Position Outlook: Running Back

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Who will replace Daniel Thomas? If ever there was a topic of conversation about the offense and what may happen, all discussion should at the very least start with the running back position and go from there. We Break Down the position player by player on what you can expect this Fall.

Daniel Thomas was a beast! The guy came into K-State at the end of the Ron Prince era and without really any coaching that summer other than his teammates, he basically tore things apart. For you to really appreciate Daniel Thomas, just realize here is a player who had never played running back before and came with no formal coaching to the position and then put up 2,850 yards over two seasons and will be playing on Sundays for the Miami Dolphins. Yea- that is amazing, so how do you even start to replace a guy like that?

Well really with one player I am not sure you can but if there is someone that possibly can replace that type of production – it will have to be Bryce Brown. With legitimate 4.3 forty speed and the ability to either run over you or around you, I am not sure there is a more anticipated player that the Wildcat Nation would like to see this fall.

Bryce Brown was ranked as the top High School recruit in the class of 2009 and at the end of the recruiting race- Tennessee signed the talented Mr. Brown. Bryce put up 460 yards at Tennessee and played behind UT Senior RB- Montario Hardesty before the homegrown Wichita product elected to transfer back home and to K-State.

Daniel Thomas and Bryce Brown are similar in size at 230 and 220 pounds respectively and like Thomas, Brown should afford the Wildcats the opportunity to play out of Power O sets and run between the offensive guards if needed.

Brown will be given every chance to seize the starting position during fall practices and he certainly has the talent to propel the running game. What remains to be seen however is can he carry the workload of an every down back in the rugged Big 12 and stand up to the type of punishment of 20-25 plus possible carries a game can bring?

Brown has had the luxury of a red-shirt year at KSU and has had ample time to learn the offense and playbook and should be well rested when fall practices start. He has both the size and the speed to be successful for Kansas State this year. The only thing lacking from his resume is he has never been given the label of starting RB in college – Yet!

At this point Bryce is somewhat of an unproven player at the college level due only to his lack of playing time – something he should easily earn this fall. Many will not be surprised if Bryce Brown has a very successful year.

Sitting ahead of the talented Bryce Brown is Sophomore Running Back John Hubert. The 5-foot-7 and 185 pound sophomore running back from Texas contributed 28 yards on 12 carries last year and is also a return man on special teams.

With Thomas as the starting running back, Hubert was limited in play last year but he did give fans a glimpse of what he brings to the table. More of a speed back, Hubert can play a complimentary role if used alongside of Brown in a Thunder and Lightning type of scenario.

Hubert is definitely a home run threat in the open field and has the ability to be that change of place running back from the ‘Cats. Hubert has made the most of his opportunities when given a chance and you can expect to see him get carries this season.

If there is a dark horse in the Wildcat Running Back stable, it could be RS-Freshman Demarcus Robinson. Another Wichita product that put up great rushing numbers coming out of Northwest High School, DeMarcus is sure to garner Darren Sproles comparisons due to his size.

At 5-foot-6 and 192 pounds, Robinson is very thick and surprisingly strong. Arm tackles will not work in trying to bring down Robinson and though he is not as shifty as Sproles was in college, he is fast and capable of making people miss. DeMarcus played on the scout team last year while red-shirting but could offer up carries if there are injuries this year.

Fullback is pretty much on lockdown with big #37 – Junior Braden Wilson back this season. Wilson is not going to dazzle anyone with his breakaway speed or have fans gasping for air with ankle breaking runs. What he is going to do is lay a path for the running backs to follow and hit people in the mouth.

At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Braden is a very physical player at the point of contact and although he did carry the rock seven times last year, he is a blocker. Wilson will give the ‘Cats one the best blockers in the conference and is a human road-grater. Every now and then the coaching staff is going to reward his unselfish play with a touchdown carry or two like they did last year- but if the offense is to generate a power rushing attack, it will be lead blocked by Wilson.

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