What we learned: Running backs

Arizona's running back competition is wide open. Read on to see who we predict the starter will be, who is getting overlooked, and more.

Similar to the quarterbacks, normally we would have a good idea of what players are leading the race at each position, but running back remains completely open. Thus, instead of naming a favorite, we're going to bring up the questions that the contest raises.

Is there a Ka'Deem Carey out there?

No, but that isn't necessarily a knock on the other backs currently on the roster. There may not be another Carey in the rest of the country and it was always going to be nearly impossible to replace him. A look at the backs on the roster shows that not only do the Wildcats not have a player that is going to come close this season to the success that Carey had, but also that there really is not one that matches his playing style. Arizona does not have another Carey on its roster, but that's not the end of the world as far as the running backs go.

Will one player win the job?

At this point that would be a surprise. There is so little separation and the backs on the roster are not the biggest, so our guess is that it will start as a committee. That doesn't mean that there won't eventually be a guy that dominates the carries, but we think that it is pretty spread out to start the season. Zach Green strikes us as a player that is going to get carries in the red zone and the rest will probably be spread out as well.

Does Terris Jones-Grigsby get enough credit?

Absolutely not. It seems that he has been ignored this spring and that does not make much sense because he has probably been the best back. My guess is that because he used to be a walk-on and was not as highly regarded as the other guys, fans just assume that he is not going to win the job. That may be the case, but he deserves to be talked about.

Jones-Grigsby was the best back in the majority of practices we saw him and he is probably the best pass catcher out of the three as well. We would be surprised if he went from a guy that played the best in the spring to a guy that does not get a lot of carries and most people seem to be talking about him as the latter right now.

Which back has the most potential to break out?

We still think Pierre Cormier fits in with the offense the best, but he is struggling a bit in his blocking and picking everything up. Cormier may be the best playmaker of the bunch, especially when he gets in the open field. His performance in the spring was slightly disappointing, but that does not mean that the talent is not there.

The summer is going to be beneficial for Cormier because it will allow him to study, work, and get stronger. We can see him making a big jump over the summer and emerging as a guy who deserves the majority of the carries.

Who do you predict will be the starter? When we asked a coach months ago which player would be the closest to Carey, he told us Nick Wilson. Nothing we saw over the spring changes our belief that if Wilson comes in and picks up the blocking schemes, he is going to be the starter. Wilson has the unique combination of speed and power that the coaching staff likes and he is confident enough to believe he can come in and win the job.

We have said this numerous times before, but we are big fans of Wilson. We haven't heard anybody close to him say anything negative and with the job being wide open, it is his for the taking.


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