Evan Royster did not play in the Coaches Clinic Scrimmage. From what we hear, he has seen very little contact this spring. That's just as well. The man who is poised to break PSU's career rushing record has nothing to prove in intra-squad games at this point.
Besides, his absence -- along with the staff giving a lighter load to primary backup and fellow veteran Stephfon Green -- allowed a host of young running backs to see more action.
I left the scrimmage extremely impressed by what I saw from the kids.
Early enrollee true freshman Silas Redd appears to be the real deal. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has quick feet, good vision and makes good decisions. I liked the way he'd pop through a hole and then find daylight somewhere, whether by cutting back or bouncing outside.
At 6-1, 238, redshirt freshman Curtis Dukes (pictured right) dwarfs the rest of the tailbacks. But he showed good initial burst and -- as you might expect -- always seemed to be running downhill. He scored on a 9-yard run where he was met outside the end zone by a defender and just plowed his way in for the TD.
The one red flag with Dukes is that he fumbled twice over the weekend, once during Friday's practice and one following a short catch and run in Saturday's scrimmage.
Hykeem Brodie (pictured right, No. 29) was another back who impressed. The 223-pound transfer from Old Dominion showed a nice mix of power and speed. On one play, he bounced outside and steamrolled rookie defensive end Kyle Baublitz, a 6-5, 255-pounder.
I have no idea if any of these guys can pass block. The good news is, even if they can't, they have a year to learn. Because once the regular-season arrives, Royster and Green will be handling most of the heavy lifting at tailback.
On Saturday, though, it was pretty clear that the future of the position is in good hands at Penn State.
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