At 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, Carlos Hyde cuts the figure of an old-school tailback: strong, wide-shouldered, bruising. His body looks like it was meant to handle 30 carries a game and get hard-fought hards on fourth down. But as a junior at Ohio State last season, Hyde also showed he can break off long runs. He had nine consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, including two games in which he surpassed the 200-yard mark. He finished the year with 15 rushing touchdowns and an impressive average of 7.3 yards per carry.
STACK caught up with Hyde at Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla., to talk about his preparation for the NFL Combine and where he sees his game fitting in at the next level.
STACK: What's life like as an NFL prospect?
Hyde: The whole eating healthy, waking up early, getting on a routine has been great so far. It's a big change from not eating healthy to going to this strict diet to where you can't eat any bad food and you have to only eat healthy food.
STACK: How has your diet changed?
Hyde: I am on a no-carb diet, so I don't eat bread. Back home in Columbus, I ate whatever I wanted, and down here I'm eating salads, grilled chicken, grilled salmon and stuff like that. It does taste good, but you know, you keep eating it and it's starting to get repetitive.
STACK: What are the workouts like? Have you ever trained like this before?
Hyde: The workouts are kind of similar to what I did in college. I am used to the two-a-day workouts, because we did it in college. I'm pretty familiar with the things we're doing in the weight room, because I also did that in college, so I was able to come in and be explosive with what I got to do when it comes to working out.
STACK: What's the most important event or test for you as a running back?
Hyde: I am definitely trying to perfect my 40. That's the biggest thing for me. Also, my position skills. I'm working on catching the ball, doing jump cuts—all the stuff they are going to have us doing at the Combine. I want to sharpen stuff like that, so when I get to the Combine it's nothing new and I'm able to play fast and run fast.
STACK: What have you improved the most while training here at the Performance Compound?
Hyde: The start of my 40. It's crazy how good I got at the first 10 yards of the 40. I've also gotten more explosive in the Broad Jump, being able to leap out further than when I first came in here.
STACK: We watched you and Sammy Watkins putting in some extra work after the weight room workout. How is that helping you elevate your performance?
Hyde: The extra work is critical. When you get that extra rep in, maybe your competition—the other guy—doesn't get that extra rep in, so you have one extra rep over him. Doing the little things, coaches see that: 'He does extra. I don't have to tell him to do extra, he does it on his own.'
STACK: What separates you from the other running backs in the draft?
Hyde: I'm a running back who can break away and get any yards you need at any down. I can catch out of the backfield, pick up a blitz or recognize a defense. My game is what I feel separates me from everybody else.
STACK: Is there a particular scheme or system that you would fit into best in the NFL?
Hyde: No, I feel like I am versatile and can play in any system. My freshman year, I played in the I-formation with coach [Jim] Tressel, and then coach [Urban] Meyer gets there and I am in a spread offense and I am rushing for 1,000 yards. So, I feel like any system would work with me.
STACK: Where do you expect to land in the draft?
Hyde: To me personally, I would love to be in the first round. That's why I am down here right now training hard, because that's one of my goals, to get into the first round and be the first back off the board.
STACK: Do you consider yourself an every down back?
Hyde: I definitely see myself as an every down back. I can catch the ball and pick up the blitz on third down pass plays.
STACK: You seem like a pretty chill guy for being such a big and bruising back. What makes you tick?
Hyde: I don't really recall anything ticking me off or anything like that. When it's game time, I cut off all the distractions and lock in. I just focus on what I have to do. I make sure I take care of my business, and then once I do that, I go out there and do it.
STACK: What do you love most about playing football?
Hyde: I like not being hit. I like delivering a hit. As a running back, I like to run a guy over or make a guy miss and take off downfield. A race to the end zone, that brings excitement to me when I do things like that.
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