Ohio State Football: Offensive Stars Who Will Turn Heads in 2013

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIAugust 22, 2013

Oct 6, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Philly Brown (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a punt return in the third quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2013 college football season, few teams are facing expectations as large as those placed upon the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State is riding their star-powered offense to earn rankings of No. 2 overall in both the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches Polls.

The question is, which offensive stars will turn heads in 2013 and lead the Buckeyes to championship contention?

It's no secret that the Buckeyes know how to run up the score, as they averaged 37.2 points per game in 2012, per Sports-Reference.com. During that time, they topped 50 points in four separate games and were held to less than 29 points in just three games.

In other words, Ohio State can light the scoreboard up with the best of them.

Come 2013, however, Urban Meyer's crew will not have the luxury of sneaking up on teams as a squad on probation from the postseason. Instead, the Buckeyes' vaunted offense will be the focus of every opponent and writer in the nation.

Here are the players who will make it flourish.


Philly Brown

Position: Wide Receiver

Class: Senior

2012 Season Statistics

60 REC, 669 YDS, 3 TD; 10 ATT, 93 YDS, 1 TD; 18 PR, 221 YDS, 2 TD


The key to the Buckeyes' offense is their ability to run the football, as evidenced by their plethora of running backs and average of 242.3 yards per game on the ground. With that being said, Ohio State will need to air it out at times in 2013 and their receivers will need to step up.

When it comes to which player will be Urban Meyer's Percy Harvin, you can look to Philly Brown.

Brown was lightning in a bottle during the 2012 season, catching 60 passes for 669 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball 10 times for 93 yards and a score and took two punts back for touchdowns.

That's what you call big-play ability.

In 2012, Brown will be trusted to continue his quality play both as an explosive playmaker and possession receiver. While Ohio State is expected to depend heavily on the run, Braxton Miller's development as a passer will determine how far this team goes.

It's on Brown to catch the passes sent his way and continue producing in a versatile manner.


Jordan Hall

Position: Running Back

Class: Senior

2012 Season Statistics

3 GP, 40 ATT, 218 YDS, 1 TD


Senior running back Jordan Hall was supposed to be the starting running back in 2012, but injuries sidelined him and Carlos Hyde made his name. Now, with Hyde facing an early-season suspension, Hall will have the opportunity to start, once again.

Expect big things.

During his only two games as a starter from the 2012 season, Hall ran for 192 yards on 34 carries. One week later, Hall picked up 26 yards and a touchdown on six rushes, but ended up suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Assuming he remains healthy, Ohio State will unveil one of the most dangerous weapons in all of college football.

Hall has averaged 4.6 yards per carry during his four-year career at Ohio State, also proving to be a dangerous receiver. With Hyde serving as more of a power runner, Hall will be used as both a check-down and screen-pass receiver and big-play runner.

Should he shine against Buffalo during their Week 1 clash, Hall may even earn himself a split of carries as the Hall and Hyde tandem carries Ohio State's running game towards a national title.


Carlos Hyde

Position: Running Back

Class: Senior

2012 Season Statistics

185 ATT, 970 YDS, 16 TD; 8 REC, 51 YDS, 1 TD


Hall is as explosive as they come, but when it comes to pounding it between the tackles, Hyde is the player you need to know.

For those unfamiliar, Hyde is a 6'0", 242-pound bowling ball that takes the ball and runs with reckless abandon. Despite missing two games in 2012 due to injury, he used that power to average 5.2 yards per rush.

Did we mention that, in 10 appearances, Hyde ran for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns?

Hyde ran for a touchdown in each of his final seven games, picking up four against Nebraska and three versus Illinois. He topped 135 yards in four of those games and became one of the best running backs in the nation.

Ohio State will need every ounce of that production in 2013 if they're to make a push for the national championship.

The Big Ten may not be as strong as it has been in recent seasons, but an upset can occur at any given moment. With Ohio State certain to move the chains, it's now on Hyde to finish off drives with the same power and precision that he displayed in 2013.

If he does, the combination of he and Hall would be too much for any defense to handle.


Braxton Miller

Position: Quarterback

Class: Junior

2012 Season Statistics

148-of-254, 2,039 YDS, 15 TD, 6 INT ; 227 ATT, 1,271 YDS, 13 TD


Braxton Miller can be described in a variety of different manners. Some will label him as Urban Meyer's latest quarterback experiment, while others will simply call him a Heisman Trophy candidate.

The truth of the matter is only two words matter when you're talking about Miller: Field general.

No one in their right mind would question Miller's ability, but the true test in 2013 will be how Miller fares as a leader. Fresh off of an undefeated season, it's difficult to find any means for criticism, but a perfect campaign doesn't always mean a team is flawless.

Even if Miller played as close to perfect as he possibly could've in 2012.

Miller threw for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns to six interceptions, good for a rating of 140.5. Whether or not he can lead Ohio State with his arm is unclear, but Miller also ran for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns, as well.

Creating big plays just isn't an issue for this young man.

In 2013, Miller's ability to throw and lead will be put to the test, which is exactly why he's the player who determines whether or not Ohio State's title dreams are legitimate. If Miller can thrive in those areas, Ohio State will contend, but if he fails to, the Buckeyes will falter.

As is life as a quarterback.


Devin Smith

Position: Wide Receiver

Class: Junior

2012 Season Statistics

30 REC, 618 YDS, 6 TD


For all of Brown's explosiveness, it's quite impressive how far he's come as an every-down wide receiver. While the big-play ability is undeniable, he's actually become more of a possession receiver over the past year.

Devin Smith, however, is all about the deep ball.

Smith averaged an incredible 20.6 yards per reception in 2012, scoring touchdowns on six of his 30 catches. Unfortunately for Ohio State, that production tailed off, as Smith caught more than two passes in just one of his final eight games.

Ohio State can't possibly complain about the big plays, but Smith will need to be a more consistent target in 2013.

What should be encouraging for Ohio State is that, per ESPN, Smith caught more passes for more yards and touchdowns during the fourth quarter than any other period of play. That's evidence enough that the junior is clutch, but the question is whether or not he can be consistent.

If he can be, Ohio State will be close to unstoppable offensively.