Depth Chart Thoughts: Tailback

A rundown of thoughts about each position on the Illinois roster, continuing with tailback.

Next up, tailback, where Bill Cubit has a few options at the top to mix it up a little bit…

First word that comes to mind: Potential

Second word that comes to mind: Versatile

Third word that comes to mind: Well-being

How I see the pecking order:
Donovonn Young
Josh Ferguson
Dami Ayoola
Lakeith Walls
Kendrick Foster

I like what's going on in the Illinois backfield, with Young a star in the making with a workhorse build and Ferguson the McMahon to Young's Carson.

Young is a solid 221 and the north-south style of Cubit should benefit him in the best of ways. Cubit's also a creative type though, so look for Ferguson to be heavily involved, bringing a different look to the backfield with his speed and pass-catching ability.

I expect to see Young and Ferguson on the field together quite often, a look you should get extremely excited about.

Ayoola is a decent third chip, a player I like in his current role because he can progress and continue to get better without the burden of pressure and expectations.

Unless… there's an injury. While I like what's up, it's scary to think what could happen if either Young or Ferguson get banged up, always a possibility for a tailback in the Big Ten. Call me a worrier, but I don't think anybody wants to find out what will happen if everybody behind the two frontrunners has their status elevated. Depth is my only real concern at this point. I think Walls is a tough runner who has shown an eagerness to improve (I've witnessed him talking with Coach Salem on multiple occasions following practice). And Foster is a strong, young back still with much to learn.

Brief breakdown:
NFL player in the making: Young
What a very nice compliment, young man: Ferguson
Stay the course: Ayoola
Eyes on the (distant) prize: Walls, Foster

Final thought: If Young and Ferguson are firing on all cylinders, the potential for impact is obvious. I know, the offensive line plays a big part in that, but these tailbacks are of the right age, attitude and dynamic to do some big things in 2013.


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