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You’re Nuts: Who will be Ohio State’s starting running back in 2021?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Ohio State Spring Game Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

Today’s Question: Who will be Ohio State’s starting running back in 2021?


Gene’s Take: Miyan Williams

I know most people see this as a two-man race between the incumbent Master Teague and the five-star freshman TreVeyon Henderson, but I am staking my claim now as president of the Miyan Williams Hive™.

Williams came to Ohio State as a bit of an afterthought. The Buckeyes were going after some big fish in the 2019 recruiting class, and missed on every single one of them. As a result, they fell back on Williams — an in-state prospect from Cincinnati. Williams’ recruiting profile is not going to wow anyone. He was a three-star player, ranked as the No. 45 running back and the No. 627 prospect overall in the cycle. It seemed, at the time, as if Ohio State was just taking on a running back to add another live body to the room, and it appeared unlikely that Williams would every play much of a role in Columbus.

As we have seen thus far, that is clearly not the case. On paper, Williams’ freshman campaign doesn’t exactly jump off the page. He played in just four games in 2020, carrying the ball 10 times for a total of 64 yards over the entirety of the shortened season. However, while his statistics aren’t going to knock anyones socks off, it was how he looked in those limited snaps and the style of runner that Williams is that gives him the chance to be Ohio State’s starting running back in 2021.

Williams, affectionately nicknamed ‘Meatball’, stands at 5-foot-8, 227 pounds. A short, powerful running back, Williams doesn’t feature the blistering speed of someone like Trey Sermon or TreVeyon Henderson. Instead, he runs like a bowling ball — his tremendous strength allows him to smash his way through would-be tacklers, while his smaller stature allows him to slip between the cracks of the opposing defense with ease. In his very small sample size, most notably his three rushes for 21 yards against Clemson in the CFP, Williams has shown himself to be a smart ballcarrier as well, featuring impressive vision with the ability to cutback and find the best possible lanes.

It’s hard to get a true gauge of the type of player Williams could be in an expanded role, but I've really liked what I've seen from him in his limited opportunities thus far. He reminds me a lot of a young Doug Martin — the Tampa Bay running back known as the Muscle Hamster. It will be an extremely uphill battle for Williams to win the job over both Teague and Henderson, but I like the potential and I think he fits Ohio State’s offense almost perfectly. Even if he doesn’t snag that RB1 job this fall, you can expect to see a lot more of the Meatball in 2021.


Josh’s Take: TreVeyon Henderson

First and foremost, I would be shocked – like, Harbaugh winning a National Championship-level shocked – if three or even four guys don’t contribute at running back in 2021. However, I am Team TreVeyon Henderson. The No. 1 RB out of high school, this guy is special. When he was last on a football field, he ran for 2,400 yards in talent-rich Virginia, and scored 50 total touchdowns! He has the potential to be a three or four-year starter at Ohio State. While he may not be the starter when OSU kicks off at Minnesota, Henderson should quickly claim the role of lead back.

Henderson did not play football during his senior year, instead choosing to focus on his body and diet, and prepare for the challenge of big boy college football. On top of coming in with fresh legs and no nagging injuries, he enrolled at Ohio State in January. He has been able to work with Coach Mick and soak up the playbook. While this won’t give him an edge over returning players, it will help to level the playing field.

At 5-foot-10 and now over 200 pounds, Henderson is very reminiscent of J.K. Dobbins, possessing a well-rounded skill set and more burst than the returning backs. His track speed is what the team was lacking at times with Master Teague. In addition to running back, he also played wide receiver and defensive back in high school. So coaches know he is going is going to offer much more in the passing game than either of the two “incumbents”.

Whether TreVeyon Henderson is your first or third option at running back, you’ve got a good problem on your hands. That being said, OSU went out and got Trey Sermon last year for a reason. They needed versatility. As talented as Master Teague is, he’s a complimentary back. He is a perfect downhill bruiser; one that will absolutely get the yardage that is in front of him, and punish tacklers on the way down. I am also a big fan of Miyan Williams. He has potential, but is limited in many of the ways Teague is.

Henderson has Doak Walker Award or Heisman Trophy potential. He has a chance to be just as productive as Ezekiel Elliott or Dobbins. That is something you just can’t say about Teague or Williams. While they will all play a role, expect this freshman to be a superstar.


Poll

Whose side are you on?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Gene’s Take: Miyan Williams
    (70 votes)
  • 82%
    Josh’s Take: TreVeyon Henderson
    (319 votes)
389 votes total Vote Now