Post-Spring Analysis: RB

The Hurricanes finished spring football recently, and now will begin preparing for summer workouts. Lets take a closer look at the team coming out of spring, focusing on the running backs in this update.

The Hurricanes went through spring football with just three scholarship running backs and one fullback.

Duke Johnson is clearly the best running back on the team right now. He's widely considered the best player on the entire team. The sophomore is fresh off a tremendous 2012 season, and will be counted upon to take on a bigger role this coming season. Spring football didn't change anyone's mind on the talented runner -- he is special and has a chance to do some really big things for the Hurricanes in 2013.

Dallas Crawford was often mentioned by Al Golden as one of the most improved players on the entire team. At one point, Golden said that Crawford may be having the best spring of anyone on the entire offense. That all bodes well for the redshirt sophomore. A former prep quarterback/safety, Crawford seems to have found a home at the running back spot. Because of his size, toughness, and versatility, he can do a lot of things for an offense. He can run between the tackles. He can make things happen on the outside. He can catch. He can play in the slot. Look for Crawford to play a key role in 2013, and this spring was a good indicator of that.

Danny Dillard was working as the third running back this spring. The biggest thing with him right now is understanding how to become a complete player, which includes his willingness to block. He's sort of a tweener between running back and fullback. He brings some good things to the table, but is still probably a year away -- especially when Eduardo Clements returns to action.

Clements missed the spring due to injury. His role seemed to diminish at the end of last season but he's a player with a lot of experience and should have a good understanding of the offense having spent the spring learning it. He should be a quality third back, perhaps someone who could emerge as the team's new short-yardage back.

Maurice Hagens returns at fullback, and is coming off a very strong spring. Likely due to James Coley have a preference for bigger backs, Hagens saw his role increase this spring. He seems to be getting more carries and catching more passes out of the backfield. If this spring was any indication, the Hurricanes may have found their new short-yardage back to replace Mike James.


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