Spring Football Preview: Running Backs

This is a series of previews by position that will continue throughout the week as we approach the start of spring football at Oklahoma State on March 5.

A year ago there were a lot of questions about the running back position but this spring there are virtually none. Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. signee Dantrell Savage was a strong prospect at this time a year ago that wouldn't arrive on campus until the summer. But now he is the unquestioned number one running back on the depth chart following a season where he had a late start but rushed for more than 900 yards and earned the Most Valuable Player award in the Independence Bowl win over Alabama.

The 5-9, 195-pound Savage proved not only to be as good a runner as expected in the open field but also a tougher than imagined runner between the tackles. He is extremely strong in the center of his body and able to break more than his share of tackles.

As a result of his success, and the knowledge the coaching staff has of what he is capable of doing, Savage will get just enough reps in spring to keep him tuned up and up to speed on any new material that offensive coordinator Larry Fedora brings to the mix.

Keith Toston, who was nearly as impressive as Savage considering he was a true freshman, will get a good share of spring work and the chance to further develop in the offense. The 6-1, 200-pound sophomore-to-be has really benefitted from the off-season program and looks to be the back of the future for the Cowboys.

Julius Crosslin is still there to handle the short yardage and goal line work. Crosslin, while not as fast in the open field, is still a good back anywhere on the field especially when the desire is to pound the opposing defense into submission.

Fullback is also in good hands as John Johnson and Jeremiah Burton return, and they are joined by former linebacker Zach Carter at the position. Johnson is very valuable because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which he did five times last season with three going for touchdowns.

Chris Offor and DeAaron Martin will play a valuable role in spring. The duo is proven in scrimmage competition and will give the Cowboys plenty of reps that will allow Savage and Toston a better opportunity to keep from being worn down and hopefully healthy heading into the summer and the fall.

2007 Oklahoma State Spring Football Running Back Depth Chart
Running Back
22 Dantrell Savage, 5-9, 195, Sr., Columbus (Jordan), Ga./Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.
5 Keith Toston, 6-1, 200, So., Angleton, Texas
32 Julius Crosslin, 6-0, 235, Sr., Amarillo (Palo Duro), Texas
23 DeAaron Martin, 5-8, 190, Sr., Oklahoma City (Douglass), Okla.
25 Chris Offor, 5-11, 210, Sr., Glenpool, Okla./Bacone College

Fullback
33 John Johnson, 6-2, 255, Jr., El Dorado, Ark.
47 Jeremiah Burton, 6-1, 245, Jr., Enid, Okla.
48 Zach Carter, 6-1, 235, Sr., Kennesaw (Harrison), Ga./Hutchison C.C., Kan.

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