Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is redshirt freshman running back Miyan Williams. Yesterday it was Kourt Williams. Tomorrow it won’t be Jameson Williams.
No. 28 | Running Back | 5-8 227 | Redshirt Freshman | Winton Woods High School | Cincinnati, Ohio
How’d He Get Here
Had it not been for the grandmother of a Texas running back, maybe Miyan Williams would have never been a Buckeye. Ohio State was in the driver’s seat for 5-star 2020 running back Bijan Robinson out of Arizona, but he ultimately signed with Texas because — as the legend has it — he would be able to be closer to his family, especially his grandmother. Robinson committed to Texas in August. About six weeks later the Buckeyes offered Williams, who had been committed to Iowa State for over two months. Williams took an unofficial visit to Ohio State in November and then committed to the Buckeyes. He was a 3-star prospect and the No. 45 running back in the nation. As a junior he rushed for over 2,800 yards and was the runner-up for Ohio’s 2018 Mr. Football. Running backs coach Tony Alford was adamant that Williams was never a “fallback plan.”
Miyan Williams certainly didn’t look like anybody’s fallback plan when he was digging post holes with Clemson defenders last year. And yet, while people remember his one memorable carry against the Tigers in the playoffs, he only carried the ball three times in that game, picking up 21 yards. That game provided a glimpse of what is to come and it propelled Williams into the spring with confidence and momentum. He is now in a battle to win the starting running back job at Ohio State. He ran with the ones and twos this spring and there is no reason to think that won’t continue in the fall. Williams is currently one of six scholarship running backs on the Ohio State roster, and by far the lowest-rated recruit in the room. Whether that motivates him or not, it certainly isn’t holding him back.
What to Like
Miyan Williams carried the ball just 10 times for 64 yards last year, but nearly every time he carried the ball he did something impressive with it — even if it was just avoiding the first tackler and getting back to the line of scrimmage. Standing only 5-foot-8, Williams can get lost behind his offensive linemen, leaving defenders wondering where he went. Then by the time he finds a hole, he catches defenders off guard. He has tremendous balance and leverage to shake off shoulder tackles and has the strength to run through arm tackles. And even though he is pushing 230 pounds, he is remarkably agile and can cut like a lighter and slighter back. The excitement level at Ohio State is very high for Miyan Williams even with a limited number of career carries.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
The ceiling this year for Miyan Williams is being the starting running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes. It won’t be easy but running backs don’t choose Ohio State looking for easy. With the number of running backs on the roster and the expectation that at least three of them will be getting carries, there is a cap on what the starting running back will be able to run for this year. But nobody would be shocked to see Williams rush for 1,100-1,200 yards this year if he wins the job.
Winning the job in 2021 won’t be any kind of guarantee for 2022 or beyond, just as starting in 2020 isn’t a guarantee for 2021. Master Teague is the incumbent this year and the staff has been adamant about that. They will say the same thing about the incumbent in 2022 should there be one. But that won’t stop the likes of TreVeyon Henderson, Marcus Crowley, Evan Pryor, or Steele Chambers from trying to win the job. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Williams rush for fewer yards in 2022 than he did in 2021 while still becoming a better player. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go for 1,600 yards in 2022 and then leave for the NFL.