Countdown To Camp: Running Backs

If the Arizona offense is going to succeed they need to get production from the running game. The Cats return only one running back who has a D-I carry, but have a host of talented players who have the potential to be pretty good, but have yet to prove anything.

Starters Returning: none
Starters Lost: (2) Gilbert Harris, Mike Bell
Key Returners: Chris Henry, Terry Longbons, Xavier Smith
Others Lost: none
Key Newcomers: Derke Robinson, Glyndon Bolasky
Coach: Kasey Dunn (3rd season)

1. Chris Henry, 6-0, 215, Jr., Stockton, Calif. (Edison)
Henry has all the tools to be an elite running back. He's big, strong and fast. He has wowed onlookers in practice situations but has yet to do it in a game situation. He has had some fumble issues that has kept him from getting significant playing time. Now that Mike Bell and Gilbert Harris are gone, Henry has the first crack to win the job.

2. Xavier Smith, 5-11, 196, RFr., Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside)
Smith was the talk of the fall as he impressed everyone as a member of the scout team. He was not quite as impressive in the spring but he will still contend for the starting job. Speedy, outside runner with just enough strength to be effective between the tackles. Smith has a very impressive build and great instincts. Surprisingly physical, he does fare well north to south. He's got good vertical quickness. He makes nice cuts, but does not dance too much. At 200-pounds he is a tough runner to bring down.

3. Terry Longbons, 5-11, 200, RFr., Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial HS)
Longbons had a few huge moments in the spring after missing extended time with a shoulder injury in the fall. Longbons is a physical, bruising runner who could also see some time as a fullback. Longbons is built like a linebacker but can move with the ball. He does not have great breakaway speed, but he is effective in the open field. Similar to former Wildcat Clarence Farmer, only with a much better head on his shoulders.

4. Derke Robinson, 6-0, 200, Fr., Lewisville, Texas (Hebron High School)
Word out of preseason workouts is that Robinson is the real deal. It wouldn't be a shocker if he pushes the backs ahead of him on the depth chart. Robinson is a bigger running back that possesses very good field vision and constantly displays that open field 'wiggle' fans love. He has decent patience and good strength but his best trait may be how hard he hits holes and how hard he always runs. Loves to run tackle to tackle and is not afraid to lower his head and lay the wood. Even though he loves running inside, he has the speed to get the corner and turn it if he needs to.

5. Glyndon Bolasky, 6-0, 192, Fr., Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino High)
Bolaksy is quick and athletic. A terrific athlete with a great build, many wonder if Bolasky could be better off as a defensive back down the line. He does have nice instincts and runs very hard. In high school he relied a lot on overpowering opponents, but that is not likely to be the case at the D-I level. Bolasky will get every chance to compete for carries and he has a shot to play right away, although the Cats would love to redshirt him.

The Cats are also bringing in three very talented walk-ons. Chris Jennings is a big, strong transfer from Arizona Western who played his prep football in Kentucky. San Diego's Garen Demery won numerous awards at Valhalla High School but was overlooked by big school recruiters. Reggie Sheffield played at a smaller school in Valley Christian High School in Chandler. He got lost in the shuffle but runs a 4.4. All three are seen as guys who can legitimately see the field.


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