Ball State Class of '08: James Cravens continues to highlight each player in the class of 2008 and doing a brief scouting report on each of the 24 players in the class (21 new players signed and 3 greyshirts). Today we have the second of those 24 installments.

James Cravens, 6-0 210, RB, Centerville, OH (Centerville)

What he brings: A tough runner. Cravens doesn't posses great lateral quickness or elusiveness, but that does not matter one bit. Cravens will flat run right over you. He has good straight-line speed and will lower his head and bowl over defenders. Legs will keep churning for yards until he goes down no matter the size of player who hits him. Cravens is tough as nails and excelled at running the ball (1,273 yards and 18 tds as a senior) in a very tough conference (Greater Western Ohio) in Ohio. Cravens mainly played as an option fullback in high school, so he has better than average blocking skills and blitz pickup skills for a tailback coming out of high school. The main thing with Cravens though, will be that from day one he will provide a great short yardage presence for the Cardinals and should prove as a valuable asset at picking up the tough yards and grinding out games at the end.

Areas of improvement: Because Cravens played in a three-point stance as a FB in high school, he will have some learning to do to become an effective RB. Moving Cravens further away from the line of scrimmage should prove to help him and his running style, but it will also take some getting used to. Also, adapting to the Cardinals zone scheme as opposed to having a specific hole to hit as a FB will take some getting used to, but I think that Cravens is up to the task. Also, Cravens has yet to prove he has the ability to be an effective pass catcher out of the back field. Not because he doesn't have good hands, it is just that he has never really had to catch the ball. If he can learn the two things, Cravens will be a solid RB in the future for the Cardinals. grade: Solid performer and potential starter.

Ball State Insider Top Stories