker Jerome Baker had a stranglehold on Booker’s position, and Ohio State decided it was best to shut Booker down for the year and have him use a redshirt. Now with an opening at linebacker with Raekwon McMillan getting drafted by the Miami Dolphins, Booker will again get a chance to impress at linebacker. After missing last year to injury, Booker will be looking to make up for lost time and should be able to make an immediate impact for Ohio State.

“My family was really into Ohio State football and basketball. As a matter of fact, we had season tickets for both football and basketball games really for my entire childhood. I went to just about every single home game for about 10 or 15 consecutive years.”

-Ohio State men’s basketball assistant coach Ryan Pedon via Edward Sutelan, The Lantern

Not only is Ohio State’s men’s basketball team getting some fresh energy with the hiring of Chris Holtmann, but one of Holtmann’s assistants has Columbus roots. Nearly 25 years ago Ryan Pedon served as a ball boy at St. John’s Arena while Gary Williams was Ohio State’s head coach. Now, after a number of stops at schools around Ohio, as well as spending the last four years at Illinois and Butler, Pedon is back home in Columbus.

Pedon grew up in Bexley, and is no stranger to Ohio State sports, with his family holding season tickets to Ohio State football and basketball games for much of his childhood. Pedon spent his college career playing for Wooster, and while at the school was given the Bear Award, which is given to the player who exhibits leadership, character, and courage to the team. After graduating from Wooster, Pedon held a number of positions from 2000 to 2013 at Miami (Ohio), Kent State, and Toledo before moving on to Illinois to serve on former Ohio State assistant coach John Groce’s staff.

After serving on Holtmann’s staff at Butler, Pedon has already made an impact in recruiting during his short time at Ohio State. Pedon was a big reason why Kyle Young, one of Ohio’s top high school players, committed to Butler. Young followed Holtmann and Pedon to Ohio State, and could make noise early in Columbus on a roster that has been depleted by transfers and dismissals. With Pedon on the recruiting trails, Ohio State will likely be able to see more of the best players in Ohio make their way to Columbus in the future.