Evaluating Miami's Roster: RB

Every time the Hurricanes have a bye week we like to evaluate the play of the current roster. We'll go through and take a closer look at each position. This piece focuses on the running backs.

1. Duke Johnson -- Simply put, he's been absolutely outstanding this season. He's gotten better as the season's gone on. He has seven straight 100+ yard performances on offense. His leadership has been excellent. He's tremendous in the passing game. He's been able to stay healthy all season and will be Miami's best chance of beating Florida State this week. This is very likely his final season as a Hurricane and he has a chance to end it as the most productive running back in school history. There's not much else to say here. He's a phenom, a great kid, and will be a tremendous pro. He's clearly Miami's best player and would be a legitimate Heisman candidate if Miami were a contender.

2. Joseph Yearby -- After not seeing a single carry in the opener against Louisville, Yearby has started to show signs of why he was so heavily recruited out of Miami Central last year. Since he didn't play against Virginia Tech due to injury, he's now had back-to-back 100-yard performances. He seems to be getting more and more comfortable running the football. He has a natural running style that makes it look like he'll be a tremendous player here down the road. He's also a very skilled pass-catcher. Only one of his 65 carries this season has gone for 20+ yards so the lack of breakaway speed once he gets to the second level is a bit concerning but all signs point to him being the real deal. He should continue playing a big role behind Duke for the rest of the season.

3. Gus Edwards -- After a sluggish start that resulted in the sophomore having just nine carries for 12 yards against Louisville, Nebraska, and Duke, Edwards didn't even see the field against Georgia Tech. Since then he's played a bigger role -- especially in the second half of Miami's last three blowouts. While he clearly doesn't have the same ability as Yearby on the ground and is a non-factor in the passing game, Edwards has been able to hold off Gray and could still carve out a role as the team's short-yardage back in 2015.

4. Trayone Gray -- A prep quarterback at Carol City High last year, Gray was originally recruited by Miami as a wide receiver. However, he was placed at running back upon his arrival in the summer. Despite having an impressive size/speed/athletic combo, he needs time to really learn how to play the position at this level. He's played in just three games (Florida A&M, Arkansas State, and Cincinnati) -- all blowouts -- and has just six carries for 24 yards on the season. While the physical tools appear to be there, he simply hasn't been impressive enough yet to break into the rotation. It won't get any easier when Miami's 2015 class comes in next year and don't be surprised if he's playing another position in 2015.


1. Walter Tucker -- Mostly a special teams player, Tucker is rarely used in an offense that simply doesn't use the fullback much. He's yet to touch the ball on the ground and has just one catch for eight yards on the season. It appears as though he'll never play much of a role on offense for the Canes.

Related Story:

Evaluating Miami's Roster: QB

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