Six running back's will enter camp thinking that this is their year to shine. New RBs coach Eddie Gran should see fierce competition during camp in August. Each back brings a little something different to the table and it will be interesting to see who steps up.
Junior Jermaine Thomas(5-11, 190) led the way last year with 832 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. He showed his versatility by catching 17 balls out of the backfield and he would have to seen as the favorite for the most carries entering camp. Not the biggest nor fastest, Thomas has a sound all around game and can be counted on to produce.
Sophomore Lonnie Pryor(6-0, 209) saw time last year at fullback in order to see the field. While he certainly could be used in that capacity again, he figures to fight for some more carries. Pryor is just a player, he runs hard inside and has enough juice for some longer runs outside. We think after a productive summer he will be poised for a breakout campaign.
Fellow sophomore Chris Thompson(5-8, 185) has the elite burst, quickness, and speed. He will no doubt get the ball a number of ways, but probably does not possess the size to be a feature back. He could see some time in the slot as well as being a change of pace back, particularly in the second half with a tired defense.
Junior Ty Jones(5-10, 210) was second on the team with 251 yards and five touchdowns. He has his work cut out for him, but showed in the BYU game last year that he has what it takes (12 carries for 108 yards). Jones has dealt with playing with Type 1 Diabetes while adding valuable strength. He is a much tougher inside runner and that will be where he makes his mark. He is a reliable veteran and one who could surprise.
Senior Tavares Pressley(6-0, 206) is the elder statesman, he had only nine carries last year and might be the odd man out in 2010. After attending JUCO he tore his ACL in 2008 and redshirted, last year he was just rounding into form. In the Spring e did lead the Garnet team in rushing with 40 yards on three carries. He is valuable depth at worst and could make an impact if given the opportunity.
Debrale Smiley(5-11, 240) is a new addition for 2010 after spending two years at Itawamba Community College(where he took a redshirt). He had a bruising run in the Spring game which showed the type of power he possesses. Don't sleep on his speed however, this is a big guy who can move. He should see the ball in the redzone and also get snaps at fullback. His hard running style will certainly create opportunities for him to shine.
Matt Dunham(6-1, 258) provides further depth at the fullback position.
While this group lacks a known superstar the depth is extremely good. It would not be odd to see different players stepping up each week based on opportunity. Smiley figures to have a role as the big back and Thompson has the electricity for big plays, but neither would be slated for the feature role. It should be an interesting battle, but bottom line is that there are some guys who can make plays here.