Spring Preview: RBs

Spring football starts at the University of Miami on Tuesday. Read on for a preview of the running back position.

Joseph Yearby -- The team's top running back last season ran for over 1,000 yards and had 273 more through the air. Miami went with Walton more inside the redzone, which limited Yearby's touchdown total to just seven. He lacks breakaway speed (his longest run on 205 carries was just 41 yards) and won't ever be a major factor down near the goal line but he has very good running instincts, can make a lot of people miss, and will always be a factor in the passing game. UM was hoping he'd be another Duke Johnson when he signed here as a five-star recruit and while that's likely not going to be the case, he should be one of the better backs in the ACC.

Gus Edwards -- Expected to be one of the two main guys in Miami's backfield last season, Edwards saw his junior season completely wiped out due to a foot injury. The team's biggest back's status for spring is still a bit unclear but he has gone for over 300 yards in each of his first two seasons played here and has 11 total touchdowns. Yearby will likely serve as the team's primary running back but Edwards will be counted on to provide a good 1-2-3 punch along with Walton, and likely be the team's primary short yardage and goal line back.

Mark Walton -- A talented and versatile back, Walton had a solid true freshman campaign in 2015. He ran for 461 yards and nine scores as Yearby's primary backup but he also had 293 yards receiving on 22 grabs and averaged 17.6 yards on 17 kickoff returns. He seems to lack Yearby's running instincts and the size/power that Edwards provides but he's certainly someone who will continue to see lots of playing time, especially on passing downs.

Trayone Gray -- The talented junior has an impressive combination of size and speed but he's never been able to put it together to make a big impact on the field. Most of his 29 career carries (169 yards and three scores) have come in garbage time. A breakout season is unlikely but it'd be great for depth purposes if he's able to elevate his game and become a legitimate part of the mix at running back this spring.

Gage Batten -- A former walk-on transfer from Auburn, Batten served as one of the team's two primary fullbacks (along with recent transfer Walter Tucker). Most of his playing time came on special teams, however. A former Palm Beach County Defensive Player of the Year award winner, Batten is now listed on the official roster as a "LB/FB" so the new staff will likely experiment with him on both sides of the ball to see where he fits in best. Either way, the use of a fullback in the new offense seems unlikely most of the time.


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