Running Back Evaluations

Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee gave his post-spring evaluations of the running backs to Hawgs Illustrated for the June issue, our summer football preview. Here are his thoughts as part of a week-long series.

Post-spring evaluations from offensive coordinator Garrick McGee:

7 Knile Davis
6-0, 230, JR

He has a lot of talent. He's strong, he's fast. What we have to be cautious of is expectations. He's going to have to just concentrate on grinding and doing what he has to do to help us win games. If that's where his concentration and focus is, he can have a better year than he had last year — because he is bigger, faster and stronger.

20 Ronnie Wingo
6-3, 231, JR

He had the best spring out of everybody on our offense. He was a different runner. He was more violent, more physical. He started to understand how to play to his speed. He's one of the fastest guys on our whole team. But there were times this past two years that you never would notice that he was that fast until he broke out into the open field. This past spring you could see him playing to his speed behind the line of scrimmage. You could see him lower his shoulder and running like a 230-pound kid should run the ball. I was impressed. I remember a meeting we had in the spring where we were watching inside run together and we started talking about being heavy, running like a 230-pound guy. I explained exactly what I meant by that. You got to be light on your feet and you got to be fast, but got to be heavy. You can't run like a 170-pound kid when you are 230. You have to knock people back. They shouldn't want to run into you because you are fast, strong and you are big and heavy. He is a great kid and he'll do exactly what you coach him to do. He really wants to be good. I think he could have a really big season for us. He got better this spring. There is no doubt.

Dennis Johnson
5-9, 213, JR

It's always great to have Dennis out there with us. Based on what he went through last year, for him to be back out there is impressive. He had a crisis come up. This was a serious injury that doesn't happen a lot in life. He dealt with it. He got back out there some at the end of the year. Then, in the spring, he did a good job. You would expect him to be cautious when he was running in full contact and fall on the ball and get him back into that same situation. Then, I thought he fought through it. We all know Dennis is a tough runner. It's hard to tackle him. He tends to play big in big games against the best defenses. What we learned about him last year when he couldn't go live in contact, he's a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield. He's a weapon and is a match-up problem. He can really run routes and catch.

Ronald Watkins
5-9, 190, JR

I really like him. He's quiet, just takes care of business every single day. He's fast, he runs tough. He's an important part of that running back crew. He's been around here a long time and I appreciate what Ronald does for us. He always comes to practice with a good attitude.

Morgan Linton
5-11, 240, FR

He really came on for us this spring. We had our eyes on Morgan last year because he'd spend time after practice working on things fullbacks should do as far as work against shields and sleds. Then, this spring he attacked linebackers and keep his body square. He understands the fullback responsibility, the dirty work. You don't get publicity or press, but your job is probably more important than the tailback job. Between Morgan, Austin Tate, Garrett Uekman and Chris Gragg, those will be the guys at fullback. We like to get in different sets with a fullback back there as the lead blocker.

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