Positional Breakdown, Part-2: Running Backs

Included is a detailed breakdown of the Mississippi State running backs based on their 2009 play and how they looked and performed during the just-completed spring practices and scrimmages.

Vick Ballard( 5'11 215 ) Junior

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 (Junior College)Stats: 297-1,728, 22 TD
  • Spring Game: Rushing- 14-73, 1 TD

    Synopsis:
    Ballard comes from the JUCO ranks where he was the second-leading rusher nationally. He has been brought in to help replace Anthony Dixon and has been doing a good job of that so far. Ballard had a good spring, battling Robert Elliot for the top spot on the depth chart.

    Strengths:

  • Leg Drive
  • Acceleration
  • Hands
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Breakaway Speed
  • Footwork
  • Blocking

    2010 Projection:
    Rushing 173-898, 7 TD; Receiving 20-275, 2 TD

    Ballard, in my opinion, should eventually become THE back in crunch time and have a big year.


    Robert Elliot ( 6-2 215) Redshirt Junior

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 Stats: 44-221 yds, 1 TD; Receiving 3-47, 0 TD
  • Spring Game:Rushing 1- -3 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    Elliot has had a long road back and completed his journey this off-season, reworking his body. And his hard work has paid off as Elliot ended the spring practice atop the depth chart along with Vick Ballard.

    Strengths:

  • Experience
  • Work Ethic
  • Special Teams
  • Getting to the Corner

    Weaknesses:

  • Breakaway Speed
  • Runs Upright
  • Toughness
  • Durability

    2010 Projection:
    Rushing- 92-480, 4 TD; Receiving 20-148, 0 TD

    Elliot will be one of the primary backs next season but I expect Ballard to get a bit more carries.


    LaDarius Perkins( 5'8 190) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirted
  • Spring Game: Rushing 7-15, 1 TD

    Synopsis:
    Perkins redshirted last season to develop and mature, but quickly got into the mix during the spring as a scat back.

    Strengths:

  • Next Man Speed
  • Hands
  • Quickness
  • Toughness

    Weaknesses:

  • Size
  • Blocking

    2010 Projection:
    Rushing- 44-320, 4 TD; Receiving 31- 333, 3 TD

    Perkins is a small but electrifying runner who could be the surprise player on the offensive side of the ball next season.


    Montrell Conner (6'2 225) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirted
  • Spring Game: Rushing 9-60 yds, 0 TD; Receiving 1-30 yds, 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    The bruising running back nicknamed "Choo Choo" had to redshirt last year due to having three seniors on the roster. He wanted to prove himself in the spring but was hurt for most of the practices. However, he was able to play in the spring game where he played well.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Good Speed

    Weaknesses:

  • Dead Legs
  • Blocking
  • Stiff

    2010 Projection:
    Rushing-69-293, 2 TD; Receiving 4-16, 0 TD

    Conner should get some carries next season but is behind three other guys right now. If one of those top three guys get hurt then his role could increase.


    Adrian Marcus( 5'9 215) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats:Redshirted
  • Spring Game:Rushing 8-30 yds, 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    Marcus, a player who originally signed with Navy out of high school, decided to walk on at Mississippi State this past season. He played well on the scout team, drawing praise from the coaches. He had a good spring which helped increase the depth at the running back position.

    Strengths:

  • Toughness
  • Inside Running
  • Adequate Speed
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Quickness
  • Breakaway Speed

    2010 Projection:
    Rushing 15-90, 0 TD; Receiving 1-3, 0 TD

    Marcus will be relegated to mop-up duty at the moment but if there is an injury to Elliot or Ballard his name is one to watch.


    Nick Griffin( 5'9 195) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 (High School) Stats: Rushing- 234- 2,079 yds, 31 TD

    Synopsis:
    Griffin emerged as the top running back in the state of Mississippi during his senior year and saw his recruitment pick up. He ultimately decided to cast his lot with Mississippi State after being a heavy lean throughout the process.

    Strengths:

  • Leg Drive
  • Production
  • Solid Speed
  • Inside Running

    Weaknesses:

  • Outside Running
  • Blocking

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Griffin will get a chance to play when he comes in but I expect him to redshirt due to the current depth at the position.


    Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com


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