The Michigan State Spartans may have suffered some key losses on offense from their Big Ten Championship squad. But running back is not one of those areas as all the key components return giving Dave Warner the option to pound a running game done the throats of opponents.
Key Losses: Trevon Pendleton (Fullback)
Key Returnees: Gerald Holmes, Madre London, L.J. Scott, Delton Williams (Fullback)
To say the Spartans are loaded at running back is an understatement.
Between Holmes, London and Scott the Spartans return 1,739 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 2016. While individually no Spartan was a 1,000-yard rusher, combined the three give MSU a solid rushing attack.
Here is a quick look at each back to watch this fall.
Gerald Holmes – While overlooked early last season Holmes came on strong earning a starting role in the Spartans final seven games of the season. It was during this part of his sophomore year that Holmes showed he’s got the ability to be an important part of the Spartans offensive attack and could prove to be the main back with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. They say competition brings out the best in a person and Holmes will be tested each week to keep on pace with the others in the Spartans backfield.
Madre London – At the start of last season London looked to have the upper hand as the Spartans main back starting the first six games of the season. However, injury sidelined him allowing others to step forward. Many have told Spartan Digest that London is the best back out of the group and he’ll be sure to get a chance to show it this fall. But he’ll also see that others are looking to step up their game to take reps away from him.
L.J. Scott – One of the heroes of the Big Ten Championship Game, Scott has the physical skill set to become the next great Spartan back. Could there be a sophomore slump? Yes, Scott returns as the team’s leading ball carrier as well as leading rusher and leader in rushing touchdowns. But if he read too many of his press clipping others will push to take his reps. We expect the Spartans offensive coaching staff to push Scott and get him in line early in camp.
Delton Williams – Many forget that Williams prior to the spring of 2015 was considered a star back in waiting. After missing games at the start of last season are he worked his way back into the good graces of Mark Dantonio for off the field issues in the spring of 2015. Williams has the talent and will give the Spartans their most athletic fullback in the Dantonio era and a chance to be very creative with him in the Spartans offensive attack. Keep in mind, Williams enters this camp with 610 career rushing yards and seven career touchdowns in limited reps (118) with an average of 5.2 per carry.
OTHER NOTES: While not listed at running back keep in mind the Spartans will also look to RJ Shelton and even Damion Terry to run the ball.
LEADING RUSHER: All signs point towards Scott being the top rusher for the Spartans this fall and we’ll make him our pick as well.
TOUCHDOWN LEADER: We’ll pick Scott but would not be surprised if Williams is used in a manner much like Jehuu Caulcrick was used in 2007.