Position-by-Position Analysis: Running Backs

Chris Carson appears to be the Cowboys' number one running back at this time, but Stanford transfer Barry J. Sanders could be in the mix when he arrives on campus this summer.

This is a feature we did post spring back in the days of Go Pokes Magazine. We would list every single player on the roster, including walk-ons, and give a short synopsis of where they fit in on the team and what the possibilities are for them in making significant contributions in the upcoming season.

We will do these by position groups and again. Remember, it is just our observations and opinions, based on what we have seen and what we have heard from everybody from head coach Mike Gundy through the coordinators, position coaches, and graduate assistants and support personnel.

We started with the specialists and the Cowboys Backs. Now we move on to the running backs which had a major shake up over spring football. Anytime a senior departs the team heading into his senior season then I count that as a major shake up. This position will also be adding a senior, as in a senior trasnsfer, in former Stanford Cardinal and Oklahoma City Heritage Hall Army high school All-American in Barry J. Sanders. Sanders won't be listed here as we only list players that were here for and/or completed spring football. 

32 Chris Carson, 6-1, 215, Sr., Lilburn (Parkview), Ga./Butler Co. C.C., Kan.
Carson was better in the spring than he was in preseason practice last fall and even during the season in practice. It appeared that he had dropped a few pounds and was a little quicker. It did not show up in the spring game on April 16, but it sure did in the two major scrimmages during the spring. In one of those scrimmages Go Pokes considered Carson the Offensive Player of the Day. He was productive, ran with purpose and showed some ability to escape. He has always been productive as a receiver out of the backfield. I think it is safe to consider him the leader on the depth chart heading to August and that the showdown at the position could be Barry J. Sanders and Carson. Gundy has not detailed how the battle for the starting running back role will go done, but it is quite possible that would be how it would shake down. In interviews after spring, Carson showed a good personality and attitude and the desire to be the starter and have a heavy influence on the success of this team. He will need all the above. 

20 Jeff Carr, 5-7, 180, So., Temple, Texas
He has matured physically and it showed this spring as he combine his usual speed and abilities with added strength and endurance. Carr could be considered second on the depth chart or right there with senior Rennie Childs. Carr's emergence may be the reason that Raymond Taylor left. Carr still has a long way to go, so he can continually work on pushing and improving more, mainly with his size and frame. 

23 Rennie Childs, 5-10, 208, Sr., Houston (Cypress Ridge), Texas
There is a redshirt year here in case anybody notices. Childs is a veteran who is determined to win the job but I don't see that happening or at least likely. He had his best day of the spring, honestly, in the spring game and that might be the momentum builder for the fall and the competition he will face there. Bottom line, Childs seems to give you indications he is going to explode and then can't totally ignite. We'll see if he can finish the running back job at some point this year. 

26 Jakeem Johnson, 5-9, 190, RS-Jr., Haskell/Coweta/NEO A&M J.C., Okla.
The younger brother of former Oklahoma State defensive end Tyler Johnson, Jakeem has shown signs of being a player and the head coach really seems to like watching the younger Johnson tote the rock. He has a chance to have an impact in the game. 

42 Keegan Metcalf, 5-10, 230, RS-Sr., Elk City/Oklahoma Baptist Univ.. Okla.
A hard-nosed and very physical back in practice, Metcalf is still listed as a running back rather than a Cowboy back although his total contributions come as a fullback and on special teams.

33 Sione Palelei, 5-9, 230, RS-So., Gonzales (East Ascension), La.
Palelei was listed on the spring roster at the start of spring primarily because nobody had told him that he was now on a medical scholarship. His multiple knee operations and ACL injuries have rendered him as a player that is a high risk of repeat injury.

30 Raymond Taylor, 5-7, 195, RS-Sr., Wichita (Collegiate), Kan./Kansas State
Taylor left the team the week before the spring game and cited that he wants to be somewhere in his senior season that he can be the man and be the starting running back. I saw him about a week ago and wished him well. He still isn't sure where he will wind up but he is talking to all interested parties. 


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