The running back position is wide open as Coastal Carolina heads into the home stretch of 2011 spring football. WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis, host of the David Bennett Show, gives his breakdown of the running back corps.
Coastal's top three rushers from 2010 are gone to graduation:
Eric O'Neal - 832 yards
Zach MacDowall- 378 yards
Racheed Gause - 185 yards
That's 1,395 yards or 114.4 yards per game.
It doesn't appear to be one player who is going to step in and be the featured back, but more of a committee. The one thing Coastal appears to have is depth at the running back position. Coach David Bennett says the final two scrimmages of the spring will give all of the running backs a chance to make an impression as the depth chart is set for August.
The rising sophomore was impressive enough to get into the mix as a true freshman. At 6'0, 235 pounds, Jones is a great combination of power and speed. Jones gave CCU fans a glimpse of the future with big runs in games against Liberty and Charleston Southern. Jones has been a steady performer during spring drills.
Height is grateful to be healthy during the spring and his durability will be the key to his success in 2011. Height showed flashes of ability to be a #1 back, but will need to stay healthy to be a factor. Height told me that he doesn't think that there will be a true #1 back and is comfortable with a number of backs getting touches on Saturdays.
Whitener has only gotten 57 touches in two seasons, but has shown great ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with 13 catches. Watching his TD run at Presbyterian in 2010 shows Whitener at his best. Whitener should be in the mix more in 2011.
No back on the CCU roster has a better high school stat line than the Cheraw native and WPDE All-Zoner. But 7,109 rushing yards and 88 high school touchdown have translated to zero rushing yards at Coastal Carolina. The redshirt sophomore has been hampered by injuries including hernia surgery. Small is itching for an opportunity and will need to gain confidence that he can move the chains in the college game.
Comes to CCU via the Citadel where he played five games in 2009. Someone to keep a close eye on over the next two scrimmages to see what kind of impression he makes.
Summerville coach John McKissick calls Henderson one of the best running backs he's ever coached. That was more than enough for David Bennett to get the SC Mr. Football Finalist to become a Chanticleer. Jones played so well in summer training camp that the staff could not afford to redshirt him. Henderson will be in the same boat - does the staff save him for down the road or does he impress enough to get touches as a true freshman? That question will be answered in August.