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Post-Spring Analysis: RB

Spring football ended at the University of Miami a few weeks ago. Read on for a post-spring analysis of the running back position.

The Hurricanes used three running backs last season and all three of them are back in 2016. They also return one who missed all of 2015 with an injury.

Joe Yearby led the team in rushing a season ago and the talented junior had a decent spring. He started out as the team's top back but ended as probably its third. Yearby has very good running instincts, good vision, and the ability to make things happen in the passing game. He lacks game-breaking speed, however, and didn't seem nearly as explosive as another back this spring.

Mark Walton, a four-star freshman a year ago, emerged as the team's top running back this spring. He had 10 carries for 56 yards and seemed like the most explosive of the four running backs. He's a talented pass-catcher too and can do a number of things to help a team. Unfortunately, he ran into legal trouble soon after spring football ended and his status for the start of the 2016 season is still unclear. If cleared and fully healthy, Walton will likely be Miami's best running back.

Trayone Gray saw limited action off the bench last season and with the return of Gus Edwards this spring a lot of people thought Gray might end up switching to defense. Mark Richt shot that idea down, saying Gray will remain at running back. He didn't do anything during the spring to indicate that he'll be any better than the team's fourth running back.

Edwards had a solid season in 2015 before missing all of last season with an injury. UM is hoping he emerges as a legitimate short-yardage threat. He had 57 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries against the team's second team defense in the spring game. He's talented enough to make an impact with 8-12 touches a game but lacks Walton's skill set to be a featured back.

Walter Tucker transferred out as the team's fullback and that's likely a position that won't get used much in Richt's new offense here this fall.


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