There is log jam at running back this season to fill the role left by Darren Sproles upon his graduation. You have Thomas Clayton who is considered the favorite to assume the role of starter by many, heavy contenders Carlos Alsup and then senior Donnie Anders who are no newcomers to the offense and will be competing for carries.
And yet there is still one player who could come from the back of the pack to compete for carries. The dark horse of the group and the one not often mentioned as a favorite is Parrish Fisher. Fisher, who has all of the athletic ability to be a huge factor not only for the future but as early as this season had a great spring and made the coaches stand up and take notice of his performances.
Fisher, a 5-10 red shirt freshman courtesy of Pearce High School out of Richardson, Texas is a speedy, exciting player with more power than one would think. After coming into the program a little undersized, Fisher has added additional muscle without losing speed and now tips the scales at 210 pounds.
Although still just a red shirt freshman, Parrish has all of the attributes to make this running back log jam competitive this fall. With the additional size, he has been able to demonstrate an ability to run it up the middle- between the tackles as well as bounce plays outside.
There have been the comparisons to Darren Sproles now playing on Sundays in the backfield of the NFL's San Diego Chargers. Fisher also had some talented company during his high school days in Texas as he along with Oklahoma running back star Adrian Peterson were both on the Texas all class super team.
Head Coach Bill Snyder is apprehensive to heap too much praise on Fisher, but you know the Kansas State head man has a pretty good idea what kind of a player he has on his hands. He gave his thoughts on the freshman red shirts abilities.
"Parrish Fisher is a youngster who's an up and comer said Coach Snyder, and I think he is really going to be in the mix. Nobody can replace Darren but Fisher has some of the same traits that Darren had that lend themselves to the style of offense that we have."
Certainly being the understudy of one of the most prolific runners to ever play at Kansas State and being undersized by many standards, Parrish has a chance to learn the offense as well as make the adjustment to the speed of the college game.
Even junior transfer RB Thomas Clayton, who has all but been given the reins to the offense heading into August two-a-days and whose job it is to lose or solidify in Fall practices has taken notice and been impressed with Fischer's skills and performance.
"The experience aspect of it is one of the things he doesn‘t have yet, said Clayton. I've been playing college football for awhile, and seen a lot of different things. Fisher's a great athlete and I think everyone will agree on that. Ultimately, as we all know, the job will go to who the coaches like best. Fisher is talented."
Coach Snyder has a nice problem on his hands as his core group of running backs should be one of the, if not the most talented group in the country by committee. Also at his disposal are a bevy of different running styles from which to choose. The competition this fall has been fierce and each player knows the position is up for grabs, which has further raised both the performances on the field and the learning process.
"It's going to continue to be a very competitive sport and I hope this makes them all better said Coach Snyder. I would like to think that's the case," speaking about the increased levels of competition.
There's a good chance that you'll be hearing the name Parrish Fisher called many times during his career at Kansas State before its all said and done. And even if this is not the year that Parrish steps from the shadows to assume the role of starting running back at Kansas State, he will be in the mix.
With so many players competing for the same job, at least early on there might not be anyway to keep this talented running back off the field. That could be a great problem for the Wildcats to have coming out of Fall practices and heading into a physical Big 12 season where depth is valuable commodity.
One word of Caution however.
The one thing you worry about with talented players like this is too much, too soon. The comparisons to Darren Sproles are premature (my how soon we forget quickly what no. 43 did for this team) and just the media and fans alike looking for the next great running back at Kansas State.
Given time, Fisher is going to be a great back when it is all said and done. given the steep learning curve ahead as well as this RB has not yet even logged on collegiate carry, it is wise to temper expectations and realize at this point there is great potential.
Should the running game falter or one of the leading favorites not take the reins and forge ahead however, look for this talented freshman red shirt to be right in the thick of things- not only for the 2005 season but beyond.
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