COLUMBUS, Ohio — Preseason practice is wrapping up at Ohio State and it’s full speed ahead for the opener at Indiana on Aug. 31. That also means our Camp Questions series is hitting the homestretch, and with the depth chart taking shape, that narrows the focus for our Land of 10 reporters.
All week they’ll be looking at key areas on the roster and forecasting some statistical leaders for the Buckeyes this season. Up next: Who will lead Ohio State in touchdowns?
Austin Ward: H-Back Parris Campbell
If redshirt junior Parris Campbell has truly found his niche in the pivot position and is a worthy successor to Curtis Samuel in the do-it-all offensive role, this should be his breakout campaign. And it should be filled with more trips to the end zone for Campbell than anybody else on the Ohio State roster.
Given all the weapons the Buckeyes have returning for an attack that has been revamped with the help of Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, this is another category that is wide open heading into the season. J.T. Barrett will always be a contender given his knack for punching in scores in the red zone by calling his own number. Mike Weber racked up 9 touchdowns during his productive freshman campaign and should be in line to improve that number. Despite the spring game trick-play reception, Barrett isn’t likely to be catching any touchdown passes this fall. And J.K. Dobbins may swoop in to take some of Weber’s touches, given his wildly impressive training camp.
So that leaves Campbell, who will be a threat as a receiver and a rusher. Samuel provided the latest update to the H-back blueprint in Urban Meyer’s system last season, and Campbell has the physical tools to copy that sort of production.
Ryan Ginn: RB Mike Weber
Last season was the first under Urban Meyer that a running back didn’t lead Ohio State in touchdowns. Even with what figures to be an improved passing game, I’m betting that doesn’t happen two years in a row.
I’m a big believer in Mike Weber, and I think there are legitimate reasons to believe this could be a huge season for him. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season and finished second on the team with nine scores. He now has a season of starting experience under his belt and he should get more carries as the Buckeyes look to reduce Barrett’s workload.
Missing fall camp with a hamstring injury is a concern, but if everything is fine for the Indiana game he might actually benefit from coming into the season completely fresh. And while it’s true that Dobbins could take away touchdowns from him, Campbell will have to contend with Demario McCall, Eric Glover-Williams and the army of playmakers Ohio State has at wide receiver.
More than anything, though, this is a vote of confidence in Weber and what he’ll be able to do if Ohio State actually lets him carry the ball more times than the quarterback.
Previous Ohio State camp questions
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