Football position breakdown: Running backs

In our second installment of the University of Memphis football positions breakdown, we'll focus on the talented corps of running backs. U of M coach Larry Porter, being the former running back that he is, has a lot to work with in this year's backfield.

Other than defensive line, the Tigers' running backs may be the deepest position on the field. Led by sophomore Jerrell Rhodes, the Tigers also line up a power back in freshman Artaves Gibson and scat-backs in freshmen Carl Harris and Joe Price. Billy Foster, a versatile playmaker, also figures to factor in somewhere.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

1. Jerrell Rhodes. Rhodes had an up-and-down freshman season, when was the second back behind then-senior Gregory Ray. This offseason, Rhodes is working as if he's got no intentions to be a backup. Rhodes added 100 pounds to his squat lift and 50 pounds to his bench press. If the offensive line can hold up (more on that later), look for Rhodes to have a good year.

2. Artaves Gibson. The Mitchell product complements Rhodes well as a powerful runner. Gibson should be able to spell Rhodes when asked and could very well be Porter's best third down back on the roster. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Gibson is also an ideal candidate in short yardage and goal line situations.

3. Carl Harris/Joe Price/Billy Foster. I'm grouping these three together because, in all likelihood, they'll be used an interchangeable fashion. They all bring an element of quickness and speed to the backfield, and Foster can also line up at wide receiver. Harris and Price are only freshmen, so there's plenty of time for them to develop.

Unlike last season, Porter has some legitimate options at running back. With five capable backs in the fold, tailback is one position that Tiger fans can count on this season.


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