Spring Ball Position Preview: Running Back

With the Missouri Tigers top running back from 2011 sitting this spring out due to injury, we could see some interesting competition happen between Kendial Lawrence and other returning backs looking to make their mark.

Despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in Missouri's 10th game of his sophomore season, TB Henry Josey rushed for 1168 yards and 9 TDs on 145 carries (8.06 yards/carry) in 2011, and earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors.   Josey displayed great vision and acceleration, and he's a tough finisher.  He'll miss spring football.  There are two big questions.   When will Josey return to action?  And when he does, will he return to his 2011 form?

When Josey went down, Kendial Lawrence took over the starting tailback job late last season.   Lawrence had won the starting job heading into the 2011 season.  But, when he was injured, Josey stepped into the forefront.  In 2011, Lawrence rushed for 566 yards and 5 TDs on 119 carries (4.8 yards/carry).

Red-shirt sophomore TB Marcus Murphy was injured prior to fall camp, and missed the entire 2011season.  He's healthy now, and we saw him running the football during December.  Entering the spring, Murphy will be listed as the number two TB, behind Lawrence.  Reportedly, Murphy is even faster than he was as a freshman.

Junior FB Jared Culver carried the football 16 times last season for 111 yards (6.9 yards/carry) and 1 TD.

In 2011, RSF TB Greg White had 11 carries for 38 yards (3.5 yards/carry).  After appearing in a couple of games early in the season, he fell off of the two-deep depth chart.

In looking beyond the spring, the TB position will receive a big boost over the summer, in time for fall camp.  Josey and Murphy made significant contributions as freshmen in 2010, and it appears likely that one or both of Missouri's incoming freshmen TB will see the field in 2012.  

This spring, I'll have my eye on Murphy and White.    I expect Murphy to have an impact.  I'll be watching to see if White will make a move up the depth chart.

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