So far: Berry came to Miami as a safety and that's where he started his career in 2007, playing mostly on special teams (something he still does today, surprisingly). He played there again in 2008 before getting moved to running back last season. What a move it turned out to be. He finished the season with 93 carries for 628 yards and eight touchdowns as he quickly became Miami's best running back after he began getting carries in the fifth game of the season. He was Miami's best runner between the tackles and got the most carries inside the five yard line last season. With just five catches, his upside is limited in the passing game.
Outlook: He's Miami's best running back heading into fall camp. He's the guy a lot of people will be counting on to perhaps carry the offense, especially in the early part of a tough road schedule. Getting a healthy Damien Berry four touches in an entire game can't happen again, something that we saw in the bowl game loss to Wisconsin. He's a spark and showed it many times throughout the second half of last season.
2010 Prediction: There are more running backs in the mix this year so there will likely be more carries to go around. Berry's workload will increase as long as he stays healthy all season. However, with the addition of someone like Lamar Miller and the health status of Graig Cooper (someone who will get carries if healthy) up in the air still, exactly how much increased workload Berry will handle remains to be seen. Expect him to receive well over 100 carries this season, run for close to 1,000 yards, and have the type of season Miami needs from him. He should also go into double digits in touchdowns.
--Graig Cooper, 6-0, 195, Senior
So far: One of the team's top overall performers over the last three years, Cooper has over 400 carries and has been an on-again-off-again starter his entire career so far. He's averaged close to 800 yards in each of his first three seasons with four touchdowns per season. He'a also the team's top pass-catcher from the backfield, bringing in 60 passes in three seasons. He was also a very good return man for the Canes last season. Unfortunately, a major knee injury suffered in the bowl game set him back. He's making good progress and could be back in time for the early part of the season.
Outlook: He's always been solid but never spectacular. He's never been the legit home run threat the Canes have missed at times. His touchdown totals have never been overly impressive. However, he's a solid running back, an excellent pass-catcher, and a good return man. Those things add up to a nice player. The knee is the key. If it holds up and he returns to his old form, he's a rock solid performer in Miami's offense. The question is, how far behind Berry will he fall, if any? Berry appeared to be the better running back towards the end of last season but Cooper can still do a lot of things to help this team.
2010 Prediction: The injury will likely set him back some. His workload, as a result, will likely suffer some compared to previous seasons. Berry's emergence along with guys like Miller being in the mix now will also cut down on Cooper's workload some. If he's healthy early in the season, he should still come close to 100 carries, close to 500 yards, a few scores, and about 15 catches again.
--Lee Chambers, 5-10, 180, Junior
So far: He redshirted in 2007 and then played a few snaps in 2008, with his best performance coming in the bowl game against Cal (9 for 60). As Miami's No. 4 running back in 2009, Chambers received 42 carries and had 153 yards and a score, with his top performance coming against Virginia (10 for 67). He's shown flashes when given the opportunity, which presents hope that he can get the job done at times when called upon.
Outlook: Of the five returning running backs from last season, he's probably the least likely to make big things happen. Berry and Cooper have already proven it. Mike James has probably passed him up and Miller is expected to have a breakout season. He can provide a spark, though, as he's done twice in his career. He's limited in the passing game and isn't a return guy option so his upside isn't as high as the others.
2010 Prediction: Don't expect him to get 42 carries again this season. He may get half of that, as the opportunity for a big game is more limited now with the additions to the depth chart.
--Mike James, 5-11, 215, Sophomore
So far: He emerged as a major player for the Canes last season, splitting time between running back and fullback. He only had 15 touches for limited yards but he also caught 15 passes and showed some nice things in the return game. He's also coming off a strong spring.
Outlook: He's a bigger, stronger, and probably less explosive version of Cooper and will likely see his role increased this season. Getting carries will still be tough but he can do so many things. He'll block, he'll catch, and he can help on special teams. Those are reasons why he'll see the field more and more as the season progresses.
2010 Prediction: Expect his workload in the backfield to increase. He'll likely double (at least) his carries from last season, score a few touchdowns, and possibly be the team's most productive pass-catcher from the backfield. His role in the return gane could be cut back some with others waiting to emerge there.
--Lamar Miller, 5-11, 205, RS Freshman
So far: He's never played but he's gotten a lot of hype, thanks to an outstanding redshirt year on the scout team and an excellent spring. He enters fall camp as one of the key players to watch on offense.
Outlook: Perhaps Miami's most talented running back, Miller has all the tools. He was one of the nation's most heavily recruited players coming out of Miami Killian High and probably would have made a big splash last season had he been given the opportunity like he was in the spring. Don't be shocked if he ends up Miami's best running back this season.
2010 Prediction: A breakout season is ahead. People will know the name Lamar Miller all across the country by October. He has those types of skills. It's unrealistic to think he'll take a ton of carries away from both Berry and Cooper but he'll definitely be in the mix -- especially later in the season. Look for him to receive the third most carries behind Berry and Cooper, average over seven a carry, and score some touchdowns (both long ones and short ones).
--Storm Johnson, 6-1, 215, Freshman
So far: A strong spring. The only freshman running back of the three to go through spring drills, Johnson was the talk of the month. He showed flashes of big things. Still, he's only a freshman and hasn't proven a thing on the field yet.
Outlook: The size/speed combination is outstanding and he's probably the most likely of the three freshmen to step into a game and play. A lot of that is because he was here in the spring but a lot is also because of how talented he is. He seems to have a bright future ahead of him but there's a crowd in front of him on the depth chart.
2010 Prediction: 15-20 carries in a role similar to that of James last season. He may even see some time in the return game.
--Eduardo Clements, 5-10, 185, Freshman
So far: Nothing. The four-star recruit hasn't started yet.
Outlook: He was one of the state's most heavily recruited running backs, one Miami wanted from very early in the process. He's an excellent athlete who has talked about even the possibility of playing cornerback early in his career at Miami.
2010 Prediction: Redshirt. There's just too much depth in front of him for someone who hasn't even taken in a practice yet. Even with a strong preseason camp, the numbers are going to make it tough to get him anymore than a couple carries, which would likely be a waste.
--Darion Hall, 5-11, 210, Freshman
So far: Nothing. The three-star recruit hasn't started yet.
Outlook: He's a little different than Clements. He doesn't have that speed or athleticism but he's more of a downhill, between-the-tackles type of runner. He's the slowest of the three true freshmen but probably the strongest.
2010 Prediction: Redshirt. See Clements. It's hard to imagine Hall getting carries this season.