The Panthers have a nice problem headed into spring ball at the running back position. They return 3 players who played as true freshmen last year, (Kirkley, Furman and Jemison), plus a highly touted transfer in Brandon Miree, and also several RB's who were redshirted last year, but are very talented. Kirkley and Furman were very impressive as true freshmen last year. The depth chart headed into spring ball should look like the following. Raymond Kirkley, 5-10 220, sophomore, followed by Marcus Furman, 5-8 175, sophomore and Mike Jemison, 5-11 225, a sophomore also. Marcus was outstanding towards the end of the year and looks like he just needs to add weight and strength to be a top RB in the conference. Kirkley did a excellent job carrying the load last year and is known for his hard nosed running style that saw him break many tackles, to go along with pretty good speed. Brandon Miree, a transfer from Alabama, who will be a junior this year, will also push for the starting job. Brandon is 6-1 221 and runs a 10.6 100 meters. He rushed for 2,455 yards and scored 31 TD's as a High School senior and has the speed, power and strength to make a difference in the Panthers offense. Brandon was able to practice with the team all last season, so he should have a good grasp of the offense heading into spring ball. Other redshirt freshmen who will try to break into the lineup include powerful High School blue-chip recruit Tim Murphy, 5-10 230, followed by speedy Florida recruit Darren McCray, 5-9 190, James Johnson, 6-1 220 who at one time was running with the first team offense last fall camp. Abdur Abdullah, 6-0 215, who is also a redshirt freshmen, was moved to fullback last year to help with a depth problem, will also get another chance to see what he can do at running back. Malcom Postell, a 6-1 215 sophomore is another that will most likely move to another position. That gives Pitt 9 RB's who will compete for playing time in the spring!!! I would expect 3 of them to be moved to either fullback or outside linebacker. MCCray could also play corner or safety. If I was to guess, I would say that Murphy, Johnson and MCCray will stay at running back and Jemison, Postell and Abdullah will most likely be moved to fullback and/or outside linebacker. There is also a good chance one or two might transfer if they have their heart set on playing RB, but with the opportunity to play right away at outside linebacker or fullback at the division-1 level, they should re-think a decision like that. Johnson could be a candidate to move to either of those positions, but I think he has a good shot to stick at RB. Murphy is big and strong enough to play fullback or outside linebacker right now, so he could change positions too. All this depth should make for great competition at the spring practices and will help all the RB's push themselves to improve. The only ones you can really be sure that wont change positions are Kirkley, Miree and Furman, although Furman could easily play WR. Running back is easily the deepest position on the entire team. The fullback position is not very deep, but returns what I think is the best fullback in the Big East and one of the best in the entire country in Lousaka Polite, 6-0 245, junior. Pitt got great news when Dustin Picciotti, who will be a redshirt sophomore, announced he will return this season after suffering through post concussion problems. Dustin was considered by many to be the #1 fullback recruit in the country out of High School and at 6-3 255, he can be a force running and blocking. If Dustin remains healthy and returns to his old form, Pitt will have the best fullback combination in the Big East if not the entire country.
A look to spring ball – Running backs and Fullbac
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