Tiger Running Backs Spring 2011
26 Devion Moore 5'9" 195 (S)
4 Kendial Lawrence 5'9 190 (J)
41 Henry Josey 5'10" 180 (So)
43 Marcus Murphy 5'9" 170 (So)
38 Jared Culver 5'11" 250 (J)
40 Greg White 6'1" 215 (RSF)
33 Kellen Wright 5'9" 200 (RSF)
Missouri returns all of their TBs from 2010, four of whom saw playing time, as components of the Tigers' tailback-by-committee. Collectively, those four TBs averaged 5.77 yards/carry during the 2010 season.
Each of Missouri's TBs brings somewhat different qualities to the field. In 2010, senior De'Vion Moore 5'9" 195 started 11 of Missouri's 13 games, and rushed the football 99 times for 517 yards (5.2 yards/carry), and 8 TDs. Moore also caught 3 passes for 7 yards. Moore is the more powerful of Missouri's TBs, and was often utilized in short yardage situations. Heading into spring ball, I expect to see Moore listed as the starter, although in practice, I expect to see the top three, or more, TBs take reps with the first unit on a regular basis.
During 2010, sophomore Henry Josey 5'10" 180 rushed the football 76 times, for 437 yards (5.8 yards/carry), and 5 TDs. Josey, who started 1 game, had 4 receptions, for 19 yards, and returned 1 kick-off, for 20 yards. Josey is the fastest, and most explosive, of Missouri's backs, and was effective running inside as well as outside. Look for Josey to challenge for the number one spot.
During 2010, junior Kendial Lawrence 5'9" 190 rushed for 422 yards, and 4 TDs, on 73 carries (5.8 yards/carry). He had one start for Missouri, and also had 5 receptions, for 56 yards.
Lawrence is a very good receiver, and is effective running inside or outside. Lawrence is another one who will challenge for the top spot. With at least three starter-quality TBs, it appears likely that Missouri will once again utilize a multiple TB approach.
Sophomore Marcus Murphy 5'9" 170 rushed for 181 yards, and 2 TDs, on 22 carries (8.2 yards/carry) last season. Murphy is an excellent receiver, although he made just 2 receptions, for 5 yards, during 2010. Murphy took over the kick-off return duties for Missouri early last season, and had 24 returns, for 475 yards (19.8 yards/return). Murphy is extremely quick, and is another explosive back, who can make people miss.
RSF Greg White 6'1" 215 is a versatile, physical runner, and has improved as a receiver. White is a back of particular interest, especially because his size makes him somewhat different from Missouri's other backs.
Junior walk-on Jared Culver 5'11" 250 is expected to return for Missouri, and add depth to the position. And another walk-on, RSF TB Kellen Wright 5'9" 200, adds even more depth at the position.
With so many quality young TBs, this will be a position to watch this spring.
ShowMeMizzou.com Spring Ball Outlook
The competition at running back this spring should be fierce. Unlike last spring, when we knew Derrick Washington was the guy and we got to watch him solidify his hold on the position with improved play, this year we will see a 4-5 back battle for position on the depth chart.
Moore has been a solid performer during his career at Missouri. Will he be able to hold off the fleet-footed Lawrence or speedster Josey?
Marcus Murphy also showed flashes of being capable of doing the job and will insert himself into the equation.
The player I am most interested in seeing based upon the improvement he has made during his time at Missouri is Greg White. He brings something completely different from the other four backs with his size and power.
Overall, this is the best stable of running backs at Missouri in a long time. As we saw during the 201o season, I expect the Tigers to continue to make the run game a bigger part of the offense. Especially with the talent at hand.
End of spring depth chart prediction: 1.Josey 2. Moore 3. Lawrence 4. Murphy 5. White