For the Ohio State Buckeyes, everything has been fun and games entering the 2015 college football season. So far, they’ve moved two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year Braxton Miller from quarterback to H-back. In addition, the Buckeyes recently turned Five-star QB Torrance Gibson into a wide receiver for the 2015 season. Citing a desire to contribute, Gibson is likely to see the field early in his career, rather than sitting behind J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
However, none of these moves would be possible without the presence of Ezekiel Elliott. The junior running back was the best player on the field during Ohio State’s run to the national title. Overall, he gained 1878 yards, scoring 18 touchdowns in an impressive fashion. Elliott is a big back that has quite a burst once he breaks into the open field.
Therefore, Elliott is a power back that has the speed to score from 80 yards out on any given play. If he isn’t the best running back in the country, he’s definitely in the top three. Although Ohio State has plenty of talent backing him up, there’s a chance that Elliott can reach 2000 yards this season.
As a freshman, Elliott averaged 8.7 yards per carry, so it was only a matter of time that he would become a household name. Despite his dominance last season, he had to deal with the hype of Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon, and Tevin Coleman, so Elliott still performed under the radar for most of the year. He had a fine regular season, but it wasn’t anything to upstage the other great Big Ten performers. That is no longer the case with these Ohio State Buckeyes going for back to back championships.
During the Big Ten championship game, and inaugural College Football Playoff, Elliott was unstoppable. Against Wisconsin, he gashed the Badgers for 220 yards, and two touchdowns. In the semifinal game, Elliott tore up Alabama’s defense for 230 yards, and two more touchdowns. The very next week, Elliott broke loose on Oregon for 246 yards, and four touchdowns in the national championship game. In all, he rushed for 696 yards, and eight touchdowns in that three game stretch.
That’s why it doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Whenever they get in a little bit of trouble, the Buckeyes can always rely on Elliott’s production, and that should be enough for most games. His biggest contribution could come in Week 1 against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies are the only team to defeat Ohio State last season. In addition, the Buckeyes will be without three offensive players, including Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson to begin the season. Elliott can start his Heisman campaign on that Monday night stage. Even if it is without the crop top jersey.