The Ball State coaching staff can hang their hats on one known commodity entering the 2017 season, and that is an effective ground game.
Gilbert, a bruising 5-9 195 Junior to be, was one of the top RBs in the Mid-American Conference last season. Gilbert is a powerhouse with decent speed and a tenacity and desire in his running that make him tough to bring down and tough to handle.
Green, a 5-9 185 future senior, is a player that can wear several hats. He has speed and the ability to catch the ball. He ran effectively last season – racking up 311 yards and 5.5 YPC in just 8 games due to injury – and can also line up in the slot and make plays in the passing game (24 receptions). He also adds value as a kick returner. Although injury prone, Green is dynamic in space and can get chunks of yardage in the right opportunities.
The third back that returns is promising So. Malik Dunner. The 5-11 190 speedster flashed tons of potential, running for 152 yards and catching 3 passes, but he also struggled holding on to the ball at times. Dunner is electric and can take any play and make it into an explosive play.
Adding depth, and a different style to the mix will be redshirt freshman Brandon Martin. The 6-0 237 back is a bruising downhill runner that will probably see his initial playing time in short yardage situations.
With the majority of the offensive line back and the meat of the running back corps back for next season, the Cardinals should have the most potent running attack in the MAC.