BEREA — Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde thought the stars had aligned for him to continue his football career with the Browns.
Unfortunately for the Cincinnati native, his dream scenario failed to occur.
The 49ers grabbed Hyde with the 57th pick in the NFL Draft, while Cleveland didn’t select its first running back until 37 spots later in Towson’s Terrance West.
“There are tons of Buckeye fans that are also Browns fans, so it would have been great for me to be here,” Hyde said Tuesday while attending the NFL Rookie Symposium. “The support from the fans had me thinking I was coming here. Guys who project the draft picks thought I was coming here. I would have loved it because I could have stayed in Ohio, but it wasn’t to be, I guess.”
The 2013 Big Ten Running Back of the Year earned a place in Buckeyes folklore by rushing for 226 yards against Michigan as a senior — the most by an Ohio State player in the epic rivalry.
Hyde carried the ball on a whopping 44 percent of the Buckeyes’ offensive snaps against the Wolverines, but was a forgotten man in their game plan the next week in a Big Ten Championship game loss to Michigan State.
Ohio State’s season subsequently ended with a 40-35 defeat to Clemson in the Orange Bowl, turning a campaign that began with 12 wins into a bitter disappointment.
“I actually still think about those two games all the time,” Hyde said. “One play against Michigan State cost us from winning the national championship, which hurts even now.”
After wrapping up his college career with 41 touchdowns and 3,198 rushing yards, the 6-foot, 235-pounder immediately began preparing for the draft.
Though Hyde wasn’t brought to Berea for an official workout, he struck up a friendship with Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery that led him to believe he was in the team’s plans.
“From talking to their running backs coach and the relationship I built with him, I thought like I was coming here,” he said wistfully. “He was just telling me, ‘We need a running back. If you’re there when it’s our turn to pick, we’re taking you.’”
Instead, Hyde was snapped up by one of the NFL’s premier franchises. San Francisco has played in back-to-back-to-back NFC championship games in its three years under innovative coach Jim Harbaugh.
The 49ers’ working depth chart has Hyde fourth at the position behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore. LaMichael James is fifth, meaning the competition will be fierce throughout training camp.
“To go from Ohio State to another winning program, it’s great,” the second-round selection said, breaking into a chuckle. “You really couldn’t ask for a better situation, but if there aren’t enough carries, then they’ll have to make some extra for me.”
Hyde said he was grateful for the opportunity to attend the four-day event, specifically mentioning the classroom sessions being taught by former players about what not to do as a pro.
The four-year letterman made two public missteps at Ohio State — fighting with a woman at a bar and an unspecified academics violation — that hit home when hearing the NFL retirees’ sob stories.
“This symposium is huge to us rookies,” Hyde said. “It’s good they’re giving us a look into what our lives are going to be like.
“The DUI presentation hit me especially hard because drinking and driving is something that you just cannot do. None of us knew about the car services that teams have around the clock, but it shows how important keeping guys safe is to the NFL.”
The final event in the NFC portion of the symposium takes place this morning with a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It won’t be Hyde’s final day in Ohio this summer, though, as he plans on catching up with his former Ohio State teammates before moving to California.
“I’ll always be a Buckeye, man,” he said. “I’m expecting them to win it all this year and I’m definitely expecting Braxton (Miller, quarterback) to win the Heisman Trophy. I’m sure this is his year to do it. It’s his last one, so he’s got to.”
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.