Breaking Down: Running Back

Looking at the 2013 Red Wolves by position. Today the running backs.

The Breakdown:
Position Starter Backup
RUNNING BACK David Oku – 5'10 195 RSr Sirgregory Thornton – 5'11 200 Sr -OR-
Michael Gordon – 5'9 190 So

The Numbers:
David Oku finished 2012 with 1,061 rushing yards on 243 attempts. He finished with 16 rushing touchdowns tying him for 3rd most in a season in ASU history. Oku added 20 catches for 159 yards and another TD. Thornton has rushed for 454 career yards on just 65 attempts. That is an average of 6.9 yards per carry. Gordon was mostly on special teams in 2012 including a 33 yard kickoff return in the Go Daddy bowl vs. Kent State. He finished the season with 7 carries for 45 yards.

The Analysis:
The 2012 fast paced Red Wolf offense was a little different the 2011 version. A little more running the ball led to a 1000 yard rusher.

David Oku was a highly sought after all purpose back coming out of high school. His ability to get through the hole and get upfield allowed Arkansas State to rank in the top 20 teams in the country on 3rd down conversion in 2012. Oku has the ability to find the hole, get through it and battle for the necessary yardage. In the redzone he is a beast, scoring 13 of his 16 rushing touchdowns on runs of 6 yards or less. When he gets near the endzone, he wants the ball.

Thornton has battled injuries the last couple of years but is a very good downhill runner. He has shown excellent speed in the past when he has green pasture in front of him. If healthy in 2013, Thornton could provide a different type of back than others in the depth chart by being the north/south runner.

Gordon has the homerun threat ability that sends shivers down a defensive coordinator's spine. His minimal number of carries in 2012 is not as big an indicator of his talent as the luxury of being able to move Frankie Jackson to the defensive side of the ball. Gordon can get through a hole and be gone before the linebackers have adjusted to the cut he just made.

Kendrick Daniels redshirted in 2012 but the 5'7 165 back has excellent speed and good quickness.

The 2012 Red Wolves finished 1st in the Sun Belt in rushing and 23rd in the country with 206.2 yards per game. Bryan Harsin's squad will have a talented group of back to try and repeat that type of showing this fall.