Season Preview: Running Backs

Clinton Portis will look to become UM's fifth 1,000-yard runner in school history, while McGahee has shown flashes of brilliance in practice.

Coach: Don Soldinger

The Starter: Clinton Portis (5-11, 195, JR)

The Backups: Willis McGahee (6-1, 225, R-FR), Jarrett Payton (6-2, 205, SO), and Frank Gore (5-10, 190, FR)

The Good Stuff: Despite losing last year's starter James Jackson to the NFL, the Hurricanes are still as loaded as a college backfield could possibly be. Portis ran for almost 1,000 yards as a true freshman and if he stays healthy, there's a very good chance he'll become the next 1,000-yard runner here. He's averaged 6.0 yards per carry in his career, and this is the best offensive line he's run behind yet.

McGahee hasn't played a down of college football yet, but if practices are any indication like they were for players like Edgerrin James and Portis, then McGahee might explode. With a rare combination of size and speed, McGahee has been, at times, UM's best back in practice. Payton had experience two years ago as a true freshman.

Potential Worries: Good luck finding one with this group. If Portis stays healthy, he should be a legitimate threat to reach 1,000 yards. If McGahee stays healthy, he'll deliver similar performances as a freshman that players like James and Portis have in the past. If Payton stays healthy, he's versatile enough to give us another weapon at fullback. Get the idea? The only thing that can stop this group is injuries.

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