The book on: Carlos Hyde

Despite a three-game suspension to start the 2013 season, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde became the first 1,000-yard rusher ever under coach Urban Meyer.

Carlos Hyde

Tailback/Fullback
The Ohio State University Buckeyes
#34
5:11.6-235
Naples, Florida
Fork Union Military Academy
Naples High School
Princeton High School

OVERVIEW

For most of his Buckeyes career, Hyde fought hard to be part of the Buckeyes' running back rotation. During his first two years with the team, he was used mostly in a mop-up roll, touching the ball 20 times only once in his first 20 games at OSU. He started to receive more opportunities during the second half of his junior year, returning to the gridiron from an early 2012 knee injury to reel off four 100-yard performances on the ground.

An off-field issue led to a three-game suspension for the senior, but once he returned to action in 2013, Hyde suddenly realized his goal when he first signed his national letter-of-intent to leave his home state of Florida to venture north — he was to be the featured ball carrier. He would produce a season of "firsts," both for the player and his coach.

Head coach Urban Meyer immediately put Hyde and his "fresh legs" to good use, as he produced nine consecutive 100-yard performances to thrust the team into the national title picture before a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game was followed with another loss in the Orange Bowl vs. Clemson.

Urban Meyer has accomplished much during his time as a college football head coach — plenty of wins, conference championships and national titles, but he had never had a running back rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Not since he first became a head coach at Bowling Green, nor in subsequent stops at Utah and Florida before arriving in Columbus. That is, not until Hyde gave his coach a present with a 1,521-yard performance in 2013, the seventh-best season total by a Buckeyes ball carrier.

Hyde had a Senior Day to remember when he passed the millennial mark with 117 yards in Ohio State's 28-0 victory over Indiana. That total moved him to 1,064 on the season, as he entered the game needing only 53 yards vs. the Hoosiers to reach 1,000. "It means a lot," Hyde said after he reached the total on a second-quarter run.

Prior to the season, the odds were generally viewed as not that good for Hyde to reach 1,000 yards this fall. He rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior, despite missing a pair of games because of a knee medial collateral ligament injury. Then, came an off-the-field incident in a Columbus bar that led to a three-game suspension levied by Meyer prior to the 2013 season opener. Upon his return to the field, however, Hyde became a workhorse for the Buckeyes.

Hyde never gave up on the goal of reaching 1,000 yards, either, even when he knew he'd have three fewer games to accomplish the task. Even though he had spent three seasons in an Ohio State uniform trying to prove he was a tailback, and not a top-level fullback that most recruiting services claimed he was coming out of high school and prep school ranks.

"During the suspension, I told myself it's still possible," Hyde said. "I just had to go even harder. That's exactly how I'm playing right now. I have to basically, in my mind, say, ‘I have to make up for (lost) time.' That's how I play."

Hyde gave plenty of credit to his teammates when discussing his feat after the IU game.

"It starts with those guys up front," Hyde said. "When they have success, I usually have success. I give credit to those guys and to my tight ends and receivers because they do a great job of blocking."

One of those "guys up front" was fellow senior Jack Mewhort. The tackle said he and the rest of the O-line took satisfaction in Hyde reaching 1,000 yards. "It's really cool because an offensive lineman, you don't really show up on the stat sheet," Mewhort said.

"What Carlos does is kind of a reflection on us as an offensive line. Obviously, that's not to take anything away from him. He's a workhorse, he runs hard, he's got great vision. But when you're an O-lineman you kind of live vicariously through the other skill guys on offense. We take a lot of pride in that, and it feels good for him. It feels good for us as an offensive line to see the fruits of our labor."

It also had to be satisfying for Meyer, although he did not mention the accomplishment during his postgame press conference. During the week leading up to the game, Meyer did mention that teams have recruited against his teams using the fact that Meyer had never had a 1,000-yard rusher. They won't be able to do that anymore. "If someone wants to question whether we run the ball effectively, I think … we run the ball really well," Meyer said in October. Now Meyer had his 1,000-yard man to boot.

Hyde starting his mark to the 1,000-yard level slowly, getting decent yardage during his first two games back before ending 2013 with nine consecutive 100-yard efforts, a string that ranks as the fifth-longest in school history. That century-yard march included a pair of 200-yard performances, as his 246 yards vs. Illinois rank tied for third and 226 vs. Michigan rank ninth on the school game-record chart. He also tied for third on the game list with four touchdowns on the ground in the Illini clash.

Hyde grew up in Cincinnati and attended Princeton High School for his freshmen year. He then moved to Naples, Florida and attended Naples High School for his final three semesters, where he was also a basketball and track standout. In 2008, he was part of an excellent 1-2 punch in the Naples backfield, playing the role of the bigger, power back.

Hyde often lined up at fullback, thanks to his ability to smash people when blocking or when taking the handoff and going between the tackles to pick up the tough yards. He is the first to admit that he is not a "home run threat" and isn't going to make too many people miss but in a downhill ground attack, he quickly became a major weapon, gaining 1,653 yards with 16 touchdowns to earn the Naples Daily News Broxson Award as their Player of the Year.

Hyde was also chosen the Ft. Myers News-Press Southwest Florida Player of the Year. He led the Golden Eagles to the 2007 state championship and the 2008 regional finals. Scout.com regarded him as a four-star recruit and rated him the best fullback in the country.

Recruits flocked to entice Hyde to join their programs, with Ohio State having to fend off

Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami and South Florida, but the former Ohio state resident had to overcome academic issues first. Rather than enrolling at Ohio State, as planned, Hyde would spend the 2009 semester toiling at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Once he attained academic eligibility, he enrolled at Ohio State in January, 2010.

Hyde was seldom used as a freshman by then Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel. He was limited to just seven games of action, finishing with 141 yards on 24 carries (5.88 ypc). He had a bit of a "battle with the bulge" as a sophomore, landing himself in the "doghouse" during 2011 preseason camp, but he eventually earned three starting assignments in 13 games of action, twice going over 100 yards rushing to finish with 566 yards and six scores on 106 attempts (5.34 ypc).

Tressel was replaced by Urban Meyer as the Buckeyes' head coach in 2012. Hyde still had to convince the new staff that he was a tailback trapped in a fullback's body. He tried to trim down, reaching 235 pounds by fall camp, but an early season knee sprain would sideline him for a pair of contests. He gained at least 100 yards in four of his final seven games, just missing the century mark in two of those contests, piling up 970 yards with 16 touchdowns on 185 totes (5.24 ypc).

"He's slimmed down a little bit. Got all of the jelly fat off of him," Braxton Miller said of his backfield mate during 2012 fall camp. "He's more muscle tone this year." The running back lost five pounds since the end of the 2011 season and weighed 235 pounds entering the fall camp of his junior season. Plenty of eyes were be on Hyde, most notably those belonging to first-year Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who has never been shy about placing expectations his ball carrier.

"This is the defining moment of Carlos Hyde's career," Meyer said. "And it's either yes or no. There can't be any more grey area. He's had too much grey in his career. And he's got talent." Hyde's entire sophomore season could be defined as a grey area. He gained 223 yards in the Buckeyes' first three games of 2011, but saw his playing time significantly reduced after Jordan Hall and Dan "Boom" Herron returned from suspensions.

"Last year was like a roller coaster. It was just sometimes I'm out there, like you said I'd have good games, and next game I wouldn't get in at all," Hyde said. "A couple older guys just told me just be patient, your time's going to come, so I just sat back, and I was just patient."

Named the Big Ten Conference's Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, Hyde added All-American second-team and All-Big Ten first-team honors in 2013. He ranked ninth in the nation with an average of 7.31 yards gained per rushing attempt, placing second in the league with 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. He would close out his career averaging 6.11 yards per carry, the seventh-best figure since the 1956 Big Ten schedule.

CAREER NOTES

Hyde appeared in 41games at Ohio State, starting 20 contests, as he generated 3,516 all-purpose yards, carrying 523 times for 3,198 yards (6.11 ypc) and 37 touchdowns, in addition to catching 34 passes for 271 yards (7.97 ypc) and four scores…Returned two kickoffs for 47 yards and recorded four tackles.


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