COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A transfer linebacker led Ohio State in rushing yards against Michigan. A true freshman did the same against Georgia in the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff semifinal game.

Neither of those things happened by choice. Ohio State’s running back duo of TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams went back and forth missing games last season while third-string running back Evan Pryor missed the entire season because of a torn ACL. All three players are back to full health, along with Dallan Hayden and Chip Trayanum, giving Ohio State one of the deepest and most talented running back rooms in the country.

“It’s great to have depth. Everybody wants depth and how that gets dispersed we’ll figure that out as we go,” running backs coach Tony Alford said. “They know that everyone’s going to have an opportunity. Now the key component is does your opportunity come when you want it? But if you just stay the course, you’ll get what coming your way.”

In the spring, Henderson said he felt like himself for the first time since Sept. 17, 2022, when he suffered a foot injury against Toledo. The injury, a fractured sesamoid bone, derailed what was supposed to be a big year for Henderson.

The same player who broke Maurice Clarrett’s freshman touchdown record felt like a broken player for most of the 2022 season, rushing for 677 yards and nine touchdowns fewer than his freshman year. He’s ready to prove he’s capable of surpassing the standard he set as a true freshman.

“Once the doctor cleared me, man, I was working,” Henderson said with a smile. “[My foot] feels great. Better than ever, probably better than it was before … explosive, powerful. I wanted to get all those tools back cause coming off of surgery, you’re aren’t just going to just go and be the same person, so I had to actually go earn those tools back and I feel like I did.”

Clearly, Henderson hasn’t gotten complacent, even as the expected starter.

“Having that depth in that room, that pushes me harder, man,” he said. “Every day, you have got to work. Every day. It’s a grind, man. You can’t take no days off, can’t get complacent, man. You just have got to work each and every day.”

Injuries also cut short Williams’ best season as a Buckeye. A persistent ankle injury only allowed the sophomore 11 attempts for 42 yards in OSU’s last three games. In the games he was healthy, Williams dominated, recording four 100-plus-yard performances while totaling 825 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“For me, I just learned not to beat myself up because I wasn’t able to help the team,” Williams said. “There’s different ways you can help. … I still had a role to just help the team win. In life, you get hit with adversity but it’s how you respond.”

Evan Pryor, arguably the best receiver in the running back room, watched the 2022 season unfold from the sideline after suffering a torn knee ligament in fall camp last year. He’s yet to have a chance to show why he was a top 10-ranked running back in the country in 2021 coming out of high school.

“It’s been a journey, so I’m just happy to be back out here,” Pryor said. “It was hard, honestly. … Everything I had done building up to before I got hurt was huge for me growing up, maturing, stuff like that, so it was hard having to stay at home and watch the games, having to keep my leg straight for two months. But it definitely makes you not take things like [fall camp] for granted. Everything I do, I’m just going hard, because I know what it’s like to have it taken from you just like that.”

Then there’s Hayden, a true freshman who was thrust into being the featured back during the Maryland game. He took full advantage, rushing for 146 yards and three touchdowns. It’s not clear how much playing time Hayden will see with Henderson and Williams back, but he’s a more-than-reliable backup.

“You know, you’ve always got to be ready ’cause you never know when you’re number’s going to be called,” Hayden said. “I think everybody who followed our rooms last year saw that, so I’m just staying ready.”