State of the Cougars: RB position

Overview: The Cougar’s runningback core has to be the strongest unit on the team offensively going into this season. There is plenty of talent at the position. Where do I begin?

The heart and soul of the offense is Kenneth Farrow. The senior from Hurst, Texas took over for current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Charles Sims who transferred to West Virginia in 2013 and rushed for 514 yards and scored 6 touchdowns while missing two games as a sophomore. He followed his junior year by not only becoming a team captain for the 2nd straight year, but he also became the 24th Houston Cougar player to rush for 1,000 yards and the 14th player to reach 2,000 rushing yards for a career. He average 5.6 yards a carry and scored 14 rushing touchdowns. He also finished last season with over 100 rushing yards in five of the last six games including the bowl game win against Pittsburgh. Farrow possesses NFL size at the RB position and has very good vision and power. That’s a very good combination to have as a draft prospect along with his production as a starter. Not to mention he did this behind a questionable Cougar offensive line. An even bigger season is on the horizon for the senior runningback. Farrow is the “thunder” to Ryan Jackson’s “lightning”. Jackson had a worse junior year compared to his sophomore year, but he improved his yards per carry average to 5.4. Jackson, one of the fastest players for the Cougars on offense is the perfect complement to Farrow because he can also be used in the slot as well as screen plays. There probably isn’t any better RB duo in the American Athletic Conference than those two this season. The third RB position might be up for grabs. Justin Hicks has the most experience out of the remaining runningbacks, but he missed the remainder of the season after playing in the first two games. Javin Webb rejoined the team this season. He got some experience as a redshirt freshman last season. Rounding out the depth is Kaliq Kokuma who was a highly regarded prospect out of Texas, and Blake Hirsch. Kevrin Justice is a possible redshirt candidate, but keep an eye out for fellow true freshman Tyreik Gray. Gray’s talent might be enough for him to get some playing time early as a true freshman. The four star from Lamar High School has excellent vision and speed, and can be an excellent complement to Farrow and Jackson as a three headed monster assuming he works on ball security when he arrives on campus.

 

Recruiting Targets: The Cougars might not have a runningback commit so far for the 2016 recruiting class, but that will change as Signing Day gets closer. The biggest target they appear to be after is Manvel High School D'Vaughn Pennamon. Pennamon currently has offers from Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas St., Louisville, Missouri, Tennessee and UCLA among others. The Cougars recent commit from his teammate defensive end Hasuan Glasgow could influence him to commit to the Cougars as well has the RB position for the Cougars possibly being wide open next year when Farrow and Jackson leaves.

 

Bottom line: The runningback position will be the Cougar’s strongest unit on offense and possibly on the team. There is talent galore with Farrow and Jackson starting and redshirt freshmen Kokuma, and true freshman Tyreik Gray. It is going to be interesting to see if Gray gets playing time early since one of the reasons why he committed to Houston was for playing time in addition to playing for Coach Herman. With the wide receiver position being so wide open with no clear favorite to who will start, I expect Herman to rely on the running game a lot this season.

 

Next up:  Wide Receivers and tight ends


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