Ohio State seems to already have someone in mind to replace Curtis Samuel at the H-back position.
On Tuesday, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer announced redshirt junior Parris Campbell is the leading man for the potential role of hybrid-back.
“We moved Parris inside a little bit, and he’s dynamic,” Meyer said. “He was a running back in high school. Big dude that can run and catch — he’s that guy right now.”
Although Campbell received the nod as the current H-back favorite, Meyer said redshirt sophomore K.J. Hill has also been in the mix, although the team is still experimenting with moving players around at various positions. As arguably one of the most important positions on the field for the Buckeyes, there will be lofty expectations placed on the shoulders of whoever gets the starting H-back job.
Samuel, a now potential second-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, was the epitome of dynamic. With 865 yards receiving and 771 yards on the ground, combined with 15 total touchdowns, it was easy to name the Brooklyn, New York, native as the best player on the Scarlet and Gray offense last season.
Now, with Samuel gone, OSU has a tough choice to make — take a player who’s been at a different position previously and make him an H-back, or mold a newcomer into the role. Even with Campbell as the current frontrunner, Meyer also named him as one of the leading wide receivers currently.
“Well Parris is … I’d put Parris No. 1,” Meyer said. “I’d put K.J. and Terry McLaurin either (No. 2) slash (No. 3). I’d push Ben Victor … he’s as talented as any I’ve ever coached. And then Austin Mack, and Johnnie Dixon’s having a good spring, so they all are. Brendon White’s actually making good plays for us. And Eric Glover-Williams, he’s just got to get everything in order.”
Campbell had just 121 yards receiving, and a lowly 54 yards on the ground, although he did score a touchdown once. Mostly a kickoff return specialist and a gunner on punt coverage, there were plenty of moments he showed his speed and athleticism.
However, running the ball out of the backfield and being quick enough on the inside is a whole new ballgame. Through he’s played the position in the past, trying to convert a wide receiver to running back bodes a similar challenge to making a catcher a shortstop in baseball.
Still, Campbell is in Meyer’s good graces, and could be taking snaps from both the backfield and out wide this season.
“He’s one of my favorite players just because he’s so unselfish and goes so hard,” Meyer said. “He deserves to have a great year, and he’s one of our best playmakers right now.”