Ranking the Roster: RB

The start of college football season is now just several weeks away. It's time to break down Miami's roster, and today's piece focuses on the running backs.

Running Backs:

1. Joseph Yearby -- One of the most productive prep running backs in Dade County history, Yearby came to Miami with a lot of hype as a true freshman last season. He played well, especially down the stretch and finished with over 500 yards on the ground. At 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, he lacks ideal size and straight-ahead speed but he has very good instincts, excellent vision through the hole, and he's able to make a lot of people miss because of his quickness and ability to change directions. Because of his size and lack of home run hitting ability, a lot of people are wondering whether he can become a number one back here. He's very talented, and probably scares defenses a lot more than Gus Edwards (especially considering he's also a skilled pass-catcher who can make things happen in the passing game). It'll be interesting to see what he can do early in the season because an incoming freshman will likely be shooting up the depth charts early in the season.

2. Gus Edwards -- At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Edwards is a big back that James Coley really wanted after getting the job here a couple years ago. Edwards was given the opportunity to become the team's primary short-yardage back as a true freshman in 2013 but it never happened. He's been given plenty of chances in his first two years here but most of his yards and touchdowns have come against non-BCS opponents like Florida A&M, Savannah State, FAU, and Arkansas State. It remains to be seen if he can effectively carry the primary load - or become a legit short-yardage threat - against the top opponents on the schedule. His upright running style was an issue early in his career so it'll be interesting to see how far along he's come with that. While it's unlikely he'll be the team's lead back, Miami fans should hope that he can effectively become the team's short-yardage back.

3. Mark Walton -- An incoming freshman who arrived last month for summer workouts, Walton was one of the most heavily recruited running back prospects in the entire country at Booker T Washington High last year. At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, he helped lead his team to a state championship where he was outstanding in the state game. He isn't as big as Edwards and doesn't have the ability to make people miss like Yearby but he might be the most talented overall running back on the roster. He's a baller who can also make a difference on special teams and in the passing game. I've been saying since February that I expect him to become Miami's number one running back by mid-season but it won't happen right away and he's not there yet. It could be just a matter of time because Walton is the real deal in many ways.

4. Trayone Gray -- At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Gray has ideal size to be a player here. He was a dual threat quarterback at Carol City High in 2013 and was recruited here to play wide receiver. He wasn't here long before getting moved to running back. He has a nice combination of size, speed, and overall athleticism but his running instincts aren't at the same level as the players listed ahead of him on this list. He played in a couple games as a true freshman last season and will likely see an increase in playing time but moving past those ahead of him on this list won't be easy. I still think he could end up being a better linebacker but time will tell.

Fullbacks:

1. Walter Tucker -- The team's only scholarship fullback heading into fall camp, Tucker is not your typical fullback. At 6-feet and 225 pounds, he lacks ideal size there and has a tremendous amount of athleticism. His size and athletic ability suggests he could play tailback but he simply doesn't have the running instincts to play there. He's very good on special teams, and could see a minor role in the passing game at times. Since UM rarely has a fullback on the field, his overall role on offense will be somewhat limited.


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