Spring Review -- Running Backs

Spring football is over and the Hurricanes are now going into Phase Three, which is summer conditioning. Lets review the running back play from the spring and what lies ahead.

The Players:
Mike James was the starter going into the spring and had a solid, steady performance. Eduardo Clements was right behind him the whole time. Dallas Crawford, a converted safety, and walkon Darris Hughes played behin those two.

James was Miami's number two behind Lamar Miller last season and brings a lot of versatility to the position. He can run between the tackles in short yardage situations. He can catch the ball. He can block. He's a leader. He has the most game experience.

Clements brings a lot to the table, too. He spent spring as the number two but actually became Miami's short yardage back at the end of last season. He's just as skilled a pass-catcher as James and is also viewed as one of the leaders on this year's team. These two are neck and neck for the starting job and can almost be considered 1A and 1B heading into the summer.

Crawford is the third back. He played quarterback in high school and ran the ball a lot. He spent his freshman season on Miami's scout team at safety but was switched to running back to start spring. He played well there and even played some in the slot receiver position. He, too, brings some versatility to the position for the Canes.

Best Guess Depth Chart:
James, Clements, and Crawford is how it started, how it ended, and how it'll likely be heading into fall camp.

What's Ahead:
Lamar Miller got most of the carries in Miami's offense last season. Don't expect one player to do that this season. The carries between James and Clements will likely end up being split pretty closely. All eyes will be on incoming freshman Duke Johnson, who will be the most talented player in the group when he arrives in the fall. At 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, he doesn't really have the build yet to take a lot of carries between the tackles but will likely be counted upon to be a change-of-pace type back for the Canes this fall. He should complement James and Clements very nicely, and play a big role in the offense. Danny Dillard is a big back who will be counted upon to provide some tough yards between the tackles. If he's up for the challenge, he'll likely see playing time. If not, a redshirt could be more likely for him.

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