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Predicting the Buckeyes leading rusher

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The football season is only a little bit more than a week away and it can't come soon enough for any college football fan. The Buckeyes would be one of the favorites in the Big Ten this season if they were eligible to win the league and move on, but that doesn't mean that this team and the individuals on it still can't be successful.

For the next week, the staff at BuckeyeGrove.com will be taking a stab at predicting how the 2012 Ohio State football season will play out. These predictions will include educated guesses about everything from who will lead the Buckeyes in major statistical categories to which freshmen will emerge as breakout stars. Today, we do our best to foresee who will be Ohio State's leading rusher at the end of the season.

Kevin Noon - Publisher

Braxton Miller will lead the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012

I believe that a crowded backfield and Jordan Hall coming off of an injury that could hold him out for no less than two games that quarterback Braxton Miller will lead the way on the ground. This won't be a case of him having to run to move the team but he will be running because it will be there and he will be an improved passer and teams will not be able to spy on him the way they have before. It will be close but I think Miller, playing 12 games, will get more chances than anyone else.

Ben Axelrod - Lead Team Writer

Carlos Hyde will lead the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012

Urban Meyer hasn't been shy about letting the media know that he views this upcoming season as a "make or break" one for Hyde, and all indications from fall camp were that it will be the former.

Both Miller and Hall are intriguing candidates for Ohio State's rushing title, but with Hall's current injury, and Miller's proneness to them, Hyde makes for the safest bet to be in the Buckeyes' starting lineup for all 12 games. It would not shock me, however, to see two Ohio State players top the 1,000-yard mark this season.

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst

Braxton Miller will lead the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012

There are two schools of thought behind this pick. First of all, even from the quarterback position, Miller is the team's most dynamic and dangerous runner and will likely make several big plays during the season with his feet. Secondly, he is the ONE player on the roster that should see some consistency in the number of carries he receives from game to game. The OSU backfield will likely be "by committee" meaning carries for certain backs could vary greatly from game to game. The injury to Hall also makes this a more realistic pick as Miller will likely get a 100-200 yard 'head start' on Hall before he is able to return.

Jeremy Birmingham - Team Writer

Braxton Miller will lead the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012

As I alluded to in my "Bold Prediction", I'm going with Rod Smith to lead the Buckeye running backs in rushing; but it's Miller all the way leading the team by the time the final whistle blows in late November. Miller's athleticism and a revamped offensive line coupled with Urban Meyer's offensive philosophies will equal big offensive output from the Buckeyes sophomore signal-caller. If he's able to stay healthy, I'd expect to see 10-12 runs a game design for Miller, and he might be more dangerous on the ones that are not planned. Can he end up with 700-plus yards? I think so.

Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player

Carlos Hyde will lead the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012

After a decent 2011 season, learning the ropes and also playing with what I believe was a "nonfunctional" offensive line, Hyde had 106 carries for 566 yards with an average of 5.3 yds a carry. He will surpass 1,000 yards rushing, due to increased carries and more daylight to run to from an improved offensive line and a wide open field, due to the spread offense.