How's Your Unit? - More Running Backs
Miami RB Duke Johnson
Miami RB Duke Johnson
Posted Mar 28, 2013

More of the most intruiging running back situations this offseason.

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- Top Ten 2013 spring running back situations

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Arizona State
The Sun Devil running game turned into a power last year with Marion Grice and Cameron Marshall combining for close to 100 yards per game, but Marshall is gone after a steady campaign. Fortunately, Grice returns to potentially become a national breakout star after two phenomenal performances to close out 2012. He ripped off a 156-yard, three touchdown day to get by Arizona, and despite the tragedy of his brother's death, came up with 159 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries in the bowl win over Navy. Senior D.J. Foster didn't have too many big games, but he showed he be a part of the rotation.

Boise State
With 1,137 yards and 15 scores, D.J. Harper somewhat quietly had a fantastic year for an offense that didn't have its normal high-octane passing game. He was a great fill-in with Doug Martin gone, and now it's going to be a fight to find the right backs to keep the attack moving. With 548 yards and four scores, sophomore Jay Ajayi showed off great speed and flash when given a chance, while true sophomore Jack Fields is back after getting a little bit of work finishing third on the team with 135 yards. Coming in is one of the team's top recruits, Aaron Baltazar out of California, and JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas, who'll be expected to add a bit more power right away.

The Bearcats led the Big East in rushing thanks to George Winn, a steady talent who ran for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns with six 100-yard games including a 130-yard day against Duke in the bowl win. Tommy Tuberville might be looking for a bigger passing game, but his offenses work best when the ground game is rocking. Ralph David Abernathy IV is the next in line to handle the rushing duties, and with his speed and quickness he fits what Tuberville's offenses do. However, at 5-7 and 160 pounds, he's not built to run 25 times a game. JUCO transfer Rodriguez Moore is a terrific talent with the ability to be a No. 1 back right away, while fellow JUCO transfer Hosey Williams is coming in looking to start right away. With the two JUCOers not coming in until the fall, Tion Green needs to use his bulk and toughness to be a bigger part of the offense.

Andre Ellington carried the Tiger running game with 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns, while quarterback Tajh Boyd was second on the team in yards and led the way with ten scores. Senior Roderick McDowell ran for 450 yards and five scores and junior D.J. Howard added 138 yards and two touchdowns, limited with injuries, but both of them could quickly be pushed aside with two excellent talents coming in from the recruiting class. Tyshon Dye has good size and can fly, while Wayne Gallman would have starting potential at most other schools. Dye is the better of the two, but Gallman will get his chances.

Duke Johnson might be one of the most dynamic all-around playmakers in college football, but at 5-9 and 194 pounds he's not all that big and isn't going to be a battering ram. That leaves open the shot for sophomore Dallas Crawford and redshirt freshman Danny Dillard to try being a big part of the attack with Mike James gone. The 6-2, 210-pound Dillard is more of a power back while Crawford can do a little of everything, but it's Johnson who'll be the signature star. He'll get as much work as he can handle, but he'll have help. If Dillard and Crawford can't get the job done, lightning fast recruit Cornelius Elder and fellow newcomers Augustus Edwards and Ray Lewis III – he's not a linebacker yet – will be used.

- Top Ten 2013 spring running back situations