What We Saw: James Gilbert is a beast. We saw nothing this spring to change our minds about that. Gilbert, the returning starter is entering his junior campaign with his sights set on another 1,000 yard season. Gilbert seems to be getting faster in the open field (his only knock to this point) and is still a hard task to bring down between the tackles. Despite his size (5-8 194) Gilbert excels at running inside and gets plenty of yards after contact. Gilbert has an outside chance of catching Jahwan Edwards’ Ball State school record for rushing yards and we would love to see him accomplish that.
Adding to Gilbert is Sophomore Malik Dunner. As a freshman, in limited action, Dunner showed us what he is capable of – he is a home run threat every time he has the ball in his hands. Dunner continues to show that and has improved his ball security. Dunner is a nice back up for Gilbert and will be the #1 someday. David Keeling is currently sitting at #3 with senior Darian Green sitting out of spring practice. Keeling is a solid walk on that showed flashes of being a dependable back up throughout spring. Green, who is rehabbing a knee injury suffered at the end of last season, is a quick scat-back type that is capable as a runner, pass receiver and even as a kick returner as long as he remains healthy. Green was once the starter, but has moved down the depth chart and seen his work load decrease because of injury problems.
Projected Depth Chart: Gilbert is absolutely #1 and that should not change. #2 is Dunner and should stay that way. Green will surely come back as the #3 back serving especially in passing and 3rd down situations. Keeling currently sits at #4.
What Happens When The New Class Arrives: The top 2 of the depth chart will not be effected in the slightest but there will be a chance for the some early carries for at least one of the incoming RBs. Our projection is that Kevin Dominique will push for early playing time with his size and speed. Caleb Huntley, also a bigger back, may also get some time on the field early in short yardage situations. Markice Hurt, who is similar in size and skill as Green, will probably redshirt and step in directly to Green’s role as a 3rd down/scat back/space player.